Friday, February 25, 2011

Cathedral Mass without our bishop

Following the well attended EF Missa Solemnis in St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne we have decided to approach the cathedral dean, Fr Peter Leighton, for permission to repeat the experience which drew Catholics from across the diocese and beyond. Bishop Cunningham was unable to be present at the Mass in November due to a full diary. To facilitate his attendance this year we decided to find out which dates were presently free for him so that we could then approach the cathedral in an endeavour to match one of his available dates. It is with great sadness that we received his response this week saying that he has no available dates and is therefore "unable to accept your offer of joining you." Whilst appreciating that His Lordship does have a full diary and that he does, as he says, " (have) an opportunity to meet those who come together to celebrate the EF Form [sic]", we would still have been delighted to have welcomed him to a solemn diocesan celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in solidarity with those of his people in the diocese who have an affinity for this form of Mass. Of course all parishes within the diocese do not have Mass in the EF so his Sunday visitations would only allow him to meet those of us who are fortunate in having a Mass when he is likely to be present. Those without Sunday (or indeed any access) to the EF only come together in such celebrations of EF Mass either on weekdays (and such access is very sparse) or on occasions such as the special Mass we arrange in the cathedral. His attendance there would have enabled him to meet those without EF Sunday Masses. Sadly Bishop Cunningham has also recently said that he is unable to confer the sacrament of Confirmation in the EF although he has offered to delegate a priest to do so on his behalf. We must continue to pray that the celebrations of EF Masses in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle continue to grow and that those who have not had the opportunity to recognise its beauty and prayerfulness.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Chair of St Peter

On Tuesday 22nd February 2011 Fr Gary Dickson celebrated his first Solemn High Mass in the EF at his church in Thornley, Co Durham. The Mass was on the Feast of St Peter's Chair and the intention was "In thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum". Father Gary's ministers were Fr David Phillips from Stella as deacon and Fr Michael Brown from Forest Hall as subdeacon. The Ordinary of the Mass was "Missa de Angelis" sung by the Schola Sancti Baedae under Dr Michael Dunn. They also sang the plainchant motets "Attende Domine" and "Ave Verum" as well as the Proper from the Liber Usualis. The 3 Lydon sisters sang Cesar Franck's "Panis Angelicus" at communion as this is Father Gary's favourite motet. Also on the sanctuary was Fr Simon Henry who preached a most uplifting sermon on what we have lost liturgically since Vatican II. He also quoted from the writings of Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) on the subject of liberalism and speaking prophetically of how his papacy would be denigrated later. Pope Benedict was also quoted telling us to avoid materialism and to remember Christ's words that "the gates of Hell will never prevail against His Church". Also in choir was Fr Aldo Tapparo of Birmingham Archdiocese based in Oxford. A congregation of over 75 attended the Mass and joined in the recessional hymn "Hail Queen of Heaven". The evening ended with a buffet provided by the ladies of the parish. Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form is celebrated every Sunday in the church of The Sacred Heart & English Martyrs.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Summorum Pontificum

The internet is abuzz with rumours regarding the long awaited letter from the Holy Father explaining his 'motu proprio'. Included in the rumour is the idea that restrictions might be imposed on the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I stress that these are rumours! However, to reinforce our love and desire for the continuation and expansion of these celebrations of Holy Mass we are encouraged to sign an online petition. The website is Please sign as individuals not as 'Mr & Mrs' and include your diocese and country. Please ignore the 'Payments' page. Please ask all Catholics who revere the pope to sign this without delay.

Friday, February 18, 2011

St Margaret Clitherow

The Latin Mass Society is organising a Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in honour of St Margaret Clitherow in York Minster on Saturday 26th March 2011. The Mass begins at 1.30pm. This Mass begins the National Pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret, who is the Patron of the Catholic Womens League, and following Mass the procession will visit both St Margaret's home in The Shambles as well as her place of martyrdom. The pilgrimage will end at English Martyrs Church, Dalton Terrace, York with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Veneration of the Relic of St Margaret and refreshments. The Mass will be celebrated by Fr Stephen Maugham of English Martyrs and the music will be provided by The Rudgate Singers of York. The music for the Mass will be Byrd's 'Mass for 5 voices', 'Justorum Animae', 'Ave Verum' and 'Ave Regina Coelorum'. The Proper will be sung in Gregorian Chant. The Mass in the Minster is by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter. St Margaret is one of our most important lay martyrs and we sincerely hope that pilgrims from across the country will take part.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Servers' Training Day

I am just back from English Martyrs Church in York where was held a training day for servers of Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The day was arranged by Paul Waddington on behalf of the Society of St Tarcisius. We were warmly welcomed by Fr Stephen Maugham from the parish and the training was divided into 3 classes. That for servers wishing to learn more about Missa Cantata was led by Neil Walker (DR Leeds diocese) & David O'Neill (joint DR Hexham & Newcastle diocese). The more advanced Low Mass class was led by Paul Waddington (LMS Treasurer) whilst the beginners class was led by Steve Crookall. . There were 4 students in the Missa Cantata class & they were the servers at the Missa Cantata celebrated by Fr Maugham. Both Neil & David were also on the sanctuary to give guidance during the Mass. Considering that this was the first attempt the outcome was quite astounding. The music for the Mass was provided by The Rudgate Singers of York. There is a further opportunity to sample this most wonderful form of the Roman Rite when Missa Cantata is celebrated in York Minster on Saturday 26th March 2011 at 1.30pm. This Mass will be followed by a procession in honour of St Margaret Clitheroe who was martyred in York. The procession will take in the house where she lived as well as her place of martyrdom. The day will end with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the Bar Convent in York where a relic of St Margaret is venerated.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Strong Nuncio

Great to hear that the Apostolic Nuncio to the Antilles Islands - HE Most Rev Thos E Gullickson (Titulat Archbishop of Bomarzo) - has spoken out very strongly against bishops who are resisting the implementation of the Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum'. Some don't ACTIVELY resist the implementation but, by not being openly obedient to the Holy Father, encourage some of our more liberal Catholics to assume that there is still something not quite right & proper about the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Our Holy Father has made it abundantly clear that he expects the 2 forms of the Roman Rite to be equally valid. Only when our bishops fully respect this wish will the Pope's wishes come to fruition. I recall attending a Requiem Mass for a priest friend when I had to even request Holy Communion on the tongue - which the Pope insists on for those receiving from him - and that 'permission' was granted reluctantly and with bad grace and inappropriate comments. We need more bishops like Bishop Schneider & Archbishop Gullickson.