Today we had the great pleasure of welcoming Fr Paul Tully as celebrant of our noon EF Mass at St Joseph's in Gateshead. Fr Tully was supplying for PP, Fr Adrian Dixon, who is on holiday.
Fr Tully is chaplain for a number of hospitals in County Durham and resides in a parish in Easington. His knowledge of the EF was unknown to us although Fr Dixon knew that he celebrated his early morning private Masses in this form. Whilst Fr Tully has no objection to concelebrating in the OF he told me that it was best reserved for occasions when large numbers of priests concelebrate. He had tried celebrating his private Masses in the OF but found it lacking in spirituality. Thus he was drawn to the EF and taught himself. He finds that the EF gives him a closer relationship with God.
Today, in our diocese, we celebrated the Dedication of our Cathedral and Father's sermon was based on the readings of the Mass "Terribilis est.." telling us that the presence of God in the tabernacle is "terrible" in the sense that it is awesome to realise how close to us God is. He contrasted the beauty and silence of our churches with the Old Testament temple where bloody offerings were the order of the day, where the cries of animals being slaughtered for sacrifice mingled with the shouts of the sellers and moneychangers. The smells of blood, animal droppings and incense mixed up too outside of the Holy of Holies where God resided. Our Lord's death on Calvary changed that so that we have the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of God in our midst.
We hope to welcome Fr Tully again soon and thank him for his Mass today.