Thursday, December 13, 2012
Splendid First monthly Mass in Darlington
On a cold, foggy and icy evening in December we wondered as we drove from Newcastle how many would be in the congregation for the first monthly EF Mass in St Augustine's Church in Darlington. We need not have worried! The church is beautiful and hardly 're-ordered' at all with the lovely high altar still in situ backed by a reredos said to be one of the finest examples of its kind in any Catholic church in England. It was installed in 1899 at a cost of £800. It was restored and revalued in 1957 as worth £4,000. Today its value is incapable of estimation and it is irreplaceable. The Mass is totally down to LMS member Carl Watson and his family who approached the church council requesting the use of the church on a monthly basis. Thanks are due to Frs Michael Higginbottom & Seamus Doyle and the council for their ready agreement. This agreement was largely repaid as the congregation of 50+ (sorry for the lack of specific numbers) was largely made up of parishioners many of whom commented on their pleasure at the return of the 'old Mass'. The celebrant was Fr Paul Tully, a hospital chaplain living at St Mary's Church in Easington Lane, who had also most readily agreed to celebrate the monthly Mass. Present in choir was Fr Wilfrid Elkin, PP of St Mary's in Barnard Castle, who is the doyen of our celebrating clergy and who will be remembered as one of the trainers at the priests' training courses at Ushaw College. Fr Elkin did, incidentally, correct a statement I made claiming this to be the first EF Mass in Darlington since Vatican II as he had celebrated a Mass in the EF in the 1980s in this very church to celebrate a Silver Wedding. The servers for the Mass were Carl's 2 young sons who managed extremely well. Also in the congregation were a brother and sister from Singapore, he studying at Durham University and she at Cambridge. This Mass is the start of a monthly Mass to be celebrated on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7pm. We wish it every success.