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Welcome to the site for News, Events and up-to-date Information on Traditional Catholicism in the West Midlands (UK). I am one of the Diocesan Representatives for the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales for the Promotion of the Traditional Roman Rite.

Monday, 13 September 2021

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

High Mass will be offered at the Birmingham Oratory tomorrow for the Feast of the Holy Cross at the usual time of 7.30pm. This replaces the usual 5.45pm low Mass.

The Birmingham Oratory Choir is looking to recruit choral singers for High Mass and Vespers. This is a paid position. If you are interested please see the advert below.



Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Traditionis Custodes: an attack on the Priesthood

In his post-mortem following Ireland's referendum on a constitutional amendment to allow same-sex marriage, Roberto de Mattei quotes Dom John-Baptiste Chautard from his book 'The Soul of the Apostolate' which always stuck with me: 

A holy priest coincides with a fervent populace; a fervent priest - a pious populace; a pious priest - an honest populace; an honest priest - an impious populace. 
Thus the idea is that the spiritual life of a congregation is one degree lower than the spiritual life of the priest who serves them.

When I was appointed rep for the Birmingham and Black Country area in May 2013, I believed my primary role was to bring the Mass of Ages to the people. Very quickly however, it became clear to me that an aspect of my role that was just as important was to aid priests. Priests would contact me wishing to learn and celebrate the 1962 Missal. They could of course do the latter without a congregation, but if the last year of lockdowns, social restrictions and church closures have proved anything, it is that Mass gains much from a congregation being present. I made an agreement with priests - if you provide the Mass, I will provide the congregation. 

My first reaction upon reading Traditionis Custodes was not actually concern that traditional Catholics would be deprived of the 1962 Missal (notwithstanding the bizarre comment that we are expected to "return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II" which seems to ignore that in most parishes, from which the document would like to see the Missal of 1962 banned, it exists alongside the post-conciliar Mass and is not necessarily celebrated on Sundays or Holydays of Obligation). Although it would be more difficult to set up new groups and therefore Masses, Article 3 seemed to guarantee the right of people to attend Masses "antecedent to 1970" subject to the pastoral care of the Bishop, and most Bishops are concerned for the spiritual welfare of the traditional communities under their care. What concerned me more was Article 4, which dealt with priests, requiring them to obtain permission from the Bishop to continue celebrating the 1962 Missal, and for new priests ordained after the promulgation of the Motu Proprio, for whom the Bishop is to seek permission from the Holy See before granting authorisation. It is clear that this article is intended to make celebrating the 1962 Missal difficult in the short term, and in the long term impossible.

There has been much comment on the collapse in vocations since the 1960s, at least in the west. In England and Wales the true drop in numbers was somewhat tempered by the conversion of several Anglican priests to the Catholic faith following the ordination of women in the Church of England in 1992, a group who disproportionately celebrate the 1962 Mass compared to the priests of Irish origin who made up the bulk of priests in the Birmingham area as I was growing up. The requirement for celibacy has often been cited as the reason vocations dropped but I suspect this is wishful thinking from those who would like to see this dropped. A real, underreported problem is how discerners and seminarians of a more traditional mindset were discouraged during the 70s, 80s and 90s up until the first few years of the 21st Century. I know of one priest who was kicked out of seminary 100 days before his ordination to the diaconate, who then tried his vocation at several other orders before eventually being accepted and ordained in the last ten years. Another seminarian had a traditional Missal stolen (confiscated and never returned) by his spiritual director at seminary because it was 'stifling his spirituality'. He subsequently left the seminary, but the last I heard he has returned to study for another Diocese, expressing surprise early on in his studies at how much things have since changed for the better. For both, Summorum Pontificum helped change the culture of a church that was once hostile to their spirituality and allowed them to pursue their vocations. 

Ordinations (1860-2011)
Ordinations in England and Wales since 1860 (compiled by the Latin Mass Society)

(As an aside, this is not just true for priests - two of my friends who discerned their vocations as nuns both entered traditional orders). 

If Article 4 of Traditionis Custodes is enforced strictly, it will lead to priests leaving the priesthood, seminary and another drought in vocations. If enforced strictly, the document is an attack on the priesthood. 

Many commented on how apt the first reading on the Sunday following the promulgation of Motu Proprio in the new calendar was (Jeremiah 23:1-6) but I think a passage that is more relevant is that of Christ quoting Zechariah before his Passion: 
I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered (Matthew 26:31 ESV). 
On the Feast of St Jean Vianney in the new calendar, let us pray for priests and vocations to the priesthood. 

O Lord, send us priests. 
O Lord, send us many holy priests. 
O Lord, send us many holy priests and religious vocations

Saturday, 31 July 2021

The effect of Traditionis Custodes on Masses in the Birmingham and Black Country Region

Despite the publication of Traditionis Custodes, there has been no immediate change to the 1962 Missal Mass schedule in the Birmingham and Black Country area, and we are grateful to Archbishop Longley for giving permission for these Masses to continue as things stand. The Maryvale Mass remains suspended, and given the imminent departure of the Brigittines from Maryvale, its future is unclear regardless of the Motu Proprio.

Meanwhile, the Oratory has published its music list for August:



Tuesday, 29 June 2021

SS Peter & Paul and July Music Listing for the Oratory

The Oratory will celebrate High Mass at 7.30pm tonight for the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, which replaces the usual 5.45pm low Mass. Directions are in the sidebar.

The Oratory has also released its music list for July as follows:



Thursday, 3 June 2021

Corpus Christi

The Birmingham Oratory will offer High Mass today for the Feast of Corpus Christi. This will replace the usual 5.45pm low Mass and is the second High Mass celebrated at the Birmingham Oratory this week (excluding the usual Sunday Mass) following a beautiful celebration for the patronal Feast of St Philip Neri on Monday, transferred from the 26th May in the Extraordinary Form due to the Octave of Pentecost.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

The Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ

There will be two Masses in the region for the Ascension on Thursday: St Mary-on-the-Hill will offer low Mass at 11.30am, and the Oratory will celebrate High Mass at 7.30pm in the evening, replacing the usual 5.45pm low Mass. Directions are in the sidebar. The Oratory have released their Music list for May which includes the music for this Mass:


Saturday, 27 March 2021

Holy Week and Easter 2021

 The Birmingham Oratory has released its programme for Holy Week and Easter which was not available at the time Mass of Ages was published:

Note that the High Mass on Palm Sunday begins half an hour earlier at 10am rather than the usual time of 10.30am, and the Maundy Thursday High Mass is at the earlier time of 6pm to accommodate Tenebrae at 8pm (in previous years this would have been celebrated at 9am on the next day).

Although there is a Mass scheduled for 11.30am at St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury, please note that this must be booked in advance. Please also note that the usual Friday Mass at Wolverhampton has been moved to Monday this week. 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

The Solemnity of St Joseph in the Year of St Joseph

As the Solemnity of St Joseph in the Year of St Joseph falls on a Friday, there is a choice of three Masses in the Extraordinary Form that will be offered publicly in the region as follows: the 6.30pm low Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton (preceded by Divine Mercy devotions and Eucharistic Adoration at 5.30pm), the third Friday Mass at St Dunstan's in Kings Heath at 7pm, and a High Mass at the Birmingham Oratory at 7.30pm which will replace the usual 5.45pm daily low Mass. The music for this Mass is detailed in the graphic below.


Similarly next week there will be a 7.30pm High Mass at the Oratory for the Solemnity of the Annunciation, replacing the usual 5.45pm Low Mass. Directions to all of these Masses are available in the sidebar. 

I am reminded that the third Friday Mass at St Dunstan's last year was one of the last Masses to be celebrated in Birmingham before the cessation of the public celebration of Mass prior to the first lockdown, a couple of days after my father's death. We pray that normality will soon resume.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Ash Wednesday and Sunday Masses at the Oratory


Just a reminder that tonight, as usual, High Mass will be offered at 7.30pm at the Birmingham Oratory for Ash Wednesday, replacing the usual 5.45pm low Mass. Please note that from Sunday, there will be an additional Mass in the Extraordinary Form at 7.30am in addition to the High Mass at 10.30am: this replaces the 10.30am low Mass in the Upper Cloister Hall that was introduced as an overflow Mass when church services resumed after the first lockdown.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Candlemas and Music List February 2021

There will be a High Mass on Tuesday at the Birmingham Oratory for Candlemas at 7.30pm, replacing the usual 5.45pm low Mass. The image below lists the music for this Mass, along with the other High Masses that will be celebrated in February.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Temporary Oratory Closure - Alternative Masses

The Birmingham Oratory announced today that one of their community had tested positive, and, as a result, the community will have to isolate for ten days as detailed above. Alternative EF Masses in the region are available as follows:

Friday 15th January 2021 - St Dunstan's, Kings Heath, B14 7JN - low/ Sung Mass at 7pm (n.b communion will be distributed after Mass) 

Friday 15th and 22nd January 2021 - Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Wolverhampton, WV10 8PG - low Mass at 6.30pm (preceded by Adoration and Divine Mercy Chaplet 5.30pm-6.30pm)

Sunday 17th January 2021 - St Mary-on-the-Hill, Wednesbury, WS10 9DL - low Mass at 11.30 (n.b. Communion is not distributed at this Mass due to the current restrictions) 

Please remember the obligation remains suspended and you will be required to bring and wear a face mask to these churches unless you have an exemption

Monday, 4 January 2021

Churches Remain Open for the Epiphany

Despite the announcement by the Prime Minister today that England will go into a third national lockdown, this time communal worship will still be permitted. The Oratory January music list is as follows:


The Epiphany High Mass is at 7.30pm at the Birmingham Oratory, which replaces the usual 5.45pm low Mass. There is also a low Mass at 11.30am at St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

New Year's Masses

New Year's Day falls on a Friday this year, which has a few implications for the celebration of the EF in the area:

1) The first Friday Mass Acocks Green will NOT take place

2) The usual 6.30pm Friday Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton has been moved to 7pm on Christmas Eve. This was announced at late notice and does not appear in the church newsletter published over the weekend.

3) There will be a High Mass at 12 noon at the Birmingham Oratory, replacing the usual Octave 9am Mass.

I wish you all a Happy and Holy New Year.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Christmas Masses 2020


Most churches are taking bookings for Mass over Christmas due to the restrictions on numbers that have been placed on the church buildings. The Oratory will have four Latin Masses over Christmas as detailed above - 9pm on Christmas Eve (Sung), and 12 midnight (High), 9.30am (Low) and 10.30am (High) on Christmas Day. Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton and St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury usually have an Extraordinary Form Mass early in the morning on Christmas Day but you will need to check and book with the priest at the church in question if you are planning on travelling to these Masses, which may not take place this year and for obvious reasons priority will probably be given to parishioners.

I will take this opportunity to wish all readers to this blog a happy and holy Christmas and hopefully a better New Year in 2021.

Monday, 30 November 2020

Return of Public Masses Part 2

 

The celebration of public Mass will resume on Thursday. I have updated the calendar in the sidebar to include Masses that have been advertised in the relevant church newsletter.

The regular Oratory schedule starts on Wednesday Thursday (n.b. although the lockdown ends on Wednesday, the public Masses at the Oratory resume on Thursday) with weekday low Mass at 5.45pm, and High Mass on Sundays at 10.30am with an overflow low Mass in the Upper Cloister Hall. The 9am low Mass on Saturday has been replaced with a 7.30am Rorate Mass during Advent.

The first Friday Mass resumes at 7pm this week at Acocks Green, with devotions to the Sacred Heart preceding the Mass at 6.30pm.

The weekly 6.30pm Friday Mass returns at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton.

Before lockdown, there was a weekly 8am low Mass on Sundays in Wednesbury, and I believe this will be resuming on Sunday. Communion will not be distributed at this Mass.

I expect the third Friday 7pm Mass to resume at St Dunstan's on 18th December but am awaiting confirmation.

The second Wednesday Mass at Maryvale remains suspended. I will advertise Masses for the Immaculate Conception and Christmas when details become available.

Directions to these churches are available in the sidebar.

Please remember to wear a face covering to these Masses. In most cases, Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass due to the current restrictions (please note the known exception above).

Above is a recording of the Mass celebrated today at the Birmingham Oratory for the Feast of St Andrew.


 

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Live Streamed Masses in the West Midland Area

Sadly, the public celebration of Mass ceased for the second time this year under the national lockdown which came into effect at midnight. There was a good turnout at the 5.45pm low Mass at the Oratory last night, with at least fifty people attending. Although a very poor substitute, the Oratory will be streaming Mass daily at 11am on their YouTube channel for the next four weeks, while Our Lady of Perpetual Succour will streaming low Mass at 6.30pm on Fridays. Their Youtube channel is available here.

Below is part of the first streamed Mass from the Birmingham Oratory this morning.

 

Saturday, 31 October 2020

All Saints and All Souls 2020

As All Saints falls on a Sunday, the Birmingham Oratory will as usual offer High Mass at 10.30am, with a low Mass at the same time in the Upper Cloister Hall. 

For All Souls on Monday, low Masses will be offered at 8am, 9am, 11am, 5.45pm and a High Requiem Mass at 7.30pm. There will also be an EF Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton at 7pm. Directions are in the sidebar.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Feast of St John Henry Newman

Friday is the Feast of St John Henry Newman, founder of the English Oratories. There will be High Mass at the Birmingham Oratory at 7.30pm. This replaces the usual 5.45pm low Mass. Directions are in the sidebar.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The first High Mass not on a Sunday since lockdown will take place at the Birmingham Oratory tomorrow at 7.30pm for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This will replace the usual 5.45pm low Mass.

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