Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
St Stephen Protomartyr
Saturday, December 26th at 9.30am (Low Mass in St Philip's Chapel)
St Thomas Becket (of Canterbury) Bishop, Martyr (Patron of English Pastoral Clergy)
Tuesday, December 29th at 11am (Solemn High Mass in the Main Church)
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Birmingham LMS Poster
Saturday, 21 November 2009
21 November 2009
A congregation of some hundreds heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing the plainsong Requiem Mass together with the plainsong Adore Te Devote at Communion.
The Mass was followed by the traditional ceremonies of Absolutions at the Catafalque and before Mass, a wreath was laid by Mr Kingsley Lewis, Deputy Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal’s efforts to preserve the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Father Andrew Southwell read prayers for the occasion.
John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, said afterwards: “This was the first time that Bishop Hopes had celebrated the Traditional Mass and the LMS is most grateful to him for the great care he took in learning the Rite. We also thank Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Cathedral Administrator, and his staff for the friendly welcome we always receive in the cathedral”.
Note: The Extraordinary Form has now returned to many of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales and the LMS is actively seeking to introduce further Masses.
. . . . ENDS . . . .
Thursday, 12 November 2009
12 November 2009
Westminster bishop confers Traditional Rite confirmations
As usual, permission for the Old Rite Confirmations had been given by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, now Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster.
The candidates’ day began with a catechetical meeting in the Lady Chapel with Bishop Stack. The Confirmation ceremony followed and the liturgical ceremonies were concluded with Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
The choir and organist of Spanish Place provided the music, and a large congregation of over 400 family and friends joined them in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. During the anointing, the choir sang polyphony and plain chant.
After the ceremonies, a reception for the bishop and congregation was held in the crypt. Bishop Stack met and chatted with the newly-confirmed and their families and cut the celebratory cake.
Doctor Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, thanked Bishop Stack for his pastoral concern for those attached to the Extraordinary Form and led the families and children in a rousing round of applause.
. . . . ENDS . . . .
Thursday, 5 November 2009
But with all this, over 150 were present on the rainy evening to see the sanctuary transformed with an array of unbleached candles (four on the altar itself and a further two shelved next to the newly-veiled tabernacle). A brand-new set of black-framed Requiem Altar cards had pride of place on the Altar. The choir ensemble 1685 sang a beautiful rendition of Richafort's Requiem. The Dies Irae was sung with the congregation for alternate verses. A Newman hymn ("Help Lord the souls which Thou hast made") was sung after the Last Gospel with great gusto.
Overall it was an exceedingly successful occasion. Prayers were offered up for all the deceased parishioners of the church, including its founding pastor Hon Fr George Spencer, ancestor of Lady Diana. My thanks go out to everyone involved.
Photos are up on the LMS photostream (embeded below) and hopefully a DVD recording of the occasion will be available in due course. If you are interested in obtaining a copy please get in touch.
Monday, 2 November 2009
(Birmingham & Black Country)
We have an exciting event coming for November 4th: a Solemn High Requiem in West Bromwich with an outside choir singing Jean Richafort’s Requiem in memoriam Josquin Des Prez from 1532. This will be the first such occasion in the UK, and marks the return of the Latin Mass to the Black Country! We pray that it will be well received by the parish.
Friday, 9 October 2009
- Mon, 2nd November 11am (Low Mass, All Souls)
- Tuesday, 8th December 11am (Low Mass, Immaculate Conception)
- Thursday, 24th December 4pm (Low 'Midnight' Mass for Nativity)
- Friday, 25th December 9.30 (Low Mass, Nativity, upstairs cloister chapel)
- Wednesday, 6th January 8pm (High Mass for Epiphany)
This is in addition to the regular Low Masses every Saturday and Sunday morning at 9:30am.
Fr George preached on the historical significance of this feast, connected with Pope St Pius V (who also codified the Tridentine Missal which made the Roman Rite available for all churches throughout Western Christendom). Wikipedia says:
In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto. The victory was attributed to Our Lady, as a rosary procession was offered on that day in St. Peter's Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to "Feast of the Holy Rosary". This feast was extended by Pope Clement XII to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913. In 1969, Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to "Our Lady of the Rosary", and it is celebrated as a memorial in the ordinary form.
Fr George is one of two Birmingham parish priests to attend the recent priest's training conference organised by the Latin Mass Society in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Westminster. This is a very practical way that the LMS are trying to help implement the Holy Father's wishes in Summorum Pontificum of making this form of Mass available to subsequent generations. We look forward to seeing the fruit of this form of worship amongst the Catholic laity in Birmingham.
Fr George will offer further Low Masses every first Friday of each month at 7pm, beginning with a Requiem for November 6th 2009.
Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
St Michael & the Holy Angels, West Bromwich
Wednesday, November 4th at 7:30pm
Followed by refreshments
Featuring Requiem by Jean Richafort (1480-1547) - a very rare performance of a High Renaissance masterpiece by ensemble 1685 conducted by Mr Richard Jeffcoat
260 High Street
West Bromwich B70 8AQ
Formed by Richard Jeffcoat from singers he worked with at Coventry Cathedral, this enterprising group is now in its fifth year, and has notched up more than 300 performances. 1685 was the year both Bach and Handel were born, but, in addition to performances of Bach Passions and Handel's Messiah, the ensemble sings in all styles, and in every kind of performance context. A special interest lies in seeking out the correct context for performances of sacred music, and this rare performance of the Requiem Mass by a Franco-Flemish composer from the 16th century will be greatly enhanced by its context within a Latin Mass.
Jean Richafort (1480-1547)
This polyphonic setting of the Ordinary of the Requiem Mass was composed in honour of the composer's teacher, Josquin Desprez, following Josquin's death in 1521. Richafort held several posts in the Low Countries but also appears to have been attached to the French Court. The Requiem uses fragments of the older composer's work hidden in the rich texture of 6-part writing. This is a very rare performance of a High Renaissance masterpiece, and perhaps it will be performed liturgically for the first time in this country. As far as I know, this will also be the first Traditional Latin Mass in the Black Country in 40 years! Please give it your support!
With thanks to Fr Louis Hong Le (Parish Priest) and Mr Patrick Fahey for helping to organise it.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Passed from this world September 23rd 2009
Come to his assistance, all ye Saints of God: meet him, all ye Angels of God: receiving his soul, offering it in the sight of the Most high. May Christ receive thee, who hath called thee, and may the Angels conduct thee to Abraham’s bosom. Receiving his soul and offering it in the sight of the Most High.
Grant was a member of the Latin Mass Society since 1974 (exactly thirty five years tomorrow), and it is with great honour that I can say I assisted at many Masses with him. He died fortified with the Rites of the Holy Catholic Church. May he rest in peace.
N.B. Funeral will be a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form on
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Thou art sorrowful and tearful, O Virgin Mary, standing at the cross of the Lord Jesus, thy Son, our Redeemer. V. O Virgin Mother of God, He whom the whole world doth not contain, beareth this punishment of the cross; He the author of life made man.
The feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, now known as "Our Lady of Sorrows" in the Ordinary Form, was first held in the 17th century by the Servites. Later, in 1817, it was extended to the whole Church by Pope Pius VII to mark his own deliverance from exile and captivity, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. It is therefore as much a feast about our own sufferings, and how these can be united to the Cross of our Lord, in emulation of our Lady's cooperation with humanity's redemption. Redemptive suffering is, therefore, a great thing for us. Without it, suffering can seem empty and pointless, and will almost certainly lead to complete despair.
On watching Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, my own mother struggled to comprehend how our Lady could be present for our Lord's final trials and sufferings. The raw intensity of it all, the complete all encompassing grief. My mother has been through the grief of losing a son, and so she knows how intense the loss can be, let alone the extended agony of such a painful death. Imagine also, the seven sorrows set alongside our Lady's whole life: not just the four sorrows of watching our Lord's Passion, but also the sorrows during His infancy: the Prophecy of Simeon predicting the sword that would pierce her heart; the flight into Egypt to escape mass child genocide; and the loss of Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem for three days. We can see in all these things shadows of both the Old Testament, like the slavery of the Israelites and their eventual liberation, and the future with our Lady's pain and anguish at both the crucifixion, and the three day disappearance of our Lord following His death. Suffering in all these contexts are not meaningless: They purify, perfect and give way to a resurrected life.
So back to the Feast! You'd think with all this talk of suffering there would be black vestments?! Well, no: white vestments show the glory of our Lady's suffering and the rejoice we have in her intercession and sharing in our grief. Truly we have a wonderful advocate who shares in the sufferings of Christ's spouse, His Church. This feast is just a day after the second anniversary of Summorum Pontificum: Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio which by his own initiative freed the ancient Roman liturgy from restricted use. We have certainly come a long way in a short time. A High Mass in a parish church was unusual at any time, even before the Second Vatican Council. What a treat to therefore have everyone come together to make it possible.
Rev Fr George Grynowski, the Parish Priest at St John Fisher, has recently returned from the LMS priest's Training Conference at London, Colney. Before this he had filled the ministry of Deacon and Sub-deacon at a High Mass (in fact, he was a 'permanent deacon' up until a few years ago!). This Mass was not only his first High Mass as celebrant, but was also his first public Extraordinary Form Mass celebrated altogether. He had good help with Rev Fr Anton Guziel as Deacon, Rev Fr Christopher Miller as Sub-Deacon, and an excellent MC.
We had so many servers willing to assist, including six from the parish itself, that we had a full complement. This meant we had six torch-bearers and a cross-bearer (who was the grandfather of one of the lads, and remembers the Latin Mass well)! These 'home-grown' servers can be seen in their red cassocks. It is an important function of the LMS, especially since Summorum Pontificum, to not merely keep the old Mass going, but to train up a new generation of faithful who get involved. I am grateful for this traditio, and am happy to now do my part to carry it on.
The choir did remarkably well, only consisting of four male voices who filled the whole church with great gusto. St John Fisher, although a modern 60s contruction, was built with the old liturgy firmly in mind, and has excellent acoustics as well. Perhaps this is also due to the lack of carpeting, which in the sanctuary was particularly hard on the torch-bearer's knees! Gregorian Chant is something which also needs to be passed on and preserved, and therefore I would be excited to hear from anyone who would be interested in learning it, or anyone willing to sing for us.
With all this said, there were probably half the number of faithful present compared with our first High Mass here. Still, sixty was a good number by any measure. Perhaps this is due to the nights drawing in, or perhaps the initial interest has given way to indifference. Things will settle down now in West Heath. Fr George will have the opportunity to see how his parish has reacted to the ancient liturgy, and will begin also saying Low Masses. The first of these will be Wednesday October 7th at 7pm for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
We were fortunate enough to be able to take Fr Philip Cleevely, our chaplain, who said his own Mass in the slipper chapel at 9am on Saturday morning. It was his first Mass in the little chapel, and was a real treat for us having never seen this altar used in its original intended way, so to speak. Please note that the shrine staff and sacristans have all the necessary stock for a Low Mass such as this, and are only too happy to accommodate priests wanting to say a Mass using the 1962 missal. Our many thanks to them.
In pre-reformation England this was the last chapel en route to the great shrine in Walsingham; before the last 'Holy Mile' which pilgrims would often walk barefoot, hence the name. In this last century, as devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham has returned, the Slipper Chapel is the centre of Catholic devotion to our Lady in this country. Even near the old demolished abbey in Walsingham, the Anglicans have built their own shrine to honour our Lady. In the last couple of years the RC church in Walsingham has been rebuilt, but is very modern in specification, and it would be impossible to say Mass ad orientem there. It is a small church more intended for the Catholic parish, but has a large parish centre to accomodate pilgrims. Pilgrims tend to congregate around the RC shrine, at the Slipper Chapel in Houghton St Giles.
Because of the sheer volume of pilgrims, there is a large chapel of Reconciliation beside the shrine which is modelled after a Norfolk barn. The wall behind the altar can even be opened up to allow a congregation outside to participate in the Mass. The LMS national pilgrimage Mass took place here yesterday at 3.30pm after a procession up from Walsingham (a reverse holy mile!) The celebrant was the Rt Rev Mgr Gordon Read, who sang a missa cantata. He preached on this feast, the Holy Name of Mary, particularly about a devotion to the humanity of Jesus, which is typified by the original vision to built a replica model of the house of Nazareth in Walsingham. It was nice singing the communion motet 'Adore te devote' and the final hymns 'Salve regina' and 'Faith of our Fathers' (which is perhaps an LMS favourite written by Fr F Faber RIP)
Sunday, 6 September 2009
West Heath, Birmingham
Tuesday, 15th September 2009 at 7pm
(followed by Refreshments in church hall)
In the 17th century the Servites celebrated a solemn feast of the Seven Sorrows of our Lady, which in 1817 was extended to the whole Church by Pius VII as a memorial of his sufferings in exile and captivity and of his deliverance through the Blessed Virgin’s intercession.Here is a picture of St John Fisher church from Google Maps, which as well as aerial photo views, now has the revolutionary "Street View" whereby you can literally drive around, look 360 degrees, and admire Birmingham. I can even virtually drive down my own road and see the crucifix in our window. Amazing!
Pope St Pius X transferred this feast from the third Sunday of September to this octave-day of our Lady’s Nativity (September 8th), in 1912. The commemoration of her Sorrows in Passiontide (Friday before Palm Sunday) recalls our Lady’s share in Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary; this second and greater feast recalls also the other events when she suffered with Jesus:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon (St Luke 2:25-35)
2. The Flight into Egypt (St Matthew 2:13-15)
3. The Child Jesus Lost in the Temple (St Luke 2:41-50)
4. Mary meets Jesus carrying the Cross (St Luke 23:27-29)
5. Mary at the Foot of the Cross (Introit St John 19:25-30)
6. Mary receives the Body of Jesus (Psalm 130)
7. Mary Witnesses the Burial of Jesus (St Luke 23:50-56)
Moreover, she also shares in the sufferings of the Church, His Spouse, who is crucified in her turn, and in this time of suffering renews her devotion to His Mother’s sorrows.
Here is the booklet I have prepared, which I hope to be able to print more copies of this time!! (best viewed full-screen by clicking on the toolbar below)
Seven Sorrows of the BVM
Monday, 31 August 2009
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Sandwell (West Bromwich, Warley)
Saturday, 15 August 2009
The fixed date of this feast on August 15th follows an ancient tradition which is also followed in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches - the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Dormition means 'falling asleep' and Tradition tells us that Our Lady fell asleep and was then taken, body and soul, into heaven. Orthodox Christians believe this in a different sense to Catholics, in that they hold to the legend that Our Lady died a natural death, although she was made aware of this by the Archangel Gabriel three days in advance. Then the Apostles, who were scattered throughout the world, were miraculously all together to be present for her death. She was then buried in Gethsemane, and Thomas, appearing three days late, asked to see the tomb. Upon arriving, her body was gone with only a sweet fragrance in its place. Then an apparition informed them that Christ had taken her body into heaven, but not to be united to her soul (presumably until judgement day).
Catholics have slightly different beliefs, along similar lines to the Prophet Elijah, and perhaps even Moses. We believe that our Lady did not die in the proper sense, and was taken body and soul into heaven. This is why in the Christian Church there are no relics or tomb or burial place marked for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption to be Catholic Dogma in 1950, but left open the question as to whether she had died an earthly death beforehand.
The Feast gives us a special vision of how our own lives are transformed by God's Grace, and the promise of resurrection of the Last Day:
No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day... I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Friday, 7 August 2009
(Birmingham & Black Country)
Mass of Ages Magazine
I was pleased to organise a High Mass for St John Fisher Church in West Heath, Birmingham of July 9th. This church was built for the liturgy of 1962, having been erected in 1962-64. The parish Priest, Fr George Grynowski was Deacon and was excited to be introducing his parishioners to the riches of the Extraordinary Form on the patronal festival of Ss John Fisher & Thomas More. Fr Philip Cleeveley, was celebrant, and Fr Anton Guziel was Subdeacon.
I am grateful to the Neri Singers who provided Gregorian Chant, and to all the servers. I hope this is the start of more such events across the region.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
According to tradition, the outline of the church was physically laid out on the ground of the noble's property by Liberius himself under a miraculous but predicted snowfall that took place on the night August 4-5 352. The legendary Miracle of the Snow was depicted by Masaccio and Masolino about 1423 in a triptych commissioned by a member of the Colonna family for the Basilica, now conserved in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. In it the miracle is witnessed by a crowd of holy men and women and observed from above by Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows, local Roman Catholics commemorate the miracle on each anniversary by dropping white rose petals from the dome during the feast mass.(from wikipedia!) What a beautiful legend. The photos I took in November 2007 on our trip to Rome.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Instead there will be a Low Mass at 7pm on this feast of the Most Holy Rosary at a side altar of St John Fisher, West Heath - celebrated by Fr George Grynowski (parish priest)
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
with St Michael & the Holy Angel's Parish,
11:30 Meet in Parish Hall departing before noon by coach
12:45 Packed lunch on arrival (bring your own)
13:30 Tour of the hall
15:00 Low Mass (EF) at St. Mary’s Church
17:00 Departing back to West Bromwich.
Friday, 10 July 2009
Fr George advertised the Mass to his parishioners in their newletter last Sunday with the following:
Thursday, 9 July, is the feast day of Ss John Fisher and Thomas More in the Extraordinary Form or Traditional Rite calendar. Pope Benedict authorized more extensive use of the old rite of Latin Mass a couple of years ago, according to the Missal published in 1962. This was the missal first used in our church when it opened in 1964 and for which it was designed. Some parishioners have asked for a celebration of the Extraordinary Form Mass, and the Latin Mass Society has helped plan a Solemn High Mass for Thursday evening. Please come along for what promises to be wonderfully inspiring music and liturgy. If you have never attended such a Mass, now is the time to experience it. Please remember that Holy Communion is received under the form of bread alone, on the tongue and, if physically capable, kneeling at the altar rails. There are likely to be number of visitors from round Birmingham, so it would be good to show hospitality with a light buffet. Volunteers please sign up at the Piety Stall.
I only printed 30 mass booklets in the short time I had! These were well received nonetheless. The occasion was a great sign of how unified the Church can be, with a friendly parish who were pleased to welcome fellow Catholics from around the diocese. Our thanks go especially to Fr George who came up with the idea, the Neri Singers for their rendition of Missa de Angelis, MC Karl Dearn, and all the servers and parishioners who took part and fed us afterwards! We look forward to the next opportunity to share such a lovely evening with the West Heath crowd!
Monday, 6 July 2009
Sunday, 5 July 2009
For a post about this church, see my other blog.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
1) LMS Training Conference for Priests at London Colney, Herts (Monday 24 - Friday 29 August 2009)
2) Confirmations in the Traditional Latin Rite at St James's Church, Spanish Place, London W1 on Saturday 7th November at 11am
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Fr Martin Edwards (right) gave an inspiring talk at the AGM. He has been a member from the early days, and first attended an AGM in 1982 (the year I was born!!). His talk which was essentially about the theological virtue of Hope in the context of the Holy Father's recent encyclical Spe Salvi facti sumus: "In Hope we are saved". (Romans 8:24)
The present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.He reflected on the many years of patient perseverance on the part of traditionalists in this country, where the Latin Mass Society had an important effect internationally. From the early days in the late 60s and early 70s, with the support of Cardinal Heenan; to more recent difficulties securing the annual Mass at Westminster Cathedral; to last year's triumphant Pontifical Mass with Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos! The culmination of staunch fidelity to the hierarchy amidst certain ridicule has led to a situation now of vindication for those "holy, stubborn and sidelined Catholic laity and priests" following Summorum Pontificum. What a relief! But there is clearly still much work to do.Spe Salvi Paragraph 1 (Pope Benedict XVI)
Dr Joseph Shaw, the new Chairman, assured members that the great things we have seen in the last two years will continue in earnest. There are now two Priests Training Conferences per year, in Catholic institutions, with the latest in London Colney having the full support and encouragement of the Archdiocese of Westminster.
Furthermore, Dr Shaw has acknowledged that formation and catechesis are at the forefront of a Catholic renewal which the LMS should contribute towards. From my point of view, a rigerous and wholly orthodox Catholic education is the best thing I could want for my children, especially in the context of the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite which we choose to nourish them with. We believe, as traditionalists, that this is the best and safest way to instil in them the faith of our fathers. The crisis which we see in our Church has unfolded to be one of poor catechesis, and so what must have started as a visible change in worship has been exposed to have it's roots in deficient modernist philosophy corrupting Catholic thought. I, for my part, am thrilled by Dr Shaw's emphasis of this aspect, which includes the encouragement of Gregorian Chant and serving workshops and other initiatives to further what has been preserved all these years.
What many people were most interested in was the recent controversial resignation of members of the LMS committee including the Chairman Julian Chadwick. A full statement was read out which I would be happy to forward to anyone. It was agreed at the AGM to publically record our thanks for all their hard work over the years, and the fruitful ways in which they have promoted traditional Catholicism in these important times (despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding their departure). The secretary assured us that it was a dispute of internal management, which is about to be thoroughly reformed, rather than any disagreement in the policies or direction of the LMS.
The Pontifical High Mass from the faldstool (above left) was celebrated by Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary of Westminster. This was an important touch since it indicates a direct involvement and approval on the part of the Archdiocese, rather than the LMS having to rope in a Bishop from elsewhere! The Mass was sober and peaceful, with the sounds of the Westminster Choir filling the vast expanse of the beautiful Byzantine building. I couldn't help but notice a small group of tourists wander in and become absolutely transfixed by what was happening during the Canon of the Mass. A powerful sight indeed! The belltower was ringing out during the consecration to awesome effect! Bishop Arnold gave a thoughtful sermon on the Sacred Heart of Jesus (above right), and that through His mercy everything He asks us to do for His glory, will be empowered by His grace.
If anyone else felt like me, I dareday we left stengthened, enlivened and encouraged to continue with renewed vigour and purpose! We are not fighting to ghettoise some sort of elitist remnant, but rather share a pearl of great price with all we meet. This is a Mass for enrichment; for parishes, for priests, for men, women and children: to experience a piece of our Catholic heritage, and deepen our knowledge and understanding of the mystery of Faith.