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.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

National Events

Here is a reminder of two important upcoming events:

1) LMS Training Conference for Priests at London Colney, Herts (Monday 24 - Friday 29 August 2009)
The conference is being organised with the encouragement of the Archdiocese of Westminster. There will be groups for beginners as well as ones specialising in Missa Cantata and High Mass. See my previous post for more details.

2) Confirmations in the Traditional Latin Rite at St James's Church, Spanish Place, London W1 on Saturday 7th November at 11am
Enrolments are currently being taken. Bishop George Stack (left), auxiliary bishop in Westminster, will administer the Confirmations. This is the sixth consecutive year the LMS has organised the ceremony. Parents who require Traditional Confirmation for their children in November should contact the LMS office for full details of how to register (020 7404 7284 thelatinmasssociety@snmail.co.uk)

Sunday 21 June 2009

AGM and Pontifical High Mass

Yesterday we had the important occasion of the Annual General Meeting for all members of the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales. It was lovely to see so many friendly faces, and to be introduced to some of the other Reps from around the country.

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.
Spe Salvi Paragraph 1 (Pope Benedict XVI)
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.

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.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Solemn High Mass for Ss John Fisher & Thomas More

St John Fisher RC Church
West Heath, Birmingham
Thursday, 9th July 2009 at 7pm

(followed by Buffet Dinner)

Fr George Grynowski would like to welcome everyone to a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite at his Parish Church in West Heath, South Birmingham, for its Patronal feast (which differs in the old calender and therefore gives his parishioners the chance to celebrate it twice!) From the website:

Dominating the 45 bus terminus at West Heath, Birmingham is the Catholic Church of St. John Fisher. Even though it rises from below road level, the lofty octagonal building is impressive from every angle, even from the nearby Lickey Hills. The predominant feature is a large octagonal dome surmounted by a large bronze cross. This copper dome has now toned to a soft green tint, a pleasing contrast to the honey coloured brickwork. Over the main entrance the large statue of St. John Fisher offers a blessing to all who enter, pass by or are waiting for the bus!

Parish of St. John Fisher, West Heath was founded on 30th September 1956. The first parish priest, Fr. Philip Smith, celebrated Mass at Turves Green School and later at Archbishop Masterson School for Girls. Work on the new church building commenced on 5th March 1962 with Fr. Smith cutting the first sod. The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Grimshaw on 25th June that year.The church was opened on 31st March 1964 and consecrated by Archbishop Dwyer on 22nd June 1972, the [new rite] feast of St. John Fisher.

I hope you will be able to attend and support this great celebration, but also important initiative: a Traditional Latin Mass in a Parish outside the Oratory! The fruits of Summorum Pontificum, and the Holy Father's wish for the faithful to benefit from the full riches of this Mass will, God willing, be more and more abundant as time goes by! In "not some, but all" Catholic Parishes! (to quote Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos!)

Directions to St John Fisher, West Heath
1 Cofton Road,
West Heath
West Midlands
B31 3QT

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Dedication of St Chad's

As I set about writing the Mass sheet for next sunday's Mass, I suddenly realise that in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, it is the Double of the First Class Feast (!) of the Dedication of St. Chad's Cathedral! There are some beautiful prayers in the common Mass for dedications, Terribilis. For example:
How wonderful are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. (Introit, Ps 83)

and I particularly like the Gospel, which appeals to a sinner (and avid tree-climber) like me!
But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man of any thing, I restore him fourfold." Jesus said to him: "This day is salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost". (Luke 19)

For some of my posts on our Cathedral, see my Lacrimarum Valle blog. We pray particularly at this time for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our Church as a new Archbishop is selected for the Archdiocese.

Monday 15 June 2009

High Mass coming...

Okay, there is lots going on at the Oratory at the moment. But I am working on trying to organise the first Mass outside the Oratory, in one of the Parish churches in the city of Birmingham. With so much interest from both priests and laity, I hope to make some concrete arrangements soon, so watch this space...

Thursday 11 June 2009

Corpus Christi

Once again a glorious High Mass for the traditional feast of Corpus Christi. Fr Guy Nicholls was celebrant, Fr Anton Guziel was Deacon, and Fr Philip Cleeveley was Subdeacon. It was followed by a procession of the Blessed Sacrament around church followed by Pangua Lingua Gloriosa and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Here are some choice photos of the memorable occasion, and a further inspiration to love and adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament which he gave the world on that Blessed Thursday before His death.

The next High Mass will be for the feast of Ss Peter & Paul on Monday June 29th at 8pm.

Can be found on my Flickr page

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Colney Priests Application Form

Following on from the recent press release, here is a direct link for information and application for any priests wishing to learn how to say the traditional (extraordinary form of) Mass.

Sunday 7 June 2009

Annual General Meeting and High Mass

A Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral will be on
Saturday June 20th at 2pm
celebrant: Bishop John Arnold (Auxiliary in Westminster)

This will be preceded by the AGM at 11am in the RHS Conference Centre (Greycoat Street SW1P 2QD) which I hope to report on. The speaker will be Fr Martin Edwards. This is a particularly important AGM because the integrity of the LMS has been called into question after a chain of events over the past year that culminated in the resignation of the previous Chairman, Julian Chadwick, and a few other prominent members.

I do not think this is a major problem for the society, and feel its focus is more determined than ever. The new interim Chairman, Dr Joseph Shaw, puts forth an excellent vision for the Society, and included young families and traditional Catholic education in his priorities. He writes an interesting editorial in the latest edition of Mass of Ages;
"... [a challenge] which we face as Catholics and Traditionalists [is] secularism, the ideology of the day, which is gnawing away at all the Christian and moral assumptions of the state and public discourse...
Our liturgical concerns are intimately connected with the problem which [Archbishop Vincent Nichols] has so eloquently identified. This is because the Mass which we promote is acknowledged even by its critics to make present to the faithful the mysterium tremendum, the mystery of the Faith... [which] focuses our attention on the spiritual nature of spiritual realities, the very realities which Archbishop Nichols' opponents want to deny...
If the spiritual is not emphasised in the liturgy, then where will the Catholic faithful go to find it?

However, some members (especially older more experienced ones) seem to feel this is the worst thing to ever befall the Society. Some are gearing up for a split from the society to go it alone. This would be a great shame because traditionalists, as a sad minority group in the Church, need to display unity of purpose and geographical links in order to best proceed and succeed.

London Colney Priest Training Conference

2 June 2009


For Immediate Release

LondonColney 010

LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St Albans, Herts

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS), in association with the Archdiocese of Westminster, is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, Herts, the premier conference centre of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

The conference will run from Monday 24 August to Friday 28 August 2009 and will feature Traditional liturgies in London Colney’s magnificent Ninian Comper-designed chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be guest lecturers and all participants will receive 1962 Missals.

As well as daily Sung Mass, devotions will include Lauds, Benediction and Rosary.

The subsidised fee to participants is only £115.00 which includes full board and accommodation. Places are limited and priests are urged to register as soon as possible.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284)

Mark Johnson, lead organiser, said, “We are extremely pleased to have the backing of the Archdiocese of Westminster and Archbishop Vincent Nichols. This conference – our first at London Colney – builds on the success of our two previous conferences at Merton College, Oxford. I hope the laity will tell their priests about this wonderful opportunity to learn the Usus Antiquior in a welcoming and recollected environment.”

Latin Mass Society, 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH
Tel: 020 7404 7284
E mail:
Website: latin-mass-society.org

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, General Manager, or James Murphy, LMS Office Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284;
(F) 020 7831 5585; (E mail) thelatinmasssociety@snmail.co.uk

More information and application form

Image: Flickr
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