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 30 September 2009

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

Low Mass
St John Fisher, West Heath
Wednesday, October 7th at 7pm

(at Sacred Heart Altar)

1 Cofton Road,
West Heath
West Midlands
B31 3QT

Celebrant: Parish Priest Rev Fr George Grynowski

Upcoming Missa Solemnis

Solemn High Requiem
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

ensemble 1685
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

R.I.P. Grant Roberts

- Grant Victor Roberts -
Passed from this world September 23rd 2009

Subveníte Sancti Dei, occúrrite Angeli Dómine, Suscipiéntes ánimam ejus, Offeréntes eam in conspéctu Altísimi. Suscípiat te Christus, qui vocávit te, et in sinum Abrahæ Angeli dedúcant te. Suscipiéntes ánimam ejus, Offeréntes eam in conspéctu Altíssimi.

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
Monday, October 5th at 11am
in the Birmingham Oratory. Followed by burial in Quinton Cemetery.

Thursday 17 September 2009

Stabat Mater Dolorósa

On Tuesday evening we had a High Mass at St John Fisher in West Heath. Mr Oliver Hayes, who sung in the choir for this Mass, kindly wrote a report of it on his blog along with some photos which I shall borrow. It was the second High Mass arranged at West Heath, with the first being in July this year.

Dolorósa et lacrimábilis es, Virgo María, stans juxta crucem Dómini Jesu Fílii tui Redemptóris. V. Virgo Dei Génitrix, quem totus non capit orbis, hoc crucis fert supplícium auctor vitae factus homo.
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

Walsingham Pilgrimage

Walsingham is quite a long way from Birmingham, taking about three hours to drive east. But for us it is always a journey towards Christ, and this weekend was no exception.

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

Our Lady of Sorrows Solemn High Mass

St John Fisher RC Church
West Heath, Birmingham
Tuesday, 15th September 2009 at 7pm

(followed by Refreshments in church hall)

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 the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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.

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 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!
1 Cofton Road,
West Heath
West Midlands
B31 3QT

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
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