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.

Friday 24 December 2010

Christmas Masses

There are three ways you can fulfill your Christmas (Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ) Obligation. Despite being on a Saturday this year, the Bishops of England & Wales have not transferred it to the Sunday.

  • Friday 24th December: 4pm "Midnight Mass" (Missa Cantata) at the Birmingham Oratory
  • Friday 24th December: 7pm "Midnight Mass" (Low Mass with English readings and Hymns) at St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Saturday 25th December: 9.30am "Dawn Mass" (Low Mass) at the Birmingham Oratory
P.S. The total numbers attending these three Masses combined was 300 - which is therefore the number of people in this region choosing to observe this obligation in the Old Rite. A significant number indeed!

May I wish you all a Blessed Christmas and a prosperous new year! 2011 Ordos and Calenders are available from the LMS.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Servers Wanted!

Fr George Grynowski says Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form every Friday at 7pm in his Parish of West Heath in South Birmingham. It has been the case recently that there has been no one able to serve; therefore I appeal to anyone who is willing so spare the odd Friday night and living close by, please help! This is an excellent opportunity to learn to serve this noble Mass, and a wonderful personal incentive to grow in holiness.

Applicants need only be of the male gender!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

St Hugh of Lincoln

Tonight's Low Mass at West Bromwich will be for the local feast of St Hugh of Lincoln. For more about this Saint, see the Catholic encyclopaedia entry. It is observed on this day in the Traditional Calendar in Nottingham, Westminster, Birmingham, Clifton and Northampton.

St Hugh

Monday 15 November 2010

Newman on the Mass

Many people look at the Latin Mass and think it absolutely pointless and unintelligible. A common criticism of the Mass pre-Vatican II was that it was rushed and garbled. I must say that because the Latin Mass is only said nowadays by Priests who love and cherish it, there is undoubtedly greater care taken in observing the Rite. Perhaps previous abuses were part of the problem resulting in wholesale reform?

However, Blessed John Henry Newman provides his own enthusiastic analysis of this criticism in his work of fiction Loss and Gain. When asked by his sceptical Protestant friend, in a final attempt at dismissing Romanism, how he could justify the garbled Mass, when it was said in a manner which ignored the presence or even understanding of the congregation, the zealous Catholic answers:

"...it will be faith which will enable you to bear the ways and usages of Catholics, which else might perhaps startle you. Else, the habits of years, the associations in your mind of a certain outward behaviour with real inward acts of devotion, might embarrass you, when you had to conform yourself to other habits, and to create for yourself other associations...
"to me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words,—it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is, not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the scope, and is the interpretation, of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. They hurry on as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go, the whole is quick; for they are all parts of one integral action. Quickly they go; for they are awful words of sacrifice, they are a work too great to delay upon; as when it was said in the beginning, 'What thou doest, do quickly.' Quickly they pass; for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as He passed along the lake in the days of His flesh, quickly calling first one and then another. Quickly they pass; because as the lightning which shineth from one part of the heaven unto the other, so is the coming of the Son of Man. Quickly they pass; for they are as the words of Moses, when the Lord came down in the cloud, calling on the Name of the Lord as He passed by, 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.' And as Moses on the mountain, so we too 'make haste and bow our heads to the earth, and adore.' So we, all around, each in his place, look out for the great Advent, 'waiting for the moving of the water.' Each in his place, with his own heart, with his own wants, with his own thoughts, with his own intention, with his own prayers, separate but concordant, watching what is going on, watching its progress, uniting in its consummation;—not painfully and hopelessly following a hard form of prayer from beginning to end, but, like a concert of musical instruments, each different, but concurring in a sweet harmony, we take our part with God's priest, supporting him, yet guided by him. There are little children there, and old men, and simple labourers, and students in seminaries, priests preparing for Mass, priests making their thanksgiving; there are innocent maidens, and there are penitent sinners; but out of these many minds rises one eucharistic hymn, and the great Action is the measure and the scope of it... And you ask me whether this is not a formal, unreasonable service—it is wonderful! Quite wonderful. When will these dear, good people be enlightened? O Sapientia, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia, O Adonai, O Clavis David et Exspectatio gentium, veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster."

Sunday 7 November 2010

New LMS website

The Latin Mass Society Head Office have overhauled their website which can be found at the memorable address of www.lms.org.uk. It features an improved interactive map of all the Latin Masses in the country, so that wherever you may be you can see at a glance where the nearest one is. As well as all the usual features and resources, there is lots to explore, with updated photo galleries linked into the new Flickr environment.

There are exciting new links to umbrella organisations; the Gregorian Chant Network and the Society of St Tarcisius, which is a new Sodality of Altar Servers trained exclusively in the Extraordinary Form.

Mass of Ages Report: November 2010

News from the Dioceses
(Birmingham & Black Country)
Mass of Ages Magazine
November 2010

It has been a continuing steady trickle of Masses in the region; our monthly Low Masses at West Heath and West Bromwich continue. In early July the feast of St John Fisher & Thomas More was celebrated with a High Mass at St John Fisher Church in West Heath for the second year running. This year Fr George Grynowski, Parish Priest, was accompanied by Fr Christopher Miller and Fr Jan Nowotnik.
The excellent choir ensemble 1685, sung Jean Richafort’s setting for our annual High Requiem at St John Fisher, West Heath on Friday 5 November. For the rest of November Fr George will have a weekly Friday Low Mass at 7.00pm.
On 17 July the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate decided upon an Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata for their ‘Day with Mary’ at the Birmingham Oratory which meant a packed Church with lots of people new to the Traditional Mass. Also at the Oratory, the usual Saturday Low Mass has been postponed in recent months due to refurbishment of St Philip’s Chapel. Now the work is complete. The Holy Father was the first to pray in the new Shrine to Blessed John Henry Newman, where there is an Extraordinary Form Mass said every Saturday at 9.30am.
On Saturday 2 October we had our first Chant and Server training event culminating in a Missa Cantata for the Holy Angels at West Bromwich. About twenty-five people participated, with a congregation of about fifty at the Mass.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Annual Requiem 2010

Solemn High Requiem
High Masses being sufficiently rare is perhaps the reason I still have a sense of Euphoria after last night's Solemn High Requiem. But I like to think that it is something particularly special and powerful about the Rite itself, and how it was conducted on this occasion.

Once again ensemble 1685 offered to sing Richafort's polyphonic Requiem, as well as Chant the Graduale, Tractus, Dies Iræ, Libera Me and In Paradisum. The Propers of the Mass were from the Daily Mass for the Dead with prayers for deceased Brethren, relatives and Benefactors. The Mass was said at St John Fisher in West Heath, a church built in, and designed for the liturgy of, 1962. The Parish Priest Fr George Grynowski was Celebrant, with fellow South Birmingham Priests Frs Christopher Miller & Jan Nowotnik as Deacon and Subdeacon. Three other Priests from Birmingham were also present, with one sitting in choir.

After some intensive study and attending the Society of St Tarcissius Master Class, I was able to MC the Mass. This in itself is a great honour for me, commonly being the role of a cleric, and something I never imagined I'd be able to do this time last year. God must have graced me with a certain composure which I otherwise wouldn't have had under such circumstances! By all accounts things went very well, especially as a Requiem has so many 'oddities' compared to a normal High Mass, to demonstrate a sombreness and austerity of mood.

Solemn High Requiem
For instance, the Acolytes don't carry torches at the Gospel; no-one receives a blessing; there is neither Gloria nor Creed; the Sacred Ministers omit the solita oscula or reverent kisses when handing the celebrants liturgical objects. The Subdeacon has a different role, and instead of using a humeral veil and holding the Paten throughout the Canon, he instead incenses the Sanctissimum at the consecration.

But the most noticeable difference at last night's Mass for the 80 people present was the presence of the Catafalque and the ceremony associated with it at the end of Mass. An empty coffin was borrowed from the local funeral parlour, and the faithful were able to place inside it petitions written on paper, for dearly beloved who have passed out of this life. It is common to have November dead lists in Catholic Parishes, at which time we pray for the faithful departed. What better way to incorporate this into an 'All Souls' type Mass than to combine it with the Traditional ceremonial of the Catafalque, which takes the place of a body. The coffin was draped with a beautiful Pall commissioned by AWN Pugin, which is on loan from the recently closed Parish at Cotton.

It requires great pastoral sensitivity to introduce customs such as this into a Catholic world which no longer has any knowledge of them. For me it was a beautiful fruitful expression of grief and prayer, which no doubt stirs us to greater love and sacrifice for the Holy Souls in Purgatory who are destined for an eternity with the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of the World. Requiéscant in Pace. Amen.

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Wednesday 3 November 2010

Solemn High Requiem Booklet

This Friday, November 5th 2010 at 7pm, we will have our annual Requiem for deceased Priests, Relatives and Benefactors. This year it will be at St John Fisher, in West Heath. ensemble 1685 will once again sing Richafort's Polyphonic Requiem. Please come and donate generously to the upkeep of this fabulous modern Church designed for the Traditional Liturgy, and undergoing extensive repairs at present.

P.S. Is anyone with a camera available to take photos?

Annual Solemn High Requiem Booklet

Thursday 21 October 2010

Calendar 2011

Get the 2011 Calendar now!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Solemn High Requiem

Friday 5th November 2010 at 7pm
St John Fisher Church, 1 Cofton Road, West Heath

Parish Priest Fr George Grynowski will this year offer our Anniversary Requiem Mass for deceased Parishioners and LMS Members. If you would like a loved one's name to be included in the Absolutions at the Catafalque, please leave as a comment.

Last year our first High Requiem was offered at West Bromwich, and for this occasion ensemble 1685 sung a stunning renaissance setting by Jean Richafort, which was a UK first. This year they have kindly offered to return for a repeat performance, which will raise our hearts and minds to God once again.

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.

Please support this wonderful opportunity. Full Mass books will be provided and Frs Jan Nowotnik and Christopher Miller from neighbouring parishes will also assist as Deacon and Subdeacon.

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Saturday 2 October 2010

Black Country Training Day

It is not often that we put together a Missa Cantata in Birmingham. The main limiting factor is availability of singers for the Latin Plainchant, which often takes an exclusive place in professional choirs due to its complexity.

Today was an initiative encouraged by the Latin Mass Society, to train singers and servers for the Traditional Mass. I feel it has created a good grounding for the future, and demonstrated keen local interest in the Latin Mass.

The training took place at St Michael's Church in the busy centre of West Bromwich on a Saturday afternoon. I began at 1.30pm with a brief introduction to the Gregorian Mass, in particular its unique aesthetic features which have been passed down through the centuries and the attention to the Latin text in the Missal, contrasting it with the changes in modern worship fashions.

Mr Oliver Hayes ably led the Chant rehearsal, with Mr Vincent Byrne providing organ accompaniment for Missa de Angelis. Full musical notation was provided, but the hour training only gave time to focus on the Ordinary, with the common tones of the Mass and Mass VIII. There were 19 present for this stream, with about a third from local Anglican communities completely new to Chant in the Latin language, raising concerns about pronunciation. The eager willingness was a real inspiration to me.

The second stream consisted of six of us rehearing the ceremonial of the Mass, serving in the sanctuary alongside the Choir practice. We began the afternoon with prayer, and our work was based on reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and the privilege of acting in clerical positions during Mass. Besides myself, there was one other server who was in the Society of St Tarcissius, with the other servers familiar only with the New Rite. My intention was to familiarise everyone with the roles below MC (Acolyte, Thurifer and Torchbearers) but in practice time was a limiting factor and we managed to at least perform a thorough run-through, with actual Mass being served reasonably well.

Fr George Grynowski from West Heath sang Mass for the Feast of the Guardian Angels, and was very impressed with the accompanying singing. Despite having sung High Mass, it was his first Missa Cantata since refining his skills at the latest LMS Priest's Training conference in Downside Abbey. He joined us for the last portion of the server's training and gave us appropriate encouragement and correction. He used the Missal's rubrics of incensation of a free-standing altar which took advantage of the reordered sanctuary of St Michael's!

There were several more people of course who joined us for the Mass itself at 3pm. I estimate there were a total of about 50, which was good considering the quick arrangement and limited advertising I gave it. Unfortunately the spacious choir loft was not utilised on this occasion due to the position of the organ at the front of church.

Refreshments were had afterwards in the church hall, and Fr George blessed the children's craftwork Guardian Angels which are keeping them safe in bed tonight (you might say this was a third stream for the afternoon with the younger age group and mother-cathecists!)

It seems the general consensus was a successful day, and something positive to build upon. If you would like to partake in any future activities, which will rotate around different areas of the West Midlands, please get in touch. It is a ground-up initiative to inject Tradition into our parishes, and a passion shared by many.

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Friday 1 October 2010

Tomorrow's Chant Training

As well as Sung Mass Booklets and complete choir booklets, I thought I'd share these Mass sheets for the congregation to participate in the prayers and chants of the Mass for the Feast of the Holy Angels. Missa de Angelis is a very common Mass setting, and although some die-harders may tire of it, your can't say it isn't appropriate for this wonderful Feast!

Chant and server training will commence at 1:30 (beginners and experienced alike welcome), with the Mass starting at 3pm.
Holy Guardian Angels With MassVIII

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Sung Mass Missalette

Generic Sung Mass Booklet

Mass Listings November 2010 - January 2011

Every Wednesday 12 noon (Our Lady & St Kenelm, Halesowen – Check 0121 6021972 before travelling)
Every Friday 7pm (St John Fisher, West Heath – Provisional beyond November)
Every Saturday 9.30am (Newman Shrine, Birmingham Oratory)
Every Sunday 9.30am (Birmingham Oratory)

  • Monday 1st November All Saints High Mass 7.30pm Birmingham Oratory
  • Tuesday 2nd November All Souls Low Mass 5.45pm Birmingham Oratory
  • Friday 5th November Anniversary Requiem High Mass 7pm St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Friday 12th November St Martin Low Mass 7pm St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Wednesday 17th November St Hugh of Lincoln 6pm Low Mass St Michael & the Holy Angels, West Bromwich
  • Friday 19th November St Elizabeth Low Mass 7pm St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Friday 26th November St Sylvester Low Mass 7pm St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Friday 3rd December St Francis Xavier 7pm Low Mass St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Wednesday 8th December Immaculate Conception Low Mass 5.45pm Birmingham Oratory
  • Wednesday 15th December Ember Day Low Mass 6pm St Michael & the Holy Angels, West Bromwich
  • Friday 24th December Nativity "Midnight Mass" Sung Mass 4pm Birmingham Oratory
  • Saturday 25th December Nativity Low Mass 9.30am (Newman Shrine) Birmingham Oratory
  • Thursday 6th January 2011 Epiphany High Mass 7.30pm Birmingham Oratory
  • Friday 7th January 2011 Epiphany Low Mass 7pm St John Fisher, West Heath
  • Wednesday 19th January 2011 St Wulstan Low Mass 6pm St Michael & the Holy Angels, West Bromwich

Saturday 25 September 2010

Missa Cantata and Training

Saturday 2 October at 1:30pm
Gregorian Chant Training 
& Altar Servers Training
(Two streams, beginners and experienced welcome)

Followed by Missa Cantata at 3pm
Feast of the Guardian Angels

Ending with Refreshments

St Michael & The Holy Angels RC Church

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Happy 3 years!

Yesterday was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and therefore the third anniversary of the implementation of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which basically makes it possible for me to do the work I do. It has enabled several new Masses to take place around Birmingham, principally in West Heath and West Bromwich.

Tonight Fr George Grynowski from West Heath's Parish (down the road from Cofton Park) came to West Bromwich to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Last year this was actually a High Mass in his Parish. This year, a Low Mass with about 15 in attendance (plus, briefly, a drunk man looking for some money).

Fr George preached on the celebratory nature of such a sad event as the Crucifixion, since it gives us new life in Christ, and the great part our Lady took in this act of salvation. He then went on to talk about our Holy Father's great act of liberating the Latin Mass and affirming Pope St Pius V from 500 years ago, that it is the Mass of Ages that can never be abrogated or abolished.

In these days leading up to the Holy Father's visit, we pray for a spiritual revolution in this country both within the Church and outside it. The Holy Father may have made it easier to have the Latin Mass, but it has also served to make certain people more panicky than ever! As the Holy Father said in his covering letter, "make room for all the Faith itself allows", and I would urge everyone to remember that this includes not only reverent and beautiful worship, but integral and complete orthodoxy in Faith and Morals, as the Holy Father teaches.

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Sunday 12 September 2010

Sunday 19 September

Of course in a week the Holy Father will beatify Cardinal Newman. Despite the Birmingham Oratorians being very busy, they will kindly offer Low Latin Mass at 8am. Please note the car park will not be available for use.

Friday 10 September 2010

Juventutem Retreat UK

Young Catholic Adults is the English branch of Juventutem which draws together young people attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass. It has its presence both at World Youth Days and the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Missa Cantata: ConsecrationEvery year Damian Barker organises a weekend retreat here at Douai Abbey. This year we are fortunate to have several clerics from FSSP present, and will have a Solemn High Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary tomorrow at 11am followed by a procession in the Abbey grounds.

Fr Armand de Mallery FSSP is the retreat giver, and after Low Mass for the feast of St Nicholas of Tolentino, followed by a hearty supper, is tonight launching the retreat with a conference entitled "How God is present in the Holy Eucharist".

Monday 30 August 2010

St Pius X

This Friday at West Heath, the Mass at 7pm will be for the Feast of St Pius X (seen on the left celebrating Mass in the Sistine Chapel):
Joseph Sarto was born at Riese in Venetia on June 2, 1835. He was successively curate, parish priest, bishop of Mantua, patriarch of Venice. He was elected Pope on August 4, 1903. As chief pastor of the Church he realised to the full the value of the liturgy as the prayer of the Church and spared no effort to propagate the practice of frequent and daily Communion. In his encyclical Pascedi Dominici Gregis, he exposed and condemned the modernist heresy with force and clarity (1907). He died on August 20, 1914, and was canonized on May 29, 1954

St Pius X

Saturday 28 August 2010

Successful Summer School

The St Catherine's Trust for Traditional Catholic Education held its sixth Annual Summer School from Sunday 1 to Sunday 8 August at Ardingly College in West Sussex. It was attended by forty enthusiastic students aged from 11 to 18, and a volunteer staff of sixteen, including a chaplain, Fr Andrew Southwell.

The students studied a range of subjects covering every aspect of Catholic belief, history and culture, and heard a piano recital by the professional pianist Matthew Schellhorn, and a talk from the Catholic journalist Dominic Scarborough.

There was daily Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form, including Mass in Arundel Cathedral, by permission of Bishop Kieran Conry.

As part of the Summer School, the Latin Mass Society held its first ever residential Latin course, directed by Philip Goddard, the LMS's adviser on Latin, which made use of the LMS's teach yourself Latin primer, Simplicissimus. The course was based on the Latin of the liturgy, and examples and exercises were taken from liturgical texts. Students were divided into 'beginners' and 'intermediates', although all joined together for lectures on psalmody and liturgical poetry, the history of liturgical texts, and Latin in Philosophy. Students were delighted with the amount of Latin they were able to absorb, describing the course as 'transforming’ and ‘enriching' their engagement with the liturgy of the Church.

Doctor Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS, said: “The Summer School is always exhausting but exhilarating; it is inspiring to see so many children being so prayerful. This is surely what Pope Benedict wants as part of the re-evangelisation of Europe”.

The St Catherine’s Trust Summer School is financially supported by the Latin Mass Society and other benefactors, and accepts students regardless of their ability to pay. Next year it will be held in Ushaw College in Co. Durham, from Sunday 23 July to Saturday 30 July: see www.stcatherinestrust.org for more details.

Sunday 22 August 2010


I seem to have made all sorts of mistakes in my last newsletter! I upset the Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, who would like to clarify that Fr Philip and any other Oratorians have not been exiled. The word 'exiled' is "untrue, unkind and unhelpful".

Therefore I would like to go on record as saying a more appropriate phrase would be "gone on holiday" in which case please pray that they're having a jolly time.

When I have time I will amend the online newsletter, but it has already been sent out so therefore the 'damage' must have already been done and I hope this clarification will act some way to make amends for such a slur on the Congregation's intentions.

God bless

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Latin Mass Correction

Further to the latest newsletter, the Mass originally scheduled for this Saturday, 21st August has been rescheduled for this Friday, 20th August at 4.45pm at the Birmingham Oratory.

The celebrant will be Fr Aidan Nicholls OP and it will be followed by drinks at the Plough & Harrow for Francis Burke's 60th Birthday party.

I hope you can make it. God bless!

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Mass of Ages Report: August 2010

News from the Dioceses
(Birmingham & Black Country)
Mass of Ages Magazine
August 2010

The monthly Low Masses at West Heath and West Bromwich continue, although numbers have been down in the last couple of months. I urge anyone who can to attend.

Unfortunately our Midlands Chaplain, Fr Philip Cleevely, is on extended retreat. Father George Grynowski and Fr Chris Handforth are kindly covering his absence at West Bromwich. It is the first time in seventeen years that Fr Chris has celebrated the EF Mass, and we are very grateful to him!

Michael Bourke, LMS Rep for Birmingham during the 1980s, sadly died in April aged 79. Requiescat in Pace.

N.B. Above Edited

Friday 13 August 2010

Latin Mass Training Day

Sat 2nd October (Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels) at 1.30pm
at St Michael & the Holy Angels, High St, West Bromwich B70 8AQ

1) Gregorian Chant Schola
We will establish a new Gregorian Chant initiative for the region. Anyone who is interested is welcome, be it newcomers or those more proficient in Chant. The main objective will be to meet perhaps every other month in different Parishes around the region. With the encouragement of the Gregorian Chant Network, it will group together like-minded individuals to hopefully form a schola to aid more sung Masses in the region.

2) Servers Training
Anyone wishing to learn to serve at a Sung Mass are encouraged to come to this training event. If you’d like to learn the Low Mass, please get in touch to arrange an opportunity. Affiliated with the Society of St Tarcisius, which I can provide further information about.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham

The Latin Mass Society is organising a Walking Pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham from Friday 20 August to Sunday 22 August. There is a noble tradition of walking pilgrimages to Walsingham which the LMS wishes to revive. The pilgrimage is inspired by the great Paris to Chartres Traditional annual walking pilgrimage which attracts thousands of young participants.

The LMS pilgrims will leave Ely on Friday 20 August after a 7.00 am blessing in Ely Cathedral. Accommodation will be in tents. There will be daily Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite concluding with a Traditional Mass in the Chapel of Reconciliation at Walsingham at 2.30 pm on Sunday 22 August. This will be open to all.

The pilgrimage will be restricted to adults for this year whilst any practical problems are ironed out. It is hoped it will be much larger next year.

Dr Joseph Shaw, LMS Chairman, said: “I am very excited by this pilgrimage – it’s the sort of practical and challenging devotion which young people in particular find of great benefit. This is just one of the evangelical activities by which the LMS is responding to Pope Benedict’s call for a fresh presentation of the Faith in Europe”.

For registration and full details potential pilgrims should e mail the organiser, Paul Smeaton, on paulsmeaton@hotmail.co.uk or telephone the LMS office on 020 7404 7284.

Picture: Dr Joseph Shaw, LMS Chairman, with a banner of Our Lady of Walsingham on the Paris to Chartres Walking Pilgrimage, May 2010.

Friday 30 July 2010

Requiem Aeternam

R.I.P. Michael Marshall

Funeral in the Traditional Latin Rite on Tuesday 3rd August 2010 at 11.30am in the Birmingham Oratory. Low Mass.

Monday 26 July 2010

Bishop Schneider coming to UK


LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Downside Abbey, Somerset.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider to attend Conference

The Latin Mass Society has announced that Bishop Athanasius Schneider ORC, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganga in Kazakhstan, will be attending the forthcoming priests’ training conference to be held at Downside Abbey from Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th August. Bishop Schneider will celebrate a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form in the Abbey Church at Downside on Thursday 12th August at 11.00am. He will also deliver a lecture as part of the conference.

Around 30 priests are expected to attend the conference where tuition will be given in the celebration of Mass in the older form. Some will be beginners, and will be studying Low Mass; whilst others with more experience will be expanding their skills to include Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis. Tuition will also be provided for altar servers.

Bishop Schneider is best known for his defence of the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. His book, Dominus Est, originally written in Italian but now available in English, deals with this subject in some detail.

The public will be able to attend the 11.00 am Mass in the Abbey Church each day of the conference, but will be particularly welcome at the Pontifical Mass on the Thursday.

There are a few last minute places available at the Downside conference. Priests and potential servers interested in attending should contact the Latin Mass Society by telephoning 020 7404 7284 for further information and an application form.


1. ​This conference will be the sixth to be organised by the Latin Mass Society during the last three years. Earlier ones have been held at Merton College in Oxford, Ushaw College in Co Durham and All Saints Pastoral Centre in London Colney, Herts.

2.​ Over 100 priests have attended these conferences, of whom about 85 now regularly celebrate Mass in the Usus Antiquior.

3.​ Practically all restrictions on the use of the Usus Antiquior or Extraordinary Form were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI in his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, published in July 2007. Since then the number of both Sunday and weekday Masses celebrated in the Usus Antiquior has increased in all dioceses of England and Wales.

4.​The website of the Latin Mass Society Masses includes listings of Masses celebrated in the Usus Antiquior: www.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) info@latin-mass-society.org

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Tradition Returns to West Bromwich


For the last 8 months the Parish of St Michael & the Holy Angels, which seemed to have been stripped of many treasures in the last 40-odd years, has benefited from a select group of parishioners striving to reinvigorate the Parish through Tradition. The church is located on the corner of a busy high street; an area which seems degenerate when compared with the nearby modern developments. Behind its car park is a pub, which seems to see more action than the neighbouring parish hall.

But looks can be deceptive. This Parish has a noble history which dates back to the Catholic Emancipation and the stalwart efforts of Hon Fr George Spencer CP, or Ignatius (his Passionist name). Building began in 1830 in large part due to his wealth, but the church has since been extended including a noble tower and spire erected in 1911.

Photos from pre-conciliar days show 40 hours devotion with an abundance of candles, a beautiful wooden reredos of the Archangels, and undoubtedly a Parish rich in both faith and furnishings. Today perhaps things have changed in a similar way to most of christendom: struggling, dwindling and ageing.

But on the other hand there are many pious people in the Parish who are hospitable and active in their local community. An LMS member made it possible with the Parish Priest's permission, to hold a Solemn High Requiem last November to honour deceased Parishioners, Priests and Benefactors. Shortly afterwards Fr Louis Le Van Hong erected a plaque commemorating all the Parish Priests.

This event was such a success that we are lucky enough now to have a monthly Low Mass at 6pm every third Wednesday. The original sacred heart altar was used, and furnished with dusty antiquities that have been retrieved from the church tower; these include beautiful altar cards and even an 18th century missal. It began on Ash Wednesday with, understandably, huge numbers. Since then it has been a modest crowd of about 20, mainly older age parishioners who would never have dreamed the treasure of the Latin Mass would return after they gave it up submissively. Also added to this shrine of Tradition is a votive lamp for the Servant of God Fr. Ignatius Spencer, who will hopefully be canonised in the future.

Friday 16 July 2010

Day with Mary at Birmingham Oratory

As you may no doubt be aware, the Birmingham Oratory is converting St Philip's Chapel into a Shrine for Bd John Henry Newman, and therefore the regular Saturday morning Low Mass has been postponed until at least August.

However, tomorrow morning Saturday July 17th at 11am there will be a Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form in the main Oratory church with High Mass ceremony.

It is part of a day of prayer from 10am - 5.15pm organized by the Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix Movement, which is founded and guided by the Franciscans of the Immaculate (friars and sisters), inspired by the spirituality of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe.

The “Day” will be led by the Franciscan Friars from St Joseph's in Stoke, and is based on the message of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. She requested: "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them." The Day will include Mass, Scripture, Rosary, Meditation on the Passion, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, Processions of the Blessed Sacrament and of Our Lady, Act of Consecration, Theological Instructions, and the opportunity to enrol in the Brown Scapular and the Miraculous Medal.

Interestingly, today is the optional feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and in the old calendar it is the Feast of St Simon Stock whom our lady appeared to in 1251 with the devotion of the Brown Scapular.

Saturday 10 July 2010

South Birmingham High Mass 2010

For the second year running, Rev Fr George Grynowski invited the Latin Mass Society to offer a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form in his Parish Church of St John Fisher, West Heath, for the Patronal Feast of Ss John Fisher & Thomas More. But several features were distinctly different this year from last, and deserve mentioning.

Yesterday it was not our chaplain Fr Philip Cleevely who offered the Mass. You see, last year Fr George was acting in the role of Deacon, one in which he had become well versed in his days as a 'permanent' Deacon with a different profession. But after last year, Fr George attended the LMS Priest's Training Conference at London Colney, and learnt how to be Celebrant. So this year he offered the Mass, and was assisted by (not Oratorians this time, but) Rev Frs Christopher Miller of Kings Heath and Jan Nowotnik of Northfield. Therefore it was a High Mass using Parish Priests all from the same deanery, who were happy to celebrate the occasion in fraternal joviality!

Fr George also used a new red High Mass set of vestments which he had acquired from Luzar Vestments, in the Gothic style. I was MC for the first time after much study following my training with the Society of St Tarcisius. Obviously I made lots of mistakes, but have clarified in my mind the role a great deal. Here's to the next attempt!

Music was kindly provided by Mr Oliver Hayes who is a regular choir member of the Birmingham Oratory, who doubled as an organist. Together with a good friend of mine they sung Plainchant Propers with Missa de Angelis Ordinary and Credo III (giving the opportunity for the congregation, and the ministers in the Sanctuary, to join in with full gusto!)

Fr Jan gave a sermon about the bravery of these holy English Martyrs, who died by holding true to their Faith in the face of much opposition. We must also derive this same bravery through Grace, so that in our own circumstances we can bear witness to the Faith and answer any questions that are put to us, in a society that is hostile to objective Truth and Religion. Fr Jan is in a good position to say this, since he has been in the Press in the run-up to the Beatification of Newman, which will be presided over by our Holy Father just down the road from the very Church we were in.

The other difference from last year was unfortunate. Before, I had only made about 25 Mass booklets - so this year I wasn't going to be caught out, printing another 75! But whereas there were over 100 people last year, yesterday there were 53. A respectable number for a Friday night nonetheless, and everyone in attendance, mostly local parishioners, seemed to have good words to say, naturally!

The Mass was followed by the opening and blessing of a new lawn and flower garden adjacent to the Church, complete with permanent Altar. It is dedicated to the first Parish Priests at West Heath; Frs Cyril Barlow & Philip Smith - the former of whom would have said the Traditional Mass in the first years of the Church when the New Mass was being concocted. An outdoor buffet was had and enjoyed by all present. On Monday Fr George will inter the ashes of a parishioner who had wanted to be laid to rest on holy ground.

℣.Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini
Our Help is in the name of the Lord
℟.Qui fecit caelum et terram
Who made heaven and earth
℣.Dominus vobiscum
The Lord be with you
℟.Et cum spiritu tuo
And with your spirit

Let us pray
Oramus pietatem tuam, omnipotens Deus, ut hunc hortum, quem aeriis et pluviae temperamento nutrire dignatus es, bene+dictionis tuae imbre perfundas, et flores terrae tuae usque at maturitatem perducas. Tribue quoque populo tuo de tuis muneribus tibi semper gratias agere; ut a fertilitate terrae esurientium animas bonis omnibus affluentibus repleas, et egenus et pauper laudent nomen gloriae tuae. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
We appeal to thy graciousness, O almighty God, that thou wouldst shower thy blessing+ upon this garden, which thou hast nurtured with favourable weather, and mayest bring these flowers of the earth to maturity. Grant also to thy people a sense of constant gratitude for thy gifts, so that the hungry may find rich nourishment in the fruits of the earth, and the needy and the poor may praise thy wondrous name. Through Christ our Lord.

The garden is sprinkled with holy water.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Reminder: High Mass this Friday

St John Fisher RC Church
West Heath, Birmingham
Friday, 9th July 2010 at 7pm

(followed by Buffet and blessing of new Garden)

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 normal Parish Church, with all ministers being parish priests from the Deanery. This is the 3-year anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, and the Holy Father's wish for the faithful to benefit from the full riches of this Mass. It will be a time of reflection and what better way to show our support for the Pope than by attending this Mass!

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


Monday 28 June 2010

Birmingham Oratory...

... Long time supporter of Pope Benedict's liturgical style, will be personally visited by Pope Benedict himself on Sept 19th. Time to clear away all the cobwebs...

Sunday 27 June 2010


As the Chairman has reported, the LMS AGM 2010 had much to offer: a summary of the last year, when things have improved
In terms of Masses and finances. Also a direction for the future; a membership drive and new website, the chairman wants to visit more of the far-flung areas of the districts, to find everyone's opinion.

I was elected as officer for the LMS committee, where I will seek to overthrow Jo Shaw and become emperor of the world Una Voce Federation!!

The Pontifical Mass in Westminster Cathedral was also impressive, with Polyphony as opposed to last year.

The day for us ended with a garden Party at London Oratory. I have no photos of this splendid Church due to the phones battery expiring.

Pray for the Birmingham Oratory, who are having a fundraising drive after the announcement this week of the Pope himself coming to our Church and being the first to pray in a newly converted Newman Shrine, with his 2nd class relics, hair, blood stained material etc. It will be nice to see the only thing recovered from his remains, a tassel of the Good Cardinal's Hat. Legend has it the Hats which hang above the Cardinal's grave stones in Westminster Cathedral, when fell down, would signify the Cardinal's soul had been released from Purgatory, into Heaven. In Newman's case, he faithfully wanted to return, dust to dust... ashes to ashes... And his hat never required hanging, leaving only a tassal of its remains in his grave, as if it went with him in a symbolic way, body and soul to Heaven: now interceding for us to God Father Son & Holy Ghost.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Sunday within the Octave of the Most Sacred Heart

...rather than 3rd Sunday after Pentecost as I printed for this morning's 9:30 am Mass at the Birmingham Oratory! At least there was something good to read I guess! God bless everyone and may our hearts be like His!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Sacred Heart

June is traditionally the month of the Sacred Heart, something I never learnt in 4 years at a Catholic School. Also traditionally there are special First Fridays of every month, which we celebrate at St John Fisher Church in West Heath, with a Low Mass celebrated by the PP Fr George Grynowski at 7pm.

One reader asked whether there are pictures and a report from last Friday's Mass. Well, unlike usually when we have about 20 people present and myself serving, this time we had no server and only 9 people. However, the Mass is the same sacrifice however many attend it, because with the noble and traditional ad orientem direction of prayer, we are reminded that we are taking part before the throne of God, in the company of all the Angels and Saints.

Fr George writes:
I said a few words about how appropriate it was to celebrate the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart the day after Corpus Christi, making the close link between the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart and frequent communion of reparation.

This First Friday of June 2010 was dedicated to the reader's deceased grandmother on her anniversary.

Requiescat in Pace

Friday 11 June 2010

Downside Abbey Priest's Training

The LMS office has just issued this press release.

10 June 2010


For Immediate Release

LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Downside Abbey, Somerset.

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Downside Abbey, one of England’s most prestigious monasteries.

The conference will run from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 August 2010 and will feature Traditional liturgies in Downside’s beautiful 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 tuition in Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis and there will be streams for beginners and more advanced students. Tuition will also be given in the other sacraments and in Latin.

There will be opening and closing High Masses, daily Mass, Offices and Rosary. There will also be a closing Conference dinner with guest speaker.

The subsidised fee to participants is only £115.00 which includes all accommodation, meals and training materials. There are limited places and priests are asked to register as soon as possible.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284, e mail: info@latin-mass-society.org) or from the conference organiser, Mr Paul Waddington (Tel: 01757 638027, e mail: paul@gooleboathouse.co.uk).

Running alongside the training for priests, the Society of St Tarcisius (the LMS’s newly-formed sodality for Traditional altar servers) will organise a residential training course for servers and MCs. Further details can be obtained as above.

Paul Waddington said, “This is the sixth training conference the LMS has organised and we are delighted to be going to Downside Abbey. The Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ has recently praised our work which makes us more determined than ever to provide training to every priest in England and Wales who seeks to learn the Usus Antiquior.”

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

Saturday 15 May 2010

St Tarcisius Guild

Today I attened the inaugeral event of a new Sodality of Servers dedicated to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I think of it as a 'Trad Guild of St Stephen'!

It has been entitled 'the Society of St Tarcisius', whose patron died in defence of the Blessed Sacrament.

I imagine the danger of such a training event like today, would be of reducing the Mass into a choreography of movers in the Sanctuary. But today was firmly grounded in prayer, taking place before the Blessed Sacrament in two different chapels. The day began with prayer, recessed with prayer, and ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. A grace-filled day was had by all 30 of us!

My thanks to Blackfriars, where it was based, and also Br Lawrence Lew OP for acting as Priest, and teaching us the intricacies of swinging (or rather moving) the thurible in the Dominican Rite. Also to Fr Armand de Mallery FSSP, with providing us with prayer, benediction, training and good conversation, in a most fatherly way. Finally to Mr David Forster, for organising and teaching at this bold endeavour. I await with joyful hope the coming of our next event!

Friday 7 May 2010

Mass of Ages Report: May 2010

News from the Dioceses
(Birmingham & Black Country)

Mass of Ages Magazine

May 2010

Sadly a Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral has been declined by the Dean, on the grounds that there is no parish-level demand, and that the Oratory (in the same Deanery) has more than enough provision. However, although the Oratory is excellent in its provision of the Latin Mass, it goes no further than offering the Extraordinary Form as 1/9th of total Parish services. It raises the question of how much provision of the Latin Mass there needs to be? From the Dean, perhaps it is suggested to have at least an occasional Mass in each Deanery. Although I have trebled the number since Summorum Pontificum, it still only represents a third of my Deaneries being covered.

I have written to the new Archbishop Bernard Longley to raise these points and to humbly ask that he expose his new territory to what he did for Westminster; A Pontifical High Mass, which would be the major event in the UK since Cardinal Castrillon de Hoyos’ 2007 visit.

A new monthly Mass has been established at St Michaels in West Bromwich, which attracted 60 people on Ash Wednesday and 30 people on St Patrick’s Day. With encouragement, the parish have unearthed old altar cards and missals which are being put back into circulation. Funerals continue to be offered, including a sung Requiem for the father of an FSSP seminarian from Birmingham which took place at the Oratory with Fr Armand de Malleray as celebrant. Requiescat in Pace.

Coming up this quarter are 3 High Masses: At the Oratory for untransferred Ascension Thursday and Corpus Christi, and at St John Fisher in West Heath for its Patronal feast day.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Traditional Sacraments

Since Summorum Pontificum there has been an exponential increase in those attending the Traditional Latin Mass. In Birmingham, what used to be 20 dedicated faithful per week has now become 100, and in total with all masses around the region, 530 per month.

Other sacraments are also being celebrated with much less problem. At the Oratory there has even been a Solemn High Nuptial Mass, and also
Baptisms as well as the reception of a convert, all using the 1962 books. Although confirmations only take place in London at present, this Sunday, Margaret Mary Jordan received her first holy communion at the 9.30am Latin Mass (pictured). This sort of thing just wasn't happening a few years ago.

It was a wonderful occasion and Fr Guy Nicholls preached an outstanding homily based on our Lord's words in the Gospel; modicum et videbitis me (a little while, and you shall see me) relating it to faith in the real presence as demonstated in Emmaeus.

Margaret is home educated with her 4 siblings and is just approaching 8 years old. Their family is very new to the EF Mass, travelling all the way from Staffordshire, but the kids are thriving on it! Indeed, it was Margaret's own decision to receive communion at this point, after tuition from her mother and the support of Fr Guy. It was also great to see them at the 5th St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat just after Easter, also sponsored by the LMS.

Monday 26 April 2010

Mass Dates May - August 2010

Friday 7th May at 7pm
Low Mass (Sacred Heart) St John Fisher West Heath

Thursday 13th May at 8pm
High Mass (Ascension) Birmingham Oratory

Wednesday 19th May at 6pm
Low Mass (St Dunstan) St Michaels West Bromwich

Monday - Friday 24th-28th May at 8:30am
Low Masses (St Philip's Chapel, Octave of Pentecost) Birmingham Oratory

Thursday 3rd June at 8pm
High Mass (Corpus Christi) Birmingham Oratory

Friday 4th June at 7pm
Low Mass (Sacred Heart) St John Fisher West Heath

Wednesday 15th June at 6pm
St Michaels, West Bromwich

Friday 2nd July at 7pm
Low Mass (Visitation of the BVM) St John Fisher, West Heath

Friday 9th July at 7pm
High Mass (Ss John Fisher & Thomas More) St John Fisher, West Heath

Wednesday 21st July at 6pm
Low Mass (St Lawrence of Brindisi) St Michaels, West Bromwich

Friday 6th August at 7pm
Low Mass (Transfiguration of OLJC) St John Fisher



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