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

Monday 27 May 2013

Corpus Christi in Birmingham and Worcestershire

For those who wish to celebrate Corpus Christi on the traditional day, there will be a Solemn High Mass and Procession at the Birmingham Oratory on 30th May 2013 at 7pm.

Fr Anthony Talbot will also have a Corpus Christi Mass and Procession at Spetchley Park in neighbouring Worcestershire on Sunday 2nd June. If the weather is good this may be followed by an outdoor picnic in the field afterwards.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Young Catholic Adults Pilgrimage to Harvington Hall

Next Sunday (2nd June), Young Catholic Adults, which is affiliated with the International Juventutem Movement, is having a pilgrimage to Harvington Hall in Worcestershire in honour of the English martyr St John Wall. The schedule is as follows:

YCA National St. John Wall Harvington Pilgrimage -
Sunday 2nd June 2013

11:30-12:00pm Arrival
12:00pm-1:20pm Guided Tour of the House
1:20pm-2:00pm – Lunch (packed lunch)
2:00-3:00pm – Free Time (chance to look at the grounds)
3:00pm Low/Sung Mass in the Parish Church (just outside the Hall)

Entrance Fees and How to Book

Inclusive Ticket (Hall, Malt House Visitor Centre & Gardens)
Adults: £8.00. Please send a deposit of £5 (cheque or cash) to D. Barker, 126 Curlew Road, Abbeydale, Gloucester, Glos. GL4 4TD.

How to get here

The Hall’s post code is: DY10 4LR.
Harvington Hall, Harvington, Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY10 4LR
The Hall is situated three miles south-east of Kidderminster, about half a mile east of the A450 Birmingham to Worcester road and about half-a-mile north of the A448 from Kidderminster to Bromsgrove. Grid. Ref. SO877745.

Facilities & Access

Free Parking, Gift Shop, Moatside Tea Room (serving coffee, light lunches and afternoon teas, it is possible to visit the tea room and shop with out paying entrance fees).
Telephone: (01562) 777846
Fax: (01562) 777190
Email: harvingtonhall@btconnect.com

View Larger Map

Harvington Hall is notable for its priest hides built by St Nicholas Owen. I remember going on my Confirmation retreat there. The local LMS Reps for Worcestershire, Merryn and Columb Howell, organise a monthly traditional Mass there: the next one will be at 3pm on Sunday 4th August. However, in order to help the Priest, the Mass on 2nd June and 7th July will take place at St Ambrose (Birmingham Road, KIDDERMINSTER, DY10 2BY) instead.

In other news, there will be an EF Mass at the Birmingham Oratory tomorrow at 9am.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Restoration of Weekly Saturday Mass at Birmingham Oratory

The Birmingham Oratory now has three active resident priests and so are able to announce a change to the Mass schedule. From Saturday 1st June onwards until further notice, there will be a public EF Mass every Saturday at 9.30am. On most Saturdays, this will be a Low Mass at the Lady Altar, but on days of extra solemnity, it will be a Missa Cantata at the High Altar. The first Missa Cantata will be on the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul on Saturday 29 June.

On most Saturdays, there will also be a (private) Low Mass at the Lady Altar at 8am, but this cannot be guaranteed, and people are advised to check with the Oratory before travelling if they wish to attend this mass.

 Please note that these arrangements will replace the current private Low Mass which takes place at 9am.

In other news, the Mass at 6pm on the Feast of the Sacred Heart (7th June) will also be a Missa Cantata.

May I ask that you please keep the Oratory in your prayers. The success of the Latin Mass in this region significantly depends on the success of the Oratory, and we are grateful for their continued support in the provision of the EF Mass.

Thursday 23 May 2013

The Octave of Pentecost at the Birmingham Oratory

Photo: Benediction after Vespers of Pentecost at the Birmingham Oratory. (Photo credit: Birmingham Oratory Gallery - click here for more photos from Pentecost)

New Catholic writes on Rorate Caeli:

Traditional Catholics should in particular remember those calendar features that the 1968-1969 liturgist brigade tried to eradicate based on an antihistorical and false antiquarianism: Septuagesimatide, Ember Days, the Pentecost Octave... That is, the committeemen kept the octave day itself (the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity), but eliminated the days of the Octave - though the former is much less ancient than the latter. This great and ancient Octave even has its own Ember Days: if you have the chance, celebrate the Holy Ghost by attending weekday Masses during this Octave. And, if you do not have weekday TLMs available near you, there is always the great FSSP apostolate at LiveMass.org.
We are of course in this area lucky to have a 6pm daily Mass for the Octave of Pentecost at the Birmingham Oratory  from Monday to Friday this week. I am pleased to announce that, in addition, Fr Richard Duncan will be saying a Low Mass for the Ember Saturday of Pentecost at 9am this Saturday, which was not advertised in the Oratory newsletter. Do please try to attend if you could not make any of the evening masses.

You may also be interested in the following article by Fr Guy Nicholls of the Birmingham Oratory on the importance of restoring the liturgical observance of the Octave of Pentecost:


Monday 20 May 2013

Daily EF Mass for the Octave of Pentecost

To mark the Octave of Pentecost, there will be a Mass in the Extraordinary Form every day this week from Monday to Friday at 6 p.m. at the Birmingham Oratory. This will be followed immediately with the Novena to St Philip, a short period of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. Please do your best to support these masses by attending if you are at all able.

Saturday 18 May 2013

FSSP Year of Faith Retreat

Year of Faith retreat for all:
31 May-2 June 2013
'You shall be My witnesses' (Acts 1:8):
In the prayerful and relaxing setting of Douai Abbey, come and reflect with us on how to bear a more fruitful witness to Our Blessed Lord Jesus in our everyday lives.
Upper Woolhampton, Reading, West Berks. RG7 5TQ.
Starts Friday 5pm, ends Sunday 3pm.
Led by Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP.

(Picture: The Calling of Apostles, by Domenico Ghirlandaio)
Spiritual conferences and direction, Holy Masses, Eucharistic adoration.
Cost full board 2 days including VAT: £140 single room with ensuite bathroom, £110 shared room with ensuite bathroom or £90 without. Low income/Unwaged: contact us for significant discounts. Bookings/info: FSSP, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU, Berks. malleray@fssp.org. www.fssp.org.uk/england
Booking : please send us your £20 deposit (per person), made payable to FSSP ENGLAND. Remainder to be paid at the Abbey during the retreat.

Read online the latest edition of our quarterly magazine Dowry N°17 (Winter 2013).

Please pray for our 7 English seminarians and for 3 more applying for next autumn.

To contact us:
Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU, Berkshire, England
Telephone: 0118 966 5284;
Fr de Malleray: malleray@fssp.org;
Fr Goddard: goddard@fssp.org

Friday 17 May 2013

The Decline of the Catholic Church in England and Wales since the 1960s

Newly released statistics show the decline of the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 1960s and 1970s.

Research by Latin Mass Society has demonstrated the striking decline of a range of statistical indications of the health of the Catholic Church in England and Wales in the 1960s and 1970s.
To our knowledge this data has never been made available in collated form before: the number of ordinations year by year since 1860, the number of priests since 1890, and baptisms, marriages, and receptions, and estimates of the Catholic population, since 1913.

Among the findings are:
Marriages: The number of marriages collapsed by a third between 1968 and 1978 (from 47,417 to 31,534), and has continued a rapid decline since then, now standing at less than 10,000 a year, a quarter of the 1968 level in absolute terms, and even less in relation to the estimated Catholic population (from 12 per thousand in 1968) to 2½ per thousand in 2010).

Marriages per 1000 of the Catholic population of England and Wales (1913-2010)
Conversions fell off a cliff in the 1960s. From a peak of 15,794 in 1959, it fell to 5,117 in 1972; in relation the Catholic population, it fell by more than 70% between those two years. It has not recovered.
Receptions in England and Wales (1913-2010)

Baptisms halved between 1964 and 1977 (137,673 in 1964 to 68,351 in 1977), and are even lower today (oscillating around the 60,000 mark). This is not just the effect of the end of the ‘baby boom’: considered in relation to total live births for England and Wales (using data from the Office for National Statistics), the first half of the 20th century saw steady growth, with Catholic baptisms peaking at nearly 16% of all live births in 1963. This was followed by a decline of a third between the mid 1960s and the mid 1970s. A more gentle decline has continued to the present: today fewer than 10% of babies born alive in England and Wales are being baptised in the Catholic Church. 

Catholic baptisms as a percentage of all live births in England and Wales (1941-2010_
Ordinations fell by more than 56% between 1965 and 1977 (from 233 to 101), and the decline has continued. Even on the more optimistic figures supplied by the National Office of Vocations (compared to the Catholic Directory) for the current year, showing an increase on recent years, numbers are at scarcely 30% of their 1964 level. (Counting only ordinations to the diocesan clergy, there were 134 in 1964; the NOV predicts 41 this year.)
Ordinations (1860-2011)

Dr Joseph Shaw, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, who led the research, comments:
‘Anyone with an interest in the future of the Catholic Church in England and Wales will find these figures illuminating. They show unambiguously that something went seriously wrong in the Church in England and Wales in the 1960s and 1970s. Catholics ceased quite suddenly to see the value of getting married, having large families, and having their children baptised. Non-Catholics no longer perceived the Church as the ark of salvation, and ceased to seek admission. Young men no longer offered themselves for the priesthood in the same numbers as before.

‘It is not fanciful to connect this catastrophe to the wrenching changes which were taking place in the Church at that time, when the Second Vatican Council was being prepared, discussed, and, often erronesouly, applied. As Pope Benedict wrote in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (2007):
in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.
‘The theological and liturgical fashions of that era were invariably justified by the hope of positive pastoral results, and these results manifestly failed to materialise.

‘The effect of dissent from the Church’s teaching is particularly manifest in relation to contraception, which has had a direct consequence on the Catholic birth rate, as reflected in the number of baptisms, compared to the national birth rate.

‘The Church in England and Wales today has fewer than half the ordinations each year than it had in the 1860s, but more than double the number of priests. A large proportion of those priests, however, will die or have to stop work over the next decade. In this respect we are still living on our capital, and this capital is about to run out.

‘The Extraordinary Form has not lost its power to attract young men to the priesthood, and the communities which have grown up around it today provide disproportionate numbers of vocations, marriages, and baptisms. Thirteen young men from England and Wales are currently studying for the priesthood in the different religious orders committed to the Extraordinary Form; three more should join them in September; these are numbers which many dioceses would envy.

‘We believe that the Extraordinary Form (the Traditional Mass) has an important role to play in resolving the crisis in the Church.’

Notes on the statistics.
Unless otherwise indicated, the statistics are taken from the Catholic Directory. Statistics for ordinations can be recovered only by manually counting the lists of men ordained each year; some of this work was done by the Rev. Stephen Morgan and a team at the Diocese of Portsmouth. The Latin Mass Society has filled in the gaps in Rev. Morgan’s figures and extended the range of dates covered in both directions. In addition, the LMS has added the total number of clergy, and the numbers given in the Directory’s ‘Recapitulation of Statistics’ since 1913, which include Baptisms, Marriages, Adult Conversions (renamed ‘Receptions’ in 1976), and estimates of the Catholic population.

We are very grateful to the Rev. Stephen Morgan for letting us use the fruits of his research, to the Fathers of the London Oratory for giving us access to their library, and to a number of Latin Mass Society volunteers for their time.

For further information contact either: Mike Lord, General Manager, on 020 7404 7284 or michael@lms.org.uk

The full press release (reproduced here) on the LMS website:

A downloadable spreadsheet showing all the figures with 13 graphs:

JPEGs of all the graphs on a Flickr set:

Sunday 12 May 2013

Vigil of Pentecost Mass at the Birmingham Oratory

There will be a Missa Cantata at the Birmingham Oratory at 9am on Saturday 18th May for the Vigil of Pentecost.

Thursday 9 May 2013

St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat Video

The LMS has produced a video of the recent St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat. It is definitely worth a look if you have never been and wondered what goes on at the event.

One Weekend in April: The St. Catherine's Trust Family Retreat, April 2013 from LMS on Vimeo.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

LMS York Pilgrimage 2013 Report

Saturday Shoppers in York Watch Pilgrimage With Respectful Curiosity

Photo: The statue of St Margaret Clitherow is carried through The Shambles in York, close to where the martyr lived. (Photo credit: Leo Darroch)

The Latin Mass Society’s third pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow, one of its co-patrons, took place in York on Saturday 4th May, the feast day of the English Martyrs. Solemn Mass was celebrated in the Church of St Wilfrid by Canon Amaury Montjean of the Institute of Christ the King, with Fr Michael Hall as deacon and Fr John Cahill as subdeacon.

After Mass, there was a procession carrying a statue of St Margaret Clitherow through the streets of York and passing through The Shambles, where St Margaret lived, and over Ouse Bridge, the place of her execution. The procession ended at the Church of the English Martyrs, where there Benediction was offered by Fr Stephen Brown. 

York was full of tourists during the Bank Holiday weekend, who watched the procession pass through the crowded streets with a respectful curiosity.

One lady who was visiting from Perth in Australia, and happened to enter St Wilfrid’s Church, just as the Gospel was about to be sung, was amazed at the sight of a Traditional Mass, saying that nothing like that ever took place in her home diocese.

The musical setting of the Mass was Thomas Luis de Victoria’s Missa Simile est Regnum, sung by the Rudgate Singers who also sang Gregorio Allegri’s Adoremus in Aeternum at Benediction. The day ended with the congregation singing Fr Faber’s Faith of our Fathers!

Pilgrimage organiser Paul Waddington said: ‘We were very pleased with the turnout for this year’s pilgrimage which showed an increase on last year’s event. The sight of pilgrims processing through the busy streets of York past Saturday shoppers always draws people’s attention and is an important public witness to the Catholic Faith.’

St Margaret Clitherow was arrested in 1586 for the crime of harbouring Catholic priests. She refused to enter a plea to prevent a trial that would involve her children being made to testify, and therefore being subjected to torture. The standard punishment for refusing to enter a plea was being crushed to death and this was carried out to the horror of many local people on 25 March 1586.

Monday 6 May 2013

Corrections to the LMS Mass Listings mid-May to early August

The Latin Mass Society produced a new set of mass listings at the end of April for mid-May to early August and for the Feasts of Ascension, Corpus Christi, Sacred Heart and SS Peter and Paul. Unfortunately there are several errors which I undertake to correct below:

The Birmingham Oratory

The Birmingham Oratory Low Mass on Friday is at 6pm, not 5.45pm although turning up early is not a problem! The corrections for the Holydays of Obligation and Transferred Feasts are as follows:

Ascension (9th May):  This is at 7pm, not 7.30pm as in the listings.  The Mass Setting is Gounod's Messe de Ste Cecile. Oodles of Romantic Victorian slush and no boring polyphony according to Fr Richard!
Corpus Christi: Likely to be at the same time but check this blog nearer the time for updates

Sacred Heart: Like the regular Friday Mass, this is likely to be at 6pm rather than 5.45pm
SS Peter and Paul: Will be on Saturday morning (time to be confirmed) and will probably be a Missa Cantanta, but again, check this blog nearer the time for details.

St Patrick's Dudley Road - the Wednesday and Saturday masses here have now ceased due to Fr Anthony Talbot moving to Spetchley in Worcestershire. He is organising a Corpus Christi Extraordinary Form Mass and Procession at his new parish in Worcestershire on 2nd June. As Worcestershire does not appear to have a blog I will post further details here at a later date.

The regular masses are of course listed in the sidebar. If anyone spots any further errors that I have missed please let me know in the comments. Hopefully these errors will happen less frequently in future because on Friday the LMS committee appointed a new Representative and Assistant Representative to the Birmingham and Black Country Area. When the paperwork goes through we hope to contact the members of the LMS in the region to introduce ourselves.
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