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.
New Year's Day falls on a Friday this year, which has a few implications for the celebration of the EF in the area:
1) The first Friday Mass Acocks Green will NOT take place
2) The usual 6.30pm Friday Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton has been moved to 7pm on Christmas Eve. This was announced at late notice and does not appear in the church newsletter published over the weekend.
3) There will be a High Mass at 12 noon at the Birmingham Oratory, replacing the usual Octave 9am Mass.
Most churches are taking bookings for Mass over Christmas due to the restrictions on numbers that have been placed on the church buildings. The Oratory will have four Latin Masses over Christmas as detailed above - 9pm on Christmas Eve (Sung), and 12 midnight (High), 9.30am (Low) and 10.30am (High) on Christmas Day. Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton and St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury usually have an Extraordinary Form Mass early in the morning on Christmas Day but you will need to check and book with the priest at the church in question if you are planning on travelling to these Masses, which may not take place this year and for obvious reasons priority will probably be given to parishioners.
I will take this opportunity to wish all readers to this blog a happy and holy Christmas and hopefully a better New Year in 2021.
The celebration of public Mass will resume on Thursday. I have updated the calendar in the sidebar to include Masses that have been advertised in the relevant church newsletter.
The regular Oratory schedule starts on Wednesday Thursday (n.b. although the lockdown ends on Wednesday, the public Masses at the Oratory resume on Thursday) with weekday low Mass at 5.45pm, and High Mass on Sundays at 10.30am with an overflow low Mass in the Upper Cloister Hall. The 9am low Mass on Saturday has been replaced with a 7.30am Rorate Mass during Advent.
The first Friday Mass resumes at 7pm this week at Acocks Green, with devotions to the Sacred Heart preceding the Mass at 6.30pm.
The weekly 6.30pm Friday Mass returns at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton.
Before lockdown, there was a weekly 8am low Mass on Sundays in Wednesbury, and I believe this will be resuming on Sunday. Communion will not be distributed at this Mass.
I expect the third Friday 7pm Mass to resume at St Dunstan's on 18th December but am awaiting confirmation.
The second Wednesday Mass at Maryvale remains suspended. I will advertise Masses for the Immaculate Conception and Christmas when details become available.
Directions to these churches are available in the sidebar.
Please remember to wear a face covering to these Masses. In most cases, Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass due to the current restrictions (please note the known exception above).
Above is a recording of the Mass celebrated today at the Birmingham Oratory for the Feast of St Andrew.
Sadly, the public celebration of Mass ceased for the second time this year under the national lockdown which came into effect at midnight. There was a good turnout at the 5.45pm low Mass at the Oratory last night, with at least fifty people attending. Although a very poor substitute, the Oratory will be streaming Mass daily at 11am on their YouTube channel for the next four weeks, while Our Lady of Perpetual Succour will streaming low Mass at 6.30pm on Fridays. Their Youtube channel is available here.
Below is part of the first streamed Mass from the Birmingham Oratory this morning.
As All Saints falls on a Sunday, the Birmingham Oratory will as usual offer High Mass at 10.30am, with a low Mass at the same time in the Upper Cloister Hall.
For All Souls on Monday, low Masses will be offered at 8am, 9am, 11am, 5.45pm and a High Requiem Mass at 7.30pm. There will also be an EF Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton at 7pm. Directions are in the sidebar.
Friday is the Feast of St John Henry Newman, founder of the English Oratories. There will be High Mass at the Birmingham Oratory at 7.30pm. This replaces the usual 5.45pm low Mass. Directions are in the sidebar.
The first High Mass not on a Sunday since lockdown will take place at the Birmingham Oratory tomorrow at 7.30pm for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This will replace the usual 5.45pm low Mass.
I am pleased to announce that the first Friday Mass at Sacred Heart and All Souls in Acocks Green will resume from tomorrow at the usual time of 7pm. Directions are available in the sidebar. I believe the Mass will also be available as a live stream from the parish's YouTube channel.
The third Friday Mass at St Dunstan's will resume from this Friday at 7pm, along with the 6.30pm Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton as mentioned in the previous blogpost.
You may remember that one of the last Masses in Birmingham before the public celebration of Mass was suspended was at St Dunstan's with an EF Mass being celebrated on the main altar for the first time in its history. A new altar containing a relic of St John Henry Newman, kindly donated by the Birmingham Oratory, has been installed during lockdown and this will be the first EF Mass celebrated using it. Directions are available in the sidebar. If you do turn up tomorrow I can assure you that the sanctuary will be laid out like this:
The old layout of the sanctuary at St Dunstan's, Kings Heath
As you are probably aware, churches were able to reopen for services from 4th July 2020 provided they had put adequate safeguards in place. As a result, the Birmingham Oratory has resumed its usual schedule of Masses, namely low Masses at 5.45pm Mon-Fri and 9am Saturday, and High Mass at 10.30am on Sundays. An overflow Mass will be celebrated in the Upper Cloister Hall on Sundays at the same time if the numbers exceed the safe capacity of the main church. Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Wolverhampton will resume its 6.30pm Friday Mass from tomorrow (10th July).
These are currently the only EF Masses that I have been made aware will resume; I will announce the resumption of further Masses as and when the details become available with an announcement on this blog and will add them to the calendar in the sidebar. Please note you must bring a face covering to be admitted to these Masses (although face masks can be bought for a pound at Wolverhampton should you turn up and discover you have forgotten your own).
As a result of the resumption of the celebration of public Masses, the Oratory is no longer live streaming its Masses although Our Lady of Perpetual Succour will continue to live stream the Friday Mass on its Youtube channel. The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation remains suspended.
Below is the final live streamed low Mass celebrated at the Oratory on 4th July 2020.
I have just spent part of the morning doing something I had never thought possible: deleting Masses from the calendar after the celebration of public Mass was stopped in England and Wales as part of measures to combat the coronavirus threat. I found out about the decision made by the CBEW at my father's bedside as he had been admitted to hospital; rather bizarrely, I witnessed the sacrament of the sick being administered for the first time as I found out the public celebration of Mass was soon going to end. My father passed away on the Vigil of St Joseph, patron of fathers, workers, families and happy deaths. Earlier this week, the hospital confirmed he had tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.
One of the last Masses to be celebrated in Birmingham was the 7pm Mass at St Dunstan's in Kings Heath, the church at which I was baptised, confirmed, had my first confession and received my first Holy Communion and where my parents were married. As it happened, it coincided with the third Friday of the month which is the only day Mass is celebrated publicly in the Extraordinary Form at the church (the exception perhaps being All Souls Day). It was a Missa Cantata and for the first time ever it was celebrated on the main altar of the church, rather than the Lady Altar: the church was built after the reforms and had its sanctuary reordered earlier this year. The picture of the church in the sidebar shows the layout of the altar prior to the reordering - the altar has now moved to a central position.
As things stand, the Masses to celebrate the Feast of St Joseph on Thursday 19th March are still going ahead: a 6pm low Mass at St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury and a 7.30pm High Mass at the Oratory in Birmingham. Directions to both of these are available in the sidebar. It may be a good opportunity to invoke the intercession of the protector of the Holy Family in the current situation, but of course please do consider whether it would be appropriate for you to attend given the most recent advice by the government. Remember that it is an act of prudence and charity to excuse yourself from this Mass if it would protect your own health or the health of one of your family members, and this would be a valid reason not to attend Mass even if it was a Holy Day of Obligation.
The parish priest of St Mary-on-the-Hill, Fr Paul Lester, has started a YouTube channel which you may be interested in. His first video is available below.
Lent begins on Wednesday and there are two opportunities in the region to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form: there will be a low Mass at St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury at 6pm, with a High Mass at the Birmingham Oratory at 7.30pm replacing the usual 5.45pm low Mass. Directions to both of these churches are available in the sidebar.
The Oratory has released its music list for February including Ash Wednesday at the end of the month. Please note that as Candlemas falls on Sunday, the High Mass will start at the slightly earlier time of 10.15 to accommodate the blessing of candles. There will also be a low Mass at St Mary-on-the-Hill at 11.30am. Directions to both these churches are available in the sidebar.
Members of the LMS in the region will be aware, via the Birmingham & Black Country LMS newsletter, that I announced before Christmas that Fr Bruce Dutson would be retiring as Parish Priest of Our Lady & St Kenelm in January after twenty-two years service. His last Mass was actually on Sunday with the last Latin Mass at the church taking place last Wednesday.
Fr Bruce Dutson in front of the main Altar (source)
The weekly noon Latin Mass at Our Lady & St Kenelm in Halesowen was one of my favourite Masses, although I was unable to make it often as it usually clashed with work. I believe it was the oldest continuous Latin Mass in the West Midlands, predating even the Masses at the Birmingham Oratory which were originally transferred from St Catherine's Church on the Bristol Road. The Masses took place in the Lady Chapel, which provided a very intimate setting with a small but devoted local congregation, sometimes attracting seminarians from Oscott before the daily Mass at the Oratory became another option on Wednesdays. Due to Fr Bruce's commitments, the Masses sometimes had to be cancelled or moved to 9am in the morning so it was always a good idea to ring in advance or, more lately, check the website before travelling. At its peak, there were a group of five men who organised the rota for serving.
Fr Paul Lester may occasionally offer more Masses on Wednesday at St Mary-on-the-Hill in Wednesbury, which along with the daily 5.45pm Mass at the Oratory and the Maryvale Mass on second Wednesdays at 7pm will be potential alternatives, although the latter continues only due to the continued dedication of the former parish priest Fr Eamonn, who continues to travel up to celebrate it. With the end of the Mass at Our Lady and St Kenelm, no Latin Masses are currently celebrated in the Dudley deanery
The parish have a tribute to Fr Bruce on the website here. Please pray for Fr Bruce Dutson and the parish as they both adjust to their new situations.