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.
While we are unable to attend Mass and receive Communion, the Birmingham Oratory is streaming Mass in the Extraordinary Form every day at 9am. Please visit and perhaps subscribe to the channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCd9cGbxpbLzjxqSsmiyznw
Here is a recording of the Mass from last Sunday:
I will keep you all in my prayers and I ask that you keep me in yours.
Saturday, 28 March 2020
Tuesday, 17 March 2020
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.
Posted by Birmingham & Black Country LMS at 17:49