However, not that far away on the Wirral is the complete answer!
Our friends at The Dome of Home have a comprehensive programme which I am happy to promote below:
We are not blessed with any Holy Week or Easter liturgies in the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Wrexham - [keep praying hard for that to change!]
However, not that far away on the Wirral is the complete answer!
Our friends at The Dome of Home have a comprehensive programme which I am happy to promote below:
Today is Laetare Sunday and the priest can wear rose coloured vestiments as opposed to the purple that he usually wears in Lent.
There are only two days in the litugical year when rose may be worn, today and Gaudete Sunday in Advent.
How did the custom of rose coloured vestments become established in the Church?
It goes back to the IV Century when the Roman Empress, and wife of Constantine the Great, St. Helena, presented roses of pure gold to the heads of allied countries and important persons which were especially blessed by the Pope on this day. This became known as the Sunday of the Roses. Thus, the custom arose of wearing rose colored vestments which was extended to the whole Church although the custom of giving golden roses died out.
From The Catholic Herald:
Folk singer Barbara Dickson has revealed that she loves the Old Mass.
The musician, famous for singing "I Know Him So Well", told the BBC: "For me I am a natural Roman Catholic. It's the continuity from St Paul to me that I like. I love the liturgy, I love the Mass, I love the mystery, I love the transubstantiation, it's extremely powerful for me. I want to hear traditional church music, because to me it adds to the spirituality. I don’t want to be in a community centre, I want to take part in something which is truly profound."
Should she reside in England or Wales, the local LMS representitive should send her a membership form right away!
Yesterday, I caught a little bit of the Richard Bacon Show on BBC Radio Five Live. He was interviewing, Philomena Lee, whose story has recently been the subject of a film.
I switched on the radio part way through and perhaps I missed the context of the conversation, what I didn't miss was Mr. Bacon's pointed attempt to undermine the Sacrament of Confession by sarcasm and ridicule.
Fast forward 24 hours and how reassuring that Pope Francis has again promoted Confession. Here is the report from the Vatican News Service.
This morning in the Hall of Blessings Pope Francis received in audience the six hundred participants in the annual course of the internal forum of the Apostolic Penitentiary. For a quarter of a century this dicastery has offered the course, especially to recently ordained priests and deacons, to contribute to the formation of good confessors.
In his address, the Holy Father encouraged those present to “treasure the experience acquired with wise creativity, to further help the Church and confessors to perform their ministry of mercy, which is so important”, and reflected on three key points related to confession.
“Firstly, the agent of the ministry of Reconciliation is the Holy Spirit”, he said. “The forgiveness that the Sacrament confers is the new life transmitted by the Risen Lord by means of His Spirit. … Therefore, you are required always to be “men of the Holy Spirit”, witnesses and proclaimers, joyful and strong, of the resurrection of the Lord”. The Bishop of Rome encouraged them to welcome penitents “not with the attitude of a judge or even that of a mere friend, but with God's charity. … A priest's heart is a heart that is able to be touched. … If it is true that tradition suggests the dual role of doctor and judge for confessors, we must never forget that the doctor cures and the judge absolves”.
Moving on to the second aspect, he explained, “If Reconciliation transmits the new life of the Risen Lord and renews baptismal grace, then your task is to give this generously to your brethren. A priest who does not take care of this part of his ministry … is like a shepherd who does not take care of his lost sheep. … But mercy is at the heart of the Gospel! It is the good news that God loves us, that He always loves man the sinner, and with this love he draws man towards Him and invites him to convert. We must not forget that the faithful often struggle to receive this Sacrament, both for practical reasons and for the natural difficulty of confessing one's own sins to another man. Therefore, it is necessary to work hard upon ourselves, on our humanity, so as never to be an obstacle to but rather to facilitate an approach to mercy and forgiveness. … Confession is not a sentencing court, but rather an experience of forgiveness and mercy!”.
Finally, Pope Francis referred to the difficulties that may frequently be encountered in confession. “There are many reasons, both historical and spiritual. However, we know that the Lord wished to offer this immense gift to the Church, offering the baptised the security of the Father's forgiveness. For this reason, it is very important that particular care is taken in the celebration of this Sacrament of forgiveness and salvation in all dioceses and parish communities. It is essential that in every parish the faithful know when they can find available priests: when there is trust, the fruits can be seen”.
Now, I hope and pray that Pope Francis will also promote and defend Catholic doctrine on Marriage in the same way - especially given some of the ideas being mooted by Cardinal Kasper.
Last weekend, 'The Catholic Herald' published an interesting article penned by Father Hugh Somerville-Knapman OSB about the potential for creation of a new form of the Mass.
The article, published on Father Somerville-Knapman's blog is re-posted below.
Father suggests that perhaps the '1965 Missal', which was used in the wake of changes brought about by Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), until the Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI came into use in 1969, could be the basis of a new third form.
Of course, the '1965 Missal' was more about change in the Ordo Missae and such was the speed of change in the post-Council period, before anyone could say "Norvus Ordo", that is what had become the reality.
The '1965 Missal' could be said to be closer to the 1962 Missal and perhaps in many ways was probably what the Council Fathers had in mind than that which has become the Ordinary Form. The lectionary and calandar remained and lacking were the plethora of variable options.
In my humble view, we have to accept that the Council Fathers did call for change and that change certainly happened, but our beloved Pope Emeritus, through 'Summorum Pontificum', provided that we may cherish the ancient and continue to pray the Mass (and other liturgical celebrations such as the Breviary) in the way Catholics have since the 16th century.
Whilst I can see the point in the suggestion of a third Form, I actually think the third Form advocated by Father Somerville-Knapman is is perhaps forty five years late! Certainly, given we have what we have in the Norvus Ordo, greater faithfulness to the rubrics and General Instructions of the Roman Missal may be a start!
We have the New Mass and the Old - but in both we have the same Eucharist, encapsulated in two different liturgical forms - I pray leave it in the hands of the Holy Ghost!
Now, here is the article, have a read:
The Lament of a Liturgical Loner Monks live liturgy. “Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God” (Rule of St Benedict 43:3) our holy father St Benedict bids us. The Divine Office and the Mass punctuate and structure our day, uniting our lives with Christ’s sacrifice of perfect praise in his Body and Blood on the Cross. This union is what gives the monk’s life its truest and deepest value. A monk with no taste for liturgy is akin to a bird who fears to fly: things can only be difficult and frustrating. So if some of us monks seem to be endlessly focusing on liturgy, you might cut us some slack. For us, the liturgy is the privileged way to live in Christ’s Body, a privilege which necessarily imposes demands on our daily living outside the liturgy. These demands we spare no effort to meet faithfully, though we so often fail.
If liturgy was a live issue before the Council of 1962-65, it has become in the wake of that Council an explosive issue. Liturgy seems never to be at rest. For some, the Council gave a licence to change comprehensively the performance of the Church’s liturgy, and the change has been unrelenting. For others the changes were unjustifiable, unconscionable even, and they reject them outright. For others still, liturgy has been something to be coped with, an unavoidable battlefield on which they try to find shelter in some compromise that acknowledges the reality of change and seeks somehow to keep it organically connected to the Tradition of the Church. Few have been satisfied.
We might ask ourselves: where is my foxhole, my bunker, my bastion, on this battlefield? So much of my reading the past year or more has shown my foxhole to be filling with mud, slowly but ever more surely. It is not a tenable position in the long-term. Two things that have brought that conclusion home with a whack in recent days. One is an article by Fr Thomas Kocik at the New Liturgical Movement. Fr Kocik is one of the leading lights of the Reform of the Reform movement, which sought to modify the reformed liturgy imposed in the wake of the Council by realigning it with both the actual teachings of the Council Fathers and with the rich liturgical tradition that had developed gradually and organically from the times of the primitive Church to the 20th century. Fr Kocik cites Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI as a prime example of a Reformer of the Reform, who proceeded
not only by his teaching and personal liturgical example but also by legislation. He accentuated the liturgy’s beauty, promoted the liturgical and musical treasures of the Western Church (including of course the usus antiquior of the Roman rite), and introduced more tangible continuity with tradition in the manner of papal celebrations (e.g., the ‘Benedictine’ altar arrangement, offering Mass ad orientem in the Sistine and other papal chapels, administering Holy Communion to the faithful on their tongues as they knelt).
But Fr Kocik is throwing up his hands in surrender. The Reform of the Reform cannot be done. It is impossible. He finds that
the ‘reform of the reform’ is not realizable because the material discontinuity between the two forms of the Roman rite presently in use is much broader and much deeper than I had first imagined.
Things are so far advanced now that it is necessary to go back to the beginning (or rather, to 1963) and start afresh on the basis of the Council’s actual, explicit, written teaching in Sacrosanctum Concilium:
[T]he road to achieving a sustainable future for the traditional Roman rite—and to achieving the liturgical vision of Vatican II, which ordered the moderate adaptation of that rite, not its destruction—is the beautiful and proper celebration, in an increasing number of locations, of the Extraordinary Form, with every effort to promote the core principle (properly understood) of “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful (SC 14).
The other thing that has sobered me up was a video embedded at Catholicism Pure & Simple. It compares the old and the new Masses in the act of their celebration. It is a little weighted in one direction: the sole example of the post-conciliar Mass is a portly late-middle-aged priest with some annoying American habits (and please, it is not only American priests who can have annoying liturgical habits, I know) who is set against more than one youthful and much slimmer celebrant of the Mass of 1962. The young guys are indeed examples of “best practice” of the preconciliar liturgy, though perhaps many ordinary Catholics back then did not always receive best practice. The older, new-Mass man, is not what you would call an example of best practice; though he is by no means the worst, and perpetrates none of the more spectacular abuses that could so easily have been found on Youtube.
The video, however, put a living face to the theories and principles of the liturgy that have been at issue. And they left me torn, almost asunder. Why?
Both had aspects that did not attract. The new-Mass man was a little too cavalier in his bearing and demeanour before the most sacred things the Church has in its gift. The loud munching on the Host and the long swig of the Chalice both jar. The music was dire in its banality. The poor man felt a constant need to inject meaningfulness into the words he pronounced, even when they were addressed to God and not to the people. He fiddled around with the traditional formulas (eg “…in Jesus’ name, who reigns gently with You…”) in order to be relevant, or caring, or creative, or whatever. He gave out Communion like it was corn chips and not his God.
Yet, it is hard not to conclude that the structure and the rubrics of the new Mass lend themselves to such a practice and attitude. If you remove so many of the sacralizing elements of a ritual, of course it is going to end up secularized. Rather arbitrarily included after the Council among the “useless repetitions” the same Council had deprecated, nearly all the signs of the cross and genuflections and kissings of the altar were removed from the Mass. To one not formed under the old Mass, these gestures can appear to be fussy and pedantic and almost obsessive. They seem to cry out for some rationalization. But is such a principle appropriate to the symbolic and sacred ritual of the Mass? Are time-and-motion principles suited to something that should take us out of time and out of ourselves?
It is this same unfamiliarity with the old Mass that can make it seem quite alien. Even with my theoretical knowledge of it, it can still throw me to watch it. While I have no beef with the idea of rubrics in liturgy (for one thing, they spare the faithful too much of the priest’s ego), the old Mass can seem dizzyingly rubrical: where exactly the Missal sits on the altar, the depth and direction of bows, the placement of the paten, and the like. It does not come naturally to me. Mind you, should it?
That said, a solemn and formal liturgy does feel right. A solemn, chant-filled new Mass is wonderful. Even the vernacular does not normally worry me, and in fact I have rarely said a Mass in Latin (apart from singing daily the parts of the Mass in Latin). The ritualized movement, if not overplayed, makes sense. One hides, subsumes, oneself into it. Using the little logic that God has given me, it is apparent
Here probably comes the nub of the issue: the new Mass has the inherent quality that it allows the celebrant to take over. He is “president” (an awful word in liturgy), and too easily he becomes star of the show. I have seen regularly the pressure that some priests unconsciously feel to be creative, to say something relevant or meaningful, to be constantly babbling. Being in the vernacular allows the priest to dominate the Mass, in a way that is near impossible in Latin. In the vernacular he can interject and extemporize at will. There is the modern plague of the opening mini-sermon telling you what the readings are going to be about (cannot the people understand vernacular readings for themselves?!). Then there are the myriad changes and “improvements” that some priests feel that they must impose (must the people be patronized so?). The most dangerous thing of all, perhaps, for the priest is facing the people. Now, everyone’s eyes are on him and not on God and his Christ, who will return from the East. Instead of priest and people together facing God they face each other, a closed and often self-satisfied circle. Many a priest will recite the Eucharistic Prayer with his eyes on the people, and so inevitably end up talking to the people, even showing them the Host as he pronounces “Take this all of you…”, talking to the Father, but looking to the people.
In other words, there is a disjunction between what we are taught happens at Mass and what seems so often to be happening. There is an incongruence between the words and the actions. It is possible to do the new Mass properly; but the new Mass
Then there is the dazzling array of options and variations now available: options for penitential rites, for readings, for Eucharistic Prayers. More is not always better. The more the range of options, the less is it possible to have ritual in the truest sense of the word. The new lectionary has many flaws, not least that it swamps people with chunks of scripture, often out of their context, and too much for people to assimilate in any deep way. Priests either have to retrain themselves as amateur scripture scholars or waffle about some experience they have had or some story that comes to mind to illustrate the easiest point that can be mined from the readings. And not a few end up talking about themselves. Scripture is wonderful, and we should all be spending time with it in some systematic way each day. But Mass is not a scripture class. Nor should it ever be one. The Word serves the Sacrifice which is the real reason we have gathered: to unite ourselves to Christ’s perfect worship of the Father on the Cross. Anything else is secondary in the Mass.
So this priest is left dazed and disquieted, and feeling rather alone in it all.
It is clear that so many of the young are abandoning the liturgical practice of the Faith, and who can blame them if all they were to get is Fr Superstar and pop muzak they would never want to hear outside of church, and clearly do not want to hear inside either. Why would they come if they are talked down to like children, and are never challenged with hard truths that will give them quality of life? How often do priests confront them, challenge them on things like sex before marriage, pornography, alcohol abuse? Children thrive on challenge, and youth can handle hard truths as long they can see they are not being talked down to but called upwards. If we do not tell them, then we are complicit if they go astray for lack of guidance. And we should all remember our Lord’s warning regarding those who lead his little ones astray. And when was the last time a priest mentioned hell as a reality, and a real prospect for grave and unrepentant sinners?
Communion in the hand is too often an awful spectacle. The Sacred Host – Jesus Christ no less! – is handled and fingered and self-administered in a way that does not seem congruent with what we believe the Host actually is. How I respect the goodly number at our abbey Mass who receive the Host in the throne of their hands and then raise that throne straight to their mouths, not a finger in play. They are usually converts who have made an often painful decision to submit to the Saviour in the Host. But Communion in the hand was a concession that has become the rule, and it can really jar.
Just as many youth are just leaving the churches to an ageing generation who are usually either faithful no matter the cost or who find some sort of forum for self-expression in creative liturgy, so too a healthy number of young are also finding their way into church where the Mass is celebrated properly, with dignity, with a clear sense of worship of God and not a tacky public meeting led by a dominant self-appointed few; and in fact where very often the Mass being offered is the old Mass. They participate actively enough, not by doing things but by losing themselves in the mystery. It resonates with them, it makes sense, and it challenges them, takes them out of themselves towards God.
So is there no hope for the new Mass? Is the solution for our many dying parishes to return to the Mass of 1962 and then try for a renewal of the Mass that is more consistent with what the Council Fathers actually mandated? We certainly cannot rule out the old Mass – it is the Mass that admirably served the Church for well over a millennium, for which saints thrilled and martyrs died, which so firmly directs our gaze to God and from ourselves. It is authentic worship.
That said, the Council Fathers were neither stupid nor total dupes. They were on to something. I look at some of the interim Missals that emerged towards the end of the Council and just after and see what we might have had. One Eucharistic prayer, in Latin (since it is addressed to God, and he does speak Latin!) with readings in English, facing east but with more streamlined (and not gutted) rubrics; no vast array of options for this, that and whatnot but some apposite offerings for seasons and certain days. In those missals we were seeing the fledgling emerge before, seemingly inexplicably, a cuckoo took over the nest: a new and totally different Mass, constructed by a committee according to their personal theories of what in liturgical antiquity was to be revived (and which often, we know now, never really existed in the form asserted. Eucharistic Prayer 2 is supposedly Hipploytus’ canon, but if you read the original it differs markedly from this rudely brief composition we now have. It’s just one example. Mass facing the people is another. Communion in the hand is yet another). Alcuin Reid gives some insight into that committee which composed the new liturgy in the wake of the Council, here and here.
So there is life beyond the old Mass, but we will need the old Mass around to inform a renewed liturgical practice and spirituality. Surely the new Mass can be saved, though it requires surgery. The revised Missal of 2012 was a step in the right direction, giving us a vernacular more suited to worship. Yes, it can be clunky, but better that than simplistically banal. But as Fr Z often says, if you do not like the translation you can always go back to the original – Latin. Moreover, maybe I need to learn the old Mass to know what I am talking about in more than abstract theory, to give it a chance. After all, I have given the new Mass over 40 years of undivided attention. Moreover, perhaps the Missal of 1965/67 which is the subject of the Agatha Christie indult should be given another, longer and better chance that the paltry few years it was allowed.
One thing seems sure: without a wholesale renewal of liturgical practice and spirituality the New Evangelization will remain just another expensive white-elephant of a programme. And priests will remain faced with the temptation to entertain and be creative in worship, and in so doing seriously undermine that worship. Without authentic worship the faithful, especially the young, will not be truly challenged to live with integrity, treating their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and their neighbours as Christs in disguise.
It is a daunting task, and if the Church is relying on me then all may be lost. There are many places where such a renewal is already underway, or where the desire for a true renewal is brimming up. Many priests and people are discovering the liberation of a more God-centred liturgy, and its child, a more surely God-centred life. Many other priests and faithful feel the same I am certain.
The LMS Latin Course, now in its fourth year, has been hugely successful and we offer it again this year on the same terms as last year.
It will as before be taught by Fr John Hunwicke and Br Richard Bailey of the Manchester Oratory. By then, Br Richard will be ordained.
The course runs from Monday to Saturday (28th July to 1st August).
Seminarians, those about to enter seminary, and priests only have to pay half price.
Discounts are also available for paid-up LMS Members, full-time students, if you are not already an LMS member, you can join now and claim the appropriate discount off the price. The saving on the Latin course fee is greater than the annual membership fee for the LMS!
The accommodation - unless you arrange your own - is in the St Winefride Guest House in Holywell. The classes take place at the Franciscan Retreat Centre at Pantasaph which is only a short distance away. The St Catherine's Trust Summer School takes place at Pantasaph and that means that there will be a Sung or High Mass, with deacon and subdeacon, every day before lunch, with Gregorian Chant.
For priests we have in many cases been able to provide an opportunity to learn or practice particular liturgical roles, such as deacon or sub; there is also an opportunity for priests to say Low Mass in whatever Form they prefer before breakfast, in Holywell's parish church, next door to the Guest House.
I refer the subject contained in a post over on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's (Father Z) blog, you can read it here.
As Father Z says, stop right now and say two prayers!
First, pray to the Guardian Angels of the two men in question, [whoever they may be], to help them allow God to soften their hearts in regard to one who has served the Lord in His Church for so long and with so many cares, Benedict XVI.
Second, say a prayer to St. Joseph to protect and strengthen Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, until the day when our Lord will call him to his reward with the words we all hope to hear, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Another informative little video by the Latin Mass Society has been produced to cover the means by which we receive the Most Blessed Sacrament at Communion.
The traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion, kneeling and on the tongue, is an ancient custom of the Latin Church, dating back to the first millennium, that is still practised in the Extraordinary Form.
The General Instructions of Ordinary Form Roman Missal (GIRM 160) extend this means of receiving to the Ordinary Form, if the communicant wishes to receive in this way. Although I have not experienced this myself, I have heard of incidents where problems have arisen with some reluctant clergy who seem not to approve of commincants falling to their knees to receive their Redeemer!
Those who oppose Communion on the tongue and kneeling have no reason to object - for the rationale behind the traditional custom is based on sound theology and practical considerations.
Today, whilst ambling around various Catholic web shops, I stumbled across 'The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described' at the web shop of the Benedictine Abbey in Farnborough.
This excellent manual is available for a bargain price of £20, it is usually priced between £30 and £35. Indeed, right now Amazon list it at £35.
The need for a ceremonial manual for the celebration of the traditional liturgy according to the liturgical books in use in 1962 is greater than ever. This volume is the fourteenth revised, corrected and expanded edition, and is published to guide and to assist in celebrating the traditional liturgy today.
Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923) was a Roman Catholic priest and Englishman who was an influential liturgist, artist, calligrapher, composer, polyglot, amateur photographer, Byzantine scholar, and adventurer. He has been described by Michael Davies as, 'the greatest authority on the liturgy of the Roman Rite the English speaking world has ever known'. Canon J.B.O'Connell (d. 1977). Ceremonial and rubrics were his life's work and on the death of Adrian Fortescue in 1923, he was asked to prepare the third edition of this book. Over the next forty years he prepared a further nine editions. Canon O'Connell was a secular priest of the Menevia Diocese. Dr Alcuin Reid is a former Benedictine monk. He is a leading liturgy scholar and the author of The Organic Development of the Liturgy.
The web shop of the Abbey can be visited here.
Gregory Murphy, Catholic Journalist and former Editor of the Mass of Ages, has forwarded to me some encouraging initial words of Archbishop Elect of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon O.P. They were given to Gregory in a press conference held today upon the announcement of the Archbishop Elect's appointment.
Archbishop-Elect Malcolm McMahon on the Extraordinary Form of Mass - Press Conference, March 21st, 2014
+Malcolm on whether those attached to the Extraordinary Form of Mass in the Archdiocese of Liverpool need have any concerns:
"There is no need (for anyone) to feel nervous.”
+Malcolm on how much he foresees that the Extraordinary Form may in time become a general and unremarkable part of the liturgical life of the archdiocese:
"I think it’s hard to predict. I will certainly be open to any requests that come my way. I’ve always listened to what people have wanted, and tried to do my utmost to satisfy their needs - and that applies to liturgy, forms of liturgy, as well as other aspects of my ministry.”
+Malcolm on whether he foresees himself personally celebrating the Extraordinary Form:
"It depends how it is used. I mean, I’ve celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form when required and when I’ve been asked to. But the Mass always has to be a source of unity in the Church, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be used, and the Extraordinary Form to be used, to divide the Church. That would be my (only) concern. But there are plenty of pictures of me on the Internet (celebrating the Extraordinary Form)...with (laughing) mitres that don’t fit me and all that! "But yes, of course I would be agreeable. How can you not be when the Mass has been such a … well some like to call it the ‘Traditional Rite’ … but (when) the Extraordinary Form has been a source of holiness to people for hundreds of years. So how on earth can you say no?”
A senior third party, with authority to speak for the Bishop, later said (unprompted) that he fully understood why those attached to the Extraordinary Form are perhaps prone to being anxious on such occasions. But he wished to stress - and also for it to be conveyed - that Archbishop-Elect McMahon’s appointment in Liverpool should certainly not give rise to any apprehension whatsoever. In fact, quite the opposite, I was assured. He said: “There really, really, should be no concerns for anyone at all - and I emphasise that.”
The general tenor of both the Archbishop-Elect’s, and later his spokesman’s, message concerning the Extraordinary Form, was one of complete reassurance and positivity.
Archbishop-Elect McMahon’s Mass of Installation as Archbishop of Liverpool will be celebrated at 12.00 noon on Thursday 1 May 2014, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.
St Kentigern - Pray for us.
Today is the feast day of St. Benedict (480-543), founder of the Order of St Benedict, Holy Patron of the Monks of Norcia and also of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
In these places, Mass and Office will be a first class celebration of the Holy Abbot with a commemoration of the Second Friday of Lent, where as in most places it will be the other way around.
Benedict was born in Norcia, in Umbria, and studied in Rome; but he was unable to stomach the dissolute life of the city, and he became a solitary hermit at Subiaco. His reputation spread, and some monks asked him to be their abbot, but they did not like the discipline he imposed and tried to poison him.
Benedict organised various small communities of monks and nuns in various places, including the great monastery of Monte Cassino. He drew up a set of rules to guide the communal life of monasteries, and, though not the first monastic rule ever, the Rule of St Benedict has proved so wise and balanced that it has served as the foundation of practically every attempt at communal living ever since. It recognises that people aim at perfection but often fall well short of it, and aims to be a “rule for beginners” in which even the least perfect and least able can grow in spiritual stature. To visit a Benedictine monastery of almost any kind is to find oneself spending time among a group of people who, by their strivings to live and grow together, have become more and more themselves, as God intended them, instead of being crushed into false uniformity by some idealistic and authoritarian regime.
For those of us in the world, too, the Rule of St Benedict has much to say: it drags our eyes up to the stars but keeps our feet firmly on the ground; it calls us to perfection but keeps us sane.
In preparation for tomorrow's feast, the Monks of Norica invite us to pray with them:
May the intercession of blessed Benedict, the Abbot, commend us unto Thee, we beseech Thee, O Lord: so that what we cannot acquire by any merits of ours, we may obtain by his patronage. Through our Lord...
Yes ..... this Sunday (23 March) is the fourth Sunday and therefore a Missa Cantata will take place at St Winefride's, Holywell at 1130am, but it is actually the third Sunday of our Lenten journey!
Do support the Mass if you are able. Fr. Doyle of Buckley is celebrant. Deo Gratias!
Excellent news is that Fr. Robert Byrne of the Confoederatio Oratorii S. Philippi Nerii aka The Oratorians has been appointed by the Holy Father as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
I have great fondness for the Oratorians. They are orthodox Catholic Priests doing what orthodox Catholic Priests do!
I try to make at least a couple of visits to either Birmingham or Brompton annually but I am yet to visit the Manchester Oratory, which is actually the closest!
Please pray for Fr Robert as he prepares for his episcopal ordination. He is the first Oratorian bishop appointed in England since 1874, when Fr Edward Bagshawe of the London Oratory became Bishop of Nottingham.
Bishop elect Byrne’s episcopal ordination will take place at 11am on Tuesday 13 May 2014 at the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, St Chad’s Cathedral.
Blessed John Henry Newman - Pray for us.
St Philip Neri - Pray for us.
Video introduction : Fr Robert Byrne C.O.
My wife and I enjoyed a very pleasant day on the Wirral today.
Sung Mass at the Dome of Home, followed by a 'Lá Fhéile Pádraig' Lunch at the Hollins Hey Hotel. Thanks to Anne Williams for organising it and also the staff at the hotel for their attentive service and good food.
Celebrating the Apostle of Ireland by this lunch some 24 hours early meant no breach of the penitential nature of the season as Sunday doesn't count in the 40 days of Lent and I suspect St Patrick would be fine with the early marking of his mission in the Emerald Isle.
St Patrick was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he endured many hardships and faced opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians.
And the link is in the opposition that St Patrick faced in his work to convert Ireland.
Traditionalism faces opposition from various quarters but we remain resolute and for every story (perhaps sometimes unfounded rumour) of a negative nature, there are encouraging reports that indicate progress. I heard two such reports today.
Firstly, it was encouraging to learn that Canon Amaury Montjean, the Rector at the Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena (aka The Dome of Home), returned just yesterday from a working trip to Mauritius. Canon explained, that the Mass of Ages had returned to the Indian Ocean Island after an absence of 40 years.
Also, closer to home, it was great to hear that the Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury will celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form at New Brighton on Sunday 4th May. He will also confirm a number of individuals who are currently undergoing preparation.
So more positivity to be thankful for!
St Patrick pray for us!
Great news to report is that the Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena in New Brighton has been given some limited funding from Wirral Council's 'Love Wirral' scheme.
The grant will be used towards a project to illuminate the grand dome and to repair a boundary wall. Please, if you can help the Dome financially please do - every £1 matters and the grant does not cover the cost by any means. Additionally, and more importantly, keep the Shrine in your prayers!
Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena pray for us.
An article in the local press can be read here on the Dome and the grant.
Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et, ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde.
Kevin Jones is the local representative for the Latin Mass Society in Wrexham Diocese. Any views expressed neither represent those of the Latin Mass Society or the Diocese of Wrexham.