The Latin Mass Society RC Diocese of Middlesbrough
The purpose of this blog is to provide an open forum for discussion of the aims of the society; news from the wider Church and details of Masses and events of interest in the diocese. The Latin Mass Society in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough expresses its full filial devotion and loyalty to Holy Mother Church, Pope Francis and Bishop Drainey.
REGULAR TRADITIONAL MASSES IN THE DIOCESE OF MIDDLESBROUGH
12 Noon. Every Sunday Church of St Wilfrid, Duncombe Place, York. YO1 7EF
11:30am Every Sunday Church of the Sacred Heart, Lobster Road, Redcar. TS10 1SH
Fr Michael Brown, Northern Chaplain to the Latin Mass Society, has a post in his blog, Gateshead Revisited, in which he discusses the treatment of Irish seminarians at Maynooth. The website, Irish Catholic, has reported that six of the ten Maynooth seminarians who have recently completed pastoral placements were recommended to take time out from their priestly training to reconsider their vocations. It is suggested that the reason for this recommendation is that "their theological views are at the conservative end of the spectrum". This is probably a euphemism for saying that they prefer to kneel during the consecration when attending Mass. Apparently, three of the six will be returning to Maynooth in the autumn, after intervention by their bishops.
My first observation is that, if six out of ten are at the conservative end, there cannot be many at the liberal end - perhaps one or two, but more likely none at all! The obvious conclusion is that the Church in Ireland needs to look to the "conservative end of the spectrum" if it is to have even a modest number of priests to serve the generations to come.
My second thought is to enquire: Who is to blame for the disastrous fall in the number of priestly ordinations in Ireland in recent decades? There will be many reasons for the decline, including growth of materialism and changes in social attitudes. However, the failure of the Irish hierarchy to recognise and foster good candidates is undoubtedly a major factor. The authorities of Maynooth have, in this year alone, apparently tried to dissuade 10 men who had reached an advanced stage of their training from pursuing their priestly vocation , because they represent the conservative end of the spectrum. How many more have received this type of treatment over the years? How many more have never reached the seminary door because they realise that they belong to the conservative end of the spectrum? I would guess that there are thousands in these categories who would have gone on to be good priests, if only they had been given some encouragement. So who is to blame for the shortage of priests?
As a follow up of the earlier article, it is interesting to speculate where else the traditional orders might be invited to take over diocesan churches. As mentioned before, Manchester in the Salford Diocese is an obvious candidate if the abundance of under-used churches is the driving factor. I would add to this Liverpool, where there are many fine churches in areas where the Catholic population has diminished.
Other opportunities exist in the major cities where parish mergers have either taken place recently or are about to take place. I immediately think of Newcastle (Hexham & Newcastle), Bradford and Leeds (Leeds), Nottingham and Derby (Nottingham), Bristol (Clifton) and Birmingham.
The traditional orders should surely also have a presence in London, simply because of the size of the place. In this case there may not be so many under-used churches because of the number of Catholic immigrants, but there must be a few churches that would be suitable.
This leads me to consider the Diocese of Middlesbrough. There may be opportunities in either Hull or Middlesbrough.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool has announced that the Priestly Society of St Peter is to take charge of the Church of St Mary in Warrington. It will not be a parish church, as the parish is to be merged with two others; but it will be for the sole use of the FSSP and will eventually become an exclusively usus extraordinaria church. St Mary's is a very fine example of the later work of E W Pugin, and was completed after his death by his brother Peter Paul Pugin. It is also a large church in a central area of Warrington.
For the FSSP, it will be their first church in England where they will have exclusive use, as the church that they currently use in Reading also has parish Masses, and is used for other purposes. St Mary's is also a far more prestigious church, and seems to have avoided any significant reordering. For example, the pulpit and communion rails are intact, and the forward altar can easily be moved.
It is interesting to note that all three of the churches that have been handed over for exclusive use by traditional orders are in the North West. The first was Sts Peter, Paul and Philomina in New Brighton (Shrewsbury Diocese), which was followed by St Walburge in Preston (Lancaster Diocese), both of these were entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. To these can now be added St Mary in Warrington (Liverpool Archdiocese). A possible reason for this concentration in the North West is that it is a traditionally Catholic part of the country, having more Catholic churches than is required nowadays. If this is the reason, then we might expect the next development to be in the Salford Diocese, which has a very large number of underused churches.
Yesterday evening, Fr Peter Mulholland celebrated a Low Mass for the Feast of the Most Precious Blood at St Charles church in Hull. There were 20 or more in the congregation, which I thought was good for an extremely hot evening. Some of the regular congregation have been asking whether we could have a sung Mass from time to time, and an opportunity will arise on Wednesday 5th August, which is the feast of Dedication of Our Lady of the Snows. Fr Leworthy is booked to be the celebrant at this Mass, and would be very happy for it to be a sung Mass.
In fact we had a little practice, and there are enough people able to sing Missa de Angelis for the ordinary parts to work. We are still looking for someone to sing the propers, and may have to use a simple tone for these. We are also hoping to find enough servers to have acholytes and incense.
So the Mass on 5th August at 6.30pm at St Charles Church in Hull will be a Missa Cantata. I hope it will be well attended.
I noticed on the website of St Wilfrid's Church in York, that Fr Stephen Brown of the Leeds Diocese will be trying his vocation as an Oratorian priest. He will be moving to York in September or October and staying with the Oratorians at the rectory of St Wilfrid's Church until a final decision is made about his future.
Fr Stephen Brown, who is currently chaplain to Bradford University, is well known to supporters of the Latin Mass. He has taken part in all the Margaret Clitherow pilgrimages of recent years, and has been a visitor to St Wilfrid's on other occasions as well. When he was parish priest at Idle near Bradford, he said regular Latin Masses in his parish. I am sure that he will be a welcome addition to the community at York.
A reminder that the next Latin Mass in Hull will be on Wednesday 1st July at 6.30 pm in the church of St Charles, Jarratt Street. If these Wednesday evening Masses continue to be well attended, it may be that a case can be made for regular Sunday Masses in Hull. So please give it your support.
The Latin Mass Society's sixth annual walking pilgrimage to Walsingham will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The dates are Thurs 27th to Sunday 30th August. Pilgrims assemble at Ely on the Thursday evening and reach Walsingham on the Sunday in time for Mass and procession in the afternoon. The walk is about 55 miles and accommodation is provided in schools and halls. The cost is £50 for LMS members and those under 18, which includes the main meals. The cost for other categories can be found on the LMS website, as can further details.
It is also possible to join the pilgrimage for the Sunday only, by simply turning up in Walsingham.
There are reports on the internet that the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has completed the purchase of a former Methodist chapel for its congregation in Torbay. Earlier reports indicated a purchase price of £150,000, which seems good value for a package which includes both the church and a former school. I understand that it is intended to spend at least another £100,000 on works to improve the church and on converting part of the former school to a presbytery. This will not only provide accommodation for the priest, but will give a good sized meeting room for the Ordinariate group to use.
The purchase is evidence that the Ordinariate is not only alive and well, but in expansionary mood, at least in some parts of the country.
There is further good news of Ordinariate expansion in Pembury, near Tonbridge Wells, where a new hall is being completed. This will allow the main building to be used exclusively as a church. Up to now, it has only been a church on Sundays. During the week it has been used for various other purposes, including a pre-school play group.
The results of the British Social Attitudes Survey on religious affiliation among adults in Great Britain have been published. Adults are people aged 18 and over. There is a wealth of material and analysis published, but here are the essentials:
The number of adults who self identify as Catholics has declined from 4.1 million to 4.0 million between the years 1983 and 2014 (a decrease of around 2%). The equivalent figures for the Church of England are 16.5 million and 8.6 million (a decrease of 52%). This has taken place over a period of 30 years, when the overall adult population has increased from 41.3 million to 50.5 million.
Other Christian denominations have shown a modest decline, whilst the number affiliating to non Christian religions has increased significantly. The biggest increase is in those who profess no religion, which almost exactly equates to the decline in the C of E.
During the Summer months, the weekly Sunday Mass in Redcar will be at 6pm and not at 11.30am. This is to enable Mgr Heslin to act as a relief for priests in the area who are taking summer holidays. It is intended that the time will revert to 11.30am in the autumn, but I have no date yet for this change. The regulars will be kept informed, but anyone else thinking of attending the Latin Mass in Redcar is advised to check the time beforehand.