28 July 2015
I have been informed that there will be a sung Requiem Mass in the traditional form for Sir Thomas Markenfield and three other members of the Markenfield family, who were forced into exile following the Rising of the North in 1569. The Mass will take place in the chapel of Markenfield Hall at 11am on Saturday 22nd August, and will be celebrated by Fr Ronald Creighton-Jobe Cong Orat with monks from Ampleforth Abbey providing the choir. Markenfield Hall is about three miles south of Ripon on the A61. The entrance, which is on the west side of the road, is very inconspicuous and easy to miss.
24 July 2015
I am very proud to be able to report that no less than three old boys of the John Fisher School (my old school) have been ordained to the sacred priesthood in the last few weeks. Frs Mark Higgins and Matthew O'Gorman were ordained in Southwark Cathedral last Saturday and Fr James Cadman was ordained a few weeks ago. I am also aware of another old boy of JFS who is studying for the priesthood at Wonersh. This continues a long tradition of the John Fisher School producing candidates for the priesthood, which has included two who became bishops. I met Fr Mark Higgins (then Deacon Higgins) at the priests' training conference at Prior Park earlier this year, where he learned how to celebrate the traditional Mass. It was his intention that his first three Masses would be Latin Masses. He struck me as someone who would become an excellent priest. I don't know the others, but I have read an excellent report about Fr O'Gorman. May the John Fisher School continue its tradition of fostering priestly vocations. For those who don't know the John Fisher School (it is the only school with that name) it is in Purley in Surrey.
A reminder that there will be a Sung Mass at the Church of St Charles in Hull at 6.30pm on Wednesday 5th August, the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows. The celebrant will be Fr Simon Leworthy. Due to popular demand, this Mass will be a Missa Cantata, which is a new venture for this series of Masses. After the July Mass, a few people stayed behind for a short practice and we managed not too badly. I am hoping that there will be someone who can sing the propers according to the liber. If not we will have to be content with a simple tone. Anyone who can help with the singing is asked to be in the church for 6pm so that there can be a practice.
08 July 2015
Following yesterday's post about the shortage of priests in Ireland, and the suggestion that it is largely a self inflicted problem, I would like to suggest that the same applies, perhaps to a lesser extent, in England an Wales. Over the last 30 years I have got to know of several cases where young men have decided to leave seminary, because their understanding of the priestly life is completely at odds with the training that they were receiving. I know of many more who experienced the same feelings, but decided to keep their heads down during the seminary years in the hope that matters would improve once they were ordained. I know of yet more who were refused entry to seminaries because they were considered too traditional. It is difficult to estimate how many candidates who would have made good priests have either been refused entry to a seminary, or been so discouraged during their time at seminary, that their vocations have been lost - certainly it is measured in hundreds over 30 years in England and Wales. I am sure that almost all of these would be described as being at the conservative end of the spectrum. The conclusion must be that if there are to be enough priests in the Church to meet the needs of future generations, the more traditional candidates can no longer be ignored.
04 July 2015
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.
02 July 2015
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.