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.


12 Noon. Every Sunday Missa Cantata
York Oratory (
Church of St Wilfrid)
Duncombe Place, York. YO1 7EF

8:15am Monday-Friday
9:15am Saturday

Feast Days (as advertised) usually at 6pm.

Church of St Andrew, Fabian Road, Teesville. TS6 9BA

3pm Sunday.

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes and St Peter Chanel
119 Cottingham Road, Hull. HU5 2DH
7.30pm Every Thursday. Low Mass.


4pm. Every Sunday
York Oratory (
Church of St Wilfrid)
Duncombe Place, York. YO1 7EF

Compline and Vespers (as advertised)
(see link to the Rudgate Singers Calendar below)
St Mary's Church, Bishophill Junior. YO1 6EN

10 December 2013

Statistics for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter

The Priestly Society of St Peter (FSSP), which celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year, has 244 priests, 10 transitional deacons and 153 other seminarians, giving a total membership of 407.  The average age of these members is 37.

The United States is the largest source of vocations, representing 32% of the membership.  This is followed by France with 28% and Germany with 12%.  England and Wales has a smaller, but still significant, representation.  I think that I am correct in saying that this amounts to five priests and eight seminarians.

The Fraternity serves 215 Mass centres worldwide, distributed in 122 dioceses.  Included in the Mass centres are 29 personal parishes, of which 21 are in the USA.

In recent years, the number of ordinations has averaged 12, a figure which is expected to rise due to the expansion of their seminaries.  With this regular influx of young men, the FSSP can look forward to steady growth for the foreseeable future.

Christmas Eve Mass in York

There will be a Latin Mass at 5pm on Christmas Eve at St Wilfrid's Church in York.  It will be a Low Mass.  Please support this Mass if at all possible as it will be the only Latin Christmas Mass in the diocese.

02 December 2013

First Sunday Mass at St Wilfrid's, York

Yesterday,  the First Sunday of Advent, Mass was celebrated in the usus antiquior at the Church of St Wilfrid in York.  The Mass, which was at 5pm and followed at 6pm by Rosary and Benediction, attracted a congregation of about 50.

The celebrant was Fr Daniel Seward, provest of the Oxford Oratory, who was visiting their new foundation in York.  Fr Richard Duffield, also from the Oxford Oratory and who was appointed parish priest at St Wilfrid's a month earlier, was also in attendance.  It is expected that he will be joined by a second member of the community before long, and that a new Oratorian community will be established in York.

From now on, this Sunday evening Latin Mass, followed by devotions, will be a regular feature at St Wilfrid's Church.  Fr Duffield was particularly keen to reintroduce a Sunday evening service at St Wilfrid's Church, which is just across the road from York Minster, and visited by thousands of tourists every year.

The Mass replaces the Sunday Latin Mass that was previously celebrated at the Church of the English Martyrs in York.

28 November 2013

New Era in York

As from the first Sunday of Advent (that is next Sunday 1st December) there will be a Latin Low Mass at 5pm every Sunday in the Church of St Wilfrid in York.  It will be followed by Rosary and Benediction at 6pm.   This replaces the 4pm Mass at the Church of the English Martyrs in York which is now discontinued.

This development follows the arrival of Oratorian fathers at St Wilfrid's Church and the expectation that a permanent Oratory will be erected there.  It puts the Latin Mass in York on a much firmer basis, as we can now be sure of there being a priest each week.

Unfortunately, car parking is much more difficult at St Wilfrid's Church.  There is a small car park opposite the theatre in St Leonards, which I believe costs £3.50 for two hours.  Alternatively, it is possible to use the park and ride service.

At this point, I would like to express gratitude to Fr Bane at English Martyrs' Church for accommodating the Latin Mass in the last few years; and also to our celebrants, Fr David Smith, Fr James Callagan and Fr Strphen Maughan, who have served us very well.

20 November 2013

On Return from Rome

The pilgrimage to Rome was much enjoyed by the thirty odd people who took part.  There are several reports elsewhere on the internet.  I will just say that I m delighted to have had the opportunity to serve Mass in the chapel of the choir at St Peter's Basilica.  I also served a Low Mass for Fr Michael Brown at a side altar in the main part of the basilica.

19 November 2013

Mass in Hull Thurs 21st Nov

It has come to my attention that there is to be a Low Mass in the usus antiquior in Hull on Thursday 21st November.  It will be at 7.00pm at the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Wembley Park Ave. (Postcode HU8 0ND).  The celebrant will be Fr Peter Mulholland.

I also understand that Fr Mulholland celebrates a Latin Mass about every two months, but this is the first one that has come to my attention.

Please attend if you can, and spread the word around.

04 November 2013

All Change at York

Fr Richard Duffield Cong Orat, together with another Oratorian priest, Fr Nicholas Edmunds Smith, has now taken up residence at the rectory of St Wilfrid's Church in York.  He has now had the opportunity to assess how things lie in the parish and give consideration to accommodating the Latin Mass.

Although there are still some formalities to complete, it is almost a certainty that the Mass that has been offered at 4pm each Sunday at the Church of the English Martyrs will be transferred to the Church of St Wilfrid.  The timing will be revised to 5pm and it will be followed by Rosary and Benediction.

These changes will take effect on the first Sunday of Advent  which is 1st December.

17 October 2013

Walsingham Pilgrimage on Video

Below is a video of the recent LMS walking pilgrimage to Walsingham.  About 90 people took part in the 55 mile walk from Ely to Walsingham which took place over the August bank holiday weekend.  The video was filmed and edited by Mike Lord.

Besides the walkers, others joined the pilgrimage at Walsingham, including a group that travelled by coach from London.  In fact, there were about 300 at the final Mass, and many of these walked the Holy Mile, some barefoot, to the ruins of the medieval abbey.
Three priests accompanied the pilgrimage over the three days.  These were Fr Bede Rowe, Fr John Cahill and Fr Michael Rowe (no relation) who had travelled from Australia.  Also, there were several seminarians or young men who were about to be seminarians.

07 October 2013

The cost of Bishops in the Church of England

One good thing about the Church of England is that they publish detailed statistics and financial statements.  They have just published a report (they do this annually) on the expenditure incurred by bishops and archbishops.  Including the two archbishops, there are 113 of these, made up of 44 diocesan and 69 suffragan bishops. 

The total expenditure is £30.2million. this is made up of:

Work of bishops                                £20.0m
Stipends                                              £5.5m
Maintenance of houses and gardens   £4.7m

All these figures are broken down for each of the 113 bishops.  I suppose that compiling the report must have cost a fair bit.  It does seem an incredible amount of money.

05 October 2013

Sung Mass for the Feast of St. Wilfrid. Saturday 12th October. Darlington

If you're within reach of Darlington a week today, you may be interested in coming along. The Mass itself takes place at the end of a locally arranged training day for servers in the EF. The celebrant will be Fr. Michael Brown, a good priest known to many of us, who is also the Northern Chaplain of the LMS. The Rudgate Singers' involvement is in providing all the music for the Mass.

Details are as follows:

Saturday 12th October, 2pm, Church of St. Augustine, Coniscliffe Road, Darlington. DL3 7RG
Sung Mass for the feast of St. Wilfrid.

Gregorian Chant from the Graduale Romanum
Victoria Missa O Quam Gloriosum and motets Ecce Sacerdos Magnus and O Quam Gloriosum.

All Welcome.

Yet Another French Traditional Monastery

The Benedictine Abbey of St Paul at Wisques, which is a few miles from Calais, has suffered from a lack of vocations in recent decades. It had got to the point where the few remaining monks were mostly over the age of 75, and saw little future for the abbey as an independent foundation.  The prospect of the monastery closing down, and being converted for secular use seemed not far away.

However, a much happier solution has been found.  With the approval of the dwindling community, the Bishop of Arras, Bishop Jaeger, invited the monks of Fontgombault to take over the buildings, and send some of their monks to reinvigorate the monastery.  This has now happened, and Wisques has become a daughter house of Fontgombault, reverting to the status it had when first formed.

The abbey at Wisques will adopt the uses and customs of Fontgombault which is a fully traditional monastery.  That means that all Masses and the Office will be in  the ancient Benedictine form.  Wisques is the fifth daughter house to be founded from Fontgombault.  It follows Randol Abbey, Triors Abbey, Gausson Priory in France and Cleer Creek Abbey in the USA.  There are also several other French monasteries use the traditional rites of the Latin Church,  including, most notably, Le Barroux in the very south of France.

Here is an aerial view of the abbey at Wisques.

01 October 2013

The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter

There are now ten young men from England and Wales studying for the priesthood at the seminaries of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter.  Three are at Wigratzbad in Bavaria, and seven are at Denton in the USA.  In addition, there are six priests, already ordained in the Fraternity, who hale from England and Wales.  All bar one of these are currently working abroad.

We must hope and pray that all of these seminarians follow their vocation through to ordination.  If that is the case, by the year 2020, he Fraternity will have sixteen ordained priests originating from England and Wales.  To be strictly accurate, one will have Polish nationality, although he found his vocation in England.

At present, two priests of the Fraternity are serving the faithful in England and Wales.  One is a Frenchman, Fr de Malleray, and he is assisted by Fr Goddard.  These are both based at Reading in Berkshire, and serve missions in the Portsmouth and Northampton Dioceses.  Another priest of the Fraternity,  Fr Emmerson, who is a citizen of the USA, is working in Scotland.

So it could be said in respect of the Fraternity, that England and Wales is a net exporter of priests.  Five of our home produced priests are working overseas, whereas only one from abroad is working here.  As further priests are ordained, it is likely that the balance will be tipped even further in the direction of export.

There are, of course, many reasons for this.  No religious order can set up their stall in a particular place without the permission of the local ordinary.  In practice, this generally means an invitation from the bishop of the diocese.  In England and Wales, no bishop has yet invited a traditional order to take over a parish.  The presence of the FSSP in Reading and Chesham Bois has only chaplaincy status at present.

However, this is not the case in some other countries.  In the last twelve months, the Fraternity have been given the care of five parishes.  One is in Holland, three are in the United States and one is in Australia.  The FSSP already had parishes in Rome, Zurich and Nigeria, as well as several in the USA.

It is to be hoped that, before long, an English bishop will invite the FSSP to take charge of a parish.  One of the major cities would be a natural location, with London being the most obvious place. That would be a way of redressing the outflow of priests from this country.

30 September 2013

2011 Census Results for Scotland

The following statistics caught my eye.  They are extracted from the 2011 census, and concern religious affiliation in Scotland.  Comparison with the 2001 census has been added.

                                     2001             2011   Difference    Percent

Ch of Scotland    2,146,000      1,718,000     -428,000     -19.9%

R Catholic              804,000         841,000      +37,000      +4.6%

Other Christian      347,000         291,000       -56,000     -16.1%

Total Christian    3,297,000      2,850,000     -447,000     -13.6%

Other Religions       77,000         136,000       +59,000    +76.6%

No Religion
or not stated        1,688,000      2,309,000     +621,000    +36.7%

Total Population 5,062,000      5,295,000     +233,000    +4.6%

Expressed as a percentage of the population as a whole, we have the following figures:

                                       2001                  2011                Change

Church of Scotland         42%                  32%                  -10%

R Catholic                       16%                  16%          No change

Other Christian                 7%                     5%                  -2%

All Christians                  65%                  54%                 -11%

Other Religions               1.5%                 2.6%               +1.1%

No Religion
or not stated                     34%                  44%                +10%

The proportion of the Scottish population that describe themselves as being Catholic has remained the same over the ten year period.  That is about 16%.  This is an increase of 37,000 individuals which proportionately exactly reflects the increase in the overall population.

By contrast, the proportion of the Scottish population that describe themselves as belonging to the Church od Scotland has declined by 10 percentage points, from 42% to 32%.  In absolute terms, this is a reduction of 428,000 individuals, or about 20% of their membership.  The decline in other Protestant denominations has been a little less marked at about 16%.

The figures look quite serious for the Church of Scotland, and marginally less so for other Protestant denominations in Scotland.  Whilst Catholics should find nothing in the figures to get too excited about, they can at least be satisfied that they have held their place in Scottish society.

The other religions (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists etc) have collectively shown a spectacular increase in terms of percentage, although they still only represent 2.6% of the total population, a relatively small proportion.

The biggest gainers are the nothingarians, or those who claim no religious affiliation. They now represent about 44% of the population - up from 33% ten years ago.  This is an increase of 621,000 individuals.

20 September 2013

What Pope Francis actually Said

Listening to the 10pm news on Radio 4 last night, I heard a report from Robert Pygott, the BBC's Religious Affairs Correspondent, that suggested that Pope Francis had given an interview in which he had indicated that the Church's teaching on a range of subjects, including abortion, contraception, gay marriage and women priests, was up for discussion, and likely to be changed.  By the morning, the report had been withdrawn, and replaced by something much less sensational.

It seems to be yet another case of the BBC misunderstanding or misrepresenting the news in a way calculated to embarrass the Catholic Church.

So What did the Pope actually say in the interview.  In the absence of reliable translations, it may be best not to comment at the moment.  However, Rorate Caeli has the following extract in translation:

"I think the decision of Pope Benedict to allow wider use of the Tridentine Mass was prudent, and motivated by a desire to help people who have this sensitivity."  He goes on to say, "What is worrying, though, is the risk of ideologisation of the vetus ordo, its exploitation."

How do we interpret this?  The phrase, "people who have this sensitivity" would seem to suggest that Pope Francis thinks that the usus antiquior is really only there for the benefit of a reactionary minority.  This would seem more in line with the concept of an indult rather than the parallel ranking of the two forms of the Roman Rite.  The use of the words idealogisation and exploitation would suggest to me that Pope Francis does not much like the idea campaigning for wider availability of the usus antiquior.

Having noted that the words of Pope Francis are less than enthusiastic about the Latin Mass, something that most people suspected anyway, there does not seem to be anything in the interview which indicate restrictions might be placed on it.

16 September 2013

More Statistics

This blog is viewed in many countries.  The following list gives the top ten countries, measured by page views, during the past week.

United States              120
United Kingdom         103
Poland                         29
Russia                         25
Germany                     21
China                          19
Ukraine                        8
Venezuela                    5
Indonesia                     4
Ireland                         4

Since the blog was established,  there have been 37,878 page views, broken down by country as follows:

United Kingdom         17024
United States                7643
Germany                       2323
Russia                           1780
France                            729
Australia                         384
Canada                          317
Netherlands                    306
China                             296
Indonesia                       261

Other                           6815

I cannot give a breakdown of those listed as "other", but there have been recent visits from Turkey, Japan and Sweden, besides Venezuela Poland and Ukraine mentioned above.  I estimate that "other" must represent at least 40 countries. Certainly our readership covers all continents, and includes a surprising number from communist or former communist countries.

News of the Proposed York Oratory

The newsletter of the Oxford Oratory includes an item about the foundation of an Oratory at St Wilfred's Church in York.  It states that Fr Richard Duffield will be moving to York on Monday 28th October.  He will be accompanied by Fr Nicholas Edmunds-Smith, who will be staying in York for a month.  Thereafter, other priests of the Oxford Oratory will be visiting York from time to time, until such time as a second priest is able to take up permanent residence.

I understand that Bishop Drainey has decided that the regular Sunday Latin Masses will transfer from English Martyrs' Church to St Wilfred's soon afterwards, but we do not yet have a date for this move.  It seems sensible to wait for Fr Duffield to arrive in York before discussing the arrangements, as I am sure that he will want to assess how matters lie in the parish before making any new arrangements.  The time at which the Sunday Mass will take place will be a matter for Fr Duffield to decide, but anyone who has views on the timing of the Mass can leave a comment.

14 September 2013

Six Years since Summorum Pontificum

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and marks the sixth anniversary of the coming into effect of Summorum Pontificum.  It is perhaps a good time to review what has been achieved over this period.

In September 2007, when SP came into effect, there was just one Latin Mass each month in the Diocese of Middlesbrough.  This took place at the church of St Clare of Assisi on the first Friday, and was celebrated by Mgr Heslin. 

Today, we have two regular Sunday Masses, one taking place at the English Marytrs Church in York and the other at the Sacred Heart Church in Redcar.  We also have an annual pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow.

Mgr Heslin, a retired priest of the Birmingham Archdiocese, says the one in Redcar, and the one in York is shared by three priests.  These are Fr Stephen Maughan , Fr James Callaghan OSB and Fr David Smith.  Of all these priests, only Fr Maughan is a priest of the Diocese of Middlesbrough.  Fr Callaghan belongs to the Benedictine community of Ampleforth and Fr Smith is an army chaplain, currently based in Harrogate but incardinated in the Diocese of East Anglia.

So far as Mass provision is concerned, I think that we can say that progress in the Middlesbrough Diocese has been good, especially as we started with very little.  For a relatively small diocese,  Having two regular Masses each Sunday compares well with the national average,  In the 22 dioceses of England and Wales, there are currently about 50 Latin Masses each Sunday, compared with about 25 in 2007.

Where we have not done so well is in the number of priests, particularly diocesan priests, willing and able to celebrate Mass in the usus antiquior.  One of Bishop Drainey's first actions, after being appointed as Bishop of Middlesbrough in 2008, was to ask Fr Maughan to learn the older form of the Mass.  So there is some progress to report on this front.  However, in most dioceses, there would be six or more diocesan priests regularly saying the older Mass.  We desperately need more priests that we can call on, especially as we are expecting Fr Smith to be posted elsewhere within the next couple of years. 

The size of the congregations at Latin Masses is also not all that great in the Middlesbrough Diocese.  In the case of the York Sunday Mass, this may have something to do with the time of day, 4pm not being particularlyly convenient for most people.

12 September 2013

Church Buildings

One blog that I look at fairly frequently is that of Fr Ed Tomlinson, a priest of the Ordinariate based at Pembury in Kent.  He has just written about how much we spend on our churches and how this compares with how much we spend on our homes.  Go over to to read it.

05 September 2013

Entering New Territory

On Tuesday evening, I attended a Solemn Mass for the feast of St Pius X at the church of St Mary in Louth.  Louth is an interesting old market town in the heart of rural Lincolnshire.  It is the sort of place that few people visit because it is so much off the beaten track; but it is well worth a visit, and next time I go, I will find time to explore the place.

Unlike the C of E parish church, which is medieval and huge with a very high spire, the church of St Mary dates from the late nineteenth century and is a relatively modest building.  Nevertheless, I found it very attractive, and it has a modern parish centre next to it.

The Mass was celebrated by Fr Dominic O'Connor from Brigg, also in Lincolnshire, with a permanent deacon from a neighbouring parish as deacon, and Fr John Cahill, who travelled from Leicester, as sub-deacon.  A schola, sang plainchant propers and the congregation was encouraged to join in for the ordinary parts.

I estimate that there were about 40 in the congregation and everything went well.  Refreshments were provided afterwards in the parish centre.

The interesting thing for me was that this particular church would seem a very unlikely place for a solemn Mass.  Not only is it a very small rural parish, but it has a reputation as being modernist and hostile to the traditional Mass. 

However, there is evidently a small group within the parish which does appreciate Latin and the usus antiquior.  They have managed to reintroduce sung plainchant kyrie, Gloria and agnus dei into the regular parish Mass on one Sunday each month.  Now they have gone further and arranged for a solemn Mass, and this is something that they wish to repeat from time to time.

What has happened in Louth seems to me to be a perfect example of the way that Pope Benedict expected summorum pontificum to work.  It is up to any small group to request the usus antiquior and it is the duty of the parish priest to do what he can to provide it.  In this case he felt unable to celebrate it himself, but was happy to allow clergy in from outside who were willing to help.  The group then went on to make the arrangements. 

Let us hope that more groups emerge like the one in Louth.

02 September 2013

Mass in Louth

There is to be a Solemn Mass at the Church of St Mary in Louth, Lincolnshire tomorrow, 3rd September.  It is at 7pm, and is to mark the feast of St Pius X.

Louth is a rather remote spot, seemingly miles from anywhere else of significance. Perhaps this is one reason for making a special effort to attend the Mass.

Louth also has a special interest for me as it is the place where the Pilgrimage of Grace all started.  Maybe I will write more about this at a later date.

29 August 2013


I was surprised to find that several of the people I talked to on the Walsingham pilgrimage were converts.  In a group of 70, one would expect there to be a few, but they seemed to be surprisingly numerous.  Some were very recent converts.

In answer to a question, one lady said to me:  "I don't know, I have only been a Catholic since last Wednesday."

27 August 2013

Back from Walsingham

I took part in the Latin Mass Society's walking pilgrimage to Walsingham over the Bank Holiday weekend.  I should admit that I did not walk the 55 miles from Ely to Walsingham, but was part of the transport team.  One of my roles was to go ahead and prepare for each day's Mass and ensure that everything needed was present.

There were over 70 walkers, including several children.  There was a Solemn Mass each day, with the final one at the shrine in Walsingham.  For me, the climax of the event was the procession along the Holy Mile from the Slipper Chapel to the grounds of the former abbey in the village.  Many, not me, walked this in bare feet, and the rosary was sung in a very joyful manner.

Look out for reports with photographs on other blogs.  You will find something on LMS Chairman and on Chaplain Abroad.  No doubt there will be other reports.

USA Sets an Example

I read in New Liturgical Movement that the Sacred Heart Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit will be holding a four day workshop on the Extraordinary form of the Mass.  Members of the Society of St John Cantius will be presenting the workshop which will be open to senior seminarians, seminary staff and priests of the diocese.

It is interesting to see that seminary staff are specially mentioned.  One presumes that this is to enable the Extraordinary Form to continue to be taught to seminarians in future years.

This follows the example of Bishop Morlino of Maddison, who has expressed the desire that all priests of the diocese should be able to offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

The bishops of the USA, or at least some of them, do seem to be leading the way.  Maybe, one day, the bishops of England and Wales will follow. 

12 August 2013

Franciscans of the Immaculate

Amid all the controversy about the Friars of the Immaculate, I was surprised to come across this video of one of their monks displaying incredible skill with a skateboard.   An even better demonstration has been posted by Fr Zuhlsdorf.  You can see it on his blog  under the date 11th August.

08 August 2013

The Teaching of Latin in Seminaries

Nowadays, Latin is not taught in all seminaries as a matter of course.  At Oscott and Allen Hall, Latin is included in the curriculum, but the amount of time devoted to it is insufficient for students who have not previously studied Latin to grasp any real understanding of the language.  What is given is really only a brief overview.  At Wonersh, no Latin is taught at all, perhaps because the seminary takes the view that simply presenting an overview would be little help to most students.  Students who study at the Venerable English College in Rome do have the opportunity to study Latin in a more systematic way in their own time.

No Latin is taught at Valladolid where many English and Welsh students spend a propaedeutic year, and the demands on teaching time are much less.

Readers may be interested to know that Canon 249 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law states:

The programme of priestly formation is to provide that students, not only are taught their native language, but also to understand Latin well.

In other words, Canon Law requires that seminarians are taught Latin to a good standard.

Sunday 11th August

There will be no Mass in Redcar on Sunday 11th August because Mgr Heslin is away on holiday.  The Mass in York will take place as usual.

03 August 2013


We are frequently presented with pictures of a declining Church, especially in the western world.  This is reflected in various figures such as Mass attendance, baptisms, marriages and numbers of priests.  However, although the trend is undeniable, it is not uniform and there are many instances of individual dioceses going against the trend.

Fr Zuhlsdorf has given some figures for the Diocese of Madison in the USA, which has been headed for the last ten years by Bishop Robert Morlino. Since Bishop Morlino was installed in 2003, the number of seminarians in the diocese has increased from 6 to 35 - nearly a six times as many.  As a bonus, Bishop Morlino likes all his newly ordained priests to be able to celebrate Mass in the forma extraordinaria.

I do not have the comparable figures to hand for the Middlesbrough Diocese, but I think it would be fair to say that in the five years since he took charge of the diocese, Bishop Drainey has put considerable effort into seeking vocations to the priesthood, and has had a good measure of success.  For this, he should be congratulated.

However, if the rate of retirements is to be matched ordinations, many more young men must be attracted to the priesthood.  Maybe Bishop Drainey should take a leaf out of the book of Bishop Morlino and encourage all his ordinands to be trained in the forma extraordinaria.

24 July 2013

York to get Oratory

It has been announced in this week's Catholic Herald that an Oratorian Priest, Fr Richard Duffield will be taking charge of the Church of St Wilfrid in York in October of this year.  This development is not unexpected as rumours have been circulating for some time.

Fr Duffield, who is a native of York, is currently at the Oxford Oratory and was for a short period the provost of the Birmingham Oratory. It is expected that he will bring one or two priests with him to enable the erection of an Oratorian commonity based at St Wilfrid's.  This is a process that is likely to take several months, or possibly years.

The Oratorians, founded by St Philip Neri, favour large city centre churches.  In this respect, the church of St Wilfrid, which is almost opposite the west door of York Minster suits them very well.  Another reason for choosing this church might be the very large presbytery that goes with it.  This will allow a sizable community to develop in York.

Brompton Oratory in London's west end was founded in the middle of the 19th century by Fr Frederick Faber, who is best known for writing many hymns, including Faith of Our Fathers.  At a similar time an even more famous priest, Fr (later Cardinal and now blessed) John Henry Newman, founded the Birmingham Oratory.  The Oxford Oratory was later formed as a daughter house of the Birmingham Oratory and is now independent.

Much more recently, a group of priests has started the process of setting up an Oratory in Manchester, based at the church of St Chad.  This church was briefly used by the Premonstretensians.  The addition of York means that there will eventually be five Oratories in England.

The pleasing thing for the Latin Mass Society is that the Oratorians  have a reputation for quality liturgy, including the use of Latin in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass.

19 July 2013

Sunday 21st July

There will be Low Mass followed by Benediction  at the Church of the English Martyrs in York on Sunday 21st July starting at 4pm.  The celebrant will be Fr David Smith

There will also be a Low Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Redcar at 6pm.  The celebrant will be Mgr John Heslin.

18 July 2013

Formal Liturgy more Attractive to Men

The blog of Fr Ed Tomlinson, the Ordinariate priest who is in charge of the quasi parish of Pembury in Kent, is always worth reading.  In his latest post he reports that five adults are to be confirmed next Sunday and that four teenagers will be confirmed later in the year.

This church used by this quasi parish is little more than a scout hut.  It was built as a church hall in the 1960s with the intention of building the real church alongside.  This never happened.  Until the Ordinariate came into being, it was part of the parish of Paddock Wood with a single Sunday Mass.  During the week the building was used for other purposes. 

The Tonbridge Wells Ordinariate group  is one of the largest in the country with two priests and seventy odd lay people converting in 2011.  Others have joined since.  Finding accommodation for this group was difficult because the existing Catholic Church in Tunbridge Wells already had four Sunday Masses, with no space for an additional Ordinariate one.  The solution adopted was to hand over to the Ordinariate the Mass centre in Pembury, which is several miles away.

This is now shared between the diocesan congregation, formerly part of Paddock Wood parish, and the Ordinariate group, with Fr Tomlinson and his assistant being responsible for both.  On Sundays, the 9.15am Mass is designed to serve the Ordinariate group and the 11am Mass the diocesan congregation, although I believe that there is some mixing of the two.

Having a resident priest has allowed weekday Masses and other devotions.  It has also led to many more activities such as garden parties and a holiday camp for the younger people.  Furthermore, the building is to be extended so that the main part can serve as a church full time.

Although the two communities seem to get on in harmony, the arrival of Fr Tomlinson did produce some changes that were not to the liking of everyone in the former congregation.  For example, cassocks and cottas were reintroduced for the servers and they were expected to wear black shoes rather than trainers.  A choir has been established and some of the folk music was dropped in favour of plainchant.  Some of those who disliked the changes have migrated elsewhere, whereas others have been attracted.

Now that these changes have had time to settle, Fr  Tomlinson has commented on the changes in the congregation, and I think that he is referring to the diocesan part.  Firstly, he says that the average age is generally younger, with many more families attending the Masses.

Secondly, the congregation is more devotional.  I presume that this means that they are more likely to pray, and less likely to talk amongst themselves.

I find the third comment particularly interesting.  Apparently there are many more men, and they are now in the majority.  Infact, I understand that two of the adult confirmands are men who were baptised as Catholics and are now returning to the Church after many years of absence.

11 July 2013

Advanced Notice

Due to the absence of Mgr Heslin, who will be enjoying life on a cruise ship, there will be no Latin Masses at the Sacred Heart Church in Redcar on the following dates:

Sun 4th August and Sun 11th Aug.

Mgr Heslin also tells me that he will be away for sometime in September.  The affected dates will be published when they are known.

Please note that the lead times for publishing information in the Middlesbrough Catholic Voice are such that it is difficult to ensure that information is accurate..  At pesent, we have a standing instruction for them to include notice of the two weekly Masses.  When either of them is cancelled, or the time changed, we will endeavour to give notice on this blog.

09 July 2013

Latin Mass Times in the Diocese of Middlesbrough

Maybe it is time to remind readers of the regular times of forma extraordinaria Masses in the diocese.  We are fortunate in the Diocese of Middlesbrough to have a regular weekly timetable with Masses occuring at the same time each week at our two venues.  The details are:

          Church of the English Martyrs, Dalton Terrace, York.  YO24 4DA    4pm every Sunday

          Church of the Sacred Heart, Lobster Road, Redcar. TS10 1SH           6pm every Sunday

All are Low Masses.  The Masses at York are said according to a rota by Frs Stephen Maughan, James Callaghan OSB and David Smith. The Mass at Redcar is said by Mgr John Heslin.

29 June 2013

Changes in the Curia

Rorate Caeli has today posted an article that includes some speculation that Archbishop Piero Marini may replace Cardinal Canizares Llovera as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Dicipline of the Sacaments.  This is just one of several appointments about which rumours are circulating.  See Rorate Caeli for all the details.

Archbishop Piero Marini (not to be confused with Mgr Guido Marini, the current pontifical master of ceremonies) first came to prominence as the personal secretary to Annibale Bugnini.  Later, he became pontifical master of ceremonies, a post that he held for most of the pontificate of John Paul II and the early years of Benedict XVI's pontificate.  Benedict replaced him as MC by his namesake, Guido Marini, and appointed him (Piero) head of the commission for pontifical eucharistic congreses.

This could  hardly be called a promotion, and it seemed to many that Marini was not happy with the move.  He spent some time writing a book which was critical of the liturgical reforms introduced by Pope Benedict and travelled the world publicising it.  In this, he was assisted by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, who arranged for the book to be launched in England from the throne room of Archbishop's House in Westminster.

It must be emphasised that all we have at present is speculation, although there is some evidence to support some of the other appointments that are being talked about.  However, the promotion of Archbishop Piero Marini to head the Congregationfor Divine Worship would be very controversial.  Marini has been associated with an extreme liberal position on liturgical form for so long that it would seem difficult for him to exercise the balanced view that is required from someone occupying such a high position.

Another reason why the appointment of Piero Marini would seem odd, is that he is already aged 71.  He would be expected to tender his resignation in less than four years of his taking office.  This is hardly enough time for anyone to develop a coherent strategy or make a personal impression, especially someone whose most productive years are over.

15 June 2013

Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Below is a poster sent to me by Fr Cahill concerning a Solemn Mass for the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.  The Mass is at his church in Leicester.  Fr Cahill has been a strong supporter of Latin Mases in the Middlesborough Diocese, taking a leading role at each of the three Margaret Clitherow Pilgrimages.   Please support this Mass if you can.

Unfortunately, I cannot get the poster to upload, but the Mass is at 11am on 29th June in the Church of St Peter in Hinkley Road, near the centre of Leicester.

Sir Edward Leigh

I was pleased to see that Edward Leigh MP has been knighted in the Queens Birthday Honours.  He is now Sir Edward Leigh.

As MP for Gainsborough for 30 years, Edward Leigh has always upheld the Catholic viewpoint in parliament.  I cannot think of another MP currently in parliament with the same record.

01 June 2013

St Margaret Clitherow Mass.

For those of you who weren't there, or would just like a reminder of the day - here's the video of the Mass.

30 May 2013

Corpus Christi

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, to my mind the greatest feast day in the whole Christian calandar.  It is a great pity that the bishops of England and Wales decided in 2006 to transfer the celebration of this feast to the following Sunday, thus in effect depriving it of ita status as a Holyday of Obligation.

In times gone by, it would be the occasion of many outdoor processions, and there was a particularly prominent one in Midsdlesbrough.  When I was at school, it was a holiday as well as a holyday.  Nowadays the feast passes almost unnoticed.  For anyone who is lucky enough to live in a part of the country where there is a Corpus Christi procession, taking part would be a rewarding way of professing the faith in a public way.

24 May 2013

Corpus Christi

This is a reminder that Thursday 30th May is the Feast of Corpus Christi, and until 2006 this was a Holiday of Obligation.  In that year, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales decided to transfer the feast to the following Sunday, a practice that had already been established many European countries.  In my view, this is a great pity, and has resulted in this very important feast being downgraded in the eyes of most people to be the same status as an ordinary Sunday.

With the very few priests that we have in the Middlesbrough Diocese able to celebrate Mass in the forma extraordinaria, it is difficult for us to make any special arrangements for the keeping of this feast on its traditional date.  However, there is an opportunity to celebrate Corpus Christi, albeit on the following Sunday, in a rather special way at New Brighton on the Wirrel.  Here are the details:

Sunday 2nd June

11.30     Sung Mass
12.45     Outdoor Procession
13.30     Benediction  (using the great monstrance)

Followed by social event   -   bring food to share

The great monstrance has to be seen to be believed.  It is six feet tall, and is winched into its position in a throne above the altar.

16 May 2013

Sunday 19th May

As this Sunday is the third Sunday of the month, there will be Benediction after the 4pm Mass at English Martyrs' Church in York.

09 May 2013

Missa Cantata in Darlington

There will a Missa Cantata in Darlington on 15th May.  The details are:

               Place            St Augustine's Church

              Time             7pm

              Date             Wed  15th May

              Setting          Byrd   Mass for Four Voices

Try to get there if yiou can

08 May 2013


The coming of Ascension Day, tomorrow, reminds me that we are still waiting for the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to make a statement transferred Holydays.  One might have expected them to have something to say following their recent meeting in Rome.

The bishops were taken a little bit by surprise when there was widespread opposition to Holydays being transferred.  It was widely rumoured that there was agreement that the matter should be reviewed, but the years pass by with no public statement.  Maybe the bishops need a gentle reminder.


I have had another look at where our readers are located.  In the last week, the top six countries are:

            UK            143
            USA            57
            China          23
            India           16
            Ukraine      12
            Russia         10

The York pilgrimage probably accounts for a spike in UK figures, and USA is generally at or near the top.  However, the showing of China, India, Ukraine and Russia would seem to suggest continuing interest in traditional Catholicism in Asiatic and former communist countries.  All good news for the Church.

More on St Margaret Clitherow

Here is the procession passing through The Shambles , where St Margaret Clitherow lived.

Margaret Clitherow honoured in York

The procession setting out from St Wilfrid's Church

You will see that the statue of St Margaret Clitherow was carried along with a couple of banners, one for the Latin Mass Society and th other for St Margaret Clitherow.  The procession continues off the edge of the picture.

Here is the elevation at the Mass celebrated by Canon Montjean.

27 April 2013

Priest Statistics

Some readers may have been following on other blogs a debate about how the number of ordinations in the last few years compares with earlier times.  It started with the National Office for Vocations publishing some obviously erroneous figures, from which it was asserted that the current numbers are vastly higher than the numbers for the 1930s and 1940s.

After some delving, I found a table of statistics on a website called ukpriest.  This is an official website of the National Vocations Office, so should be reasonably reliable.  Amongst other figures, it gives the number of priests in England and Wales for each decade from 1841 to 2001, with the exception of the year 1891 which is missing.   One presumes that it includes religious as well as secular clergy.  Here is the relevent extract:

Year                    Priests                     Change

1841                      561     
1851                      826                         +265
1861                    1165                         +339
1871                    1551                         +386
1881                    2498                         +947
1901                    2856                         +358
1911                    3766                         +910
1921                    3989                         +223
1931                    4484                         +495
1941                    5838                       +1354
1951                    6729                         +890
1961                    7465                         +737
1971                    7618                         +153
1981                    7016                         - 602
1991                    6261                         -755
2001                    5600                         -661

These are numbers of priests, so to get to ordinations, we would need to know the number of priests who die or leave the priesthood each decade.  I do not have this information.  However, the trend is very obvious.  The number of priests increases each decade until 1971after which it decreaseseach decade.

Analysis can only be as good as the raw data, and I have some suspicions about some of the figures.  Can anyone explain th big increases indicated in 1881, 1911 and 1941?

16 April 2013

Do we really have a Shortage of Priests

One thing that struck me last week when I was at the priest and server training conference in Leicester was the number of prospective priests amongst the servers.  Included in the twenty or so laymen who had enrolled for the purpose of learning to serve, or of improving their serving skills, there were at least four who were intending to pursue their vocation to the priesthood.  Most of these had made applications to their bishops or diocesan directors of vocations, and been advised to go away for a period and gain a little experience of the world before resubmitting an application.

Thinking back over earlier training conferences, I recall that in each of the last four years there have been a significant number of young men who were quite open about their intention to pursue a priestly vocation.  Some are now in seminaries, including those of the traditional societies, and others are still waiting to be accepted.

Meeting so many of these prospective priests, one cannot help but feel that in future decades, those parishes lucky enough to have a resident priest will be in good hands.  This view tends to be reinforced whenever one meets current seminarians or indeed newly ordained priests.  The quality seems pretty good.

The downside is that, however one looks at the statistics, the number of active priests in England and Wales is likely to continue to decline for another twenty years.  The next ten years is fairly predictable as most of the priests that will be ordained in this period are already in seminary or in a process of discerning their vocation.  For the situation to improve after that, there would have to be fairly major upturn in the number of vocations.  There are some signs that this is already happening in a minor way.

A factor that is rarely taken into consideration when predicting the numbers of future priests is the selection process.  Of course we will never know what criteria bishops use when deciding whether to select or reject a particular candidate.  However, my impression is that many of the young men that I have seen taking part in LMS training conferences would not have passed the selection process a decade ago.  They would have been considered over pious, too traditional, or possibly branded as insufficiently mature.  Fortunately these views are changing.

So this leads me to wonder: Could it be that the shortage of priests need not have happened?  Is it, at least in part, due to the rejection of many candidates who would have made excellent priests?

LMS Chairman: More from the Ratcliffe Conference

LMS Chairman: More from the Ratcliffe Conference

St Margaret Clitherow Pilgrimage

It is less than three weeks to this pilgrimage, so get the date entered into your diary.  The Rudgate Singers will again be providing the musical settings for both Mass and Benediction, and I understand that they are preparing something rather special,

15 April 2013

What's in a Name

In his address to participants at the recent priest and server training conference at Ratcliffe College, Bishop McMahon made reference to the practice of referring to the traditional Mass.  He suggested that the regular use of this expression by the Latin Mass Society was the cause of much irritation to our opponents, and that the use of an alternative expression might improve our public relations.

He accpted that in one sense of the word, the sense of having a long past, the use was fully justified.  However, he also argued that there was another sense of the word, whereby the novus ordo Mass also had claim to the description traditional.  I think he was referring to the fact that the modern Mass is the latest stage in a long development of the Mass, and therefore part of the living tradition.  Of course, there is plenty of scope for argument over the meaning of words and the appropriateness of their use an any particular circumstance, but Bishop McMahon certainly had a point.  This is that the frequent use of the this particular word by the Latin Mass Society serves as a rallying cry for our opponents.  He suggested that we come up with an alternative.

What might this alternative be?  Here are some possibilities:-

The Tridentine Mass,
The Gregorian Mass,
The Pian Mass,
The Mass of Pius V,
The Mass of Pope John XXIII
The Johanine Mass
The 1962 Mass
The Mass according to the Missal of 1962,
The Old Mass
The older form of Mass,
The Traditional Latin Mass or TLM,
The usus antiquior,
The Forma Extraordinaria,
The Extraordinary Form.

All of these have some disadvantages, and many of them cause irritation to our opponents.  Some of them, such as the extraordinary form, cause irritation to me.  If I had to choose one, I would go for Tridentine Mass, because it has been used for a long time, and most people would know what you are talking about.  I would welcome a debate on the subject, so please send in your comments. 


For the first time, I have seen stastics on the page views of this blog.  The numbers of page views during the past week, and analysed by country, are set out below:-

United States            128
United Kingdom        77
Russia                        56
Germany                    26
France                        11
Hong Kong                  9
Ukraine                        7
Ireland                         3
Australia                      2
China                           2

It comes as a very great surprise to me that Russia features so near the top of the list and that Ukraine and China are there at all.  One might have expected more interest from Ireland and Australia.  As someone who has an interest in statistics, I am aware that small samples, or samples taken over a relatively short period of time are not reliable, so I shall continue to monitor the figures to get a better picture.

It is also interesting that many of the visits are as a result of the link with Fr Brown's blog, Forrest Murmurs.

14 April 2013

Ratcliffe Training Conference

More pictures to follow soon....

13 April 2013

Ratcliffe College

I have just returned from the Latin Mass Society's Priest and Server Training Conference, which was held at Ratcliffe College in Leicestershire last week.  A total of about 60 people attended part or all of the conference, which extended over five days.

The main purpose of the conference was to provide training to both priests and servers in the older form of the Mass.  On this occasion, the first two sessions, on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, were given over to the teaching of basic Latin.  Whilst this could only be a very brief introduction to the subject, it proved useful to those who had little or no knowledge of ecclesiastical Latin.

For the main part of the conference (Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and Thurdsday), the participants were divided into small groups, and tuition was provided to suit the needs of each group.  There were three groups specifically for priests, two covering Low Mass and one Missa Cantata.  For the servers, there were also three groups covering Low Mass and Missa Cantata.  A further group, which included both priests and servers, studied Missa Solemnis.

Each day, there was a programme of liturgies, which included Lauds, the conference Mass, Vespers, Benediction and Compline.  In addition there were several private Masses early each morning.  With such a range of liturgies, both priests and servers had opportunities to put what they had learned into practice.

The highlight of the conference came at the beginning of the week.  Bishop Malcolm McMahon kindly agreed to celebrate the opening Mass on the Monday, which happened to be the transferred feast of the Annunciation.  After the Pontifical Mass, Bishop McMahon stayed for a meal and then addressed all the participants.  The theme of his address was an attempt to heal the rift that exists in the Church between supporters of the usus antiquior and those who see no special value in it.  One suggestion that he made was that enthusiasts for the extraordinary form should stop describing it as the traditional Mass, as this description was a source of great irritation to many people.  I will deal with this issue in a later post.

Besides home based priests, the conference attracted one priest from South Africa, three from Poland and three from Scotland.  It was also very pleasing to discover that, amongst the servers, there were four that were intending to follow a priestly vocation.

27 March 2013

Easter Triduum

The Easter Triduum will be celebrated in the full traditional form at Notre Dame Chapel, Leeds University Chaplaincy, St Marks Avenue, Leeds.

7.30pm          Maunday Thursday        Mass of the Last Supper
3pm               Good Friday                  Liturgy of the Passion
7.30pm          Holy Saturday                Easter Vigil and Mass

There is convenient parking outside the chaplaincy, which is just to the north of the city centre.

26 March 2013

A Recommendation

In recent years, I have followed many blogs.  I find with most of them that they may include very interesting information for a while, and then tail off.  One that I have found to be consistently good for a long time now is Protect the Pope.  It contains original and well researched material which is always presented concisely.

I recommend it to you.

22 March 2013

Priest and Server Training

So far, nine priests, one  transitional deacon, one prospective permanent deacon and fourteen laymen have booked in to join the training conference that will take place from 8th to 12th April at Ratcliffe college in Leicestershire.  In addition, there will be in attendence seven tutors, five of whom will be priests, and a choir of about sixteen.  That is a total of forty eight and bookings are still coming in.

On the opening day, the transferred feast of the Annunciation, Bishop Malcolm McMahon will be celebrating a pontifical solemn Mass.  On subsequent days, there will be a sung Mass at 11am. There will also be daily lauds, vespers and compline.

The music is being provided by the Rudgate Singers and will include both plainsong and polyphony.

16 March 2013

Just for the Sake of Comparison

On 16th March 2012, Rowan Williams announced his intention to retire as Archbishop of Canterbury, the retirement taking efect 290 days later on 31st December.  On 4th February 2013, Justin Welby took up office as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, and will be enthroned on 21st March.  The whole process from the announcement of retirement to enthronement of the new Archbishop will take a total of 370 days.

Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement on 11th February 2013 and retired on 28th February.  Pope Francis was elected 13 days later and will be enthroned on on 19th March, the whole process taking 36 days.

So the complete sequence of events from resignation to enthronement takes more than 10 times as long in the Church of England as it does with the Roman Church.  This difference is also marked if one compares the time from resignation to enthronement.  In the Roman case, it has taken 13 days compared with 80 days in the Church of England.

There is much in the press about the need for reform in the Roman Curia; but, when it comes to organising elections, they seem to be pretty slick.

13 March 2013

Habemus Papam

Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio from Buenes Aires is now Pope Francis I.

God bless our Pope.

11 March 2013

Consultation over York Parishes

The Diocese of Middlesbrough has engaged the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University to conduct consultation about the future shape of parishes in York.  The diocese forsees that the number of priests serving the Catholic population of York may have to reduce to four, or possibly three, and is considering how these can best be deployed.

One aspect of this is the affect of any proposed reorganisation is the affect on the provision of Latin Masses in the city.   I understand that Bishop Drainey wishes these Masses to continue, for which we must be grateful.  However, with a declining number of priests, the bishop is going to find this increasingly difficult.

The solution that I would advocate is to invite one of the Societies of Apostolic Life that specialises in training priests to celebrate Mass in the older form, to establish a base in the city.  I am talking of either the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest or the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter.  Both these societies  are continuing to attract good numbers of vocations and are esxpanding.  They would, of course, require the use of a presbytery and of one of the churches in York.  With fewer diocesan priests, this should be possible.

Any readers with an interest in the provision of Latin Masses in York are invited to send their thoughts to Dr Kath Smith who is conducting the consultation.

The contact details are:-
Dr Kath Smith
Centre for Catholic Studies
Durham University.


Please ensure that your comments are headed:


07 March 2013

Progress in Westminster Diocese

The Latin Mass Society has announced that regular weekly Masses in the Extraordinary Form are to be offered at two new venues in the Westminster Archdiocese.  These are the Church of St Bartholomew in St Albans, and the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Willesden in north west London.

In both cases, the parish priest is having to learn to celebrate Mass in the older form, so it may be a few months before these Masses begin. 

These two iniatives in the Westminster Archdiocese have come about following a series of meetings at which the LMS has made representations to Bishop Hopes for better provision of  traditional Masses in the diocese.  Currently, Sunday Masses are offered in London at the Brompton Oratory and at Spanish Place, but there is no provision in the west or the north west of our capital city.  Hertfordshire, which is also part of the Westminster Diocese, has been having traditional Sunday Masses, although these have become problematical following the death of Fr Davernport, on whom much has depended.

Provision of Latin Masses in the Westminster Archdiocese, which is by far the biggest diocese in England and Wales, has been poor up to now, with none at all in the densely populated suburban areas.  The establishment of four centres where Sunday Masses will be offered regularly is a great improvement, although it will still compare unfavourably with the very much smaller Middlesbrough, where we have two. 

04 March 2013

BBC is Biassed

No doubt many readers have been infuriated by the coverage given by the BBC in recent days and weeks about the Catholic Church, the resignation of Pope Emeritus Benedict, the prospective conclave etc.  In my view, the reporting has been very biassed.  The BBC's religious affairs correspondent, Robert Pigott, has not only shown bias, but also ignorance about Catholic matters.  Perhaps even worse have been the features on the Today Programme and on Sunday, where they only seem to want to interview dissenters and critics of the Catholic Church.

I would urge anyone who feels strongly about this bias to make a formal complaint.  This can be done very easily through the BBC website.  By searching for BBC Complaints, the relevant page can be found easily, aqnd it is simplicity itself to file a complaint.  However, for a complaint to be noticed, it needs to be specific and you should quote the programme and its date, as well as stating the complaint clearly.

01 March 2013

Sede Vacante

Now that His Holiness the Pope Emeritus is safely at Castel Gandolfo, I am sure that all our readers would like to wish him a long, peaceful and happy retirement.  Many posts are being made on the internet and elsewhere that review the achievements and disappointments of his papacy.  Some include pictures of Benedict XVI at important occasions duting the last eight years.

The thing that has struck me about all these pictures is that, without exception, they show a smiling pope.  It seems that, despite all the difficulties that he has had to endure,  Benedict remained cheerful and serene throughout.  I, for one, would be very happy if this is how he is remembered.

22 February 2013

Solemn High Mass for the Election of a Pope

At 2pm on Saturday 2nd March, Mgr Gordon Read, National Chaplain to the LMS, will be celebrating a Solemn Mass in Westminster Cathedral.  It will be the Votive Mass, pro eligendo Summo Pontifice (for the election of a Pope).

Although a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on this date has been planned for some time, the resignation and Pope Benedict, and the expected calling of a conclave for later in March, has given the event added significance.  Furthermore, I understand that there is a possibility that the Mass will be televised, and therefore reach a wider, possibly worldwide, audience.  The Latin Mass Society will do all that it can to make this a memorable event.

Please consider attending this Mass if it is at all possible.

14 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI

I liked Fr Brown,s post over at Forest Murmurs concerning the resignation of Pope Benedict.  There is a video showing 3mins and 42secs of applause.  Incidentally Bishop Roche features quite promently.

Although this is a very impressive declaration of affection for our Pope, Fr Brown quotes from Spirit of the Liturgy where Benedict suggests that applause reduces liturgy to a kind of religious entertainment.  I am glad that Benedict got so much applause, but it would have been better if it was not during Mass.

04 February 2013

Petition to give Richard III a Catholic funeral - Please sign it.

The link can be found here.

Please also consider writing to Leicester Cathedral to protest the appalling prospect of giving Richard III a Protestant funeral at:

Revd Barry Naylor
Acting Dean
Leicester Cathedral
St Martins House
7 Peacock Lane
LE1 5PZ.

Or you can e-mail:

Same Sex Marriage

I was interested to note that two of the twenty chairmen, or former chairmen, of Conservative Associations that delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street to protest at the Prime Minister's insistance on promoting Same Sex Marriage are from the area of the Middlesbrough Diocese.

The associations are:-
Scarborough and Malton and
Thirsk and Whitby.

The only pity is that there were not a few more.

25 January 2013

Redefinition of Marriage

It is becoming a critical time in the government's proposal for the redefinition of marriage.  On 5th February, there will be the first vote on the matter in the House of Commons.  It would be ideal if representations to MPs were submitted before this time.  This is best done by writing to your MP at the House of Ciommons.  Alternatively an e-mail can be sent, but may have less impact.

Details of who your MP is, and how to get in touch, can be found on the House of Commons website.

In addition, if you have not already done so, be sure to sign the on line petition  at Coalition for Marriage.  It can easily be found on line.

19 January 2013

Server Training

There will be a day of server training starting at 10.30am on Saturday 16th February at the University Chaplaincy in Leeds.  Boys and men are invited to to attend and are asked to bring their own packed lunch.

Tuition will be tailored to individual requirements and will be suitable for all levels of experience, including beginners.

The day will end with Mass at 4pm.

Anyone interested should contact Paul Waddington.

St Margaret Clitherow

This is advanced notice that this year's polgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow will take place on Saturday 4th May.  In the past, the event has taken place around 26th March, the feast day of St Margaret Clitherow, but this year, that would be uncomfortably close to Palm Sunday.

The format will be similar to previous years, with a Solemn Mass in St Wilfrid's Church, York at 1.30pm followed by a procession through the city, and ending with Benediction and veneration of the relic at English Martyrs Church.

Redefinition of Marriage

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child is organising a series of meetings around the country to discuss the government's proposals concerning the redefinition of marriage to include same sex partners.  There will be two in the Middlesbrough Diocese:-

Wed 6th Feb  6.30 to 9.15pm  
St Andrew's Church, Bonfield Road,Teesville, Middlesbrough  TS6 9BA

Fri 8th Feb   11am to 2.30pm
Sacred Heart Church, Southcoates Lane, Hull  HU9 3AP

There are other meetings in Leeds and Sheffield.

Anyone wishing to attend must book in, as refreshments will be provided.

Booking can either be at the local church, or by telephoning Saul Smeaton on 020 7820 3126.

12 January 2013

Sunday Masses in Redcar

Masses in the usus antiquior have been resumed in the northern part of the diocese.  Mgr Heslin is now saying Sunday Masses at 6pm in Redcar.  The address is:-

Church of the Sacred Heart
Lobster Road
TS10 1SH

Please note that, although this is a regular Mass, Mgr Heslin will be away for most of the month of February, and consequently there will be no Mass on 10th, 17th and 24th February.

No further Masses are expected to take place at the church of St Alphonsus at North Ormesby in Middlesbrouygh.

09 January 2013

Bishop Robert Morlino

In researching the last two posts, I came across some information which is worth posting.  It concerns Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison in the USA.

Bishop Morlino insists that every one of his seminarians receives tuition in celebrating Mass in the usus antiquior.  He is taking a somewhat stiffer position than is being asked for by the Pope, or indeed by anyone I know in this country.  The Pope is merely asking that seminarians are given the opportunity to learn the older form, whereas Bishop Morlino is insisting that they become competent in it.  Let us look at the consequences.

The Diocese of Madison has no less than 35 seminarians studying for the priesthood.  This compares with, I believe, four in the Diocese of Middlesbrough.  That is more than eight times as many.  Surely there is a lesson there!

More on Oscott

It should be noted that the students at Oscott merely asked for Mass in the usus antiquior to be celebrated from time to time in their seminary.  They did not ask, as far as we know, to be taught how to celebrate Mass in that form.  However, this is something that they would have been perfectly justified in asking.

Clause 21 of universae ecclesiae, the document issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to clarify various issues arising out of the Holy Father's motu proprio, summorum pontificum, states the following:-

Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria.  This applies to seminarians, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

There are two points made here. 

Firstly, bishops are requested to provide all clergy with the option of learning the older form of the Mass.

Secondly, if there are pastoral needs, bishops should provide seminarians with tuition in Latin, and the option of studying the older form of the Mass.

It seems that, through the rector of Oscott College, the bishops of the Midlands and the North are, not only saying that the students cannot have Mass in the older form at their college, but also that they are not prepared to to assist in their acquiring the skills necessary to celebrate the older form when they are ordained.

The action taken in both these cases is contrary to the expressed wished of the Holy Father.

08 January 2013

The Teaching of the Usus Antiquior in Seminaries

It has recently come to light that a group of students at Oscott College, the seminary that serves most of the dioceses of the Midlands and the North of England, made a formal request for Mass to be celebrated at least occasionally in the college in the usus antiquior.  It seems that this request was made back in February 2012.  The request resulted in the matter being discussed later at a meeting which included members of the seminary staff and an advisory group of bishops.

The upshot of this meeting was a decision that the priority for Oscott College should be to train seminarians in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, and that the Extraordinary Form was not to be celebrated at Oscott, although seminarians were free to experience the Extraordinary Form where it is provided in the Archdiocese and elsewhere.

It seems that, as a matter of policy, students of Oscott College are not being allowed to "experience" the older form of the Mass at at the seminary, but instead are being allowed to seek it out elsewhere in their own free time.

Since the closure of Ushaw College, Oscott College is where most students for the priesthood destined to serve in the Middlesbrough Diocese can expect to be trained.  Consequently, this is a matter of direct interest to the faithful of the Middlesbrough Diocese.