Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Make Friday 1st Aug a day of prayer for Persecuted Christians in the Middle East

The below is copied and pasted from Rorate Caeli. Please, dear readers, disseminate this proposal as widely as possible - no attribution is necessary - not just to trads. See if you can get your parish priest to do something.

In solidarity with our Persecuted Brethren in Iraq and Syria

Friday, August 1, 2014

This was the day chosen by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) for a worldwide day of Public Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for our persecuted brethren in Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East:

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter asks all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates. It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of the Church: “Peter therefore was kept in Prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5)

This feast of our Patron should be an invitation to the faithful to join us in Holy Hours and other fitting prayers to beg the Most Holy Trinity that these members of the Mystical Body may persevere in the faith, and that, like St. Peter, they may be delivered from this terrible persecution. May such a day serve as a reminder to us of the stark contrast that stands between our days of vacation and ease, and their daily struggle for survival as they are killed or exiled from their homes. (Source)

It is a day, we believe, chosen wisely by that Fraternity: we please upon all our Catholic brethren, East and West, attached to the Ordinary Form (Mass of Paul VI) or to the Extraordinary Form (Ancient Mass), whatever their theological bent, to join this worldwide prayer day. Whether you consider yourself a more liberal, conservative, traditional, or just plain Catholic, let us join together in this worldwide Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, together with all the Angels and Saints.

It is also appropriately chosen because Pastors and Chaplains will have 10 days to prepare properly, to contact projects that help Christians in need and collect all kinds of contributions for the Christians of the Middle East (from Aid to the Church in Need to CNEWA, the Syrian and Chaldean Catholic Churches, and other organizations), and, in particular, to add to their bulletins and convey to their congregations how to participate next Sunday, July 27.

Please, spread this initiative around. No need to link to us, or to even mention you saw it here -- just copy, paste, and just let this idea spread around throughout the world, through the web, through social networks, to your family and friends.

Bishops, Pastors, priests, join us. First Fridays are a special day of the month, and nothing better next First Friday, August 1, than for all Catholics around the world to join in Adoration before Our Lord to implore his mercy and kindness for our most neglected brethren in Iraq, Syria, and throughout the Middle East.

More Prayers for Persecuted Christians

Pope Pius IX
Here are two more Prayers for the Church against persecution.

The first is very familiar to those attached to the Traditional Mass: it is part of the Prayers After Low Mass. These were established in 1859 by Pope Pius IX (though not for the whole Church), when the Papal States were under threat. The prayers were added to and made universal by Pope Leo XIII. The prayer below is part of Pius IX's original version, though Pope Leo added the words 'the conversion of sinners, and': in other words, it was originally just for 'the liberty and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church'.

O God, our refuge and our strength, look down in mercy on thy people who cry to thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of St Joseph her spouse, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ our Lord.
R: Amen.


Deus, refúgium nostrum et virtus, pópulum ad te clamántem propítius réspice; et intercedénte gloriósa et immaculáta Virgine Dei Genetríce María, cum beáto Ioseph, eius Sponso, ac beátis Apóstolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et ómnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversióne peccatórum, pro libertáte et exaltatióne sanctæ Matris Ecclésiæ, preces effúndimus, miséricors et benígnus exáudi. Per eúndem Christum Dóminum nostrum.
R: Amen.

(Although it was always permissible to say them in the vernacular, Rome never produced an official vernacular version. This means that there are various vernacular versions in circulation, authorised by different bishops or groups of bishops. Don't panic if you know another translation! The one above is the one used in England.)

Here is another prayer from the Raccolta, the manual of indulgences. It was granted an indulgence in 1891, and again in 1935.

Prayer to Our Lady Help of Christians.

Virgin most powerful, loving helper of the Christian people, how great thanks do we not owe thee for the assistance thou didst give our fathers, who, when they were threatened by the Turkish infidels, invoked thy maternal help by the devout recitation of thy Rosary! From heaven thou didst see their deadly peril; thou didst hear their voices imploring thy compassion; and their humble prayers, enjoined by the great Pope, Saint Pius the Fifth, were acceptable unto thee, and thou camest quickly to deliver them. Grant, dear Mother, that in like manner the prolonged sighs of the holy Bride of Christ in these our days may come to thy throne and engage thy pity; do thou, moved anew to compassion for her, rise once again to deliver her from the many foes who encompass her on every side.

Even now from the four quarters of the earth there arises to thy throne that lovéd prayer, to win thy mercy in these troublous times even as of old. Unhappily our sins hinder, or at least retard, its effect. Wherefore, dear Mother, obtain for us true sorrow for our sins and a firm resolution to face death itself rather than return to our former iniquities; we are sore distressed that, through our fault, thy help, of which we stand in such extreme need, should be denied or come too late.

Rise, then, O Mary, incline thyself to hear the prayers of the whole Catholic world, and beat flat to the ground the pride of those wretched men, who in their insolence blaspheme Almighty God and would destroy His Church, against which, according to the infallible words of Christ, the gates of hell shall never prevail. Let it be seen once more that when thou dost arise to protect the Church, her victory is sure. Amen.


I've put all these prayers on a page on the LMS website.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Prayers for Persecuted Christians

The Arabic letter 'Nun', for Nazarene, is being painted
on Christian homes in Mosul, to mark them out.
At this moment of disaster for the Christians of Mosul, and of the Middle East in general, we should remember to keep them in our prayers, and have Masses said for them.

There are several Votive Masses and Commemorations in the 1962 Missal for suitable intentions ('For the Church', 'Against Persecutors', 'For Peace' and the like). The Collect of one of them was enriched with an indulgence in 1934, for use as a prayer on its own. The indulgence has gone but we can still say the prayer.

Graciously hear the prayers of Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord: that her enemies and all heresies be brought to nought, and that she may serve Thee in perfect security and freedom. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus er erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Christum Dominium nostrum. Amen.

(Translation from the Raccolta, the official handbook of indulgenced prayers.)

The Raccolta also includes this short prayer, taken from the Roman Ritual:

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bring low the enemies of holy Church, we beseech Thee to hear us.

Ut inimicos sanctae Ecclesiae humiliare digneris, te rogamus, audi nos.

A longer prayer, which isn't in my edition of the Raccolta but which was also granted an indulgence in 1934, was issued as a Prayer Card by the Catholic Truth Society with an imprimatur from Cardinal Godfrey in 1962.

Almighty, everlasting God, look with compassion on all those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake.
     Grant them grace to carry their cross with patience in the name of Thy beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
     Let the chalice pass from them is such by Thy holy Will: yet, in all things, may Thy Will be done.
     Grant to those who persecute, light to see the truth, and the grace of mercy and forgiveness, for they know not what they do.
     Mary, Mother of Jesus, Comfort of the Afflicted, help thy children in their time of bitter trial.

O Lord our God, by the sign of Thy holy cross deliver us from our enemies.


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day of Recollection: photos

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We are very blessed to be able to hold events in some of the most beautiful and interesting historic Catholic churches in England and Wales. St Edmund's College, Ware, is a spectacular example.

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The view from the Rood Loft.
The chapel, by A.W. Pugin, was built for an institution which included both a Seminary and a School. (The Seminary later moved to Allen Hall.) The characteristic Pugin Rood Screen is in place, but there is a substantial choir for the clergy and seminarians, and the planned nave was only partially built, and added to later with the 'Galilee chapel'. The overall impression is that the Rood Screen, with its substantial Rood Loft where the choir can use, does not so much screen off the sanctuary, but forms the East wall of the chapel. However, it is still possible to view the ceremonies through the screen, as Pugin had intended the Faithful to do.

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The importance for the Catholic Church in England of Pugin's work in the Gothic style is hinted at in many of the stained glass windows, depicting something you tend not to see in Anglican churches or, for that matter, in modern Catholic art: that is, previous generations of Englishmen engaged in Catholic worship.

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Pugin was demonstrating artistically the continuity of the Catholic Church in England. What our ancestors did, we still do. We aren't embarrassed by the relics of the past we find, by people in Shakespeare exclaiming 'by the Mass!', by Medieval wall paintings coyly whitewashed over. No: there is an organic continuity between the belief and practice of the ancient and medieval Church in these Islands with the Catholic Church here today, and not with the 'Ecclesia Anglicana' which has usurped so many of its titles and taken possession of so many of its buildings.

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This extends beyond the Mass, to other devitions. A small chapel where the relic of St Edmund of Abingdon is kept is decorated with windows and a ceiling painting depicting the history and veneration of the relic - naturally enough. We venerated it yesterday. Catholics who feel uncomfortable about venerating relics need to ask themselves what the sensus fidelium was up to during the long centuries in which this practice was a major part of the Catholic spiritual life.

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The relic of St Edmund is carried to a man ill in bed - lower left panels.


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It is, of course, the same relic in the same reliquary, in the pictures and in use today. St Edmund's relics were preserved thanks to the fact that he died in exile, so his relics were beyond the reach of the agents of King Henry VIII, a man who did not want to be reminded of Archbishops of Canterbury who stood up for the rights of the Church against the Crown.

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The Day of Recollection was well attended, and led by Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP. We had a good number of priests, making possible confessions throughout the day and High Mass and Solemn Vespers. Fr de Malleray was joined by Mgr Gordon Read, the LMS National Chaplain, who was deacon and preached at Mass, and officiated at Benediction, Fr Patrick Hayward, who was subdeacon at Mass, and Fr Matthew Goddard FSSP. We also had three seminarians of the Fraternity helping, and those who know them will spot them in the photos.

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More photos here.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Why 'assisted dying' will erode care for the dying

Matthew Schellhorn has written a very touching short piece on the Assisted Dying Bill, in light of his care for his mother, who died after a long illness.

'I am so glad I did not have to discuss the Assisted Dying Bill with my terminally ill mother. I think that if my mum had lived to know about this Bill it might well have destroyed all our happy experiences. I think she would have been terrified to know that the same doctors so keen to see her enjoying life, even in a limited way, might be perfectly willing to help her to end her life, should she have so chosen. It would have destroyed the relationship of trust to know that there were no boundaries between healthcare professionals and patients. And it would have demoralised her carers, who together worked towards making life comfortable, to think that their efforts might be considered futile. '

Read the whole thing on the Care Not Killing website.
The death of St Joseph

All who live must die. The sentence of death on the human race after the Fall is not only a punishment, it is a bond of solidarity we have with everyone who has gone before, and will come after us. Our Lord willingly submitted to it, though sinless; Our Lady too, according to the Western tradition, suffered death. Our final hours, days, weeks and months is part of our life, and with a protracted illness (when we know we are dying) it can be among the most significant parts. We experience the compassion and love of others in a unique way when we are helpless and suffering. The dying have a unique opportunity to prepare for death, which can include reconciliation with others, leaving a lasting legacy of restored relationships.

What Lord Falconer and his supporters want to do is to shuffle the dying off in a hygenic and out-of-the-way manner, like the 'unwanted' pregnancy or the disabled. The dying are inconvenient, inefficient, and embarrassing. They remind us of our failings of compassion, and they remind us of our mortality. That is exactly why a healthy society needs them.

What is going to happen, if a Bill like this becomes law, is the systematic bullying of the dying into thinking they are doing us a favour by consenting to 'assisted dying', being killed. It has got very little to do with making them comfortable or giving them dignity. It will loom on the horizon as soon as old age becomes accompanied by illness. It will forshorten all life's pleasures, expectations, and relationships. It will take away all sincerity and trust between the dying and the medical profession. It will frequently be done to patients who are not, in any meaningful sense, either dying or suffering. It will become a conveyor belt, with scant concern for dignity or even pain control. If life is not respected, people won't be respected either. That's why the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, according to a woman who accompanied her mother there, resembles 'an execution chamber.'

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mass in St Mary Magdalen's, Wandsworth

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I love this church. St Mary Magdelen in Wandsworth is the church of Fr Martin Edwards, the National Chaplain of the UK Chartres Pilgrims. He has been responsible for much restoration, to its present impressive and artistically coherent state.

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It has a rood screen: this is how rood screens sometimes developed in the Baroque period, essentially just a rood loft (see this from Paris). It is a pity that it lacks the Altar rails which would, I assume, have matched it and continued it. It is the suggestion of a screen between the nave and the sanctuary, not anything actually impeding one's view - not that Rood Screens really do that, outside cathedrals, as I have explained elsewhere.

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The Mass was the occasion for a reunion of the Chartres pilgrims; we sang the Chartres anthem 'Chez nous' after Mass, in French. It was accompanied by a professional choir, sponsored by the Latin Mass Society. This excellent choir accompanies a Missa Cantata once a month.

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The church is actually square: it is very wide and very short. Somehow it doesn't feel like that: the side-aisles feel like additions to the nave, with lower ceilings. It has an impressive decorated ceiling.

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More photos.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Funeral in Oxford

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I was privileged to sing at a funeral a few days ago, in the Oxford Oratory.

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It was low key; but still a Missa Cantata with Gregorian Chant and incense. Singers of the Schola Abelis were led for the occasion by Thomas Neil, who plays the organ for Fr Holden in St Augustine's, Ramsgate.

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The Traditional funeral Mass combines grandeur with simplicity. It neither denies nor wallows in our emotions. I implores God's mercy without presumption, but in humility, persistence, and hope. It is the embodiment of the decorum which more or less everyone, even today, instinctively feels appropriate for the occasion.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

Download the LMS booklet about organising funerals here.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

LMS Mass in Westminster Cathedral: photos

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Yesterday we had our AGM, followed by Mass in Westminster Cathedral.

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For the first time, I was able to take photos from some of the galleries. See, I have the power of bilocation. I pressed the button for both of the above photographs of the Consecration. One was remote-control, however.

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The celebrant was Fr Anthony Glaysher, a parish priest on the Isle of Wight who is the LMS Regional Chaplain for the South West. He also gave an excellent address to the AGM before Mass. The deacon was Fr Young of the Ordinariate, the subdeacon was Fr Patrick Hayward.

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The only trouble with leaving one camera in the gallery was that I was more limited than I otherwise would have been in the lenses I could use from the ground. The above photo was taken with a zoom lenses from miles back in the nave. Westminster Cathedral does, of course, have a very long nave! The photo below was taken with a wide-angle lens.

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More photos.

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