Saturday, November 21, 2009

Missa Cantata in St Anthony of Padua, Headington

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Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP sang Mass for the LMS for the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, in the church of St Anthony of Padua. We were the guests of Fr Aldo Tapparo, the parish priest, who sat in the nave. Fr Leworthy is wearing one of Fr Tapparo's beautiful chasubles.
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The Mass was accompanied by the Schola Abelis (including me), who sang not only the chant propers but the Missa de Beata Virgine by Josquin des Pres. A video clip can be seen on the Schola's blog.
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The church is one of the most modern in Oxford (of which Headington is a suburb). It used to be dominated by pine but more recently it has been redecorated in the pastel colours you can see in the photos. Although the church was clearly not designed with the traditional liturgy in mind, it does not impede it either - there is plenty of space in front of the altar, for example, and it is possible for people to kneel in a row on a step for communion. The church also boasts a pipe organ.
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More photos here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FIUV Conference on Sunday: Mass in SS Trinita

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On Sunday 15th delegates of the FIUV conference attended Mass at the church of the personal parish given to the Fraternity of St Peter, SS Trinita dei Pellegrini, as recently as May 2008. This is a beautiful church in central Rome, which has clearly suffered from some neglect over the years but is now home to a thriving community again.
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The Fraternity priests celebrated a Solemn Mass with a polyphonic choir; with the FIUV delegates the church was nearly full. The celebrant was Fr Joseph Kramer FSSP, the parish priest; the deacon was Fr Brendan Gerrard FSSP.
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In addition to the three sacred ministers, there were three priests in choir.
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Interestingly, the servers, and members of a sodality robed in red who sat in the nave, kissed a small icon after the Kiss of Peace. They also used a houseling cloth at communion. These customs, which remind me of medieval English customs, in fact survive in a number of places on the Continent.
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The vibrancy of the community was very evident. As soon as Solemn Mass was over a priest came out to celebrate a Low Mass at one of the side chapels, a group of the faithful going to assist - clearly for some particular reason. A group of nuns attended the Mass, and the confessional near where I was sitting was in great demand. After Mass was over the Italian families with their small children chatted in the piazza outside the church.
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It is wonderful to see the restoration of tradition at every level in Rome, from the Monsignori's early morning private Masses in the crypt of St Peter's to the local families attending the FSSP church.
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Una Voce conference in Rome

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I am now back from Rome, where I attended the biannual meeting of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, FIUV, the supra-national federation of groups like the Latin Mass Society, of which the LMS is a member.
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The 'business' part of the meeting took place on the afternoon of Saturday 13th, and for the first time FIUV was able to organise a Mass for delegates that morning in St Peter's Basilica. It was scheduled for the chapel of St Joseph, but for various reasons we ended up having it in the Chapel of the Presentation of Our Lady, under whose altar lies the mortal remains of St Pius X - it is often called the 'chapel of St Pius X'. Although there are fewer seats in this chapel (which we overflowed), the symbolism was very pleasing.
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The celebrant was Monsignor Collino, Maestro of the Julian Choir at St Peter's, who successfully resisted an attempt to replace Latin Vespers in St Peter's with the vernacular.
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Near the tomb of St Pius X is the monument to the Stuarts; King Henry IX, the younger brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie, being a Cardinal. It always gives me a jolt to see the Royal Coat of Arms in St Peter's; I associate it so much with Anglican churches and the pomp of the Anglican state. It is good to be reminded of Britain's Catholic identity.
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After lunch, we had our business meeting, at which the President of FIUV, Leo Darroch (an LMS member and honorary Vice President) was unanimously re-elected for another two-year term of office.
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I was myself co-opted onto FIUV's Council at the new Council's meeting later in the afternoon. This is FIUV's equivalent of a governing committee, which looks after things between meetings. The Council's discussions take place mainly by email, since its members are naturally from all over the world.
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One of the most heartening things announced at the meeting was that, since the previous meeting two years ago FIUV has accepted requests for membership by no fewer than six new associations: from Chile, Peru, Mexico, Columbia, Malta and Ireland. Each country can have up to three FIUV affiliates, but most of these associations represent countries which have never had associations before. It is particularly interesting to see the Spanish-speaking world coming to the table, and a great deal of work from FIUV's Spanish members has gone into this. FIUV now has members from 31 different countries, including India, Russia, and Nigeria.

A important part of the meeting is the opportunity to meet other delegates. I was particularly pleased to have made such disparate contacts as with delegates from New Zealand, Mexico and Spain, America, Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fr John Berg, Superior General of the FSSP, in Reading

It was a great honour to assist at Mass offered yesterday, Remembrance Sunday, by Fr John Berg, and to hear him address the faithful after Mass and answer their questions about the Reading apostolate and the Fraternity of St Peter's work around the world.
Fr Berg spoke of his recent audience with the Holy Father. Of all the many bishops around the world, Fr Berg said the bishop with the best - indeed, a complete - understanding of and sympathy with the Fraternity, its mission and its self-understanding, is the Holy Father himself.
In the last few days Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP has taken possession of a house close to St William of York, where the FSSP's English apostolate is based. This house has been purchased outright thanks to the generosity of the faithful; it is the first house purchased by the Fraternity in the UK (they own a house in Edinburgh which was given to them by bequest). Work will soon begin on the necessary redecorations, and thereafter an extension is planned. This is a big step, and shows the committment of both the Fraternity and the Reading faithful to making the apostolate permanent and a success.
Fr Berg answered questions and then chatted with the faithful informally an the church hall.

More photos can be seen here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Traditional Confirmations at Spanish Place

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Bishop Stack examines the confirmands in the Lady Chapel.

Bishop Stack, an auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Westminster, today confirmed thirty two candidates in the glorious church of St James, Spanish Place.
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The service was extremely well attended. Bishop Stack was assisted by Fr Tim Finnigan, of the 'Hermeneutic of Continuity', and Fr Andrew Southwell. Fr Jason Jones, custodian of the National Shrine of Wales, which I visited just a few weeks ago, was accompanying two candidates from Menevia, one of whom was at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School.
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It was a truly joyful occasion. After the confirmations, Bishop Stack led Pontifical Benediction. After that the candidates and their sponsors went down to the basement for refreshments, and I was able to thank Bishop Stack for his help.
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The Latin Mass Society has been organising these confirmation services for some years now; their development was an important milestone in that it makes the point that the Traditional Mass is not just for the old, but also for the young and children, and that those 'attached to the former liturgical traditions' have a right to all the sacraments according to the 1962 books, not just Mass. The Archdiocese of Westminster has been hosting these services, and providing the bishops, which serve the whole of England and Wales.
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Bishop Stack also did the confirmations last year; other auxiliary bishops who have done them include Bishop Alan Hopes and Bishop Bernard Longley, now the Archbishop of Birmingham.
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Thanks are due to Bishop Stack, Fr Southwell and Fr Finnigan, and to everyone at Spanish Place. St James's is a superb church, and it is good to see how well looked after it is. Everything is clean and in good repair; all of the very plentiful brassware was glowing. Here is the sanctuary.
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There are more photographs here.

Recent Masses

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All Saints fell less Sunday, and on Monday we had All Souls at the Oratory, accompanied by a particularly large group from the Schola Abelis. Fr Dominic Jacob was the celebrant, in a rather fine black chasuble, Fr Joseph Welch preached, and Fr Anton Webb join the singers. The church doesn't look very full, but there were more than sixty people assisting at Mass. See more photos here.

On Friday evening we had as usual a First Friday Mass at SS Gregory & Augustine; since there was no feast of the day we had a Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart. Fr Saward preached a very edifying sermon on the Sacred Heart and the priesthood, which can be seen in this video. It deserves a wider audience.

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More photos of the Sacred Heart Mass can be seen here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I'm not completely convinced this is a good idea, but I've been persuaded to give it a go.

So here goes: 'Follow me on Twitter!'

FSSP Newsletter: new edition available

It can be downloaded here; see here for details of hard-copy subscriptions.

Fr de Malleray has important news to report in the current edition: thanks to generous support from many benefactors, including the Latin Mass Society, the Fraternity has been able to purchase a house in Reading, between 5 and 10 minutes walk from the Church of St William of York, Upper Redlands Road, where they say Mass each day (Mass, usually Sung, on Sundays, is at 11am).

Much work needs to be done on the house, including an extension, and the Fraternity are still appealing for funds. See the 'Dowry' newsletter for full details.