Thursday, July 19, 2012
Low Mass in Nymphsfield
The other day I went to a meeting of the Latin Mass Society Representatives in Clifton diocese, with a number of the priests who say the Traditional Mass there. Before the meeting Fr Alexander Redman, our regional Chaplain for the South West, said Low Mass in one of his two churches for us: St Joseph's, Nymphsfield.
It is a very unusual Catholic church: it looks exactly like an Anglican country church. I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, but set in its own plot, with a graveyard round it, in the Gothic style, bells on the top: you just don't see Catholic churches like that in villages. It seems a wealthy Catholic family, the Leighs, bought the village up when the Anglican church was in ruins, and created a Catholic village, complete with a convent (the Marist Sisters) running an extensive orphanage, using many of the village cottages as model homes for the children. An astonishing achievement.
They even found the medieval font, which was in field somewhere, and put it into their church.
It is very good to see the ancient Mass restored to this church.
The diocese of Clifton has the largest number of Sunday EF Masses of any diocese in England and Wales. This is all due to the energy and enthusiasm of a wonderful group of priests, who are now so numerous in the diocese that others are emboldened to try the Traditioinal Mass for themselves. During the meeting it was quite amazing to hear how many priests are able to say the Mass; sometimes the problem is simply one of scheduling them, or being in the right part of the diocese to fill a gap in provision. This is a real fruit of the Latin Mass Society Priest Training Conferences, which have been heavily used by Clifton priests. That is partly why we've had a couple in the South West, at Downside and Belmont.
Let's hope they get a sympathic 'Chief Executive' to reign over them!