Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pontifical Mass in Ratcliffe College for the LMS Training Conference

Updated! Lots more photos and commentary to follow, now the conference is over (and I'm back at my computer).

Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham, celebrated the opening Mass for the LMS Priest Training Conference in the large school chapel of Ratcliffe College, our venue.
I will update this post when I next get a chance, but that won't be for a couple of days.  [Done!]IMG_2575
After visiting the Blessed Sacrament chapel, Bishop McMahon vests in the sanctuary. He puts on the vestments of a deacon and a priest before his own chasuble. (Yes, this is all supposed to happen this way!)
When moving to the foot of the Altar, and again when preaching, he wears his mitre and holds his crozier.
But they are held for him when he's not using them.

Ratcliffe College has an unusual chapel - it looks to me pre-Conciliar, but very late, so maybe 1950s. Say what you like about the style, the sight-lines are fantastic.
The Collect.
The Epistle.
The Gospel.
 The Sermon. Bishop McMahon preached on Our Lady as a spiritual model for all Christians. IMG_2649
The Offertory.
Bishop McMahon is blessed with incense. He puts his mitre on again for this. Maybe someone can explain why it is a different mitre. (Before Mass, the two mitres, one gold and the other white with gold embroidery, are propped up at either end of the altar.)
The Lavabo.
 The Consecration.
The Pax. The bishop gives each of the clergy the pax, not just (as the celebrant in Solemn Mass does) the deacon).
 IMG_2670 IMG_2678
The Blessing.
After un-vesting, Bishop McMahon processes out. IMG_2695
Bishop McMahon gave conference participants a very warm welcome, in a little talk after dinner, and we had a very stimulating discussion.

I had not met Bishop McMahon before, and I am very glad to have done so. He takes a real interest in the liturgy, and is still the only Ordinary in England and Wales to have celebrated the Extraordinary Form in publicly in his own diocese, something he has done now a few times. I know this is old hat in the USA, but the kind of Mass described in this post is still very rare here, and it was a privilege to be able to attend and photograph it. It is wonderful to be see a bishop treated like a bishop, and acting like a bishop, in the liturgy.

The assistant priest, wearing the cope, was Canon Montjean of the Institute of Christ the King, who liturgical experience was hugely appreciated.

I'll blog more about the conference in the days to come. More photos are uploading.


  1. May we know the names of the priests who have learned the Mass?

  2. Dear Dr. Shaw, apologies in advance for the very long comment!
    Here is what the book Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool published by the Institute of Christ the King, has on it:

    "The Ceremonial of Bishops distinguishes three types of episcopal mitres. "Of a most venerable usage, there are three sorts of mitres. The first, called the precious (pretiosa), is usually embellished by gems and by needlework in gold or silver. The second sort, called 'golden', without precious stones or needlework may either be decorated with some small pearls or be made of white silk with gold bands or else simply be made of cloth of gold without pearls or gold embroidery. The third sort, called simple, without gold, is made of white cloth of simple silk, Damask or even plain linen - with the fringes of the lappets in red.""

    "The Bishop uses the precious mitre for the most solemn feasts and as a general rule whenever the Gloria in Excelsis Deo is recited at Mass. None the less on such festive occasions the Bishop may also use the golden mitre but this is more for convenience than by precept; that is he may wear the Golden mitre to avoid being disturbed by the weight of the precious mitre during long ceremonies. At a pontifical mass the Bishop thus uses the precious mitre at the beginning and end of the ceremony when arriving at the church and when leaving (if he has vested in the secretarium) rather than the sanctuary) and when he washes his hands and gives the solemn blessing.

    At other moments he wears the golden mitre instead of the precious mitre: during the signing of the Gloria, the Epistle, the Gradual and Alleluia, and the Creed, as well as when preaching. The Bishop does not use the precious Mitre at all times of penitence (Advent, Septuagesima, Lent and Passiontide), when he replaces it with the Golden Mitre. The golden Mitre is likewise used for the greater and lesser Litanies and for all penitential processions, as well as for ordinations and all consecrations performed without solemnity."

    "Finally the Bishop uses the simple Mitre on Good Friday and for offices of the dead, in order to express the sense of mourning appropriate to the occasion."


  3. Excellent photos. A very pleasant conference.

  4. This is great.