Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Bishop Brain ordains for the Manchester Oratory
I wasn't the only photographer present so better photographs may emerge elsewhere, but I was very pleased to be present at this very important milestone in the development of the Oratory-in-formation in Manchester. Having moved from the Holy Name to another fine (but not as big), church in central Manchester, St Chad's, which has the advantage of a large presbytery suitable for community life, the community's induction into the congregation of the Oratories of St Philip Neri is proceeding, with the support of Bishop Terence Brain.
On Saturday, Bishop Brain went further and ordained one of the Brothers, Richard Bailey. As you can see they have the right to wear distinctive Oratorian habit.
The development of another Oratory in the North of England is a matter of great significance. Fr Richard is also very friendly to the Church's liturgical traditions, is an excellent singer, a great Latinist, and has taught at the LMS Latin Course in Pantasaph for two years, and will do so again this year. By a providential coincidence, this was the church where Fr Richard was received in the Church, as a young convert, many years ago - he went to school down the road.
St Chad's now, as the Holy Name was, is a very important centre for the Traditional Mass, having a popular Sunday celebration in the afternoon. I also attended this. Many of the regulars went this weekend to Fr Richard's 'first Mass' in the morning, but it still pulled in a good crowd.
The church needs some cleaning and restoration, and a Lottery grant has been secured to help with this. It is an excellent church, lived-in in the best sense, filled with the devotional items which have enriched the lives of generations of Mancunian Catholics, and it has survived the liturgical reform better than many places. Bishop Brain seemed quite happy to celebrate ad orientem on the fine Altar.
The Catholic Church in the North of England has its problems: in many dioceses the shortage of priests is becoming very serious. Here, thanks to Bishop Brain's foresight, the planting of an Oratory of St Philip will secure the future of this church and provide something very special, liturgically, spiritually, and intellectually, in this important Catholic city, which needs re-evangelising just like St Philip Neri's Rome of the 16th century.
May they flourish!