Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas offer for priests from the Latin Mass Society

We have been given some liturgical odds and ends. Among these items there are no fewer than 24 burses, 14 of them white.

There are also a large number of stoles, again most of them are, for some reason, white.

The Guild of St Clare may find some of these useful for completing sets and to demonstrate how things are put together. But no one needs 24 burses or a dozen white stoles. None of the burses match any of the stoles. The collection's previous custodians were the outgoing Local Reps for Hexham and Newcastle, Mr & Mrs O'Neil, who received many of them from a local priest, and personally rescued others from being thrown away.

The annual meeting of Latin Mass Society's Local Reps has already had a look (there were previously even more of them!). What I propose now is that any Catholic priest or deacon in the United Kingdom (I'm thinking mainly of the cost of postage here) can have a white stole and / or a burse, the latter in whatever colour he fancies: put your name and address in the comments box, what you'd like (specify 'third on the right' if you like), and I'll post them out to you after Christmas at no charge (well, perhaps the priests can say a Mass for the LMS).

If you want more or if you are outside the UK get in touch and we'll talk about it. There are a few stoles in some other colours, for example.

They are all in pretty good condition. They are a little creased and some are a little grubby, but none need serious repair. None are of museum quality, they won't be of any interest to collectors, but they are all usable, from an aesthetic point of view, and many are rather nice. There are no polyester horrors.

The burse is a stiff square item a bit like an envelope or purse; it is used for carrying the corporal to and from the Altar. (The corporal is the linen cloth upon which the Host sits before and immediately after the Consecration.) Like the maniple, the burse is not mentioned in the post-Vatican II books, although I get the impression that they are still quite widely used in the Ordinary Form. I can only assume that a large number of churches in Hexham and Newcastle decided to chuck out all the burses at some point, some of which were then rescued. Perhaps the maniples which might have been chucked at the same time found alternative homes more rapidly; there are only a couple in this collection and I think I can find homes for those locally. I can't explain why so many of the burses are white, or why all these white stoles have ended up in this collection. For the really modern priest, the stole is the only liturgical vestment which shouldn't be jettisoned, and deacons need them as well, though they wear them differently.

But perhaps these stoles were too traditional in pattern for modern tastes. Modern stoles are longer than the traditional kind, and hideous fabrics and ghastly hues are favoured. Many sacristies have been purged by people, often self-appointed sacristans, suffering from allergies to silk and hand embroidery. Such a person, if sufficiently self-righteous, only needs to be in charge for a few minutes for irreparable damage to be done to a collection of vestments. It can be like the Passover of the Angel of Death...

What the modern priest is wearing.
Let us, if we can, give these items a chance to fulfill their proper function again. There were, after all, made with care and devotion for the service of the Altar in continuity with the Roman tradition; they deserve better than to be tossed onto a skip.

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  1. How kind! Might I have the black burse, bottom row, far right? - I have a veil but no burse. My address: 1 Ashgrove, Bradford BD7 1BN. Happy to say Mass for the LMS!

  2. What a wonderful gift!

  3. White burses were often part of Benediction 'sets', along with a cope, stole and humeral veil. Well, they were in my 'home' parish.

  4. Might I possibly have the burse at the top left and the stole 7th from the left (red and gold tassels)?
    They'd make an excellent gift to my new PP and I'll pass on a mass intention with them also.
    Address is
    N Jowett
    17 Hathersage Rd
    M13 0EJ

    Many thanks.

  5. Would you be willing to consider handing them to a layman who can give them to a choir that organizes Latin Masses? I serve with a choir that does that here in Toronto, ON, CAN. Are you ok with that, although I am just a lay altar server?

    1. They aren't needed by choirs! Who is going to use them?

    2. Ok, in a nutshell, while not formally a "society" as LMS is, St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir in Toronto whom I assist, acts in a sense like one functionally, where it assists in the organization of the Latin Masses, providing parts and/or items for those Masses, aside from being a choir itself. That would include providing liturgical items for the celebration of the Latin Masses. While some of our Churches in Toronto have blessed us with having many items still including liturgical vestments/linens, others ..... well, badly lack them.

      So in essence, yes, priests/parishes holding these Masses organized by the choir would be using them, though the choir I assist provides them. It also provides an additional layer of protection as these items would NOT be sole property of the parishes (unless they are providing the items they own), thus less likely to be destroyed, sold, or thrown out by the archdiocese/parish.

      If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact me at, or click my name. I realize what I am describing and my request as a layman might be confusing. However, comments/replies in com boxes might "drag" on and be incessant. Looking forward to your reply here or in my e-mail. Pax.

  6. I've had a request for the sixth stole from the left.

  7. I've had a request for the green burse at the left end of the bottom row, and the violet burse second from the right on the fourth row.

  8. I have now sent out various parcels and the remaining items are being checked against the needs of a local sacristy. I will re-post the offer with new photos of the remaining stock next week.