Sunday, August 31, 2008

Holiday's over

Back to school tomorrow with an easy transition - the children aren't going to be there for another week !
On a totally different matter are we the only family in England with a dog which eats raw parsnips?
Reminder that Friday is the First Friday of the month; Mass at Broughton at 9.30 a.m. and at St. Mary of the Angels, Batley at 7.30p.m.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Masses this weekend

Mass will be offered this weekend as follows:
Saturday 30th. August 9.30a.m. Sacred Heart, Broughton, near Skipton.
Saturday 30th. August 3.00p.m. (Vigil) St. Mary of the Angels, Cross Bank Road Batley.
Saturday 30th. August 6.00p.m. (Vigil) St. Marie's, Gibbet Street, Halifax.
Sunday 31st. August 3.00p.m. Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardigan Road, Leeds.
Sunday 31st. August 3.00p.m. St. Joseph's, Pontefract Road, Castleford.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

News from Sydney

Fr. Aladics of this diocese who recently took up residence in Sydney, Australia as chaplain to Campion College reports that he is now offering the Extraordinary Mass each Wednesday and that the students there love it. Please pray for Father Richard and that his work will see an increase in vocations to the religious life.

God bless Pope Benedict!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Remembering Mgr Ronald Knox

Today, feast of St. Bartholemew, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Mgr Ronald Knox. Knox was a convert whose father was the Anglican Bishop of Manchester. I have written before on my profound joy when reading Knox, be it his detective stories, reflections, meditations, sermons, essays, or translations - most notably of the Bible.

On this day I would also ask your prayers for a priest friend of mine who is retiring from official priestly ministry today after over 5 decades of priestly service. Always a good friend to the LMS, and to our family it was he who offered our Nuptual Mass and assisted at our traditional Rite wedding.
Reminder that today (Pentecost XV) sees the first of our regular Sunday Masses at St. Joseph's Church, Pontefract Rd., Castleford at 3.00p.m.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Chesterton link(s)

I have failed to reach even my own goal of publishing a copy of G.K. Chesterton' s musings about Heckmondwike (much maligned in my opinion). Not, I hasten to add through sloth, but to the fact I was alerted to this , which has saved me a lot of time. If the link doesn't work please google the Website of Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike. (or try and follow the history section).

Mass in the Extraordinary form is offered here on the first Sunday of the month at 2.30p.m. and on the second, third and fourth Saturdays of the month at 11.30a.m.

I must confess to being totally fascinated by the G.K.Chesterton links with Heckmondwike, Mgr. O'Connor (who was responsible for building an ovalish sort of round church in Bradford long before Vat II), the Father Brown stories, Cardinal Hinsley (and the school named after him), and St. Bede's Grammar School, Bradford.

G.K.C's Orthodoxy arrived through the letterbox from the excellent Southwell Books ( a few weeks ago, which I had determined to read after doing the decorating. It is now next on the bedside book pile.

Vive la famille!

I am delighted to say that I have just about finished the decorating and short of getting the carpet people tomorrow the job is now done. A bit of decorating usually means moving the statues around, to give us a fresh face. After nine years the Sacred Heart, St. Therese and the crucifix I rescued from a burning confessional box need a change of scene too! Love of St. Edmund Campion and all he stood for has grown following visits to Oxford, and so we are going to put the statue of him at the foot of the ground floor staircase. The kids can decide the rest. This is sure to cause a row and lots of huffing and puffing for ten minutes. Vive la famille!

Masses this Saturday

Low Mass at Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall near Skipton at 9.30a.m.

Sung Requiem Mass at 11.00a.m. at Markenfield Hall. Mass will be offered by Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe of the London Oratory. Some of the monks of Ampleforth will be chanting the Requiem Mass for the members of the Markenfield family.

Mass at 11.30a.m., Holy Spirit, Bath Road, Heckmondwike.


Vigil Mass at St. Marie's, Halifax at 6.00p.m. (Pentecost XV).
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Patroness of the Diocese of Leeds, Queen and Mother, pray for us.
God bless the Pope!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Salford news

I have recently received a lot of e-mails from members and friends in Salford Diocese as word has gone round that I am taking on the role of Rep in this diocese. For the time being I am helping out and will continue to do so.
Still, it has been very gratifying to receive so many suggestions, requests and offers of help from all manner of people. This morning I received notification from the LMS Office in London that five people have recently joined the Society in Leeds and Salford Dioceses, one of them a Priest.
I have since spoken to this Priest who is worried that introducing the TLM, which he has never offered but is keen to learn, will scandalize his parish or upset his fellow priests. He also realizes that an overnight switch would be confusing and looks forward to preparing himself and his parish for a special day in about twelve months with regular Masses in the EF thereafter..
I shall keep you posted, respecting Father's anonymity, until that time comes when everybody is ready and all will be welcome to attend the Masses.

Tomorrow I shall be dispatching a couple of e-mails to help me organize a Mass at Kirkstall Abbey. Please watch this blog.

Later this month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Mgr. Ronald Knox (Aug 24th.). However I might feel I can always find something in the Psalms to raise up my state to Almighty God. This state may be joyful or sorrowful. So too it is with the Pastoral Sermons and Occasional Sermons of Ronald Knox. I have written before in Facing Forward ( newsletter of the LMS in Leeds) about my elation reading Knox's, The Mass in Slow Motion which I notice is now back in print. THIS BOOK IS A MUST.
The times, they are a changing.

Deo gratias!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thank you Canon McCreadie

Tonight we were able to have our first altar server training session, which involved a total of 8 young men, from age nine to forty plus. The Cathedral was suggested to me because of its central location by Canon McCreadie and its ease of access by public and private transport. So when the Cathedral closed this evening after the 5.30p.m. Mass the training began. The sister sacristan at the Cathedral was her usual delightful self, she also attends some of the Masses at Batley with some of the other sisters. Everything was laid out perfectly for us as requested. Father Wiley joined us and was able to do the "priest" bits for us! The session ended with the celebration of Mass in the beautiful Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Canon McCreadie popped his head round the sacristy door to welcome everybody and I thanked him for his generosity in allowing us to have our first training session at the Sacred Heart and St. Joseph altars. The 1962 Missal had been laid out in the sacristy.

Further follow up sessions are now being planned. Please e-mail me if you would like some training.

The Bishop has requested that the Extraordinary form of Mass be offered each Sunday from this Sunday onwards at St. Joseph's, Pontefract Road, Castleford at 3.00p.m. I have just managed to put together a full set of vestments, altar missal, altar cards, Communion plate and other bits and pieces for the Masses at St. Joseph's. (I have only just done the same for the forthcoming regular second Sunday Masses at St. Peter's, Leeds Road, Bradford) I am now running out of vestments.

God bless the Pope!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The ivy has gone

Having struggled into Leeds on Friday afternoon only to find I couldn't get everything I needed I had to get home quickly to take us off to Bolton Breightmet for the evening Mass of the Assumption. The M62 was choked with slow moving traffic and after an hour we turned back. I then had to print off some propers for the next day. Instead of Heckmondwike we went over to Broughton again for morning Mass, the weather was lovely. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and finished off with me going over to Halifax to serve Father Smith's Vigil Mass. There was a good congregation there, to say that the Mass had not been advertised the previous week in the parish newsletter. Father Smith said that they weren't his parishioners so I can only assume that they were members or friends or those who read this blog.

Reminder that there is Mass every Saturday at St. Marie's, Halifax at 6.00p.m.

Mass today was at English Martyrs, York. Mike and John were in top form singing Orbis factor, Credo I and the solemn tone of the Salve Regina. The recent decorations to the church have done a great deal to enhance the celebration of both forms of Mass. Father Charlton, also a fine singer, sang the Mass beautifully this evening and preached about the importance of storing up treasures in heaven instead of being sucked into the ultimate emptiness which the world offers.

To store up these treasures in heaven we have the epistle to give us a few pointers.

One of my daughter's friends, who sometimes reads this blog had recently read about my plight regarding my stiff back and some wild ivy. Yesterday when we got home from Mass he had been round with ladders and the necessary equipment to do a fantastic job and clearing away all the debris. I was very grateful.

I was also grateful this week when my eldest daughter won her place to read Modern Languages at university. Given the choice she opted for Leeds (the other being Manchester). Interestingly I studied at both these universities over a period of seven years. She really wanted to go to Manchester, but God love her, she admitted to thinking about family finances first, she will stay at home. She also said she'd have regular provision of the Gregorian Mass.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Salford and Hallam

I have been busy re-establishing my links with people in the Salford Diocese over the last few days since the Mass for the Feast of the Transfiguration at Ashton-Under-Lyne and Sunday's Mass at Holy Name. It has been really pleasant talking to everybody. I will be in the Salford Diocese (stiff back permitting) at a meeting tomorrow and doubt that I shall be able to get to the Mass at St. Marie's Cathedral, in Sheffield, as I had originally planned.

Reminder that there is Mass on Friday, the Feast of the Assumption, at Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall, near Skipton at 11.30a.m.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Extra public Mass and holiday musings

I have just seen on Markenfield Hall's Website that, once again, a Requiem Mass will be offered there on Saturday 23rd. August at 11.00a.m. This Mass will be offered by Fr. Creighton-Jobe of the London Oratory and sung by some of the monks from Ampleforth Abbey, for the repose of the souls of those brave members of the Markenfield family who sacrificed so much in defence of the Faith.

In France a couple of weeks ago we were able to visit two Benedictine establishments at Wisques near St. Omer. Due to time availability I was only able to hear Vespers at the monastery for men and only visit the monastery for women without being able to join the Community in the Prayer of the Church.

The monks at Wisques seemed to number about 15 and all were certainly well into middle age (Father Manion of the USA, at the Oxford Conference, would have referred to them as third and fourth agers.) The monks sang Vespers beautifully in French with a bit of Latin. I was positively moved by the experience. The only other person there, apart from me and the monks, was a lady who spoke no English. I was able to elicit from her the location of the women's Monastery AND (rather savagely, I thought) that they "did" it all in Latin.

Pulling up outside the enormous Abbey church of the women's house and seeing a couple of reassuring "Walk this way and have a look" signs we (the others had woken up) walked that way. Upon entering the chapel, which revealed the railed off west end of the church, the sense of the Sacred was somehow immediately tangible. My two boys (aged 9 and 5 ) known for their crankiness after waking up (unlike their father) were really edified and the silence was broken only when Fabian accused Joe of not joining his hands after he had decided to light some candles (with Fabian's ever diminishing Euros to finance the touching but dubious operation!)

Pictures of that Benedictine Community in all sorts of media from old sepia photos to a modern high-tech digital resources plotted the history of the Community in the very humble visitors' area. We never actually saw a soul there until we left and a middle-aged nun wished us a good evening, as she walked towards visitors' entrance, which we were just leaving. Fabian, the five-year old, came out of the building, strapped himself in in the car and blurted out, "Who was watching us, Dad?"

I could only answer that God's presence there was more easily felt than when we say family prayers, with the kids scowling at each other on account of "borrowed" ghds (which allow them to iron their hair with electrified tongs), mascara, lipstick, clothes, socks, shoes, shorts, bats, bikes, boots, pocket-money, cds, mobiles, laptops and i-pods. And so, minus all these trappings, it was - astonishing tranquility and beautiful silent simplicity. There was nothing at all to to detract from the tabernacle centred above the altar which bore six candles in the "Benedictine" arrangement.

The Community of Dames at Wisques is quite large and I would estimate that well over half of the forty sisters pictured together in their vestibule were less than in their third age, as Fr. Manion might have called them. To me this means they weren't more than in their mid-thirties. It was clearly a very vibrant community, whose vibrancy focused on being still and silent in the presence of the Lord.

Please pray for any young women considering a vocation to the religious life. At Oxford I had the privilege to serve Fr. George's Mass on the last day at the Oratory. Fr. George is a Friar of the Immaculate. Thanks be to God there is a Community of traditional women in this country based in Cornwall which offers the Extraordinary Rite of Mass to its Community. Fr. George is its chaplain.

The Sisters of the Immaculate were present in noticeable numbers at the recent Mass at Westminster Cathedral, celebrated by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. They wear a large Miraculous medal on the left hand side of their grey habits and are also a thriving community like the Benedictine Dames of Wisques. The Mass offered by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos was, strangely, referred to in Mgr. Loftus's recent article in the Catholic Times in rather negative terms. I wonder why?

Please remember that Friday is a Holy Day which we are bound, under pain of mortal sin, to attend without reasonable cause. Mass for the Feast of the Assumption will be offered at Broughton Hall at 11.30a.m. on Friday.

Our Lady of Walsingham, Queen assumed into Heaven, pray for us.
St. Nicholas Owen, pray for us.

Fatigue or sloth?

My back has been giving me grief for the last week. My plan to be up a ladder chopping down the ivy and then indoors, painting the landings have come to nothing, despite my feeling that action is the very next course of action. My misery is enhanced thinking about our Italian relatives who are due to visit shortly. We do however take each other as we are.

Yesterday we were at Mass at Holy Name in Manchester and were privileged to hear Fr. Christopher Hilton's sermon about the meaning of the Epistle.

It was gratifying to be able to talk with people who had read a recent posting about Salford on this blog. Holy Name always has congregations at its 1962 Rite of Mass well in excess of a hundred, which appears to be a microcosm of the Church with many different ages, races, colours and social classes of people.

I always find it very uplifting.

God bless the Pope!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thank you Father Brown

No, not some reference to Chesterton, but a "hat tip" to Fr. Michael Brown who murmurs from the forest and who has some sort of device on his blog which permits people to see the latest posting on this blog. I am most grateful to Fr. Brown and accept, totally and on the chin, his reference to me as a blogger from down south. Leo Darroch (fellow LMS Committee member who met Pope Benedict in his Una Voce role), who is also more of a northener than I am, is always reminding me of this. Thanks.

Late reminder that there is Mass this Saturday morning at Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike, at 11.30a.m. but that there will be no Mass at Halifax. Normal weekly Vigil Masses will resume there next week.

Now having being charged with the task of decorating our double landing and staircase and ensuring that the new carpet is in place, before our Italian relatives come for dinner next week I have now rediscovered a sense of urgency after three weeks of school holiday. My favourite is always curry - but they invariably prefer....Italian. A tin of ravioli from the corner shop with a dusting of parmisan cheese is not what they expect (or will get), simply because it will be an honour for us, once again, to receive our guests,who visit us in thankfully ever increasing numbers.

Chesterton's poem about Heckmondwike will appear later today.

Any other men or boys wishing to learn to serve the extraordinary Rite of Mass should e-mail me now as I now have to propose a date to the Dean of the Cathedral within the next day. Those who have already responded to this and also the September training day at Halifax for the Gregorian Chant Workshop will receive details in due course.

A quick scan through this week's Catholic Times reveals, once again, another of Mgr. Basil Loftus's insidious attack on the modern Church in another one of his increasingly nostalgic and fantastic views of what the Pastoral Council, that Vat II was; and again seems to totally disregard the hermeneutic of continuity of which the Pope has spoken about.

Father Basil, without doubt a wonderfully talented individual, would do well to think about how society here has changed since the heady days of the 1960s. Empty churches, closed parishes, few vocations, falling birthrate, closed schools, huge divorce rates and grotesque levels of abortion. Can we say that to compensate we do have active parish councils and liturgy commissions?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A helping hand, Salford Diocese and family history

Since her retirement as Rep for Salford Diocese, Mrs. Hartley has continued as acting rep to keep things ticking over there. After a beautiful High Mass at Ashton-under-Lyne near Oldham last night for the magnificent Feast of the Transfiguration, I agreed to do what I can to help the Society to become more pro-active and mainstream, as we are here in Leeds. This means that, at least for the next few weeks, this blog will also focus on matters pertaining to LMS activity in the Salford Diocese. Having attended the Victoria University of Manchester in the mid-1980s and still having good contacts with good people there, the task is, thankfully less daunting. A couple of 'phone calls this evening resulted in the fact that now two priests will be at least asked if they would be prepared to offer the Mass. Prayers please!

When I was at Manchester the Salford Rep was Kevin Cave who did an often thankless but always tireless and ultimately productive job in the pre-1988 Indult days. One occasion I remember was a Solemn High Mass in the Norbertine Rite at Corpus Christi, Varley Street. Walter Atkinson, MC in Leeds at the time, spent months researching the Rite and rubrics. The hall attached to the church was full after the Mass as was the church during the Mass. Some of the people at that Mass are some of the people I still see at Masses in Salford nowadays - doubtless similar die-hards. Thanks be to Almighty God for answering all our collective prayers and sacrifices in years gone by. The challenges do not, however, go away and the implementation of the latest laws of the Church with regard to the 1962 Liturgical books remains a priority for this blogger.

An altar card of the beginning of St. John's Gospel ,beautifully handwritten by Kevin Cave for use at some of the Masses he organized now overlooks our dining table.
But how times have changed; a brand new set of altar cards is now easily available for literally next to nothing over the internet simply by downloading a file from any one of several Websites.

My profile on this blogsite lists family history as one of my interests. Whilst stuck in a traffic jam at 10.30p.m. last night on the M62 on the way back from Mass I thought about some of my ancestors from over the Pennines in Lancashire. Primarily there were the Gornalls who go back nearly a thousand years to northwestern English monastic life and whose name has only one origin (and not to Ireland as I initially imagined). Then there were the Edmundsons of Lancaster who were certainly well established in business and eventually related to some of the Catholic Cunninghams of the north east of England around, if memory serves correctly, Sunderland. I have also discovered that one of my mother's descendants was the very last person in England to be (wait for it..) burned at the stake. This took place at Lichfield in the Market Place and I believe a shield marks the spot. He was a puritan by the name of Wightman. Fr. Wiley hopes that this trend doesn't run in the family.

The Wightman family (which was at one point made up of farmers) has graves immediately in front of the south door of All Saints ancient (C of E) Parish Church, Featherstone, which contains a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Walsingham like the one in the baptistry at Holy Spirit (R.C.), Heckmondwike.

Again, the mere mention of the name of the town of Heckmondwike caused much amusement recently, which as I keep saying to increasing numbers of people is much maligned. Now that I have found my copy of the handwritten poem to Heckie's P.P by G.K. Chesterton about this square-mile town and that I am resolved to post a picture of one of the regular Saturday morning Masses there, I shall also endeavour to post my transcript of this lovely little literary frivolity tomorrow.
Needless to say that Heckie's links with Chesterton, who was a regular visitor and friend of Mgr. John O'Connor on whom the Father Brown's stories were based, does make it a point of interest, not least, in the renewed interest in the works of G.K.C.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Faith of our Fathers!

At the Mass at Heckmondwike on Sunday my son flicked open the incense boat to reveal the words of the prayer of blessing of incense stuck to the lid, whereupon I immediately thought about an earlier posting I made about this "liturgical tip" and the frivolous thought of archrubrician O'Connell inventing a prayer for the blessing of sticky tape. (Archrubrician was a term once used by Mgr. Basil Loftus of this diocese to describe O'Connell.)
Father Abberton has now also incorporated the sung collect and post-Communion prayer into the first Sunday Masses at Holy Spirit. Masses at Broughton and Heckmondwike both concluded with the singing of Faith of our Fathers.
Verse 4 of that hymn, "Faith of our Fathers! we will love/ Both friend and foe in all our strife:/ And preach thee too, as love knows how/ By kindly words and virtuous life.... " summed up perfectly the conclusions reached in the sermons at those two Masses. One lady even asked me if we were now allowed to sing this hymn again. As I gladly assured her tht we are as free as ever to sing this hymn I cringed inside upon realization that good faithful Catholics had been so terribly misled by those who should have known far better. My own grandmother was told many years ago, in the Confessional box, to forget all the "rubbish" she had been taught about the Faith at school.

She was truly scandalized. Her reverend confessor had long left the priesthood before she died in 1986. May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

E-pistles and St. Paul

The priest in charge of tuition in the 1962 Rite of Mass and Sacraments, Father Parfitt of Broughton, is I should think, going to be a very busy man in coming weeks and months with follow up one-to-one tuition sessions for some of the Merton men and others who have expressed the desire to learn. There was a very nice turnout at Broughton on Sunday. Fr. Parfitt's sermon unravelled the meaning of the Epistle, having referred to the Pauline Year and how St. Paul's thoughts often gushed as he wrote, he then (without any such gushing) compared and contrasted it with what the Holy Gospel was saying. I have often said that Fr. Parfitt does with the scriptures what Sr. Wendy does with wonderful paintings, insomuch as they see where they are in relation to what they clearly know, love and understand and are immediately able to make you (sometimes uncomfortably) aware of yourself in all of this expression or account too. You get the bigger picture and at the same time the soul seems to understand their analysis quicker than the mind, I wonder perhaps if St. Paul experienced this sort of thing as he analysed what he heard Almighty God saying to him as he composed his epistles?
I think St. Paul, in his special year would make a wonderful patron saint of the Roman Catholic blogosphere!

Summer School report and G.K. Chesterton

My daughter has returned refreshed and re-invogorated in the Faith following another excellent week at the St. Catherine's Summer School held at Ardingly College. As always her impressions were profoundly positive and we cannot enough thank Fr. Southwell, Dr. Joseph Shaw and all the other staff who gave freely of their holiday time to make this event possible.
As well as learning to sing some polyphony, and being thrilled at having the chance to learn some elementary Greek she was visibly moved when telling me that Fr. Southwell said she was welcome to attend next year, when she will be 19. For the first time, the Church's Social Teaching was on the Curriculum and when I immediately referred to Rerum Novarum she gave me a very sideward look, having thought that she might have been able to catch me out on something. Her team was, alas, in third place this year, but she does assure me that got all the Greek right.

As I said in my post last week it was really good to see so many children and teenagers learning about the Faith, moreover less than a hundred miles away in Oxford and at the same time, there were priests who at a far different level, were also learning about the Faith and Liturgy.

We in the North need to get ourselves sorted out to be able to host such events ourselves - for the simple reason that it would be more convenient for the priests and laypeople who live north of Nottingham to attend. Please e-mail me with any ideas you have about this and any offers of financial help. Please let us overcome this sense of northern isolation.

Living in Bradford as I do, where mosques are springing up all the time and Catholic churches and parishes are in decline, it was touching to hear of the young Muslim girl who was attending another event at Ardingly College and who attended recitation of the Rosary in the College chapel on two evenings. Afterwards she told my daughter how much she had enjoyed the prayers; needless to say we now have to pray for this girl to convert. At the same time I would ask you to pray for a young man in the Manchester area who is a described by a a very reliable source as a good Christian man who needs Rome, but doesn't yet see this. Please pray for all those people who are presently considering converting to Roman Catholicism and invoke Our Lady of Walsingham and St. Nicholas Owen when doing this.
A priest in Bradford told me of a young Muslim couple he had instructed, baptized and confirmed, yet before this the couple had already received death threats from their respective families. This couple has since left the UK.

I have just found my copy of the original facsimile of G.K.Chesterton's observations of Heckmondwike in the form of a poem, probably penned on the train on his way to visit his friend Mgr. John O'Connor, who was under Fr. Hinsley in the early days of Bradford's St. Bede's Grammar School. As mentioned before Heckmondwike will be the subject of a future posting. Mgr. O'Connor was responsible for the building of the "Round church" of the First Martyrs in Heights Lane, Bradford. Fr. O'Connor was Chesterton's inspiration for the Father Brown stories.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bloggers, teachers and....footballers

At Merton I was able to meet with several bloggers. As well as Frs. Boyle, Finigan, Finnegan, Fra Laurence Lew OP and Mac McLernon, I spoke quite often with the very nice Lancaster Priest, Fr. Paul Harrison, of Thoughts from Walney Island fame. Those of you who read the blog will be relieved to know that I could detect no evidence of him eating Walker's excellent crisps or any other crisps for that matter. Father spoke passionately about football, history, music and the liturgy. With all but the football I felt as if we were operating on the same wavelength, he appears to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Preston North End which is as incomprehensible to me as electrical engineering or biothermics!

Football is something that has never interested me, but this does not keep me looking at the career of one of my ex-pupils Andy O'Brien, who played for Bradford City, Newcastle and now plays for a southern team. According to the Leeds Diocese Website Andy was back in his native Knaresborough recently to open a nature pond at his old primary school, St. Mary's. When I taught Andy his GCSE German at St. John Fisher in Harrogate, and he passed it with flying colours, he was one of the first pupils to personally contact me to thank me for inspiring him in the classroom. His mum was like a dog with two tails at the year 11 parents' evening when I told her he would "walk" the exam.
My handwritten reports could be worth a fortune in years to come if he should ever play for his country!

The good Samaritan

I was able serve at three Masses yesterday, at every one of which I was able to offer up for the same personal intention. The Gospel of the Mass (The good Samaritan) allowed me to hear three different but equally edifying sermons which all came to exactly same conclusion that paramount to our Faith is the Love of God and of others as ourselves. I also spoke with several priests. One priest told me that since the Motu Proprio he has for the first time in his priestly life felt utterly and totally liberated, as if some sort of shackles have been removed. His Priesthood has reached a new level and for this he is truly grateful.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Thanks and apologies

Thanks to those of you who have requested to receive the newsletter by e-mail. Please do not hesitate to e-mail me for a copy of Facing Forward.

Apologies also for the errors which have appeared in the Mass listings. I shall sort this out a.s.a.p.
Sorry also that the Halifax Masses yesterday and next Saturday have had to be cancelled.

Summer School

Before attending the Oxford Conference I dropped off my eldest daughter at the St. Catherine's Trust Summer School at Ardingly College in East Sussex. I was able to attend the first Mass of the Summer School and it was very inspiring to see all the students with their brothers and sisters. There were well over a hundred children at the Mass and the atmosphere was lovely. Father Andrew Southwell was the celebrant. Father is always keen to remind me that he has links with Bradford as his uncle was a doctor here.
Judging by my daughter's telephone calls things have been a great success down there and I am looking forward to catching up on all the news when she gets back later today. I must thank Paul Waddington, rep in neighbouring Middlesbrough and fellow Committee member for so readily agreeing to bring her back from the Summer School. Paul is spending time with his relatives near to Ardingly.

I shall be serving the Mass at English Martyrs, York at 6.00p.m. for Paul as well as at our regular Leeds Masses at Broughton (11.30a.m.) and Heckmondwike (2.30p.m.)

As ever please do what you can to attend our Masses.

Server - training

Partly as a result of the conference I have received several requests from men wishing to learn to serve Low Mass. This will now go ahead in the next few weeks. If you are reading this blog and would like to learn how to serve Mass please e-mail me ( The location will be central and will include Mass. Hands on tuition will be given.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Back from Merton

I arrived back from Oxford last night just in time to serve the First Friday Mass at Batley, where two of the sisters from the neighbouring convent were again in attendance with several other parishioners who continue to attend in ever increasing numbers. It was good to catch up with Father Wiley again who returned from World Youth Day when I was in France last week. Since then a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. Merton was an enormous success - the atmosphere was positively electric and after the second day I had lost count how many Masses I had served. I had to rise at 5.30a.m. to take a coach to the Oxford Oratory where Masses were offered at each of the altars in the church, at the altar in the house chapel and at a makeshift altar in the parish hall. In the afternoons I served Masses at makeshift altars at Merton and the stories priests told of their joy at learning to say the traditional Mass were as humbling as they were inspiring. The picture above shows part of the procession before Friday's Solemn Pontifical High Mass offered by the Abbot of Lagrasse. The sermon at this Mass was preached by former Leeds Priest, Father John Osman who was chaplain to the University of Bradford. It was wonderful for me to catch up with him after so many years.

Other Leeds priests at the conference were Canon McCreadie, Father Billington, Father Hall and Father Lawler. Canon McCreadie and Father Billington had previously had only limited exposure to the traditional Mass but I have no doubt that they were impressed with the liturgy they encountered and the training they received. I doubt it will be long before these priests are regularly offering the traditional Mass in their parishes. Father Hall will be our celebrant at the Masses at St. Peter's, Bradford starting in September. Father Hall attended as a beginner last year and this year was on an advanced course.

As well as serving Mass and attending vespers each day and compline on Wednesday evening I had a great opportunity to meet lots of interesting new people and make lots of new contacts, as did everybody else there. The lectures given by Rev. Dr. Hemming and Rev. Dr. Reid were quite outstanding and will be published in due course by the LMS.

Bishop McMahon of Nottingham came and offered pontifical Vespers on Thursday and joined us for dinner afterwards. He gave an extremely uplifting and hilarious speech after dinner and received a rapturous standing ovation from his mainly clerical listeners.

From my time at the conference I see that after less than a year of its implementation the Motu Proprio is not going to go away. It is now the law of the Church and despite those who would rather wish to see it not being implemented by pretending it doesn't exist I cannot help but think - probably for the first time in my life - that the future is bright. The 60 priests who benefited from the conference would, I'm sure, testify to this.

Deo gratias! God bless the Pope!