Friday, November 28, 2008

Lift up your heads because your redemption is at hand

Tomorrow there will be two Masses for the First Sunday of Advent, a time when we are encouraged to wake up, to smell the coffee and start thinking about the last things and doing something about it. We sometimes get into the Advent is preparation for Christmas mentality, spiritually I think this is only a very small part of it. The light at the end of the tunnel sometimes prematurely obscures the solid glow of the advent crown candles as they grow in number for this glorious season.

Mass at Batley, St Mary of the Angels, Cross Bank Road. 3.00p.m.

Mass at Halifax, St. Marie's, Gibbet Street, 6.00p.m.

(Saturday Masses at Broughton at 9.30a.m. and Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike at 11.30a.m.)

On Sunday there is Mass at St. Joseph's, Castleford at 3.00p.m. the celebrant will be Mgr. Steele, whose gift of preaching, few could or would deny, is an occasion in itself. His sermons are manifest examples of Faith, Hope and Charity rolled into one, invariably thought-provoking, inspiring and always spiritually gratifying. Mgr. Steele brings Scripture to life in a way which makes your mouth water because you can almost taste the air Our Lord breathed 2000 years ago. Mgr. Steele who never obscurs the Truth invariably gives those who hear him a sense of real hope.
Also, Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardigan Road, Leeds at 3.00p.m.
I hope to be able to announce further positive developments in the provision of Mass over the next couple of weeks, for this reason I am delaying sending out the latest issue of the newsletter Facing Forward. Rather more a case of looking forward!

Invitations have this week been sent out to clergy in several northern dioceses advertising the forthcoming Ushaw Seminary Training Conference to be held during Low week 2009. The original dates clashed with another booking which had already requested use of the magnificent chapel - this would, it was felt, have been too restrictive. Some clergy in this diocese are already involved. Others here and in Salford have already expressed interest.

As November comes to an end I feel slightly better than I did at the end of October having remembered to pray for the Dead far more than offering the Rosary. Advent means time for me to make another good Confession - more of a "big shop" than the "usual list". Penance is thankfully a very personal Sacrament - we have it to decide how we wish to conduct it and with which confessor we choose. It is under an amazing seal, a privilege, a humility, a cleanser deeper than any high cost lotions and potions, a direct line with God the Father and Redeemer. It can be anonymous or totally personal and face to face or behind the grill.

The new confessional in Leeds Cathedral is one of the most comfortable public confessional "cubes" I have been in - it is traditional and futuristic and everybody-friendly.

Confessions also at call at Broughton, Halifax, Bradford and Batley before or after Masses.


I was saddened to learn of the death of Middlesbrough Rep and Committee member's mother, Mrs. Waddington in Sussex. She died on Sunday at the age of 93. My daughter had the privilege to have lunch with her after the final Mass of the St. Catherine's Summer School at Ardingley College earlier this year. Please remember Mrs. Waddington and the family in your prayers. I shall request Mass be offered for the repose of her soul on the first Sunday of December at English Martyrs, Dalton Terrace, York at 6.00p.m.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Green shoots

It is good to see that some other blogsites have picked up on the great news about the Trappists in Germany starting to use their traditional liturgy once again, as I posted about yesterday.

Upon reflection during the day I began to realise the significance of this "gamble", as one blogger referred to it. With about a baker's dozen (which is no bad number to start off with) monks, it will be very interesting to watch how the numbers change over the coming years. I am not a betting man, but.......

There seems to be so much happening in the Church, so much for Her good; increased acceptance of the TLM from priests and laity alike, strong parish bonds between devotees of both Rites, a re-introduction of Eucharistic adoration and Benediction in many parishes, more eastward facing Masses in the New Rite, big space in the Catholic media (see Latin Masses section in the latest Leeds freebie Catholic Post), chant workshops here, there and everwhere etc.

As the Church springs back into life let us see what Advent brings - the start of Her year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Light in the dark

A bright light shone out to me tonight as I read that the Trappists of Mariawald in the Diocese of Aachen in Germany have received permission for a return to the liturgical books of 1962 , under the guidance of their young Consecrated Abbott, Josef.
Not only is this truly wonderful news for the future of the Church in Germany and monasticism in general but it sends out the signal that the older rites are prevailing and in the places that matter. Regular Sunday Masses in London, Cologne, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Duesseldorf, Edinburgh, Sydney, Manilla, Birmingham, New York, Rome, Amsterdam, Brussells....and on an on the list goes. Thanks be to God. But these, as great as they are, are not where it matters really.
Where it matters is in the hearts, minds and souls of all those people who in some small way help to continue the celebration of the Old Mass the world over. This is not just the clergy, some of whom still take risks to be seen publicly offering the Mass and the regular attenders, who sometimes go well out of their way to hear the Old Mass. I go to Mass in a lot of parishes.
I was recently thinking about how good so many parishioners have been and continue to be to us. It amounts to a lot of excellent genuine goodwill and of labour- the servers, the singers, the person responsible for opening the sacristy and safe, the person who has to move the flowers to accommodate the ad orientem celebration, the person charged with purifying the sacred linen, the person who advertises Masses on the parish bulletin / website, the person providing refreshments and hospitality, the person who rings the church bell , the person who stitches torn vestments and linen, the person who makes the vestments, the person who prints the propers, the person who takes the collection - all or none of whom may be devotees of the TLM. One might ask, so what?
What has happened gradually since Pope John Paul II's document Ecclesia Dei of 1988 and until only recently, is a gentle re-emergence and acceptance of the 1962 liturgical books. The Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict has since fuelled the fire of the Faith and the Holy Ghost appears to be breathing life into areas of the Church which would have been almost utterly unthinkable only a decade or two ago.
And so now here in Leeds there are no longer the hostile glares from those who happened to be around at the same time as a quiet Saturday afternoon Mass in an out of the way church or chapel, and usually offered by Frs. John Cooke OMI and Michael Cresswell or Mgr. Diarmuid Scannell (all now deceased. RIP). These were often Masses at which those involved in the teaching of Religion in Catholic schools met in almost subdued silence but always in the knowledge that despite the crisis - and it was a dreadful time, that often going miles out of their way to give witness to something which they saw as a focal point of the Faith and whilst often having to professionally endure the awful excesses school liturgies often spew forth, it was quite simply worth it - if not essental.
The LMS in Leeds seems to have gradually become a normal part and parcel of life in the Diocese, like the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at St. Pio Friary situated on the edge of Bradford's nightlife. Another shining light in the darkness of increasingly dark days.

What have we got if we do not live in hope?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Salford week and a couple of fayres

This week I have been busy dealing with matters in the Salford Diocese, including mailing my first newsletter "Renaissance" and putting together one or two other letters. I have already had responses from people who have had the newsletter passed on to them .


On the first Sunday of December NO MASS at Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike because it's the .......parish fayre.

I have almost finished compiling the items for Facing Forward which will be my weekend project and should be out next week. If you would like an e-copy please e-mail me

Friday, November 14, 2008

Masses this weekend

Saturday 9.30a.m., Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall, near Skipton.

Saturday 11.30a.m., Holy Spirit, Bath Road, Heckmondwike.

Vigil Mass Saturday at St. Marie's, Gibett Street, Halifax, 6.00p.m.

Mass on Sunday at St. Joseph's, Pontefract Road, Castleford at 3.00p.m.

Low Mass at Holy Name of Jesus, Oxford Rd., Manchester, Sunday at 4.00p.m.

Mass at English Martyrs, Dalton Terrace, York, Sunday at 6.00p.m.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The things children think

I recently gave my pupils a quiz about Germany for homework. One of the 25 questions was, "Who or what is Joseph Ratzinger better known as?"
Most of them got the answer right. Some were rather off the mark, however with answers like; The Pied Piper of Hamlin, a very old man, the Foster-father of Jesus Christ, a famous chemist and one very sinister - the false prophet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A response with a buzz

The blogs are buzzing with the news that the LMS has received a response to its dubium to the Ecclesia Dei Commission in Rome. This dubium requested clarification about the celebration of Mass on Holydays of obligation. This response merely ratified what Cardinal Hoyos stated during his visit earlier this year to Westminster Cathedral. I shall summarize Rome's response;

Mass may be offered as prescribed in the 1962 calendar but no obligation is attached to those feasts which the bishops have legitimately appointed to be now heard on the nearest Sunday.

Masses offered in the EF and OF should therefore coincide on those feastdays.

This is what has been happening here in Leeds anyway. I hope more people will continue to attend the Masses -on their original days - especially the biblically recorded feasts of the Ascension and the Epiphany. The latter feast is surely a beautiful example and attack on greed and power which continues to tear us apart - a true manifestation of humility and moreover of God Himself. Can we not put that day aside as a a Holy Day?

"t"raditional Catholics could yet "win the day" on this one however. The Document from Rome says that this decision is not to prejudice or override any future document or decision from Rome. This may have something to do with the eagerly awaited clarification of Summorum Pontificum. Many seem to bemoan this long awaiting, but whether the document is on the Holy Father's desk or still under Cardinal Hoyos' pillow, we can be sure that all reactions to the motu proprio will still be being monitored and considered as part of that clarification. This response may also conclude that the initial three year trial period be extended, reduced or negated or that altar girls be allowed. It could say anything, it is in the heart and mind of the Pope. Whatever it says will have no little impact on the life of the Church.

Let us wait and pray. Let us pray for the Holy Souls.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our latest altar boy

Tonight at Halifax there were three servers. Me, my nine year old son Josef and making his debut at the altar, my five year old son Fabian. Fabian did very well and remembered to keep his hands joined and to stand, kneel and sit still - it was a promising start.

This morning at Heckmondwike Father Abberton pointed out how disobedience leads to more disobedience and cited some disturbing examples of this sort of thing in America in relation to the pro-life message being ignored by clergy. On this Our Lady's Saturday he asked us to redouble our efforts in submitting to the will of Almighty God. Father was sporting some new exquisite gold vestments with blue orphreys with matching maniple and burse and veil. Father has also been included on the Castleford rota of celebrants.

Reminder that Mass is offered every Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall near Skipton at 9.30a.m..

Tomorrow the Mass at St. Peter's, Leeds Road, Bradford at 3.00p.m. will be a sung Mass of Requiem for all those who lost their lives in the world wars. R.I.P.

Mass will be at 3.oop.m. at St. Joseph's, Pontefract Road, Castleford.

At Holy Name, Manchester, Oxford Rd., Manchester there will be Low Mass at 4.00p.m.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Since being made rep for the Salford Diocese I have been busy preparing a new TLM blog for that diocese. The blog is now up, though not quite yet "running" having only a couple of postings. The Blog is under the patronage of Our Blessed Lord, Christ the King. My next task is to make contact with His Lordship the Bishop of Salford.

I shall link the blogsite to this one. Please browse from time to time - especially if you are able to attend any of the Masses in Salford.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The war to end all wars

I have a particular interest in family history. I have some very interesting ancestors, one of them was the last person in England to be publicly burned alive for heresy at Lichfield, another was involved at a highly technical level in making the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, others (the Gornalls) all hail back to one particular family in the northwest of England.

One of my favourite ancestors, however, is my father's maternal grandfather who fell in October 1917 close to Ypres in Belgium. I have visited the Tyne Cot Cemetery many times, his name James Edward Cannon is inscribed on a slab, but he has no known grave. The devastation his death caused my great-grandmother and her three children (with two already in the grave), one of whom was my grandmother was indescribable. My great-grandmother had to rule the family with a rod of iron and in addition they ate, slept, rested, holidayed, lived and breathed the Faith.

For these reasons alone, without beginning to even contemplate the devastation of the millions of others who suffered loss in both world wars I have always been grateful to hear a Requiem Mass on Remembrance Sunday for the repose of the souls of those who gave their lives. We will shortly be remembering the 90th anniversary of the end of Great War.

Sung Mass of Requiem, St. Peter's, Leeds Road, Bradford, 3.00p.m. Sunday 9th. November.

Monday, November 3, 2008

All Saints & All Souls

November is already here. The Feast of All Saints has been celebrated this weekend. I have heard three sermons, all first rate, and witnessed a former Anglican being received into the Roman Catholic Church using the Rite of 1962. It was public, very solemn and yet very personal, between priest and convert.

At Broughton we were reminded of the indulgence attached to visiting a cemetery over the next few days.

At Castleford it was once again great to see Mgr. Steele whose sermon was as captivating as ever. Part of his sermon today related the fact that for practical and humble reasons Mother Teresa of Calcutta once sat on his knee on a trip to the English College in Rome where he was spiritual director. Given her tiny stature Mgr. was clearly impressed at the sheer strength of will this woman exuded.

I was unable to get to the Heckmondwike Mass as I was serving at Castleford but as I know Fr. Abberton reads this blog, I didn't want him to feel left out. Happy Feastday Fr.!

This evening my daughter who has been off-colour for a day or two (stress of a Saturday job and thought of school again) said she felt well enough to go over to York for the 6.00p.m. Mass at English Martyrs. This is where we saw the convert being received. I had never seen this (in either EF or Novus Ordo) and it made a big impression on me. Numbers seem well up in York at the moment.

Mass for All Souls will be at 11.30a.m. at Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall, Skipton, and on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 9.30a.m.