Monday, 9 December 2019

An Extraordinary Mass


Saturday 7th December saw the celebration of a very particular Mass in the Shrine. It was in honour of the Benedictine Abbots Richard Whiting, Hugh Faringdon, and John Beche, together with the four other Benedictine Martyrs, including two from our own monastery at Glastonbury, Richard James, and John Thorne. 

You can see pictures and a longer account of this Holy Mass on the community website here.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Come to Mass tomorrow/today


BA6 9EJ


Isle of Wight

Quarr Abbey
The Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury paid a visit to the Isle of Wight.

Needless to say, the highlights were going to Quarr Abbey, and St Cecilia's in Ryde. What fantastic places. I hope and pray that they flourish as they sing the praises of God.



The extraordinary thing about Quarr is that it was designed by a monk, for monks. So it is not only beautiful, but is exactly what a Benedictine community needs.

St Cecelia's on the other hand, though a fine building etc etc. is made and founded on the voices of the holy nuns. If you want to have a hint of what heaven is going to sound like, then go to Ryde. It is not just music, anyone can sing just music - it is the voices of heaven and earth intertwined.

St Cecilia's, Ryde

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Missa Cantata for Blessed Richard Whiting

Blessed Richard Whiting
Stained Grass Window in the Sacred Heart in Minehead
On 19th September 1539, Richard Layton, Thomas Moyle, and Richard Pollard arrived at the abbey without warning. They were not convinced about Whiting's answers and he was sent to the Tower of London. They discovered a book condemning Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. They also discovered evidence that Whiting hid a number of precious objects from Cromwell's agents.

The commissioners wrote to Thomas Cromwell claiming that they had now come to the knowledge of "divers (many) and sundry treasons committed by the Abbot of Glastonbury". Whiting was sent back to Somerset in the care of Richard Pollard and reached Wells on 14 November. "Here some sort of trial apparently took place, and next day, Saturday, 15th November, he was taken to Glastonbury with two of his monks, Dom John Thorne and Dom Roger James, where all three were fastened upon hurdles and dragged by horses to the top of Toe Hill which overlooks the town. Here they were hanged, drawn and quartered, Abbot Whiting's head being fastened over the gate of the now deserted abbey and his limbs exposed at Wells, Bath, Ilchester and Bridgewater."

Come to the Mass in his honour and to beg for his prayers on Saturday December 7th at 11.00am in the Shrine of Our Lady, sung by the Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury.



Thursday, 7 November 2019

Missa Cantata


This Mass is specifically Benedictine and should be celebrated on December 1st. It was moved some time later to the middle of November, with common chants, but as is fitting for the Community of Our Lady of Glastonbury, we have restored the feast.

It cannot be on December 1st this year, so it will be celebrated as a Votive Missa Cantata on

Saturday December 7th

Come along!


Saturday, 22 September 2018

A Reception Video


This is a wonderful record of Vespers and the Blessing of the Icons.


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

LMS Glastonbury High Mass

Please click on this picture to see more
On the Parochial Feast of the Birthday of the Most Holy and Blessed Virgin, the Shrine of Our Lady of Glastonbury, "the foremost Church in Britain, the fount and source of all religion", was pleased and honoured to host the annual Latin Mass Pilgrimage.


You can see an account on the LMS Clifton website here.


It is wonderful to know that the Rite, feast and language of Holy Mass, which would have been celebrated by the Saints, Martyrs and monks in the Abbey opposite (before its cruel and evil destruction) is once again heard in all its splendour.


The Holy Virgin has been celebrated in Glastonbury from the earliest days of Christianity in our country. She has seen empires and kindgoms rise and fall. She has seen the joy and folly of generations. Our Lady of Glastonbury, our country's first and most ancient shrine, will endure until her Son comes again.


A full set of pictures can be seen following this link.


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Karoussos Icons 5


After the last four week, we now know that we human beings do not simply understand things on a surface level, because certain objects like flags or wedding rings have an importance which is beyond their physical appearance. We also know that God has made us this way because He set up His Church for our salvation and the Church has at its centre the same kind of thing (physical things pointing beyond themselves), namely the Sacraments. These Sacraments are parts of our everyday world but they are transformed by the power of God to give us His grace. Bread and wine are no longer bread and wine, but become His Sacred Body and Blood - really, truly and substantially. We know as well that the Saints are there not only as our examples, but as our helping friends. They can pray for us, and they can present our prayers to God in a way which is different to us on earth. They are now in heaven, singing the praises of the One who made them.


Icons are part of this system in the theology and devotion of the East. They are not just pictures, but they participate in the thing that they represent. In the same way that the things we have been talking about for the past few weeks go beyond what they symbolise, so icons are greater than simply pictures of the saints they show. It is as if the saint themselves were there. An iconstasis (a screen where there are lots of icons) it is not just some picture gallery, but rather it is a portal to heaven itself. The icons, then, are venerated as if the saint were present. An icon is a ‘thin space’ between heaven and earth, a place where the two see each other. Like a window, you can see through, but you are not there on the other side. We will have three such windows in the Shrine in Glastonbury - Christ the Life Giver, Our Blessed Lady and St John the Theologian.


The icons were offered by the Karoussos Foundation (which takes its name form the icons’ maker, Ianis Karoussos) as a result of the twinning of Glastonbury with the Holy Isle of Patmos. Both places are touched by the presence and the hand of God. We know that many people search for God in Glastonbury, and although He is here in the tabernacle, they do not find Him, but spend their time in illusions and fantasies. Let us pray that these icons will draw new generations to worship Our Lord and Saviour, and to venerate His Holy Mother.



The Karoussos Icons 4


We now know that we human beings do not simply understand things on a surface level, because certain objects like flags or wedding rings have an importance which is beyond their physical appearance. We also know that God has made us this way because He set up His Church for our salvation and the Church has at its centre the same kind of thing, namely the Sacraments. These are parts of our everyday world but they are transformed by the power of God to give us His grace. Bread and wine is no longer bread and wine, but is His Sacred Body and Blood - really, truly and substantially. We know as well that the Saints are there not only as our examples, but as our helping friends. They can pray for us, and they can present our prayers to God in a way which is different to us on earth. They are now in heaven, singing the praises of the One who made them.


To help us focus on God, and on the saints, we in the Western Church use statues. It is sometimes thrown at us that we Catholics worship them. But we know that that is not true. Not only is it not true, it is nonsense. Why would we worship something that God has made and not God Himself? In the same way that we do not worship the saint who is depicted, so we do not worship the image of that saint. But what we do know is that we human beings need help to remember and to focus. I have a number of pictures of my mother in the presbytery. Now, I know exactly what she is like, I can speak to her on the telephone, and she can come and visit me. But there is no harm in my remembering her at other times, or even being caught off guard and seeing her by surprise! Even if she is not there I can speak to her picture.

This is what statues do for us. They remind us of the person they show, and they help us to talk to them, and through their prayers and support, they lead us to God.


But we know that they are only artefacts, and by that I mean things which are made with human hands. They may be aesthetically beautiful, or they may be ugly. They may be bright and shiny, or they may be dull and subdued. That really is just a matter of taste. Beware of criticising someone else’s taste. You may think a particular statue is terrible, but it may be a true help to someone else’s devotion. It would be like me going into your home and saying “What horrible wallpaper, how can you stand it! I guess you’re going to change that as soon as possible.” Only to find out that you had just spent lots of money on it, and lots of time choosing it.

So for us in the west, in our history, statues have helped us to pray and to ask the prayers of the saints. But that is not the case for the Church in the East. There, a different tradition, an ancient tradition arose to do the same thing, but with a much deeper theology… icons.

Monday, 10 September 2018

The Karoussos Icons 3


We have seen that we human beings take and use the things of God’s creation and fill them with meaning. And we have seen that God Himself has created us with both the ability and the yearning to do this. We know that this is true because God designed the whole of the sacramental life of the Church (the world’s sure means to salvation) around everyday things. They are portals, gateways into the supernatural world and life of grace.

So we now turn to the word of the saints. We are used to invoking the saints (asking for their prayers and their help) in our everyday lives. If you do not, then you are missing a trick. In the same way that I will ask you to pray for me, so we should be asking the saints as well. The saints are those Christian brothers and sisters of ours, who have died and been found worthy of the courts of Heaven. Their souls, we can be sure, are praising God in the heavenly choir. They have been perfected and have attained the purpose for which all life has been created, namely the worship of Almighty God. It is only in doing this that our souls find true rest and true peace.


The saints are not just there to inspire us, though of course they do that. There are many people who inspire me. Those who stood up to the Nazis in the war, or to terrible injustice inspire me. Members of my own family who struggled through a poor working class life, and still managed to get food on the table through honest work inspire me. But apart from their example, they cannot help me become a better person. Mr Mandela might show me stoic resistance in the face of barbarity and racism, but if I find myself in the same situation, I would prefer someone to help me get out of it or help me cope with it, rather than showing me what they did. Example is all well can good, but it does not go as far as I need. Ask any teacher - you can put a thousand examples on the board, but you have to show someone and help them for them to really get it. Saints are much more than just examples. You can read about examples in a book, but how much better if you can speak to them and apply how they lived and what they said to your life and your situation. And how better still, if they could present your case to someone who can really change the situation… someone with real clout.


Welcome to our teaching about the saints. Yes their lives inspire us. But much more than that, they can help us see and put into action the things that we need to do to live lives which are better and more honourable, so that we can be with them for ever in heaven. And more even that that. They can put in a good word for us with Him upstairs. Of course I can do that as well, but they actually live there and they see Him every moment of every day. They’ve got privileged access.

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