Sunday, 31 July 2011

YCA Douai Retreat

Young Catholic Adults will be running a retreat at Douai Abbey during the weekend of 9-11 September. It will be led by Juventutem Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr de Malleray . The weekend will be full-board.

There will be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung Mass, Low Mass, Confession and socials. Masses will be in the Extraordinary form

Prices range from £5 to £51 per person per night . There are 3 options

Friday , registration from 4pm, to Sunday 11th September (full board)* or
Arrive Saturday morning till Sunday or day only
51 pounds full-board PER PERSON PER NIGHT
25 pounds for students/low waged/unwaged (or whatever you can afford) PER PERSON PER NIGHT

£35 PER PERSON PER NIGHT (full board). Self catering £25 per person per night (reductions for students:- or whatever you can afford) .

£5 PER PERSON PER NIGHT (or whatever you can afford - please bring your own tent and food ).

If you would like lunch on Sunday 11th then it will be an extra £7 each.

How to book - limited places so please reserve your place early

To reserve your place FOR THE WEEKEND (no deposit needed if you are coming for the day on Saturday), please contact the Guestmaster direct and send a 20 pound deposit (NON RETURNABLE) to Brother Christopher Greener OSB, Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, Reading, Berks. RG7 5TQ (please make any cheques payable to Douai Abbey). Please mention how long you wish to stay and any special diet.

For general enquiries about the weekend:- or any queries about the accommodation/location/lifts required please ring Damian Barker on 07908105787 or 01452 539503.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The New Parish Priest of Warminster

Fr Tom Smith

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that your next Parish Priest will be  Fr Tom Smith.

Fr Tom is currently curate at St Gregory’s Cheltenham, where he has been for the last five years.  He is a Salisbury chap so Warminster is known to him.

Unfortunately Fr Tom cannot come to the parish until mid October, the 15th to be exact, as he is away on holiday during August and the Parish Priest of Cheltenham is away in September. Fr Tom is committed to say Mass there until October 15th. So until then we will have visiting Priests to say Mass on the weekends and there will be fewer weekday Masses. I will let you know what will be happening when I find out.

Between my going and Fr Tom’s arrival, Canon Liam O’Driscoll will be able to act in the name of the Parish (this is a technical though very important part of a parish identity), and I will put in place different points of contact within the parish for funerals, emergencies, enquiries etc. When I have more of an idea how this will work over the six weeks or so, again I’ll let you know, but it has not been worked out yet.

A Priest is given to you. You do not choose him, and he does not choose you. His identity is bound up with yours. He is to be your father and your guide, he is to administer the sacraments to you, and be a faithful man of God, and a faithful servant of our Holy Mother Church. In this Fr Tom will be supported by your prayers.

As you can see Fr Tom has a full head of hair. I had a full head of hair when I came to the parish, and look at me now! I am not one to point the fickly finger of blame, but if I pass through Warminster in a years time, and poor Fr Tom looks like me, then I will have to say that it is entirely the fault of St George’s Warminster! Keep Fr Tom in your prayers as he prepares to come to the parish.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Stained Glass of St George’s

St George's Warminster

It has to be said that there is not much stained glass in St George’s and all of it dates from the time of my predecessor, Fr Christopher. What there is, however, is quite fine.

The four panels in the sanctuary were commissioned from the Bath Aqua Glass (website here) and were blown by Themis Mikellides (see information about him here). I met his a few years ago when after someone had kicked a football into one of the evening windows. He’s a man who loves his stained glass. He was a pleasure to get to know, even on such a short basis.

Windows on the Epistle Side. Designed by Themis Mikellides.

Windows on the Gospel side. Designed by Themis Mikilledes.

They are designed so that in the morning the light is filtered in blue, and in the evening golden red.

The effect that they have is stunning. Of course the best view of them in sitting in the sanctuary, so only the priest and altar servers can fully appreciate them, but there is a lot to be said for seeing their effects, rather than the windows themselves.

There are also two rounded stained glass windows at the west end of the Church on the right depicting St George, and on the left the Annunciation.

St George

The Annunciation

They also are by Themis Mikellides, but for my money the sun through the sanctuary windows tip me in their favour.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Lady Chapel in St George’s

Before I go leave for Chavagnes, which is getting surprisingly close, I thought that it might be good to look around the Church in St George’s, Warminster. Of course we have already seen pictures of it on Dr Shaw’s blog (link here), but I may be able to explain some parts of it for posterity!

I’ll begin with the Lady Chapel.

The statue of Our Lady is quite a fine one, and there is a good devotion to her. Additions to the chapel are the pillar to the front of it, which was added in as part of the Church re-ordering, which was completed by the dedication in 1978.

Fondly known by me as ‘the Word thing’, the plinth is designed for an opened copy of the Book of Gospels. The legend around it is ‘and the Word was made flesh’. Perfectly true of course, but the one thing that you see is ‘the Word’. Now I love Our Lady very, very much, but she is not ‘the Word’! I had meant to have it removed when the time came (the whole sanctuary had just been carpeted before I came) but that time never came. A lesson there, I think.

It was one of those ideas which seemed great. But great ideas are usually nonsense. After all, are you going to leave an expensive book open in Church? With the damp, and the normal damage of fingers and children, and the damage to the spine! And do you really thing anyone was ever going to go over and read it? Not such a good idea. Needless to say, we now use it for a list of people who need prayers. Now that it useful! And, gosh, the intercession of the Mother of God, who’d have thought it!

The roundels which were put up in my time. The Maria roundel is a figure which contains in it all the letter of MARIA. You can pick them out if you look hard enough. The other one is AM, not Ave Maria, but Auspice Maria, under the protection of Mary. They were pained by a local sign writer, Chico Holton (link here), and are silver leaf. They look beautiful in any light.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

For Many - For All (part two)

So we got to the point of asking how we ever got to the point of saying ’for many’ should be translated as ‘for all’.

Well, it was all part of a bigger picture that was going on when the Mass was being translated into English. There were great arguments of how you should translate something. Should you do it exactly, following the Latin original text, or should you simply get at what the Latin means and then compose a prayer around that? The latter way won and, by the way, that is why we now have to go through all this rigmarole of a new translation. The new translation does not follow this composing a prayer around what the Latin means, and follows the original text.

So what’s all the hoo-hah? I hear you cry… well. If you and I read a Latin text, we can both come up with different ideas as to what it means, what the images are, what the inner workings of the text is trying to get at. If we then compose a prayer around that (not just off the top of our heads, but loosely based) then we can both come up with something totally different, and that is important because it then means something else. If I translate calix as cup then you can ask me why I am using a gold chalice at Mass and not a pottery beaker. If I translate it as Chalice, then I can say, I am using something made of gold, because that is what the word means.

Getting back to ‘for many’ ‘for all’. The theologians and translators who had to translate the Mass looked at both the Greek and the Latin texts (both of which mean ‘for many’) and wondered what our Lord would have said in Aramaic. Let me just say this now… we have no idea what He would have said in Aramaic! Anyway, they decided that He would have said ‘for all’. We don’t even know what language He was speaking at the time.

So they looked at the text and translated it according to what they thought Our Lord meant, even though it is clearly contrary to what it means. That is how we ended up with ‘for all’. We made an assumption what the words meant and we second-guessed what Our Lord said. When the call for the new translation came, and we returned to what the prayers actually said, an example was given as to why the translations had to be changed because bad choices had been made. 

Any they gave an example of who this had gone wrong. Do you know what it was?

You’ve guessed it … it was that ‘for many’ had been translated as ‘for all’.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Cardinal’s Galero

Galero made by Fr Bede Rowe

Moving things is a dangerous business. It is very easy to damage things, perhaps by putting hot cups of tea on them, or dropping them down a flight of stairs - for example. So I have decided to record my Cardinal’s Galero, just in case such a terrible end comes to it.

Galero showing the Cardinal's full tassels

A little history about the Galero. This hat has a wonderful history, and is quite an extraordinary thing. It started life as a practical hat, rather like the Saturno, or soup plate (or the ‘usual’ hat, a title I much prefer), but gradually became a sign of office. It is very large and broad brimmed, presumably to keep the sun off the head. The central tassel is there to keep it on the head, and is to be tied under the chin, and the tassels on either side are there as a ‘counter balance’, they are fed though the top of the hat and are in essence weights to keep the central  tassel under the chin.

Underside of the Galero

The first red Galero was bestowed on the office of Cardinal in the thirteenth century. Pope Innocent IV in 1245 in Lyon. It is red of course as it mirrors the colour of cardinals, who are to give their lives, shed their blood, in defence of the Holy Father.

With great sadness, the Galero was ditched in 1969 “Instruction on the Dress, Titles, Coat-of-Arms of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates” - don’t read it, it’s depressing. It is in the stream of a whole series of documents from 1967 onwards which dumbed down and dimmed the Church. I can’t think about that any more. It is just too ghastly.
Suspended Galero over a Cardinal's tomb

Getting back to the Galero. By tradition when a Cardinal died it was suspended over his tomb, and as it corroded, those who passed by thought of the passing nature of this world ‘sic transit Gloria mundi’.

So this hat is given by the Holy Father, presented to the Cardinals, and was side-lined in 1969. A few years ago I was approached to see if I could make a Galero for the occasion of a Requiem Mass for  Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, in the Conventual Church of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, in the Hospital of Ss John and Elizabeth. He was allowed his earthly honours on his catafalque.

Requiem Mass of Henry Benedict Stuart Cardinal Duke of York, note the Mitre and Galero and ermine on his catafalque. 

Chapel of Ss John and Elizabeth

So that is how the Cardinal’s Galero came to be made. My hat making secrets must go with me to the grave, but it really is a fantastic thing.

Dieter Philippi has one of the most wonderful blogs about hats, link here.

Cardinal Burke

The Galero has started to make new appearances. And I for one, and immensely happy about it. 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

For Many - For All (part one)

One of the most obvious changes in the corrected translation of Holy Mass is the words for the consecration on the Precious Blood. It used to be: "Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me." The corrected translation is: "Take this, all of you and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the New and Eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me." I want to talk about the parts in bold: old translation - for all; new corrected - for many. It seems that this means a different thing, and as it is about getting to Heaven we need to understand what is going on.

But before we get anywhere near to the last forty years, we need to go back a little before that. In fact, we need to go back a few thousand years to Our Lord. Let it be understood, first of all, that we are concerned with the means of salvation, and so we do not mess about with it. It is just too important. So we must first ask what words Our Lord used when He changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood. We have the accounts in the Gospels:

Matthew 26:28 "which is poured out for many" Greek πολλων - Many
Mark 14:24 "which is poured out for many" Greek πολλων - Many (same)
I Corinthians 11:25 makes no mention of 'all' or 'many'.

And we know all that the earliest documents containing the words of consecration use 'for many' in Greek, or as we have it in Latin 'pro multis'. 'Pro omnibus' - for all, has never been used in any words of consecration. And it is not now used in any official text. The Latin text, even of the Ordinary Form, uses 'pro multis'. No other traditions with their own rites (prayers for changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ) be it Syriac, Greek, Slavonic, Armenian, or any of the other Slavonic languages use a term which could be translated as 'for all', they all use 'for many'. These date from the time of Christ and have been preserved unchanged.

So we have to assume that this is the meaning of the words that were used by Christ. We have always used them, and everyone has always used them. They are the most important words in the whole world. So we must first ask ourselves. why did we ever say 'for all'?

Friday, 15 July 2011

St George’s Fame Spreads Abroad

We’ve been spotted! Dr Joseph Shaw, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society, came to Holy Mass last Sunday, and took photos which can be seen on his blog. It is lovely to have a record of the Latin Mass here in the parish. And there were a number of people there. In fact there are always a good number there!

I look very short, but that is only because my altar server, Douglas, is terribly tall. I remember when I taught him to be MC for High Mass. I told him that he was to accompany the Priest when he was going to preach to guard him from the infidels who might want to disturb his homily. I can honestly say, if Douglas is guarding you, you'd feel safe.

As I’m off in September and I do not know if this Mass will continue, I’m pleased we have a record of it.

There is a whole set of photo’s here.

French Sea Shanties

I have to admit that Sea Shanties have never really featured highly in my life.

The obvious exception is the Keel Row which is a Tyneside song about the lives of the Keelmen (YouTube here). Of course growing up I didn’t realise that people did not know these songs (rather like Bobby Shaftoe). 

Recently as I was buying a pair of buckled shoes, of which there will be a post soon, I’m VERY excited about buckled shoes, I started singing Bobby Shaftoe. Of course no one really knows it if they are not from the North East. (YouTube here).

So apart from such influences, Sea Shanties do not necessarily spring to my mind. But as we walked on the Chartres Pilgrimage this year, I heard the Chavagnes Scouts singing this – Santiano. It is quite modern, written in 1961 and falls into that band of music that gets under your skin. That is not to say it is good or bad, after all I needed intensive therapy to get over ‘Reach for the Stars’ – I never think about it at all now… rats!

Apparently in France it is quite popular… I don’t know if I should end that sentence “for a Sea Shanty” but there you go.

I'm trying to learn it (incultration and all that) and driving my secretary mad in the process.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Precious Blood and the Family

Blessed John XXIII began his Apostolic Letter Inde a Primis as follows:

From the very outset of our pontificate, in speaking of daily devotions we have repeatedly urged the faithful (often in eager tones that frankly hinted our future design) to cherish warmly that marvellous manifestation of divine mercy toward individuals and Holy Church and the whole world redeemed and saved by Jesus Christ: we mean devotion to his Most Precious Blood. From infancy this devotion was instilled in us within our own household. Fondly we still recall how our parents used to recite the Litany of the Most Precious Blood every day during July.

How wonderful that such a thing should happen in the home. It is no surprise that this family gave rise to such a Saint! It often seems that when we hear of descriptions of the lives of saints they seem so far from our own. When was the last time you had the Litany of the Precious Blood at home?

Well, perhaps you’d be surprised. I have been to houses where the Rosary is regularly said before bed time by the whole family. And others where Morning Prayers are said in bed before getting up. What a wonderful thing to be able to look back childhood and remember the rosary and family prayers. Of course it’s hard (and I’m perfectly aware that I am a celibate man and don’t have a family to annoy me all the time!) but I suppose that it is all about the decisions you make in life.

Perhaps it might be to do with embarrassment. I suppose you must need quite some neck to say to your children “now that we’ve had cake, let’s have a Litany to the Precious Blood”. But what a wonderful thing if it could happen!

I have tried to suggest that people say the Hail Mary whenever they hear the siren of an Ambulance or Fire Engine or Police Car, so that prayers intrude into everyday life.

Perhaps I should give out Family Litanies to the Precious Blood this weekend.

Why do I always think of these things in the middle of the month?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Cold Ash

The retreat took place in Cold Ash, run by the Franciscans province in England. It is part of the Franciscan Spirituality Centre. It had been built as the novitiate for the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in the 1930. This explains the rather small rooms! Novices in the 1930s must have been much shorter and have had much fewer possessions!

Above the entrance door it was good to see a L’Arche cross. It took me back as I had lived in L’Arche Lambeth for a number of years.

The building has two purposes; the Franciscan Spirituality Centre and a retirement place for the old Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

I am always moved by the graveyards in these places. I think it is my monastic background. Even though I only lasted three years, the importance of a cemetery for a religious community has stuck with me. At some point the headstone must have been replaced. I cannot imagine that these are original, not can I think that the sisters would have been buried in a radiating pattern. You cannot really see it from the photo, but among the sisters there are three young girls buried. I could not see how they had died but it is so beautiful to have them counted among the community.

We were privileged enough to use the chapel of the retirement home. There were fourteen of us, thirteen priests. It would have been very difficult to have thirteen Masses on one altar. Most of the priests offered the traditional Mass.

The main chapel is a fine Victorian thing, with four altars. The two on either side, the Lady Altar on the Epistle side and the St Francis Altar on the Gospel side , I do not think were originally envisaged as practical altars, but as votive shrines. Of course we managed to say Mass on them. The High Altar remained of course, and what is now the nave altar had at some time been constricted out of the gates of the altar rails.

It is quite fine to see four simultaneous Masses to the honour of God. There are other interesting things in the chapel, but more of that anon.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Coming Back from Retreat

Each year, canon law says that a priest should go on a retreat for five days. It sounds a wonderful luxury, and I have to say that each year I have to justify it to myself. There is always more than enough to do in the parish and especially now as I pack to go to Chavagnes and tie up loose ends.

But when I go and sink into the silence of the retreat, I realise just how much I need it. I remember that people rely on the priest to pray for them and to offer prayers on their behalf, and to be frank, we need time to go and pray ourselves and to ask God for the help we need in our duty.

It’s not enough just to go away however. I’ve tried that in the past… just getting away for some quiet and peace. And although that is important, it is not enough. You need a good retreat giver, a good priest to lead you, to guide you and challenge you to renew your spirit.

My retreat this year was led by Fr de Malleray of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) which you can read about here. And the retreat conferences were on the prayers of the Traditional Mass.

It really was quite excellent.

I just got back tonight, so I’ll write about it later.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Precious Blood and the Sweet Virgin Mary

The world lay hushed. The angel’s wings paused in their beating. The Virgin caught her breath. Her mind wondered, swelling to accept the word offered to her. And in a moment, a heartbeat, her soul gave its consent.

From all eternity she had been prepared for this moment… with no pride or arrogance in her. She had no need for self-glory, no fear of what others thought. She was innocence. Not a lack of sin, but lacking the knowledge that leads to it. That first sin, the original sin that corrupts and leads to corruption had no place in her.

When the angel spoke, she did not think what it would mean for her, what honour would be given her, what position or status. She thought only of the practicalities. And when she realised how it could be, how it could come about, then her mind and soul embraced the implications. She was new, completed, accomplished. When she said yes, she became what she was destined to be.

And the angels’ wings began to beat again. The planets sang in their heavenly course. And the Spirit came upon her.

And then the Precious Blood thickened in her womb as the God made man was incarnate.

The Precious Blood began in the body of the Sweet Virgin Mary.

She would shed no blood in childbirth, while His would be shed completely on the Cross. Her blood would be taken into heaven when her life on earth was ended, His would be poured out onto the earth to give true life for us below. She nourished His body alone with her blood, His blood was spattered on murderers and thieves and all who stood by.

His Precious Blood soaked her as she held Him in her arms. But not yet, not yet.

The Virgin said yes.

The Precious Blood was formed.

Sweet Virgin
who bore the flesh of God,
protect by your powerful intercession
all who bathe in the Precious Blood of your Son.
Let not His sacrifice be offered heedlessly
but lead all who desire heaven,
by works of mercy and love,
to the altar of the Cross.
Through Christ Our Lord.


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Devotion to the Precious Blood

O Jesus 
in union with Your most Precious Blood 
poured out on the Cross 
and offered in every Mass, 
I offer You today my prayers, 
works, sorrows and sufferings 
for the praise of Your Holy Name 
and all the desires of your Sacred Heart; 
in reparation for sin, 
for the conversion of sinners, 
the union of all Christians 
and our final union with You in Heaven. 


Friday, 1 July 2011

The Month of the Precious Blood

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy
Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father, save us
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God, save us
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony, save us
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us
Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honour, save us

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord

V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.
R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

Almighty and eternal God,
Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son
the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood.
Grant, we beg of Thee,
that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation
and through its power
be safeguarded from the evils of the present life
so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
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