Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Corpus Christi

A reminder that we are keeping the Feast of Corpus Christi this Thursday with a Missa Cantata at 7pm, followed by a light buffet and reception in the Pope John Paul Room.

Of course, the main feast is transferred to Sunday. There will be a procession and Benediction at the end of the 10am Mass.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

As I had presumed, Mass in honour of St Philip Neri with the Oratorian Community at St Chad's yesterday was a lovely experience. Thank you to those readers of this blog who introduced themselves after Mass - great to meet so many of you!  

I'm amazed at how far the surrounding area has changed over recent years. The top of Cheetham Hill Road used to be very run-down and perhaps a worry if you parked your car on the street.  No more, however.  Upmarket apartments now surround the church and plenty of the residents park their cars there all the time. Almost next door is the Radisson Hotel, so that St Chad's is now a part of the extended City Centre. The whole area is still being re-generated with more new buildings planned to improve the area.  A great place to go to Mass if you're in the Manchester area.

Setting out for the far reaches of Cheetham Hill armed only with a cotta and birettta!

There was a time when you might have needed a  beretta like this:

                                  But now you only need this sort of biretta:

We sang this hymn by Father Faber:

Day set on Rome! its golden morn
Had seen the world’s Creator borne
Around St. Peter’s square
Trembling and weeping all the way,
God’s Vicar with his God that day
Made pageant brave and rare!

O, come to Father Philip’s cell,
Rome’s rank and youth, they know it well,
Come ere the moment flies!
The feast hath been too much for him
His heart is full, his eye is dim,
And Rome’s Apostle dies!

Come, O Creator Spirit! come,
Take Thine elect unto his home,
Thy chosen one, sweet dove!
"Come to thy rest,” he hears Thee say;
He waits not - he hath passed away
In mortal trance of love.

When Rome in deepest slumber slept,
Our father’s children knelt and wept
Around his little bed;
He raised his eyes, then let them fall
With marked expression upon all;
He blessed them, and was dead.

One half from earth, one half from heaven,
Was that mysterious blessing given;
Just as his life had been
One half in heaven, one half on earth,
Of earthly toil and heavenly mirth
A wondrous woven scene!

O Jesus, Mary, Joseph, bide,
With kind Saint Raphael, by my side
When death shall come for me;
And, Philip leave me not that day
But. let my spirit pass away,
Leaning, dear Sire, on thee.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

In what we have failed to do

I can recommend reading Mgr Andrew Wadsworth's talk given to the clergy of Westminster entitled "Sacrosanctum Concillium - What we have done and what we have failed to do." It's given in full over at the Chant Cafe.  Mgr Wadsworth is always clear, straight forward and refreshing on the liturgy, although you need to appreciate the questioning look and dry sense of humour in his delivery to get the full effect of some seemingly easily overlooked phrases that in fact convey a world of meaning.  He makes it clear that these are personal perspectives, and while I may not agree with all his assessments, he's in a pretty good place from which to make some judgements.  He recognizes some good achieved, he points out that there is still much to do.  Sacrosanctum Concilium is as much honoured in the breach of its injunctions than in their observance. My own comments in red.

On the challenge of the liturgy conveying the divine to the human and lifting the human to the divine:
The overwhelming character of many Masses is still hopelessly horizontal and assembly-oriented. The considerable challenge which all of this presents is not to be underestimated and requires the offering of the very best that we have in each of these important areas. Too often, the liturgy can seem to be hopelessly earth-bound and pedestrian rather than stimulating in us a thirst for God and all that he longs to give us and do in us and through us. 
On relatavism:
False ecumenism has had a catastrophic effect in this sense – many Catholics now tend to see themselves (both individually and collectively) as just one subjective response to the human dilemma, whereas Sacrosanctum Concilium is telling us quite emphatically that the Church is God's most effective response to the highly human dilemma. 
On actual participation:
The Constitution underlines, however, that for the liturgy to achieve its fullest effect, the faithful must take part with knowledge, actively and so fruitfully. I think it is fair to say that the requirement of knowledge implies a catechesis that in many ways is yet to be undertaken. [I would suggest that although people now take part more actively in a physical sense, they actually understand rather less about what is supposed to be going on in the liturgy.]  It also highlights the fact that the rightful full, conscious and active participation of the Christian people in the liturgy can only be achieved by adequate instruction, above all, of the clergy. This, we would also want to admit is a work in progress and some of the strangest notions concerning the liturgy are the province not of the laity but the clergy.
On Latin:

Clearly the question of language loomed largely at the Council and it seems that the adoption of the vernacular was considered inevitable and desirable but it seems equally clear that the total exclusion of Latin was neither desired nor envisaged. Certainly there is nothing to account for the visceral hatred of Latin that has characterized the liturgical approach of some who claim their authority from mandate of the Council.
Whilst Latin has made something of a modest return evidenced by Latin chants which now can be heard more frequently at Mass, the truth is that most parishes have had fifty years of the studious avoidance of anything Latin, lest there be a sense of the continuation of anything that was formerly found in the liturgy. The hermeneutic of rupture is most dramatic in this exclusion of Latin. Not only do we now have several generations of Catholics who cannot sing Credo III or the Salve Regina, more seriously, we have several generations of priests whose Latin is insufficient to cope with any element of Latin in the liturgy, let alone the celebration of the Mass in Latin in either form of the Roman Rite.
The place and importance of Latin is not determined by the choice of liturgical language. It is vitally important that we grasp this. [Almost our entire history is in Latin, thus the hermeneutic of rupture has had such a severe effect on every aspect of the Church.] Even in the case of an entirely vernacular liturgy, we still need Latin to be able to interpret so many of the sources of the liturgy, to say nothing of fundamental sources for both theology and philosophy. We shall have to recover a greater enthusiasm and competence in the teaching and learning of Latin if future generations of Catholics are going to be equipped with the necessary skills to explore the treasures of the Church’s ancient patrimony. In seminaries, the mandatory one year of Latin [if seminaries are now doing even this little, it's news to me.] provides little more than the briefest introduction to the language. In places where there is a greater requirement for the study of Latin, the students benefit across the board in their studies and the Church has a future generation of priests who will be more skilled in this respect.  It is worth noting that Sacrosanctum Concilium envisages that every community of Catholics will know the basic chants in Latin.
On what we sing:
Many things which were indicated fifty years ago, such as the singing of the Mass, and more particularly the singing of the proper texts rather than the endless substitution of songs and hymns, are only now being seriously considered and implemented. [Not in many places that I know of.] It is earnestly to be desired that such developments continue to flourish and that an improved liturgical culture is accessible to everyone in the Church. Time will tell whether the musical resources necessary to the success of such a development flourish in our midst. If they do not, then I fear that many of the less desirable features of post-conciliar liturgical music may be here to stay. 

As the good Mgr. says:
A new generation of Catholics eagerly awaits a greater experience of the basic truth that the liturgy is always a gift which we receive from the Church rather than make for ourselves. As those most intimately concerned with the liturgy, you all have a highly significant contribution to make to this leitourgia, this great work in which there are only participants and beneficiaries and no spectators. May God bless us all as we share in his work.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Pèlerinage de Chartres 2013

A friend of mine went on the Chartres pilgrimage this year. Having now returned he wrote the following account of it. Apparently, young people don't want all those "old-fashioned" ways - apart from these 10,000!

Chez nous, soyez Reine,
Nous sommes à vous;
Régnez en souveraine
Chez nous, chez nous.
Soyez la madone
Qu'on prie à genoux,
Qui sourit et pardonne
Chez nous, chez nous.

O Queen of our Country
We are all thine own;
Reign over us in glory
In this our home.
Be thou our sweet Lady!
We kneel at thy throne,
Who smiles on us so kindly
In this our home.

This year I was fortunate enough to be able to take a short break from my daily routine of working in central London to join the Juventutem chapter for the Pèlerinage de Chartres (a three-day, 100km walk from Notre-Dame de Paris to Notre-Dame de Chartres). As with all pilgrimages both spiritual and physical preparations are essential and, whilst I had some understanding of what to expect, it soon became apparent that this would be quite an experience. 

At 6.30am on Friday we joined together under the banner of Our Lady of Walsingham outside Westminster Cathedral. The British Chapter drew its number from all around the UK and further afield. Each person brought their own intentions, expectations, and varied exposure to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. We were so broad a group, but would soon be unified and strengthened by our experience together.

With an air of excitement and slight trepidation we began our pilgrimage with low Mass in the beautiful Cathedral Crypt. After receiving several words of encouragement, and dedicating ourselves to Our Lady we loaded the coach, gathered last minute supplies and headed off to join over 10,000 other pilgrims in France, the eldest daughter of the Church.

Pilgrims entering Notre-Dame de Paris 

The start of the ‘pilgrimage proper’ was heralded by the bells of Notre-Dame de Paris. The piazza infront of this imposing gothic Cathedral was engulfed in a sea of flags and banners, pilgrims and well-wishers who waited in jubilant anticipation for the Missa Solemnis Coram Episcopo, which would truly begin our spiritual journey. The Mass itself was a magnificent spectacle, with the various groups sardined into Cathedral, and others overflowing onto the streets. Our flags were blessed, our bodies and souls fortified by the rites of the Church and, remembering the Lord’s commandment “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”, we set off on our journey.  

Pilgrims were divided in to regional divisions led by a distinctive banner 

The route to Chartres has been well trodden by centuries of Catholic faithful who answered this same call, offering their sufferings and sacrifices for the intentions of the Church, the Holy Father, loved ones and in reparation for the multitude of sins committed against God. This year in particular we were asked to think about “Education, as a path to holiness” - a theme well suited to respond to the virulent attack on marriage and family life which has dominated European politics of late. 

The procession reduced central Paris to a one-lane zone 

The procession of excited pilgrims wound its way through the wide avenues of Paris, at some speed, and then suddenly we escaped the hustle and bustle of the city to join the narrow tracks of the sun-kissed French countryside for the remainder of the pilgrimage. Each morning the rapelle “Good morning Pilgrims, it is time to wake up!” ensured that we rose at 5am to make preparations for the day’s walk. A quick freshen-up was the best that one could hope for in the pouring rain, but our spirits remained high as we began each day with a rousing rendition of 'Faith of our Fathers'. 
 The route moved into the woods
  In a brief dry period the pilgrims head through the farmlands 

The long days of walking were punctuated by well planned spiritual exercises which aimed to help us to focus on what it is to bear whitness to our faith. These ranged from singing hymns and chanting the rosary, to listening to a meditation/talk and having the opportunity to attend confession. On this last point, we were immensely privileged to have inspiring team of young clergy to assist us during our walk. Within the procession of happy pilgrims each priest or seminarian was unmistakable in their attire; cassock, cotta, purple stole, rosary and strong walking boots – even during the torrential rain they managed to maintain their composure, continue the walk and freely offer their spiritual guidance to anyone who needed it.

As a young Catholic, in my mid-twenties, it is often hard to remove myself from the bubble in which I live; which is, for the most part, a secular work environment. My desire to take part in this pilgrimage was to surround myself with like-minded Catholics with whom I had some spiritual connection, and could explore my faith further in a 'normal' way. 

 The Sacrament of Confession was available at any time 

It has often struck me that, in the light of the ‘clerical scandal’ and the increase of relativism across society, it has become more and more difficult to honestly and effectively articulate the Catholic message, fulfilling our true vocation as Catholics to “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation”. The Chartres Pilgrimage is not one for the faint-hearted. It is a tough, challenging, and difficult struggle to reach the end. But it offers a bright light of hope which not only brings people together – forging close and, hopefully, lasting friendships – but it also refocuses our hearts to look more intensely towards Christ as our Saviour and Lord.

At the heart of this experience is the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. In this context it is easy to recognise that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a glorious prayer when heaven bows down to earth, and God descends to us. Particularly in the Extraordinary Form the voice of the Priest is no longer heard; even at the Altar all is silence. “It was thus in the quiet of silence, and while the night was in the midst of her course, that the Almighty Word came down from his royal throne.” This pilgrimage was not about making the Mass political (as some have tried to do), this was not some old fashioned eccentricity (there were over 10,000 young people walking), this was about offering the fullness of the Catholic faith, challenging the pilgrims both physically and spiritually to redirect their lives towards God. 
The ministers approach the altar
High Mass in a field! 

The highlights for me included the magnificent Missa Solemnis celebrated in a field for the Feast of Pentecost, finding myself among rows of young people kneeling in the rain in front of the Blessed Sacrament after the second day of walking, and the approach to Chartres Cathedral as the rain poured ever harder; the bells tolling ever louder to welcome the jubilant, if not a little tired, pilgrims. For the last miles we sang with one accord Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat! An unmistakable whitness to our Catholic Faith!

The statues and banners are processed into Notre-Dame de Chartres 

The Sacred Ministers enter the Cathedral
Mgr. Michel Pansard, Bishop of Chartres, addresses the pilgrims
Notre-Dame de Chartres, priez pour nous!

The last night was spent in a local hotel, where we all took advantage of a hot shower, running water and a comfortable bed. Our final morning was filled with joy at completion of the pilgrimage and a sadness that our journey had come to an end - described as 'post Chartres blues' by the veterans of the walk. These mixed emotions did not, however, dampen our spirits too much and we headed to the Cathedral crypt for our last Mass together. A testimony of the diversity and generosity of the group was that we were able to participate in a Solemn High Mass; drawing on the talents of the Priests, servers and singers to make it a memorable occasion. Tired and elated, we ended by singing in full voice the words that we had started with:

Chez nous, soyez Reine,
Nous sommes à vous;
Régnez en souveraine
Chez nous, chez nous.
Soyez la madone
Qu'on prie à genoux,
Qui sourit et pardonne
Chez nous, chez nous.

I personally learned a great deal about my faith and was able to place it in the context of the wider Catholic family. Much more than my incredible experiences of being in Rome, Walsingham or Lourdes, the Pilgrimage to Chartres opened up the possibility that as Catholics we have an incredible role to play in society; but with that we have the awesome responsibility of ensuring that the Catholic Faith, the Faith of our Fathers, is not watered down, made weaker or changed to respond to the zeitgeist, or whim of society: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

Special thanks should be given to the Priests and Seminarians who guided us on this journey of faith; to Francis and Julie Carey who organised the event for the British pilgrims; to George Steven who led the Juventutem Chapter; and perhaps most important of all to the friends and benefactors of the LMS who not only offered us spiritual assistance through their prayers and support, but also who were generous enough to give a £100 sponsorship to over fifteen pilgrims to defer at least some of the cost. 

I would strongly recommend that anyone interested in opening their hearts further to the Catholic Faith should consider taking part in this pilgrimage – I will certainly be there next year!

photos courtesy of www.nd-chretiente.com

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mass in Manchester

I'm looking forward to attending Mass on Saturday with the Oratorian Community at St Chad's, in Manchester Oratory.  Mass at 11am is to celebrate the founder of the Oratorians, St Philip Neri, one of my favourite saints.  No doubt the music and liturgy will be uplifting and inspiring.  It's a joy for a priest to simply attend Mass sometimes and not have the responsibility of being the one organising its various aspects but just to be able to sit sit in choir and say your prayers, especially when you can be assured that there will be no jarring liturgical abuses!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Where Oh where has my Octave gone?

Because I offer the "old" Mass on some days of the week I occasionally find myself in a rather strange "Twilight Zone" of liturgical time due to the inconsistencies between the two calendars. Today was very strange and rather sad in a way, as in the "old" version this week is the Octave of Pentecost, each Mass complete with Sequence, Gloria and Credo.  It does seem odd that such an important feast as Pentecost was historically given an Octave but is now robbed of it. It has the feel of a "worldly Christmas" - all over on the day and no follow-up.

Fr Z relates the well-known story of Pope Paul VI.  I didn't quite weep but is does seem a pity we no longer have it.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

In agreement with "Call to Action"

A parishioner was quite shocked to find that "Call to Action" - the dissident group calling for change in all sorts of areas of Church life - held a meeting in the neighbouring parish (run by the Benedictines of Ampleforth).  Apparently members from the two dioceses of Liverpool and Lancaster were present.  The minutes below are freely available on their web-site, so I will leave you to ponder them for yourselves.

The only comment I make, apart from noting that there are two regular Sunday Extraordinary Form Masses in the same Deanery, is that I find myself in complete agreement with the reasons they give for holding the meeting.  I suspect I am in agreement with them only in letter and not in  the spirit of the aims!

"To speak freely" - often within the Church today many who continue to hold the same views of the Faith  of their fathers and mothers have not felt at liberty to speak freely.

"To engage in dialogue" - often those who question heterodox practices or liturgical abuses receive absolutely no answer from the powers that be or are stonewalled and sidelined. 

"To revisit Vatican II" - Along with Pope Emeritus Benedict, the present Holy Father and many others, I too am all in favour of revisiting Vatican II and interpreting it in the same way as all other Church Councils and teaching - in continuity with our Tradition.

"Be consulted about the future of our Church" - I can't ever recall being consulted about any of the willy nilly changes to liturgy and practice that seem to have become usual in many parts of the Church - not things that are publicly announced by the Holy See but all those little add-ons that accrue to the Mass with no official sanction and the deliberate mis-application of norms  (such as the abuse in the number of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion).

The real call to action is the one Pope Francis is giving us - to be faithful to Jesus and His Church.


A Call to Action: Inaugural Meeting of the Lancaster and Liverpool Groups.
Leyland, Monday 19 November 2012.

1. The meeting started with Sr Mary Feane in the Chair and Fr Paul Browne taking the minutes. Later Ray McGarry was elected as acting Chairman and Angela Bolton as acting Secretary.

2. We then spent a few minutes introducing ourselves to our neighbour, in couples, and sharing our reasons for attending .We each then shared what we had just learnt with the whole group.

3. Reasons given for attending the meeting included:
    to be able to speak freely
    to engage in dialogue
    to revisit Vatican II
    to be consulted about the future of our church.

Some thought that more consultation should be our number one priority – building up a relationship with the bishops: we want dialogue instead of dictatorship.

We have a strong tradition of teaching on social justice – we need to build on this. We need to have an equal say, a sense of ownership (it’s our church!), the lack of which leads to injustice and powerlessness.

Others lamented the loss of ecumenical trust, the lack of ecumenical dialogue and discussion, for example in the way the new Mass translation was imposed and designed (in part) to move us away from agreed versions of common Christian prayers, such as the Creed and the Gloria. Another example was the introduction of the Anglican ‘Ordinariate’ for members of the Church of England wishing to join the Catholic Church as a body, without consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Archbishop of Westminster – or any of our bishops.

4. The meeting agreed that the Lancaster and Liverpool groups would continue to meet as one group for the foreseeable future. But it was suggested that, because we were such a large group (c 20), in future meetings we might discuss a topic in our two diocesan groups before reporting back to the whole group.

5. Someone else suggested that we invite a bishop next time, just to listen. He could give us his considered feedback at a later date.

6. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, 29 January, 7.30 - 9pm, at the Parish Centre of the Anglican Church of St John the Divine, Hewlett Street, Coppull, Lancashire, PR7 5AH. Hope you can make it – and maybe bring a friend.

Angela Bolton, Acting Secretary.


ACTA: Third Meeting of the Lancaster & Liverpool Group
Coppull, Tuesday 26 February 2013

1. After refreshments (and moving rooms) the meeting began with prayer at 7.55pm. Ray McGarry was in the chair and Angie Bolton took the minutes.

2. Apologies for absence were received from: Agnes Dobson, Anton Fernandopuille, Bernard Hayes, Clare Cobb, Ewa Bem, Gavin Young, Gerry Proctor, Maureen Connell, Nick Young, Pauline Volks, Richard Sloan, Stephen Hoyland, Tony Slingo and Val Farrell (14).

3. Present were: Alex Walker, Angie Bolton, Ann Marie Cullen, Ann Miller, Anne Foley, Bernard Traynor, Chris Cullen, Claire Ball, Denis Cullen, Dympna Magee, Elizabeth Kelly, John Sullivan, Julie Dale, Kathy Bamber, Maryrose Fitzsimmons, Moya Duffy, Paul Browne, Ray McGarry, Simon Dale, Susan Bamber, Theresa Swan and Terry Duffy (22).

4. The minutes of our second meeting were accepted without amendment.

5. Under matters arising, John Sullivan reported on the three tasks he’d undertaken at the last meeting:

a. to seek a 30-minute meeting with Bishop Tom Williams (acting Bishop of Liverpool) simply to inform him that this group exists and to explain our raison d’être, expanding on our national mission statement. Not asking him to do anything, nor to agree or commit to anything. The bishop flatly turned down his request, thus ‘highlighting why ACTA exists in the first place’, as John commented. In a second message, Bishop Tom said that as he was very busy (Archbishop Patrick was convalescing and then retiring) a meeting would be impossible till after the summer. Concern was expressed by several members of the group at the way in which John’s very courteous request had been handled so ungraciously.

b. John sent his (amended) document concerning the Selection of Bishops to ACTA’s core team, as this is a matter of potential concern to all dioceses in the future, as well as of current concern to the several dioceses awaiting bishops at the moment. The document duly appeared on our website. He had also emailed a copy to each member of our group.

c. John also contacted The Tablet to see if they would be interested in publicising his proposals. But, he told us, after an initially positive response, there had been no follow-up.

Paul Browne made available hard-copies of our letter to the Papal Nuncio asking simply what were the criteria and what was the process for appointing a new Archbishop of Liverpool. Paul composed the letter, as agreed, but in the end it was thought more prudent for Angie Bolton to sign it and send it from her address. Several members of this group affirmed the letter by email and their names were added. No response had yet been received.

Terry Duffy made available hard-copies of the A5 pamphlet he’d agreed to produce, based on our mission statement, explaining who we are and what we are about, and advertising the date, time and location of our next meeting. There is now a potential template that could be further customised, and used to advertise an ACTA meeting in one of our parishes, for example. He had already emailed a copy to all members of the group.

6a. We are invited to send two members to the ACTA Leaders’ Conference at Hinsley Hall, Leeds, 6 - 7 May 2013. John Sullivan agreed to be our second representative, joining Ray McGarry who had already booked.

6b. We are also invited to submit two suggested topics for discussion at that meeting. The first, we agreed, should be the criteria and the process employed in the appointment of new bishops and the need for genuine consultation with the laity and priests of the local church concerned. This is a matter of current importance to those of us living in the diocese of Liverpool – but it’s a matter of national concern as well. Several English dioceses are waiting for new bishops, East Anglia for two years now, apparently. One of us declared this topic to be a ‘game-changer’. That it would have a ripple effect: if we could get the method of selecting new bishops changed it could be the start of a new and healthier culture in our church.

We decided that our second discussion topic for the Leaders’ Meeting should be the New Mass Translation (imposed in Advent 2011). In particular we proposed that, just as, by decree of Pope Benedict XVI, the Tridentine Mass is now legally available always and everywhere a priest and a ‘group’ of laity want it (regardless of the wishes of the local bishop in whose name all sacraments are celebrated), so we who welcomed the Mass as reformed by Pope Paul VI in obedience to the decree of the Second Vatican Council, and want to carry on celebrating it, should be allowed to use the translation we have been using for the past forty years. Much discussion ensued: and it became clear that we objected not only to the new text itself but also to the way in which it had been steam-rollered through and imposed on us, with merely token consultation with the bishops and no consultation at all with priests and people.

One of us considered that this topic ‘matters even more than the selection of bishops’. It was claimed that there was ‘profound unhappiness about the new translation’ in our church. This certainly was true of our meeting. Strong exception was taken to the whole business: both the product and the process by which it was produced and imposed on us. Imposed first by Rome on our bishops, thus seriously disempowering them in the area of liturgy and usurping their right, specifically recognised in the Council’s Liturgy decree, to commission and approve the official vernacular translation of the new Latin text of the Mass, renewed and reformed according to the principles laid down by the Pope and the rest of the world’s bishops at Vatican II. In defiance of which, this new ‘translation’, first imposed on our bishops, was then (in 2011) imposed by our bishops on us, priests and people; the priests expected to promote the product even if they were privately appalled by it. As one of us pointed out, both the method by which bishops are still being secretly selected and imposed on us, and the way in which this new translation was secretly created and imposed on us, are two blatant examples of the ongoing abuse of power. (As was the scandal of clerical sexual abuse of children and the subsequent cover-up, and indeed effective collusion in it, by so many bishops and religious superiors.)

As time was running out, we left it to John Sullivan to exactly formulate our proposal, which he subsequently did like this:
The New Translation of the Missal
We’re asking for (i) an opportunity to discuss the deep unhappiness caused both by the lamentable and unhelpful quality of the language it uses and also by the way it was imposed without any serious consultation with the People of God; followed by (ii) an exploration of ways to change this situation so that the language of the Mass – so central to the framing, nurture and expression of our faith – can more effectively communicate God’s invitation to receive, respond to and share His love.

6 c. We also made a third suggestion to the Leaders’ Conference: that as a matter of urgency they appoint a professional ACTA National Press Officer. Chris Cullen suggested Paul Vallely (leading British writer on Africa and development issues, active in Traidcraft, the CIIR, Christian Aid and CAFOD, now associate editor of The Independent, correspondent of The Church Times and a director of The Tablet) and it seemed that those of us who know of him agreed that he would be eminently suitable.

7a. We did not discuss married priests (or the imminent ‘Eucharistic famine’) at all.

7b. But we did discuss the New Mass Translation (see 6b above). It was agreed that Paul Browne should write a letter to the Archbishop of Liverpool (when we have one) and to Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster, asking for permission to use the ‘old’ (Vatican II) translation, in which he would refer to the canon law that recognises the right, and sometimes even the duty, of the laity to raise matters of concern with their bishops.

8. We agreed that our next meeting would be on Tuesday 16 April, 7.30-9pm, at the same place: the Parish Centre of St John the Divine, Hewlett Street, Coppull, Lancashire, PR7 5AH. As the room is not available until 7.30pm, could I ask that people aim to arrive promptly at this time and no earlier? Many thanks.

Angie Bolton
Acting Secretary 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Bishop for a Day

 Consecration at the Mass

Bishop for a day!  And barring a miracle on a stupendous and frightening scale, my only chance!  In fact, I was conferring the Sacrament of Confirmation - a task usually undertaken by the diocesan bishop.  We celebrated the the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Holy Communion for eleven of our young people in the new manner here in Liverpool Archdiocese.  This means that children aged about nine are Confirmed and receive First Holy Communion at the same Mass with the Parish Priest administering Confirmation. The link with the bishop for Confirmation is that he will be somewhere in the deanery sometime in the next few weeks - and that he consecrated the Chrism, I suppose.  As part of this new scheme, children are to be prepared via family catechesis - ie the emphasis is on parents preparing the children, as they promised at their children's baptism.  In fact, already in this parish over the last few years the parents and other family members have been intimately involved in the preparation, so there was nothing new in that part for us.  My special appreciation goes to the children and their families for their kind gift of thanks to Father after the Mass.

As to taking the place of the bishop and confirming "en masse" - it worked well for us and we managed to create a sense of occasion for the children and families even without an episcopal presence.  

(And before anyone runs to the comments box - yes, in fact we have no Archbishop in Liverpool Archdiocese at the moment as the See is vacant after Pope Benedict, on the penultimate day of his  reign, accepted Archbishop Patrick Kelly's resignation.  Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams is administering the Archdiocese during the Sede Vacante.)

Just a note of interest.  The families and young people seemed to get a great deal from Mass celebrated as well as we possibly could in our little church. Mass was ad orientem; the Introit, Offertory and Communion were sung in Latin, as was the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei.  Our numbers - eleven - might be considered small but then the preparation is all conducted through the parish rather than the school.  Those completing these Sacraments of Initiation are all practising the Faith - not just here for the big day and never to be seen again (a phenomenon which many regular parishioners and me as well, have found very depressing and frustrating in the past).

 The Candidates with their Sponsors

A number of our altar servers were also receiving the Sacraments.

It was a little difficult trying to get the Leyland 11 around the cake to cut it!