Friday, 13 January 2017


Our year here at Gateshead is getting off to a good start. After Chris, our organist and choirmaster, decided to step down, the position has been filled by Paul Dewhurst. Many thanks to Chris for all his work in 2016. Paul brings enthusiasm and experience to the job. Sung Mass is normally on the first and third Sundays.

This Sunday we are joined by some of the Westland Singers too. The music this Sunday is:

Proper of the Mass: sung to psalm tone 3
Gloria.. Mass in RE.Bevenot.
Offertory.. Jesu Rex admirabilis. Palestrina
Credo 3
Sanctus.. Orbis factor.
Communion..  O sacrum convivium Plainchant
Final Hymn.. Let all mortal flesh keep silence.

Franz Xaver Gruber was new to me but apparently wrote 60 Mass settings but is mainly remembered for Silent Night.

Other things in 2017 include the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum on July 7th. We will be having a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving and pulling out all the stops we can. It also marks the 75th birthday of our bishop, Seamus Cunningham, so we will be remembering him on the day he qualifies for retirement which we pray is long and happy. Let`s hope we don`t have a long wait before his successor is appointed.  

There will be Mass at Brinkburn in September. it would also be worthwhile trying to get a Mass at Ushaw again. They seem to be more interested in the history of the place now than when I was there so I hope we can do this. 

I received a number of interesting CDs of sacred music over Christmas and hope to write about these soon.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


People tell me I should advertise things more so this is just to say there will be an Extraordinary Form Low Mass for Epiphany on Friday 6th January at 10.00 am at St Joseph`s. There may be chalk too.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

On Christmas Eve, we will place ourselves once again before the Crib to contemplate, astonished, the "Word made flesh." Sentiments of joy and gratitude, like in every year, are renewed in our hearts as we hear the melodies of Christmas carols, which sing of, in so many languages, the same, extraordinary miracle. The Creator of the universe, out of love, came to make his dwelling among men. In the Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul affirms that Christ, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (2:6). He appeared in human form, adds the Apostle, humbling himself. At holy Christmas we will relive the realization of this sublime mystery of grace and mercy.

Pope Benedict XVI 21.12.06

Those were the days!

Merry Christmas to anyone out there still reading this!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Immaculate Conception

Mass as usual at 12 on Thursday and also Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata at 7pm with music by the Westland Singers. Rigidity checks will be available for the young.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Silence (and Manners in Church)

Silence seems to be all the rage at the minute, what with Pope Francis` silence in the face of a request from the four cardinals for clarification. Hitherto he hasn`t been noted for silence. The papal reflection on November 23rd strangely, in discussing the works of mercy, spoke of the importance of resolving doubts! Also there was a premier in the Vatican of the new film Silence based on the novel by Shūsaku Endo ( the `Japanese Graham Greene)` which I have long found thought-provoking in telling the story of Jesuit missionaries in Japan who abandoned their faith rather than accept a martyrdom which would also have meant death for many of their converts.

However,continuing on the theme of silence the liturgy Commission of England and Wales brought out a document on the place of silence in the Mass. They only discuss the Ordinary Form. The problem is that in the OF silence can only happen as a pause which is rather unsatisfactory as no-one knows how long the pause will be and so cannot be entered in to as there is no telling when the celebrant will move on. They talk about the silence of the congregation during the readings, offertory and Eucharistic prayer but there isn`t silence in church at these points as someone is reading aloud. It is one of the great strengths of the EF Mass that it affords time for silent prayer by the congregation especially at a Low Mass during the offertory and canon. Nevertheless I thought it was interesting that the topic was being explored and towards the end there is a useful section on the importance of silence before Mass which is becoming very hard to find. Strangely we`ve not received any notice of this document in the diocese unlike Cardinal Nichol`s opinion on Cardinal Sarah`s call to say Mass ad orientem which we received very quickly.

Just before devotees of the EF Mass start feeling smug about all this I came across this useful film. Embedding is disabled  but do look at this link.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Youth Sunday

I must say I don`t normally make much of a fuss about Youth Sunday aka the Feast of Christ the King. However at the Extraordinary Form Mass this morning I mentioned it to highlight that we have a good number of youth who come each week. They have never struck me as rigid or hiding something. Where I do find an annoying rigidity is among those who are rigid in their refusal to see anything good about the EF. We have to put up with a lot of stick at this end of things such as visiting priests who think it so clever or amusing, when they preach or make an appeal, to say the first couple of sentences of their sermon in Latin. Or are quite happy to make an appeal but then, I hear, actively dissuade people from attending the EF. The arrogance astounds me as well as just the lack of respect and straightforward courtesy. Or those who throw their hands up in horror at the mention of the EF Mass as being completely beyond the pale and not to be taken seriously in the life of the diocese and at best to be tolerated and certainly not encouraged. The letter to the bishops accompanying  Summorum Pontificum said, lest we forget: What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.. 

Those who throw a stone at young Latin Mass enthusiasts should think first about themselves and in what matters they may be unacceptably rigid before doing so.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Four Cardinals and a Pope


The situation with the four cardinals who sought and failed to get clarification from the pope on Amoris Laetitia is a fascinating one. For those not aware of what has been going on there is a summary here.

What interests me is what kind of canonical procedure the four plan to use for their formal correction of the pope. I don`t have any doubts about Cardinal Burke`s vast canonical expertise but all I can get as far as is canon 1404 Prima sedes a nemine judicetur ( The First See is  judged by no-one). Yet Cardinal Burke says there is a procedure for correcting a pope so I look forward to finding out what it is and how it works. Apart from St Paul challenging St Peter at Antioch all that comes to mind is the posthumous trial of Pope Formosus  (Pope Beautiful!) in 897.I wonder what precedents Cardinal Burke has in mind? Interesting times indeed.