Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

So asked Juvenal in hs sixth satire; who will guard the guards, which has come to be used to ask to whom are those in power accountable? Well to God of course but also to their subjects. Although the pope canot be judged by any earthly court the sensus fidelium is always to be considered and bad papal laws can find themselves ignored by the faithful.` I`m still in shock over Traditionis Custodes. Silly really as it was clear as day that pope Francis loathes the traditional Catholic world. So why did he reach out to the SSPX, giving them faculties so their confessions and marriages would be valid? Who knows? After TC it surely wasn`t for any motive of giving traditional Mass groups an easier time that must be clear. Interesting that there is a major role in all this for archbishop Arthur Roche, the new head of the Congregation for Divine Worship. In his younger days he was private secretary to bishop William Gordon Wheeler, the bishop of Leeds (1966-1985) and, at the time the bishop in England most sympathetic to the cause to save the TLM. I remember Arthur coming to the English College in Rome in 1991 to get a licence ( ecclesiastical degree) so he could be advanced. Arthur`s rise to power has been remarkable but he has not always been known for pastoral sensitivity as when during his time as bishop of Leeds parishes were closed. In 2008 Roche's plans to close seven parishes produced vigorous protests, especially on the part of a parish in Allerton Bywater that offered a Latin Mass. I suspect we are in for a rough ride. The good news is our bishop, Robert Byrne, who is very sympathetic to the TLM. Masses will continue at St Joseph`s on Saturdays and Sundays. On holy days too I expect and for funerals and other sacraments. As the accompanying letter to TC makes clear that the pope`s aim is to only have one form of the Roman rite, the Paul VI version, we are then in a life and death battle. Much prayer will be needed. Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert pray for us!

Friday, 16 July 2021

Traditionis custodes

So the motu proprio altering Summorum Pontificum came out today as predicted. It makes grim reading. Permission for the Latin Mass has to be sought from one`s bishop again. Fortunately we will have no problems in this diocese with bishop Robert Byrne. In fact he has already been in touch wih the celebrants of the EF in this diocese. The restriction on not allowing Mass in parish churces takes us back to Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 1984 which said the same but alllowed exceptions. Most diocees in this country only have parish churches. In this diocese it would mean Ushaw would be the only option.However as existing celebrations are to continue, as the bishop is to establish locations for the Mass but not to allow any new ones we have no option but parish churches. The restriction on new celebrants having to have authorisation from Rome seems bizarre. How will Rome know anything about the suitability of the priest? The appointment of a diocesan priest as moderator for the Mass could be a good thing to ensure all is done well and to help instruct the new celebrants. Clearly this is a move to restrictt the growth of the Extraordinary Form. As it is a growth area in the Church I don`t see it succeeding and all it will do is to tarnish the reputations of the pope and archbishop Roche as they try to obstruct the growth of the ancient Roman rite.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Mass on the external solemnity of St Mary Magdalen

While we wait for the new document on Summorum Pontificum here is something truly extraordinary. Canon Edwards has a new Mass setting although as he says we might recognise the tunes.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Cardinal Bourne visits Newcastle (1921)

Having been to the cathedral for Fr Wilkinson`s ordination I thought this iht be of interest from 100 years ago.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

First EF Mass

All went well on Sunday for Fr Wilkinson`s first EF Mass at St Joseph`s. Here are some photos. I was impressed by Fr`s Latin and his getting the stress of words in the right place. His sermon, in which he addressed the topic of Catholic national leaders consenting to abortion went down well with many people. The choir were on good form and after half an hour sandwich break and more rehearsal were ready for Vespers and Benediction at 3. Fr Wilkinson is being assigned to St Mary`s, Hexham, as assistant priest, a parish also with an excellent choir. I was intrigued by Fr`s vestments, not having seen a cut like that before: they are from Mexico. Ad multos annos!

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Ordination of Fr Luke Wilkinson

Last night I had the pleasure of being present at St Mary`s cathedral for the priestly ordination of Luke Wilkinson. I can`t remember the last time I went to an ordination. my hope was it would be something like this:
As it turned out that wasn`t too far off the mark. Priests not invited to concelebrate (and it was good to see we now have red concelebration vestments instead of relying on the white diocesan vestment at all times) were invited to attend in choir dress. Knowing that modern seminarians are rather keen on tradition I thought to myself "What should I take?` I suppose what I used to take to a Wigratzbad ordination in the 90`s" which meant choir dress and birreta as well as a stole for the laying on of hands. Approaching the cathedral there seemed to be a scene which reminded me of those Wigratzbad days as young clergy and seminarians stood around dressed immaculately in cassock and fascia. Mine was not the only birreta to be worn either. For the Mass setting we had the Missa de Angelis and Credo 3 plus some of the proper sung to the Liber. It was good to see Fr Luke having the manutergium ( a piece of cloth wrapped round his hands after they have been anointed and which is given to a priest`s mother and with which she is buried). Back in 1988 I smuggled a small piece of cloth in and let it soak some of the oil for the same purpose but it had to be done surreptitously in those days. In the event I couldn`t find it when my mother died in 2012.
In his homily, the bishop asked us to have a positive outlook on others rather than looking to run them down (53 minutes). The Mass was held at the same time as the second half of the England-Germany match was played. I always seem to have soething else on when these significant games occur but if you listen carefully on the video at 1.40 you can hear the England suppporters cheering which told us that they had scored. Tonight Fr Luke celebrates his first Mass at St Anne`s, Winlaton at 6pm. I look forward to Sunday and his first EF Mass. How times have changed since I was ordained in 1988! I see Cardinal Parolin is being quoted as saying they really do want to crack down on Summorum Pontificum. I fear that there will be quite a lot of unhappy people, if this occurs, who will be looking to resist such a move. This from the pope yesterday sounds rather ominous too.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

An update

A belated Happy New Year! I can`t believe it`s almost July. God willing, this pandemic is on the way out in the UK and normal life may be able to resume. Things have been ticking over while we wait. Public daily Mass has been held for quite a while now and numbers are good although not everyone has returned who left with the lockdown. We keep them in  our prayers and hope to see them return before too long.

Next Sunday we have two exciting new events. Rev. Luke Wilkinson will be ordained to the priesthood for this diocese on Tuesday evening at the cathedral. On Sunday after that (July 4th) he will be here to celebrate his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form. This will be a Missa Cantata and I shall be the Assistant Priest. I`ve looked through Fortescue and alas he gives instructions for this in a High Mass and a Low Mass only so I`ll have to cobble something together to make it work for the Missa Cantata. There will be photos I hope. At least no-one will criticise too much as they`ll be ( I assume) none the wiser. So prayers for Rev Luke Wilkinson and wishing him Ad Multos Annos!

Rev Luke Wilkinson

That same day at 3pm we will have Vespers and Benediction. This will be a first for St Joseph`s. We were planning Solemn Vespers with Bishop Robert Byrne last March before the lockdown stopped it happening. No bishop this time but the plan is for this to become a monthly event and I dare to hope that our bishop will join us at some stage. This time it will be a one cope Vespers but we hope this will develop further.

At the same time, there is the worry of the new Vatican document seeking to rein in the Extraordinary Form. The last I heard on this was that it was leaving things as they are but any priest new to the EF must get the permission of his bishop to celebrate.This didn`t sound too bad to me if it means the bishop has to set some kind of test to ensure that new celebrants are proficient in the rite. This could mean setting up training courses to ensure proficiency and thus make it easier for priests to learn who are worried about trying it because they have no Latin for example. At least that`s what I hope will happen.

So things are ok at St Joseph`s Gateshead. The parish priest was appointed to be a canon last April and continues to battle on with Parkinson`s disease, diagnosed 7 years ago. 

I hope to blog a little more often as news arises.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Public Mass resumes

Following yesterday`s announcement by the government, I`m happy to say public Masses will resume. Mass will be at St Wilfrid`s on December 5th at 5pm amd at St Joseph`sat 11am (EF) on  December 5th and on December 6th at 10 (Ordinary Form) and at 12 noon ( Extraordinary Form).  The usual safety precautions will be in place. Information about attending Christmas Mass will be given this weekend. On December 20th we welcome bishop Byrne who will celebrate a Pontifical Low Mass at St Joseph`s at 12 noon (EF)

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

From the parish newsletter

An answer to Our Prayers

It is with great joy that we announce the opening of St Joseph’s for Sunday Mass beginning with 10.00am Ordinary form on Sunday 9th August and followed by the Extraordinary Form at midday.

It will come as no surprise to any of you to hear that the number of people allowed at each Mass has to be restricted to comply with the social distancing  measures in place to protect us all against Covid 19. Our limit is 37, which can be stretched slightly if there are family groups.

As well as the social distancing measures, which requires us to remain 2 metres apart at all times, the wearing of facemasks is compulsory, for those aged over 11 years, unless exempted on medical grounds (there will be a limited stock of facemasks available for a small donation at the back of church).

There are also other changes to the way we can enter and exit church and new rules and regulations to follow, such as sanitising hands on entry and exit and prior to receiving Holy Communion.

No statue is to be touched at all, there will be no water in the stoops and there is to be no singing.

There will not be a collection during Mass and so we ask that if you can, you continue to give generously through bank transfer, standing order or direct debit, if you want to continue with weekly cash or cheque donations there will be a receptacle at the back of church in which you may place your donation at the END of Mass.

All the new rules will be clearly displayed and we will have stewards and ushers to assist you at every step, please ensure you comply with their instructions, this is for your own good and the good of others.

To begin with we have decided not to have a pre-booking system in place, this may have to be reviewed depending upon the numbers coming to Mass when we first open. It is essential you arrive early and queue outside, maintaining 2metre distance whilst the stewards show you to your seats.

We have been asked to comply with the government’s ‘Track and Trace’ system, this means that we have been requested to take names and contact details for each person at Mass in order that they may be contacted should there be an outbreak of Covid at one of our services. Your details would be treated with the utmost discretion, in compliance with DATA protection and all information destroyed after 21 days. We STRESS that this is merely a REQUEST and if you would rather not supply this information that is your right to withhold it.

In order to speed up entry to church and to assure you of the utmost confidentiality of any information you are happy to give to ‘Track and Trace’ we ask that at home you write down your name and a telephone contact number along with the date and the Mass you are attending, place this information in a sealed envelope and put it in the box provided at the back of church. No-one will need to access these envelopes at ALL unless there is an outbreak of the virus at the Mass you have attended. This process will have to be completed at each and every Mass you attend, completing the information once will not suffice as envelopes will be destroyed after 21 days and will be kept sealed unless they are needed. Again, we STRESS giving this information is entirely VOLUNTARY.

It has been no easy task to get to the moment of celebrating Mass inside our church once again and we owe a great deal of thanks to everyone who has worked to get everything in place for this momentous occasion, without our volunteers for cleaning, (both before and after each Mass), our Stewards and ushers, committing to being here at each Mass, we would not have been able to open our doors again.

I know it is with great sadness that St Wilfrid’s has not yet been able  to open, the Bishop wisely made the decision that each Priest could only open ONE of the churches for which he is responsible, this is because there is an inordinate amount of work and added stress for each Priest in being able to safely say Mass again.

Canon Brown took the very difficult decision to open St Joseph’s first, before St Wilfrid’s, because St Joseph’s has a larger capacity, therefore more of our faithful will have the opportunity to attend Mass, also it is more central than St Wilfrid’s, meaning it is more easily accessible to the majority. The decision is in no way an indication of preference for church or parishioners, it is purely and simply a question of practicality and common sense.

We continue to pray for the success of our open churches and the demise of the virus that in the not too distant future ALL will be open, and Mass will be said once again everywhere.

Thank you everyone for your patience and prayers, understanding and continued support of our two united parishes.

VOLUNTEER MEETING/TRAINING and CLEANING of CHURCH FRIDAY 7th AUGUST 6pm PLEASE ATTEND IF YOU CAN, TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL. Bring a facemask with you and if you are not already on the books in a voluntary role at St Joseph’s please bring along some form of ID.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Fake email

Someone has created a fake email account for me and is sending out this message:

`Blessed New Day, Having a wonderful day ahead. I Need a favour from you please get back to me on here, I'm busy for now so no calls so just respond to my email. Thanks`

DO NOT RESPOND. It comes from  pastor.office01528@gmail.com which is not my email address.


Saturday, 4 April 2020

Pastoral Letter of Bishop Robert Byrne CO


Pastoral Letter of Bishop Robert Byrne CO

 for distribution in Holy Week 2020

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,I especially wanted to write to you as we begin Holy Week facing the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to assure you that all the clergy and faithful are uppermost in my thoughts and prayers. Without doubt we are living in challenging times but we should see this as an opportunity to have anever-deeper faith and trust in the Lord. In these days of Holy Week, we unite ourselves more earnestly to the sufferings of the Lord on the Cross and wait with him for the glorious day of the Resurrection and new life.At this time, we normally look forward to participating in the events of our Lord’s death and resurrection through the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum. Sadly, this year we are unable to do so. Instead we unite ourselves spiritually with the whole Church in our homes. We can do this in several ways. I would encourage all those who are able to read the texts of the Holy Week liturgies and to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or the Holy Rosary. We can also make a Spiritual Communion which prayerfully expresses our faith in Christ’s presence in theBlessed Sacrament. There are a number of spiritual resources on our diocesan website to help you do this. Thanks to modern technology we can also join with our Cathedral and other churches in the diocese and elsewhere which are live-streaming the ceremonies. In these ways we are able to deepen our unity with our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are suffering with us and sometimes in a worse situation.A number of people have asked about the Sunday Mass obligation and the requirement to make our Easter duties of receiving Holy Communion and confessing our sins. By decree of the President of the Bishops’ Conference of 18th March 2020, the Bishops of England and Wales have dispensed with the Sunday obligation to attend Mass for the time being andalso, for this year, the requirement to receive Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Reconciliation at Easter or thereabouts. The Bishops have asked that all should make a Perfect Act of Contrition at this time. This requires us to be contrite of heart forwhat we have done, know and be overwhelmed by the love and mercy of God for his children, and to approach this grace with humility and resolution not to sin again.
Many of us are bewildered by the situation in which we find ourselves. Normal life has ceased by the unprecedented measures which all of us have a duty to undertake in order to contain and stop this threat to life. Nonetheless our Catholic faith remains a vital comfort and support to us now and as we face the future. We can sustain our life ofprayer by the reading of the Scriptures, praying the Rosary, novenas and litanies and using the social media to keep ourselves connected in the communion of faith.I want to say a special word to those who are preparing to be baptized or received into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil. I had the pleasure of meeting many of you at the Rite of Election on the 1st Sunday of Lent. I witnessed then the excitement and enthusiasm that you had at taking this great step in your journey of faith. Iam sorry that you are unable to continue this journey as you planned. I assure you that your baptism or reception will take place as soon as possible. In the meantime, please see the delay as an opportunity to deepen your love and trust in the Lord. His grace continues to work in our lives whatever the circumstances. Let me take this opportunity to thank all those who are doing so much to support our local communities and parishes. I want to thank especially our NHS staff and all those who have care of the sick. You are doing a splendid job and we are all deeply grateful to you. Thanks also to our headteachers and staff of the numerous schools that have remained open your work is an invaluable support to parents working in the NHS and others who are atthe forefront of the battle against the Covid-19 virus.I ask you all to remember the injunction of the Lord to love ourneighbour, which has not been suspended! Please have a special care for those who are elderly or vulnerable and be ready to give thema helping hand. Please keep in your prayers those who suffer with the virus and those who care for them and for those who have died.Although we are more physically separated at this time yet we are united through our faith and in the prayers of our Ladyand the saints. Let us find our hope in Christ who is with us in all the trials of our life.Yours devotedly in Christ,

 Rt Rev Robert Byrne CO Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

Monday, 16 March 2020

Coronavirus

The Solemn Vespers for St Joseph`s day, this Thursday, has been cancelled in the light of the government`s advice on the coronavirus. All other parish meetings will be cancelled. Mass continues as usual until further notice.

Saturday, 7 March 2020


St. Joseph’s Church, High St., Gateshead
To Celebrate the Patronal Feast
Thursday March 19th
7.00 p.m.
Sung Latin
Vespers
With Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
(Includes music by Elgar and Perosi)
Magnificat
(Sung to a setting by Orlando de Lassus)

Officiant: Fr Paul Zielinski,
Cantors: Fr Michael Brown, Fr David Phillips

Music by the Church Schola and the Westland Singers
under the direction of Paul Dewhurst.
Sponsored by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.