Tuesday 26 November 2013

Rome LMS Pilgrimage

I was pleased once again to be asked to be a chaplain on a Latin Mass Society pilgrimage from November 7th-12th. I had been twice to Lourdes with the LMS as chaplain when another priest had found he was unable to go. I had thought I would like to go with the LMS on their Rome pilgrimage so was delighted to be asked when again the scheduled priest found he couldn`t make it. Mgr Gordon Read was the main chaplain. What I particularly enjoy about these pilgrimages apart from using the Extraordinary Form each day is hearing the about the experiences of the pilgrims in adhering to the EF. There were quite a number of converts among the pilgrims and it`s always interesting to hear the stories of those who were received into the Church in the 1950`s and find out how they survived the subsequent decades when much they had signed up for changed beyond recognition. On a personal note I found much common ground with one pilgrim, Peter, as we had both belonged to the Discalced Carmelites: he as a brother for six years in the 1950`s and me for six months in 1982 but we knew many people in common and I was interested to hear about Carmelite life in the 50`s. I always thought the Discalced Carmelites started going downhill once they no longer had a skull in the refectory!

The timetable for the pilgrimage was very light. Only Mass and Vespers were scheduled each day.
Mass in chapel  of the choir, St Peter`s  Photo courtesy of Joseph Shaw`s Flickr page
Our trip coincided with the annual conference of Una Voce International which consisted of delegates from different countries so we made up the numbers for the services.Sometimes we had Mass or Vespers in the Chapel of the Choir at St Peter`s. The rest of the time we used the chapel at the Casa Maria Immacolata in the Via Ezio which was about a half hour walk away from the place we were staying at S. Maria alle Fornaci. Sadly the chapel was lacking many items we needed such as an altar missal which meant trying to celebrate Missa Cantata on the Friday morning using the propers from the pilgrimage booklet and the ordinary from the red booklet that is often used at EF Masses. However the sacristans were friendly and no-one made things difficult for us. Joseph Shaw has written up an account of the liturgies we had with many photos. I was very happy to be subdeacon for High Mass at St Peter`s on Monday. Our celebrant, a former director of the Cappella Julia, had an eclectic approach to the rubrics but that`s nothing new. We skipped the Judica Me but then before communion and before Mgr Read could even think of singing the Confiteor before Communion he gave the absolution. I was interested to see that at the other High Masses we had not onnly was the Confiteor before Communion always sung but the celebrant stayed at the missal to read the epistle which is not very 1962 but does make things rather simpler.

So there was plenty of spare time and some of the pilgrims proved very intrepid explorers. First prize must go to Brian who took himself off to Assisi for the day but almost impressive was a group that went to Castle Gandolfo. Others explored the sights of the city. One trip that was scheduled was a visit to the English College where we were given a guided tour by the rector himself, the ever-gracious Mgr Whitmore. Although I had lived in the college for two years I went along and learnt a few things I didn`t know and enjoyed seeing the restoration work to the main chapel. We had asked about having a Mass at the college being a place of interest for English pilgrims and in accordance with Summorum Pontificum (Art 5.3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages). However Mgr Whitmore refused our request for a Mass on the grounds that the college church was not equipped for it and the Martyrs` chapel is used for personal prayer but apparently couldn`t be used for Mass.

The Martyrs` chapel: unsuitable for the Extraordinary Form
Mgr kindly suggested we have Mass at the nearby FSSP church where I did say Mass on the Sunday morning but beautiful as it is it doesn`t have the significance for English Catholics the Venerabile does. On Saturday morning in St Peter`s the celebrant of our Mass was Mgr Soseman of the Congregation for clergy who also acts as teacher of the Extraoardinary Form for students at the North American College. I imagine it will be a while before the English College employs such a tutor! 

 On Sunday afternoon we attended the open Meeting of the Una Voce conference here the speakers were Abbot Cassian Folsom of Norcia and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. It was very interesting to hear the abbot`s account of how he came to the Extraordinary Form and came to refound monastic life in St Benedict`s birthplace. Also interesting was the cardinal who told us of his meeting with Pope Francis and who assured us the pope has no problem at all with the Extraordinary Form. The current difficulties with the Franciscans of the Immaculate are an internal matter and of no significance to the status of Summorum Pontificum.I was pleased to meet Albert E. Doskey from Una Voce Cuba who worked out I was the author of Forest Murmurs and had extremely kind words to say about it. I think that was the only time my blogging got a mention on the trip. Also it was good to see Rodolfo, former secretary of Una Voce, again and catch up with an old friend from days at the Greg Fr Bob the Jesuit. 


  1. The Martyrs' Chapel looks very suited to both forms of the Roman Rite , more so than the main chapel as presently arranged. Perhaps the good Rector thought that some seminarians might avail themselves of the opportunity to hear Holy Mass. I suspect that many of the students are no strangers to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and the opportunities that it offers.

  2. Sometime in the late 1980s or early 90s, an article was published in 'Venerabile', the journal of the friends of English College, which described Archbishop Worlock of Liverpool celebrating Terce in the Martyrs Chapel, wearing buskins and sandals which once belonged to Cardinal Griffin. Vestments, vesture and other pontificalia belonging to the cardinal are now on display in the crypt of Liverpool cathedral.


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