Wednesday 25 December 2013

Happy 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

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Christmas Mass Times

St Joseph`s Gateshead

Christmas Eve: 5pm (with carols from 4.30pm).
Christmas Day: 10.30am

St Wilfrid`s Gateshead

Christmas Eve: 7.30pm (with carols from 7pm)
                          Midnight (with carols from 11.30pm) Extraordinary Form.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Foreign Practices

There`s something that has been on my mind for a while. In November I offer to bless graves of parishioners` family members and friends. When I returned to Gateshead this was not an issue as my predecessor, Fr Dixon (the diocesan liturgist) had been following the same practice. Not a lot of parishioners come but those who do are very grateful to have their deceased remembered and prayed for in this way. However this year I heard of a priest who was asked to do this and declined. There may be many reasons for this some of them even legitimate, but what fascinated me was the reason actually given. He said he wouldn`t do it as it was a foreign practice. This struck me as a strange response given that Christianity itself was an import to this country. Does he participate in the Eucharist? Is it not a foreign practice? How abut using the Bible: was it not originally written in funny foreign languages? If we adopt this criterion for what we will and won`t do the only option is to paint ourselves blue and go to greet the summer solstice at the nearest stone circle while sacrificing a few humans occasionally.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Rubrical Questions

Here at St Joseph`s we have a keen young couple, Andrew and Jayne, who have been coming to the EF Mass for about six months now. Andrew has learnt to serve Low Mass and often has questions which I do my best to answer. One of the recent ones was why is there a double ablution at the EF Mass and only a single one at the OF? I didn`t have an answer to hand so consulted Jungmann. I was interested to read that the first ablution is to purify the mouth lest any fragments of the host remain in the mouth which may even be expelled. The second is for the fingers and the sacred vessels. However I was even more intrigued to read that there was a long neglected rubric in the Ritus Servandus which requires that when the faithful communicate they should then be offered wine mixed with water and a linen towel to purify the mouth. The reference given is Rit. serv.10.6 but I haven`t been able to track it down. I wondered whether the practice should be re-introduced as clearly this was the mind of the Church (although it didn`t make it to the 1962 rubrics). It would at least make less offensive that expression `taking the wine` often heard among Catholics which makes me wonder why we bother at all.

This set me thinking. There is a section of traditionalists who demand absolute adherence to the rubrics of 62. I must admit I`m not one. I bow my head to the cross for the Holy Name and expect there to be a Confiteor before Communion. I do go along with sitting down for the Epistle at a High Mass but after the Una Voce conference liturgies where at every High Mass the pre-62 arrangement was observed I`m begin to wonder about this too. And I`d like a few more collects etc but stick to 62 to avoid confusion. After all the 1962 missal was in force for only a few years before the next revised rubrics came along. I wonder whether the equivalent of the present 62 police were fuming for centuries because the faithful weren`t offered wine, water and a linen cloth after Communion.

Which brings me to another thing. The 62 rubrics do talk about the consecration candle for Low Mass. They say that where the custom exists it should be preserved. (It had previously been mandatory but largely ignored.) My good friend, Fr Briggs of Chislehurst, is a great devotee of the consecration candle and to such an extent he has introduced it into the OF as a praeter legem custom. I have yet to hear any calls from the 62 enthusiasts for its reinstatement, presumably because 62 does not make it mandatory. So I`ve decided to restore it. (To his credit a 62 enthusiast here greeted this with approval.)

I know we have to have order and discipline but I think there is room for local variations which are sanctioned by long-standing custom. Eventually a consensus will emerge. I`ve never been that keen on positive law for its own sake. Maybe I`m a terrible liberal!

I`ve just noticed Fr Z blogged about this a couple of weeks ago. I borrowed the picture from him. As for rules about the numer of candles at Mass I have no idea what is going on in the picture. it must be Mass coram Sanctissimo during the 40 Hours I presume although it`s not too clear.

Saturday 7 December 2013

St Joseph`s, Gateshead 1954

Here is another picture from the archives. This one is clearly dated to 1954 as it was framed and given to Fr Landreth to celebrate his Silver Jubilee of ordination that year. This is a photograph of the original which I couldn`t remove from it`s holder to get onto the scanner. I think we should have a Spot the Difference competition! I said last time I think this one is later than the other as the stencilling is simplified. Our Lady has acquired a set of electric lights and two door-type structures have replaced the curtains at the sides of the high altar. For those who believe the last one was printed in reverse, it seems very odd that yet another should be and once again the wording on the high altar is not in reverse so it does seem the pulpit was on the epistle side. I`ll post a picture soon of the Sacred Heart chapel in it`s pre-wreckovation state to show the original altar from Mirk Lane from 1852 which was smashed and disposed of during the re-ordering.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Infant King

I had an email from Jacqueline Stein, outreach officer for the ICKSP, regarding their novena to the Infant King. There is an interview with the Canons from the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, IL in regards to the monthly Infant King novena. You can find it here.

The interview is extremely informative and interesting. It's broken into 3 parts for readers: 

1) About the Infant King Statue
2) About the Devotion to the Infant King
3) About the practice of the Novena to the Infant King at the Shrine in Chicago, IL

Maybe one day we might see an ICKSP shrine on the banks of the Tyne. Stranger things have happened!

Monday 2 December 2013

St Joseph`s, Gateshead, as it was.

I am interested to find out more about the history of St Joseph`s. In the room off the sacristy, with the title, the Ingram Hall, (originally the sacristy proper), there are a number of old photos of the church. There are two of the sanctuary. Here is one. I`ll scan the other eventually. I suspect this is the older of the two as the other lacks the stencilling, the candelabra and replaces the curtains on either side of the high altar with doors.

I`d be interested to knnow if any photos exist of the church as it was in 1859 when new. I find it hard to believe that the pinnacle above the tabernacle was original as it blocks out the stained glass behind. I wonder where it went?