Tuesday 25 December 2018

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

UPDATE: 29.12.18. I`ve just found a lot of unpublished comments I was unaware of . Blogger used to send me a notification when a comment came in. I must have switched this off somehow. I`ll see if I can fix it.

Friday 5 October 2018


In common with a number of other priest bloggers, the present papacy has sapped my enthusiasm for blogging. My last post was intended as a swan-song. However I find the blog still has some purpose: to give notice of future events. So here we go.

On October 16th at 7.00pm I am delighted to say, there will be an evening of Marian music and readings led by the Westland Singers for the month of the Rosary. The service will end with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and there will be refreshments afterwards in the Ingram Hall. All welcome and many thanks to Paul Dewhurst and the choir for giving their time for this to happen.

Sunday 19 August 2018


exaudi, regina tui pulcherrima mundi,
inter sidereos Roma recepta polos,
exaudi, genetrix hominum genetrixque deorum,
non procul a caelo per tua templa sumus:
te canimus semperque, sinent dum fata, canemus:
sospes nemo potest immemor esse tui.
obruerint citius scelerata oblivia solem,
quam tuus ex nostro corde recedat honos.
nam solis radiis aequalia munera tendis,
qua circumfusus fluctuat Oceanus.
volvitur ipse tibi, qui continet omnia, Phoebus
eque tuis ortos in tua condit equos.
te non flammigeris Libye tardavit harenis,
non armata suo reppulit Ursa gelu:
quantum vitalis natura tetendit in axes,
tantum virtuti pervia terra tuae.
fecisti patriam diversis gentibus unam:
profuit iniustis te dominante capi.
dumque offers victis proprii consortia iuris,
urbem fecisti quod prius orbis erat. 

Rutilius Namatianus: De reditu suo ll 47-66

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Corpus Christi

There will be a Solemn High Mass, procession and Benediction for the feast of Corpus Christi on Thursday May 31st at St Joseph`s, Gateshead at 7pm. Music by the Westland Singers. This is normally a wonderful event. Shared table in the Ingram Hall afterwards.  All welcome.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Archbishop Sample on the Latin Mass and the young.

Thanks to the Catholic Herald for drawing attention to this interesting homily by archbishop Sample of Portland given at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on April 28th. Very encouraging.

Sunday 29 April 2018

Good News from Paris

I was interested to read the story that from now on training in the Extraordinary Form will be part of the regular programme of study for the seminarians at the Paris seminary. This is the logical outcome of Summorum Pontificum. It came about at the request of the 80 diocesan seminarians who are allowed to choose a topic for study each year and this time chose Summorum Pontificum. The report says the French Episcopal Conference were not entirely happy about it but it is going ahead. On February 2nd the whole seminary attended Mass at Saint-Louis-en-l’Île celebrated by the abbot of Le Barroux, the Extraordinary Form monastery near Avignon.

It`s taking a while to happen in England but surely will come. Paris recently got a new archbishop., Michel Aupetit. In his previous diocese a celebration was held in Nanterre cathedral last year for the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. So slowly but surely things are looking up.

Thursday 12 April 2018

St Joseph`s 1957

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This recently came my way after a funeral when the family were sorting out their father`s belongings. I don`t have a record player so am getting it transferred so as to be able to listen to it. Not sure whether I'll think it's wonderful and regret how much we've lost or find it's terrible and not be surprised that people were ready for something new! On the other side is a sermon by Fr Hugh Lavery. When it`s ready I hope to put a link here.

Thursday 29 March 2018

The Triduum

MAUNDY  THURSDAY  St  Wilfrid`s  7pm  Mass  of  the  Lord`s  Supper:  Joint Mass of English and Polish communities. Watching until 10pm. 

GOOD FRIDAY St Joseph`s. 11am Stations of the Cross
3pm Commemoration of the Lord`s Passion. 

HOLY SATURDAY St Joseph`s: Confessions 12-12.30pm
Easter Vigil Mass 6pm

St Wilfrid`s Mass 9.30am;  St Joseph`s: Latin Mass 12 noon ( Missa Cantata: Music by Westland singers)

Sunday 25 March 2018

The Pope on tattoos.

Pope Francis has been speaking about the usefulness of tattoos. The Telegraph reports:

At a meeting with young people ahead of an upcoming Synod of Catholic bishops, Pope Francis told them "don't be afraid of tattoos".
Answering a question from a Ukranian student priest about how to respond to present-day culture, the pope told his audience of around 300 young people that tattoos were not necessarily a bad thing.
He mentioned cultural examples where tattoos have been a symbol of religious faith, such as in Eritrea, where it used to be common for Christian girls to have a tattoo of a cross on their foreheads as a symbol of beauty.

This will be good news to Gary who runs the tattoo shop just across the road from St Joseph`s as I`m sure he would be pleased to have papal approval and encouragement. A couple of the staff from the shop rent car parking spaces from the church so I`ll be sure to let them know what the Pope has said.

It may mean more work for me too. As someone who is supposed to know something about Latin the most common request I get for my help is to translate mottos people want as part of their tattoo into Latin. It`s an interesting phenomenon: I presume having it in Latin seems to give it an authority and timelessness that English lacks..

A parishioner asks :

Are you going to arrange a job-lot for parishioners with the tattoo parlour across the road?

Will there be reduced rates for clergy?

Sunday 11 March 2018

A very interesting book of Ushaw

I don`t know how to copy tweets but yesterday the Ushaw library twitter account featured a fascinating book. A Sarum missal of 1527. The tweet reads:
 It is annotated with notes recording how the Mass was banned under Edward VI in 1548, restored under Queen Mary &banned again in 1558-59. ‘The chalice of the Devil’ &the ‘Anti-Christ is being Adored’ has been written on an image of a Papal Mass.

Here are the pictures via a screenshot, although I think I read that they disappear after 14 days. 

The talk was fascinating although sadly I only heard the last 20 minnutes as the laptop needed to have PoweerPoint installed so Alistair could show his pictures and I missed most of the talk while I was installing it. April 4th for the next talk on James II.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

The Books of Ushaw

The North East Catholic History Society lecture season resumes tomorrow here in the parish hall with a talk by Alistair Fraser on The Books of Ushaw at 2pm. I`m looking forward to this very much as the contents of the Big Library have always intrigued me: I would have loved to have been let loose in it when I was at Ushaw.  There is now a Twitter page for the Ushaw Library which features the contents of this remarkable collection. I`m proud to have once borrowed books from the Big Library a number of years ago, thanks to Fr Milburn, when I was preparing my talk for the Society on The Recusants and the Sarum Rite. 

 Ushaw`s copy of Henry VIII’s Defence of the Seven Sacraments (1521) for which the Pope gave Henry the title ‘Defender of the Faith’

Short notice I know but if you are nearby it should be an interesting talk.

The next talk will be on 4 April when  Prof. John Derry, will speak on James ll — The King who lost Three Kingdoms.

Monday 5 March 2018

Ego Scriba

We are lucky at St Joseph`s in that Andrew, our MC, has a gift for calligraphy which he employs to create beautiful things for the church. He made a set of altar cards  and has more recently produced the prayer for the Asperges. He is working on transcribing the Gospel of John in Carolingian minuscule at the minute.

I mention this because he also has started a blog which may be of interest to readers. Here you will see which projects he is working on and some examples of the work. Today he has a post on the violent rabbits of the Middle Ages which is well worth a look. There`s a little bit about ladies throwing foxes at each other too if rabbits aren`t exciting enough.

Thursday 1 March 2018


The Catholic Herald this week features Lizzie on its cover. She is an American You Tube celebrity with 180,000 followers who has announced her conversion to the Catholic faith after being a life-long member of a protestant denomination The Church of Christ. Here is one of her earlier contributions on her experience of the Extraordinary Form. Although her style may jar somewhat, she talks very quickly, and her grasp of history is a bit vague at times, I found this interesting and worth a look. Still waiting to hear about the H & N  Youth Mission Team catering for young people like these...

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Words and Music


A meditation on the Passion of Christ.
Music by Victoria, Caldara, Pergolesi and Bach.
Sung by the Westland Singers directed by Paul Dewhirst
Service ends with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
St Joseph`s Church, High West Street, Gateshead
March 20th at 7pm

Thursday 22 February 2018

Iam enim hiems transiit; imber abiit, et recessit. Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra

Or maybe not. Unlike recent years we`ve had a normal winter instead of the very mild ones that were becoming the norm. However even though there is snow forecast for next Thursday, March 1st, it`s time to come out of hibernation and start a bit of blogging.

So for a start, this item from Pathe News cheered me up.

Good to see the house still survives. I imagine life is somewhat different now.

Thursday 1 February 2018


There will be a Missa Cantata for the feast of Candlemas this Friday, February 2nd at 7pm.

I was looking for a picture but a search on Google images for Candlemass was quite a surprise. Candlemas produces less alarming results. My mistake.