Monday 9 December 2019

Bishop Byrne at St Joseph`s, Gateshead.

The Mass for the feast of the Immaculate Conception went well yesterday. Here are some photos in no particular order. I`ll sort them into order in time. Thanks to Martin for taking them.

Saturday 30 November 2019

Getting ready

Preparations are well in hand for the celebration of pontifical Low Mass on December 8th. Today being the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Novus Ordo made me reflect that this will be the first time since then that a bishop of Hexham and Newcastle will publicly celebrate according to the usus antiquior since that date. An historic occasion then and one which will be recorded here. Now back to studying the rubrics!

Thursday 31 October 2019

Mass in Peterlee

I have heard recently from Fr Philomeno ( one of the four Gosport Franciscans whose ordination is pictured below) that he is coming back to his home parish of Our Lady of the Rosary at Peterlee in county Durham to celebrate an Extraordinary Form Mass at 10.ooam on Saturaday November 9th. There will be a  social celebration aferwards at Peterlee Caholic Club

Father would like to have a sung Mass but can`t find any singers available at the minute. If anyone can help please let me know and I`ll put you in touch with Fr Philomeno. The Mass will be a votive Mass of our Lady of the Rosary.

Sunday 29 September 2019

Bishop Byrne

Our new bishop, bishop Robert Byrne, visited the Gateshead deanery/partnership on Friday. I am delighted to say that the bishop was keen to arrange a time he could come to St Joseph`s to celebrate the Extraordinary Form Mass. So this has been arranged for Sunday 8th December at 12. This time it will be a Pontifical Low Mass with motets sung by the Westland Singers. I hope one day we will have a Pontifical High Mass at the throne but that will take a lot more preparation and many extra personnel. In the meantime I am looking forward to the feast of the Immaculate Conception this year.

Monday 8 July 2019

Summorum Pontificum at 12

Yesterday marked the twelfth anniversary of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. Yes it`s still here and not tampered with. Occasionally ignored or resisted (cf the recent business with the Knights of Malta) but continuing to bear fruit. This weekend brought two events that would have been unimaginable not too long ago.

At Portsmouth cathedral, bishop Egan ordained four priests in his cathedral for the Family of Mary Immaculate and St Francis using the extraordinary form Pontifical. These piests belnog to the diocesan group of Franciscans at Gosport and celebrate both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass.

Meanwhile in Nottingham dioceses Fr Liam Carpenter was ordained. He celebrated his first Mass in the extraordinary form at the Dominican church of the Holy Cross in Leicester.

Well, the Latin Mass Society say it was in the Extraordinary Form although the lack of altar cards and presence of concelebrants is confusing. Nonetheless ad multos annos to all these new priests!

No ordinations to the priesthood in Hexham and Newcastle this year but now we have a bishop who is known to celebrate the Extraordinary Form we hope that great things lie ahead and that the EF Mass in the diocese will go from being `tolerated` (as was the case before) to embraced and celebrated as a normal part of Catholic life.

UPDATE 19.07.19 Having spoken to a priest who was present Fr Carpenter`s First Mass was in fact in the ordinary form.

Monday 1 July 2019

Altar Servers, Apostles and Evangelists

In the wake of a new volunteer for the serving team it does strike me as odd that our servers have apostles` names. We`ve had two James, coming up to our third Andrew, a Matthew, a Thomas, a Philip, a Paolo and a John. (Well actually a Jack but he tells me for the purposes of this it can be John). Will we get a Nathaniel or a Jude I wonder? Peters are thin on the ground these days but we do have one leading catechesis in the parish.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Corpus Christi

I`m glad to be able to say that despite illness and a shortage of available clergy we are able to go ahead with the annual Solemn High Mass, procession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at St Joseph`s for the feat of Corpus Chrisi tomorrow nnght at 7. All welcome. Refreshments afterwards in the Ingram Hall.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

An Interesting Event

Mass at Ushaw : LMS training conference 2010
Word has reached Gateshead of an interesting event on July 10th in Durham. The Centre for Catholic Studies is hosting a conference entitled Catholicism, Literature, and the Arts II: Legacies and Revivals. So far so good. I`ve never been to any of the lectures organised by the CCS as they are generally held at Ushaw at 5.30 which is not a great time for getting through the traffic from Tyneside and we are well-served at this end of the diocese by the annual programme of talks organised by the North East Catholic History Society.  However here is the overview of the conference:


This second biennial conference will explore key questions concerning the relationship between Catholicism and the arts, including literature, music, and visual art. What substantive relationships of conceptual and formal influence exist between Catholicism and the arts? Is there such a thing as Catholic literature, Catholic music, and Catholic art? If so, in what ways does their catholicity reside in relevant ideas, attitudes, values, and beliefs?

Keynote Speakers

  • Paul B. Murray OP (Angelicum, Rome): At the Threshold of Wonder: Poetry and Religion, Friends or Foes?
  • Robin Jensen (University of Notre Dame): Epiphany and the Visual Art of Early Christianity
  • Patricia Waugh (Durham University): Catholicism and Muriel Spark
  • Bennett Zon (Durham University): Catholicism and 19th Century Music
  • Martin Dubois (Durham University) on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins

All well and good but not likely to get me running down the A1. However the final event of the conference raised the eyebrows. The draft programme is here.

3.30pm-5.00pm Celebration of a Missa Cantata, using Charles Newsham's setting (ticketed event) With special thanks to the University of Notre Dame Centre for Ethics and Culture for their generous support for this event, as also to the DU Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies for their assistance

Not sure why the Mass should be a ticketed event but Option H for registration allows attendance at one conference session and the Mass for £20. 

This is said to be a cultural event and not a traditionalist one. I don`t think they know traditionalists very well if they think they can make that distinction.  However as this is to be a historical re-enactment with music written by Mgr Newsham, a 19th century president of Ushaw, then surely it should not be a Missa Cantata. I`m confident that a sung Mass at Ushaw in the 19th century would be a Solemn High Mass. It was my privilege to have celebrated such a Mass at the LMS training conference held at Ushaw in 2010. Nonetheless it is interesting that a conference of this sort is experimenting with the Extraordinary Form. Who knows there may be a James Baxter moment for one or more of the participants?! (See previous post.)

So hope all goes well with the Mass for Fr Adrian Dixon and all who participate.


Sunday 2 June 2019

Farewell and God bless

Today we said another goodbye: James Baxter was here for his last Sunday. In September he will start his formation as a seminarian with the Institute of Christ the King in Gricigliano. James first experienced the Extraordinary Form Mass here at St Joseph`s as part of a group expedition from the Newcastle university Catholic chaplaincy who came one Sunday, led  by the then chaplain, Fr Dominic White OP, to experience the traditional Mass. James liked it so much  he came back and got involved. It was fortunate he was here today as our regular organist took ill and so James, an accomplished musician, stepped in. Below is his own account of journey so far. As you will see, this is part of a gofundme page as seminarians are expected to contribute to the cost of their training. The link for donations is here.

So we will miss James at St Joseph`s but look forward to hearing about his progress and hope he will come to visit to keep us up to date on his progress!
Hello. My name is James Baxter, and in September I will be joining the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) seminary in Gricigliano.

I’m 22 years old and from Bradford (West Yorkshire). I will shortly graduate in Linguistics from Newcastle University. My time at university has taught me many things, but most importantly, it was there that I encountered Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Then, during my year abroad in Spain, I met the Institute, and I have spent a significant amount of time over the past year in the House of Discernment in Preston. Here is a picture of us in recreation:

Having spent time there, I will commence studies at the seminary and continue to discern my vocation to be a priest. Formation consists of one year of spirituality, followed by two years of philosophy and four years of theology. In addition to the intellectual development, much of the time is dedicated to physical and practical works, ensuring that future priests are down-to-earth, hard-working and humble. Here is another picture of me serving Mass. I am the Acolyte on the far left:

The Institute is not a religious order, and so, as with other seminaries, the seminarians of the Institute are asked to fund their own priestly training and basic necessities such as books, cassocks, other clothes, and transportation costs. Unfortunately I do not have the means available to finance my studies and the other aspects necessary for seminary training.

The seminary fees are approximately €8500 (or £7000) each per annum, and the studies last for seven years. So I would be most grateful for any material support you are able to offer. I also greatly appreciate your prayers, and you can be assured of mine.

May God bless you!

Saturday 27 April 2019

Terry Middleton RIP

It was with great sadness that I heard about the death of Terry Midddleton by heart attack, on Sunday. He was 74. Terry was a member of the Latin Mass choir and concerns were raised when he did not appear for Easter Sunday Mass.

Terry has been a great support to me and I`m missing him. He was often the first to comment on the posts on this blog as 1569 Rising. Terry was very knowledgeable about the Rising and was scheduled to give a talk to the North East Catholic History Society in October to commemorate the 450th anniversary. He taught genealogy and was proud to have traced ancestors who took part in the Rising. 

Terry sang in the choir here for the Extraordinary Form and also was regularly here for Low Mass on a Saturday morning when we would discuss the articles in the week`s Spectator magazine. He had served as a Conservative councillor in Gateshead and stood once for parliament in Berwick. I`m not going to say too much more lest I say everything I`ll be mentioning at his Requiem on May 13th but one of my favourite Terry stories was that he was asked to  leave Ushaw seminary because he `had too much personality` to be a priest!

I`m sure we`ll be able to give Terry the Requiem he would love. Condolences to his daughter Emily  of whom he was immensely proud.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Monday 1 April 2019

Catching Up

After the installation Mass for bishop Byrne last Monday, I had a Low Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation, in the evening. I hadn`t thought to have this originally but I was asked on the Saturday before if there would be a Mass and so I said yes. I was expecting about six people and so suggested we use the Lady chapel for the Mass. To my surprise and delight we had twenty-two people which made it a bit crowded in the benches on the chapel size but it made a lovely ending to a momentous day. 

Meanwhile in the other aisle, St Joseph has been in his best cope since his feast until yesterday. 

There have been a couple of other additions to the church`s statues of saints which I`ll add soon.

Tuesday 26 March 2019

A new start

Yesterday bishop Byrne was installed as bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. It was a very happy occasion and hopes for the future are high. The bishop`s homily can be heard here. I`ll be listening again. It was good to see the best vestments being used: those gifted to the cathedral by the Poor Clares of Darlington.

Amongst those I spoke with the mood was very upbeat.The sun shone and the streets of Newcastle witnessed (the probably hitherto unprecedented sight) of fathers of the Oratory wandering about in habit. I was once again amazed by the people who said they look at this blog. So much so that I thought I`d better try and get it going again. I hope there will be plenty to report in coming months!

Thursday 14 March 2019

Solemn High Mass

I`m happy to say that we will be having a Solemn High Mass on the feast of St Joseph again this year at 7pm. Music by the Westland Singers directed by Paul Dewhurst, will include a Mass setting by Henri Nibelle, a blind Paris organist who died in 1930 and Laudamus Te from Vivaldi`s Gloria.

St Joseph will be wearing his best cope again for the occasion. All welcome. Refreshments after Mass.

Monday 4 March 2019

North East Catholic History Society

Lectures 2019 take place on a Wednesday at 2.00pm in St. Joseph’s Centre, Gateshead. Wed 6 March, Dr. Adam Morton: Anti Popery in 17th Century England. Wed 3 April, Dr. Margaret Harvey: The Rites of Durham in Context

All welcome.

Friday 8 February 2019

More on Bishop Robert Byrne.

This from

During photo shoot around Cathedral he also shook hands with mass-goers who were beginning to assemble at the Cathedral for 12.05pm mass and he simply surprised them by introducing himself as the new Bishop of the diocese. Many of them were surprised and got up in awe, some out of respect and one of them even kissed his ring when he approached and showed his warmth and simple demeanour.
When asked to comment on the first Papal visit to UAE he said: “we must always be ready to talk, there are things that divide us as Christians and non Christians. If we respect each other we gain so much out of it.”
On his leisure time involvements he said he loves theatre, opera and walking and added that given the vast coastline here in the north east that will be something to explore.
As the future shepherd of the flock of Hexham and Newcastle, he concluded that he would go about taking care of the priests as the priests take care of the people under their care. He said he is not averse to asking questions and added that he will not be shy to seek sage advice from Bishop Seamus as and when he needs it, during the course of his ministry as Bishop.
He has chosen to make his final move from Birmingham to Newcastle on St Cuthbert’s feast day- Hexham and Newcastle’s patron saint- on March 20 and will be installed as the 14th Bishop on the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25.

I`m delighted to hear that he is going to take care of the priests so they can care for the people. That`s how it meant to work I`ve always thought.

Monday 4 February 2019

New Bishop!

Pope Francis appoints Bishop Robert Byrne as the fourteenth Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle

 Image result for bishop robert byrne

04/02/2019 11:00 am

The Holy See today announced that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Robert Byrne as Bishop of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Bishop Byrne succeeds The Right Reverend Séamus Cunningham, who has been Bishop of the Diocese since 2009. Bishop Byrne will be the fourteenth Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.

Bishop Byrne was born in Manchester on 22 September 1956. He was ordained priest in 1985 and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Birmingham on 13 May, 2014.

Speaking of his appointment, Bishop Byrne said: “I am deeply humbled by the trust Pope Francis has placed in me with this appointment as Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle,

“I would like to thank the people and priests of the Archdiocese of Birmingham where I have served for the past five years and, in particular, Archbishop Bernard for his constant kindness and support.

“I look forward to making my home in the North East, with its rich Christian heritage, and also getting to know and serve the people, deacons, religious and priests of the Diocese. I ask all of you to keep me in your prayers as I pray for you.”

Bishop Cunningham said: “I am delighted to welcome Bishop Byrne as my successor at a time of great challenge and hope in this Diocese. The Lord Jesus is leading us along a road of rich discernment for the future of the Church and its mission. I know that the priests, deacons, religious and people of the Diocese will warmly welcome him and assure him of our prayers. May the Lord bless his ministry among us. We commend him to Mary the Mother of God, St Cuthbert and all the saints of our Diocese.”

The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: “I am delighted for the Church in Northumbria and Durham and for Bishop Robert that he has been appointed Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle. Bishop Robert has spent his entire priestly ministry in the Archdiocese as an Oratorian in Birmingham and Oxford and we shall miss him very much.

“Bishop Robert will carry his love and knowledge of Blessed John Henry Newman into his new ministry. Bishop Robert renews the bond of affection and faith between our two dioceses which the late Bishop Kevin Dunne had done so much to encourage. May St Chad and St Cuthbert inspire Bishop Robert as he prepares for his new ministry.”

Bishop Robert Byrne’s Episcopal Installation will be celebrated in St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, on Monday 25 March. Full details will be confirmed closer to the date.