28 March 2015

Holy Week 1863

29 SUNDAY. PALM SUNDAY, semidouble. Violet. Vespers of Sunday without Suffrages.

30 Monday. Feria. Second Prayers for the Church or the Pope. Violet.

31 Tuesday. Feria. Second Prayers for the Church or the Pope. Violet.

Wednesday. Feria. Second Prayers for the Church or the Pope. Violet.

On this and the following two nights the Office of Tenebrae.

2 Maundy-Thursday. Double of the first class. Creed. White.

Good-Friday. Double of the first class. Black.

Holy-Saturday. Double of the first class. Paschal Preface (until the Ascension). White.

After Compline, Regina caeli until Trinity Sunday exclusively.

This week's Ordo is very simple and might have barely merited comment, so familiar are we all with Holy Week, but the damage done to Holy Week by the 1955 reforms under Pius XII constitutes as profound a rupture as is the reformed Missal of Paul VI. Indeed, the 1955 reforms are a prime example of a Pope showing that by virtue of his office he could do anything: la tradizione sono io.

Let me begin by offering the Holy Week schedule for Westminster Cathedral, Farm St and the Oratory for Holy Week 1939.  Here is a schedule which would be followed in any place in the world in which Catholicism could be practised openly. (Click on the images to see them more clearly.)

The immediate difference between then and now is that all of the liturgical ceremonies of Holy Week take place in the morning. This is usually explained by explaining that the canonical hours had gradually been brought forward to mitigate the harshness of the fasting and penance involved, and that the 1955 reform was aimed at recreating something analogous to the ceremonies as they would have been celebrated in the Early Church.

The equally usual objection to this argument is that we are not members of the Early Church, and that the gradual move of the hours is part of a developed tradition that deserves respect for its own undoubted antiquity.

At this point, I would like to refer you to John R's Regnum Amoris blog, and in particular to his discussion of the right hours for these ceremonies, which is here.

He makes two points overall: that the times, and the odd hours at which the different components of the office are said at this time have meaning, and that evening MassMass was first allowed to be said after midday only in 1953, a couple of years before Holy Week was changed—represents a massive rupture both to the Office, which is the complete Liturgy, and to the place of the Mass within the Christian day.: for the first time, the Christian day was measured from midnight to midnight, instead of from sunset to sunset. something it had inherited from its Jewish origins.

So why was this done? I think there were two reasons: accommodation to the times, and sheer ignorance.

In 1955 Abp Bugnini wrote:

"Liturgical reform is something that is needed if the Liturgy is to preserve its vitality and splendour.  The act of the Church [the liturgical rites] ... bounded by time, by space, by the ministers who perform it, is necessarily linked in its exercise to the changeableness of human matters.  On this account the Liturgy in its structure has required a corpus of formulas, gestures, rites and ceremonies which make of it a living organism, exposed like all organisms to outside influences, to luxuriant vitality and, sometimes, to decay." To see how Bugnini continues, and to explore further just how wrong this is see D. Alcuin Reid The Organic Development of the Liturgy pp 214-219.

What is really sad, though, is that in this big thing as in so many other smaller things, Bugnini and his companions didn't understand what they were doing, or perhaps better, had no understanding either of how simplistic their analysis of the Liturgy was, or of the consequences of the changes they were bringing in.

For the record, I don't think that simply reverting to a 1939, or, for that matter, an 1863, Missal or Ordo or even just a timetable would be any sort of answer in 2015. It will only be when there is a much more general appreciation of how the liturgical developments of the twentieth century changed the Catholic understanding of the Mass, and that a better understanding is restored, that the most egregious of the changes will be unpicked. 

When, and how, is anybody's guess; on a dark day, and they seem to become more frequent, the interrogative pronoun becomes "whether".

(According to the bookseller, this illustration from an 1845 hand Missal is by Pugin.)

21 March 2015

Passion Sunday 1863

22 SUNDAY. PASSION SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers for the Church or Pope. Violet. First Vespers of St Cuthbert (Meruit supremos in the hymn) with commemoration of the Sunday. White. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, First Vespers of the Most Precious Blood, with commemoration of the Sunday and of the Octave of St Cuthbert. Red.]

23 Monday. St Cuthbert, Bishop Confessor, double (transferred from 20 March). White. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, The Most Precious Blood of OUR LORD, greater double (transferred from 20 March). Creed.  preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.]

24 Tuesday. Feria. Violet. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle second prayers of the Octave, third prayers of the BVM (Concede) without Gloria or Creed. In Diocese of Plymouth, St Edward, King Martyr, double (transferred from 22 March). Red.]

25 Wednesday. (Feast of Devotion) THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, double of the second class. Creed.  Preface of the BVM. White.Plenary Indulgence.

26 Thursday. Feria. Violet. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle second prayers of the Octave, third prayers of the BVM (Concede) without Gloria or Creed.]

27 Friday. The Seven Dolours of the BVM, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Octave of St Cuthbert, Bishop Confessor, double. Creed. White.]

28 Saturday. Feria. Violet. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle The Seven Dolours of the BVM, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence]

The Indulgence begins.

Passiontide has begun and from Passion Sunday until Maundy Thursday the second prayers for the Church (Ecclesia tua) or the Pope (Deus omnium) are said.  The opening psalm of the Mass (Judica me) and the Gloria Patri after the priest has washed his hands are omitted, except on feasts. Crosses and pictures were veiled yesterday before first Vespers of Passion Sunday. After this week and until Low Sunday feasts which are doubles are transferred to the period after Low Sunday, when they will be celebrated chronologically.

The calendar in Hexham and Newcastle has been seriously knocked about by the Octave of St Cuthbert which gives the northeastern week a very different feel.  But the countdown to Holy Week continues in spite of the feast of the Annunciation.  This Friday is the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the BVM, though it had been reduced to a commemoration before Pius XII carried out his own reforms of Holy Week.  In its traditional form it includes the whole of the Stabat Mater as its Tract.

The Easter Indulgence begins after None on Saturday.  Its conditions are the same as those for Christmas: Confession; Communion; a visit to a Church or Chapel in which Mass is celebrated to pray for the peace of God's Church; and  to assist the poor with alms, or to attend catechism or sermons as often as possible, or to assist the sick or those who are near to their end. (The fourth condition doesn't have to be met on the same day as Communion is received, but Communion must be received by somebody disposed to fulfill the condition if the Indulgence is to be obtained.)

St Mary's in Caermarthen is served by the Rev Lewis Havard, the Missionary Rector.  Mass on Sundays is at 11.00. Catechism is at 3.00, and Evening Prayers and a Discourse are at 6.00.  On the first Sunday of the month the Sermon and prayers are in Welsh.  On weekdays and days of devotion, Mass is at 8.00.  There are some 340 Catholics in Caermarthen and its several widely-spaced outstations, which stretch as far as Aberystwyth. 

Gifford's Hall School certainly comes well recommended! Click on the picture for more detail.

14 March 2015

Fourth Sunday in Lent 1863

15 SUNDAY. Fourth of Lent, semidouble. Violet. Vespers of the Sunday. Suffrages.

16 Monday. Feria. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers OmnipotensViolet.

17 Tuesday. St Patrick, Confessor Bishop, greater double. White. Plenary Indulgence.

18 Wednesday. St Gabriel, Archangel, greater double. Creed. White.

19 Thursday. (Feast of Devotion) St JOSEPH, Spouse of the BVM, double of the second class. White. [In Diocese of Liverpool Plenary Indulgence, and in Diocese of Southwark for eight days.]

20 Friday. The Most Precious Blood of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the feria. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence. [In Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, St Cuthbert, Bishop Confessor, Patron of the Diocese, double of the first class with Octave. Second Prayers of St Cuthbert and Creed during the Octave. White. Plenary Indulgence.]

21 Saturday. St Benedict, Abbot Confessor, double.  White

From this time to the Eighth of July the Suffrages are not said. The Crosses and Images are covered with purple veils till Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

The calendar this week is different in two respects from that obtaining in the twentieth century: St Gabriel the Archangel is celebrated on 18 March, rather than on 24 March (he was moved there to be closer to the Annunciation, presumably for the benefit of devout people with an attention span of no longer than a day); and Friday's Passion-related commemorations reach the feast of the Most Precious Blood.  This feast is too important to lose, so it was transferred to 1 July, displacing the Octave of St John, but it loses the context of the Lenten journey towards Calvary, and, shorn of context, was ditched during the Bugnini revision of the calendar, although, after protests, the feast of Corpus Christi was renamed as the feast of the Body and Blood of OLJC.  Bugnini casually claims that this was "one of the early titles of the feast": even if this is true, it misses the point spectacularly. (At the same time he got rid of the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, but that was restored by John Paul II to 3 January, though only as an optional memorial, secondary to the main celebration of "Weekday of Christmas".)

This feast is, however, displaced to next week in Hexham and Newcastle by its own Patron, St Cuthbert, whose importance locally is underlined below. I wonder what folk memory there was of the importance of this feast.  It wasn't a Holyday in pre-Reformation England, so, unlike St Joseph, isn't marked as a Feast of devotion.

There are two references to the Suffrages, the prayers to the Saints, which were, before Pope Pius X's reform of the Breviary in 1911 a part of the Office said at certain times, and consequently something familiar to Catholics, most of whose parishes had provision for Vespers on Sunday evenings.  When said, they always included a commemoration of the Patron. 

This is the translation of the commemoration of St George, Patron of England:

Ant: The saints by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained the promises.
V: With the shield of thy good will.
R. Thou hast crowned him, O Lord.
Prayer: O God, who makest us to rejoice in the merits and intercession of blessed George thy Martyr, grant in thy mercy that, as we seek thy blessings through him, we may obtain them by the gift of thy grace.

In Hexham and Newcastle, however, the commemoration was of St Cuthbert, the Patron of the Diocese, not of St George. In Northampton, St Thomas of Canterbury, and in Plymouth, St Boniface, the diocesan Patrons, were commemorated before St George. These had proper antiphons, vesicles, responses and collects.

I don't ever remember a prayer to, of, or even about St George in a Catholic Church in this country, even on his feast day: when (and where) I was growing up Irish priests and nuns celebrated St Patrick as a patronal feast, and St George didn't get a look in.  But how different to see a diocese confident enough of its own status as a Local Church, and in possession of a perfectly good saint of its own, deciding that its saint could take patronal preference over the national patron: a different ecclesiology to today's.  In 1863 Irish immigration to England had grown sufficiently to mean that St Patrick merited a Plenary Indulgence, where Saints David and Andrew didn't.

The church of St Michael in Brecon is served by the Rev John Davies. Sunday Mass is at 10.30 in winter and 11.00 in summer.  Vespers in winter at 3.00, and at 6.00 pm in summer.  The congregation is entirely Welsh, numbering some 260.   There was always a Missioner in Brecon until the death of the Rev William Lloyd in prison under sentence of death for his faith in 1679.  From that period until 1788 there was no resident priest in Brecon, though since then it has seldom been vacant. 

We are very aware (particularly if we are from the North) of the fidelity of Catholics during the persecutions: this is the first I have heard of a community in Wales not attached to a recusant family which managed to cling on to the Faith until and beyond Emancipation.

Only eight national associations are listed in the Directory: click on the image to get a clearer view. St Anselm's Society seems to have had at its aim the publication of reputable books for Catholics about their faith.

07 March 2015

Third Sunday of Lent 1863

8 SUNDAY. Third of Lent, semidouble. Violet. First Vespers of St Frances of Rome, commemoration of the Sunday. White. [In the Diocese of Birmingham First Vespers of St Felix, Bishop Confessor, commemoration of the Sunday. White.  In the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence. In the Diocese of Northampton Plenary Indulgence of eight days.]

9 Monday. St Frances of Rome, Widow, double. White. [In the Diocese of Birmingham St Felix, Bishop Confessor, double (transferred from yesterday). White.]

10 Tuesday. The Forty Martyrs, semidouble. Third Prayers A Cunctis. Red.

11 Wednesday. St John of God, Confessor,  double. White.

12 Thursday. St Gregory the Great, Pope Confessor Doctor, Apostle of England, double of the second class. Creed. White. Plenary Indulgence.

13 Friday. The Five Wounds of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the feria. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

14 Saturday. St Felix, Bishop Confessor, double. (Transferred from 8 March.) White. [In Diocese of Birmingham St Frances of Rome, Widow, double. White. (Transferred from 9 March.)]

I will put my hands up and admit that I don't know why St Felix should cause St Frances of Rome to bumped into the end of the week in the Diocese of Birmingham.  He isn't a Patron of the diocese and the date seems to have no significance in itself, either for the diocese or its Bishop.  If anybody has any idea, I'd be grateful to know.  (He is an English Bishop, a Patron of East Anglia, and his feast was still celebrated in the diocese of Northampton, from which the diocese of East Anglia was carved, in the 1962 Missal, although the feast was no longer observed in all English and Welsh dioceses.)

There are two plenary indulgences available this week to the whole Catholic population of England and Wales; as well as an extra one for Hexham and Newcastle, and a whole week in the diocese of Northampton which will end on Laetare Sunday. We've seen how easy it is to get to Confession: this week, you can confess, fulfill your Easter obligation and spring a soul from Purgatory: what's not to like?

Although Pope St Gregory the Great is not a Patron of England, he, rather than St Augustine of Canterbury, is called the Apostle of England. He seems to have been moved in the modern calendar to 3 September, the date on which some communities celebrated his Translation.  There will be more on national Patron Saints, or at least St George, next week.

The celebration of the Five Wounds comes well in the week in which we also celebrate the witness of the Forty Martyrs and of St Gregory, because it was the Banner of the Five Wounds under which the Catholics of England rose up against Henry VIII in the Pilgrimage of Grace.  

We can see what Jesus suffered out of love for us.

The Church of St Anne, Albert-place, Spicer-street, Spitalfields is served by the Marist Fathers. The Very Rev Stephen Chaurain is the Superior, and the rest of the community consists of the Revv Joseph Ecuyer, Charles faure, Joseph Gautherin, Charles Augustus Leforetier, Nicholas Binsfeld and Hugh Patrick Kenny.  Masses on Sunday are at 6.00, 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00 (with an Instruction), and High Mass and Sermon is at 11.00. Churchings and Baptisms are from 1.30 to 3.00 pm, and on Wednesday at 6.00 pm.  Vespers, Sermon and Benediction are at 7.00.  On Holydays, Masses are at 5.00, 6.00, 7.00, 8.00, and 9.00, with High Mass at 10.00.  Every Thursday at 9.30, Mass is said in the presence of children frequenting the schools.  Devotions are every night except Saturdays at 8.00 pm, followed by Benediction on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Stations of the Cross on Fridays.  Catechism is in the church every Tuesday and Thursday at 11.00, and on Sunday at 3.00 pm.  There are Confessions every morning from 7.00 to 9.00, and every evening from 6.00 to 10.00.  Persons unable to attend at these hours will always find one of the Fathers at the Monastery.  There are Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Family, the Living Rosary, and of the Most Sacred and Most Holy Heart of Mary.  Meetings of the Confraternity of the Holy Family are every Tuesday at 8.15 pm: men only are admitted.  There is a procession of the Blessed Sacrament on the third Sunday of every month at Vespers.  The Marist Fathers occasionally give Missions and Retreats.  The parish serves Whitechapel Workhouse; Mile-end Old-town Workhouse and Workhouse schools; Victoria-park Hospital for Diseases of the Chest; and Bethnal-green Lunatic Asylum.  New and spacious girls' schools are now being erected in this locality.

28 February 2015

Second Sunday of Lent 1863

1 SUNDAY. Second of Lent, semidouble. Violet. First Vespers of St Chad, commemoration of the Sunday. White. [In the Diocese of St David's and Newport Feast of St David, Bishop Confessor, Patron of Wales, double of the First Class, second prayers and Last Gospel of the Sunday. White. Second Vespers of the feast, commemoration of St Chad and of the Sunday. In the Dioceses of Liverpool, Northampton and Salford, collection for Ecclesiastical Education. In the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

2 Monday. St Chad, Bishop Confessor, double. Second prayers of the second Monday in Lent. White. [In the Diocese of Birmingham St Chad, Bishop Confessor, Titular of the Cathedral, double of the first class. In the Diocese of Beverley Plenary Indulgence.]

3 Tuesday. St David, Bishop Confessor, double of the first class (transferred from 1 March). White. [In the Diocese of St David's and Newport Feria. Violet.]

4 Wednesday. St Casimir, Confessor,  semidouble. Third prayers of St Lucius, Pope Martyr. White.

5 Thursday. Feria. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers OmnipotensViolet.

6 Friday. The Holy Winding Sheet of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the feria. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

7 Saturday. St Thomas Aquinas. Confessor Doctor, double. Third prayers of SS Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs. Creed. White.

Even though we are in Lent, this week shows just how the calendar can vary from one diocese to another.  1 March is of course St David's Day but that feast, a double, is displaced by the Sunday, and as the feast of St Chad on 2 March is a double, St David has to move to 3 March instead. Except, of course, in Wales, where St David is the Patron Saint of the country, and the feast therefore outranks the Sunday (the prayers of which are nevertheless said, and the Gospel of which comes at the end of Mass).  In the modern calendar, as far as I can tell, St David is celebrated on 2 March, but only in Wales, and St Chad, also on 2 March, but only in Birmingham.

But then lots of other things have changed too. SS Perpetua and Felicity coexisted on 7 March quite happily with St Thomas Aquinas for nearly 700 years before Pius X decided to move them to 6 March.  They are back on 7 March now in the new calendar (though, as an optional memorial on a Saturday, probably not celebrated anywhere in England and Wales in the Novus Ordo) and St Thomas Aquinas has been shifted to January.

Friday's focus on the Holy Winding Sheetthis is the Holy Shroud of courseprovides a respite from our focusing on the sufferings of Our Lord and reminds us that He died as a man and was buried as a man, receiving exactly the same burial as we shall receive. The Gospel is from Mark and tells of Joseph of Arimathea buying a shroud of fine linen for the Body of Jesus. 

The parish of Our Immaculate Lady of Victories in Clapham is served by the Redemptorist Fathers.  Fr Robert A Coffin is Vice-Principal and Rector, and the other priests are Frs John Baptist Lans, John Van Rooy, Donald Cameron, Francis Hall, Thomas Doyle, Peter Burke, and John Lalor. Masses on Sunday are at 5.30, 7.00, at 9.00 with Instruction, and High Mass and Sermon is at 11.00  Catechism is at 3.00 pm. Rosary, Sermon and Benediction at 6.30. The Way of the Cross is followed on the First Sunday at 6.30. On the Fourth Sunday, at 6.30 the faithful can follow the Exercise for a Happy Death. Masses on Holydays are at 5.30, 7.00, 8.30 and 11.00.  The 11.00 Holyday Mass is High Mass on Christmas Day, the Immaculate Conception, Corpus Christi, the Assumption, and the feast of St Alphonsus.  On weekdays, Mass is at 5.30, 7.00 and 8.30. Rosary and Benediction on Wednesday evenings at 7.00 October to April, and at 7.30 from May to September.  On Saturday evenings, the Little Rosary of the Immaculate Conception at 7.00 is followed by Benediction.  Devotions to the Infant Jesus are on the 25th of each month at 7.00 pm in winter and 7.30 pm in summer. The 40 Hours is celebrated on Quinquagesima Sunday. The Church is open daily from 5.30 am to 8.30 pm, except from 12.00 to 2.00 on weekdays, and from 1.00 to 3.00 on Sundays. The Redemptorist Fathers, besides giving public Missions and Retreats, also receive in their house those of the clergy or laity who wish to make the spiritual exercises in private.  The Confraternity of the Holy Family is established in this Church. The Division for Men meets in Church every Monday evening at 8.00.

Click on the picture to see this weeks advertisement for Messrs Hardman and Company. I wonder how much of their 1863 handiwork is still in use?

22 February 2015

A Question For Liturgical Historians

Finding myself reading Abbot Gasquet to chase down something he wrote about the state of Catholics in England in the eighteenth century (paying double taxes, at the mercy of non-Catholic neighbours who could demand their property etc) which reminded me of the place of Christians under Islamic rule, forced to pay the jizya, and forever second-class citizens at the whim of their neighbours,  I came across something odd; that following the 1778 Relief Act, the Vicars Apostolic had inserted the name of the King into the Canon of the Mass (he is precise enough to cite a document signed on 4 June 1778).

Before Pius V's Tridentine Missal, a prayer for the Monarch had been part of the Canon since at least the fourth century, coming immediately after the prayers for the Pope and the Bishop.  This was removed from the 1572 Missal, though it was retained as a privilege in countries with Catholic monarchs, and at the time the Catholic Encyclopaedia was published in 1911, Franz Josef was prayed for as Emperor in Austria, and as King in Hungary (and of course all rites and uses other than the Roman Rite remained unchanged).

But assuming Abbot Gasquet has got this right, the addition of George III to the Canon seems to imply three things that I would not have imagined possible: that such a change might be made so late in the eighteenth century without any perceived need for the sanction of Rome even though the Monarch was far from Catholic; that the Vicars Apostolic, who were administrators of districts, not Bishops in their own sees, felt they had the authority to do this; and that it should have lapsed before the restoration of the Hierarchy without any significant discussion which might have left an obvious trace to this day.

Does anybody have any further information on this?

21 February 2015

First Sunday of Lent 1863

22 SUNDAY. First of Lent, semidouble. Violet. First Vespers of St Peter Damian Bishop Confessor Doctor (O Doctor), commemoration of the Sunday. White

23 Monday. Vigil. St Peter Damian, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Second prayers of the first Monday in Lent. Third prayers of the Vigil of St Matthias. Creed. White.

24Tuesday. (Feastday of Devotion) ST MATTHIAS, Apostle, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. Red.

25 Ember-Wednesday. St Peter's Chair at Antioch, greater double (transferred from 22 February). Second prayers of St Paul the Apostle. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. White.

26 Thursday. Feria. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers OmnipotensViolet.

27 Ember-Friday. The Lance and Nails of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the feria. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

28 Ember-Saturday. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers OmnipotensFeria. Violet.

We did Ember Days in Advent here, so I won't repeat myself.  This is a pretty straightforward week. The feast of St Peter's Chair at Antioch (about which I wrote here) should have been celebrated on Sunday, but because Lenten Sundays are privileged, has been moved to Ember Wednesday instead, and as a feast of St Peter, includes a commemoration of St Paul. The Friday theme of the sufferings of Our Lord continues with a commemoration of the implements which caused specific and targeted piercings of His flesh, unlike the crown of thorns which was a more random act of horror.

The Secret prayer of the First Sunday of Lent is ancient enough to say that the first Sunday is in fact the first day of Lent, the prayer dating as it does from before the days from Ash Wednesday and the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday were tacked on to the beginning to make the forty day days up.  Bugnini and the Consilium, proud of this little bit of knowledge, and noting that non-Latin Rite Catholic Churches did not have this addition, proposed to "unLent" these four days. Pope Paul VI, who had a clearer idea of what people would think refused to allow the four days to be eliminated: "... now they have been accepted by all the peoples who follow the Roman Rite, it is not a good idea to suppress them, especially if the rite of the imposition of the ashes is to be observed on the Wednesday before the first Sunday, as is now the case". Stop and think: the Consilium "experts" knew that the four days had been introduced early in the seventh century, but not that the six week Lent itself probably only dates from the early fifth century: before that it was much shorter. And not knowing how the start of Lent was marked when it began on the first Sunday, they wanted to keep the imposition of the ashes on Ash Wednesday (or at the very least had not proposed an alternative), even though that ceremony would be shorn of any significance, falling, as it now would, in their new Ordinary Time rather than the season of Septuagesima. 

How could such clueless people have reached such a position of power?  Or perhaps better, who pulled what strings to get them there?

In Newmarket, the parish of Our Lady Immaculate and St Ethelreda is served by the Rev Thomas McDonald.  Sunday Mass is celebrated at 11.00 with a Sermon. Catechetical Instruction is at 4.00 pm, with Compline, Sermon and Benediction at 6.30.  On Holydays and weekdays, Mass is at 8.30. On Thursdays, the Rosary is said at 7.30 pm, followed by a Lecture and Benediction.  Confessions are on Saturdays and the eves of Holydays from 6.30 pm.

There is a boarding school for young ladies in Gloucester. Click on the image for a better view.

(For young people: a guinea is £1.05; 1l 11s 6d is a guinea and a half;  2l 2s is two guineas. 10s 6d is half a guinea. 15s is 75p. 2s 6d is 12.5p, and 2s is 10p. A guinea is a clever way to play on people's snobbery and make them pay a 5% surcharge on everything. And, it seems, men are worth a third more than women for teaching pianoforte and singing.)

14 February 2015

Quinquagesima Sunday And The Beginning Of Lent 1863

15 SUNDAY. QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers of SS Faustinus and Jovita, Martyrs. Third prayers A CunctisViolet. Vespers of the Sunday. [In diocese of Clifton, fourth prayers for the Bishop.]

16 Monday. Feria. Violet.

17 Tuesday. Feria. Violet.

18 Ash-Wednesday. Feria. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Omnipotens. Preface of Lent (until Passion Sunday) unless otherwise directed. Violet. FAST.

The FAST OF LENT is to be continued until EASTER on all days except Sundays on which ABSTINENCE is to be observed, unless Dispensation be granted. The time for complying with the obligation of PASCHAL COMMUNION commences on ASH-WEDNESDAY and continues until LOW SUNDAY inclusively.

19 Thursday. Feria.  Violet.

20 Friday. The Crown of Thorns of OUR LORD, greater double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the feria. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence.

On all festivals in Lent a commemoration of the feria is made, and its Gospel read at the end of Mass.

21 Saturday. Feria. Violet.

The Indulgence begins.

No more Friday warnings for the next few weeks. Lent is starting. Start planning now, because every Lenten day (not Sundays because Sundays aren't part of Lent) is a day of fasting and abstinence.  No meat, no eggs, only one restrained meal, as well as two snacks, which together mustn't add up to as much as the one meal.  Sundays are days of abstinence "only". 

Fasting, prayers, almsgiving: Lent is Lent.

If you are young in 1863, your Grandparents will talk about "Black Lents":  the olden days when they were very young and Lent meant six and a half weeks of serious fasting and abstinence. "You young 'uns haven't got a clue", they would no doubt have said, as they considered the fact that in most dioceses, between the start and the middle of the nineteenth century, meat (though not eggs) had begun to be allowed, on at least some, and then gradually all Lenten Sundays: this major change had happened in their lifetimes.

It isn't exactly dissipation, and, importantly, on pain of grave sin to the host if a dispensation hadn't been obtained beforehand, visitors to a Catholic home had to be made to abide by the restrictions in place on the household.  If it made entertainment difficult, or it made going about in Society difficult, then so be it: Lent was not a season for entertainment or Society. 

I still wonder, though, which serpent was looking at which apple when Lenten Sundays became such (comparatively) wanton occasions for the abandonment of tradition.

In spite of the harshness of Lent, we simply slip into it this year.  There are no non-Lenten feasts or festivals to divert us from the penitential season.

Friday's feast asks us to focus on the Crown of Thorns: if you are giving something up which will be difficult, think about the Crown of Thorns, and about how its pain would put into the shade what people like us suffer from the absence of something we are accustomed to which we have given up.

Every day in Lent has proper prayers and a proper Gospel, and these must be read, even if there is a feast whose celebration takes priority. So on Friday these prayers will be said after those belonging to the Feast of the Crown of Thorns, and the Last Gospel of the beginning of St John's Gospel will be replaced by the Gospel of the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

And you are hereby given notice that between Ash Wednesday and Low Sunday, the Sunday after Easter, you must go to Communion, and that means that you must go to Confession. Remember that, but remember too that an indulgence begins after None on Saturday and lasts until Vespers on the second Sunday of Lent. Its conditions are Confession, Communion, Almsgiving and, on the day of Communion, prayers to God for the state of the Church throughout the world, for bringing back all straying souls to the fold of Christ,  for the general peace of Christendom, and for the blessing of God on our nation. It shares these conditions with the Whitsun and All Saints indulgences.

At Whitworth, the Rev John Millward is the Parish Priest.  On Sundays, Mass is at 8.30 and 10.30. Baptisms are at 2.00, and Instruction at 3.30. vespers are at 6.30.  On Holydays Mass is at 5.00 and 8.00, with an evening service at 7.30.  On weekdays, Mass is at 8.00. Churchings are on Mondays after 8.00 Mass. On Thursdays, Rosary, Instruction and Benediction are at 7.30. Confessions are on Saturday at 3.30, and for children on Friday evening. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered once a week for benefactors of the parish.

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07 February 2015

Sexagesima Sunday 1863

8 SUNDAY. SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Ad libitumViolet. First Vespers of St Ignatius, Pope Martyr with commemoration of the Sunday and of St Apollonia, Virgin Martyr. Red. [In diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Plenary Indulgence.]

9 Monday. St Ignatius, Pope Martyr, double (transferred from 1 February). Second prayers of St Apollonia, Virgin Martyr. Red.

10 Tuesday. St Scholastica, Virgin, double. White.

11 Wednesday. St Titus, Bishop Confessor, double (transferred from 6 February). White.

12 Thursday. St John of Matha, Confessor, double (transferred from 8 February).  White.

13 Friday. The Passion of OUR LORD, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence. Abstinence.

14 Saturday. Of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, semidouble. Second prayers of St Valentine, Martyr. Third prayers of the Holy Ghost (Deus qui corda). Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

The most striking thing to a twenty-first century dweller about this week's calendar is that there is no feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Wednesday: that's because the apparitions at Lourdes haven't yet taken place. Even leaving aside the number of saints canonised by John Paul II, any future reform of the calendar to return it to a more traditional shape will have to think about what to do with the natural increase in feasts.  This series isn't proposing answers: it just gives an idea of the way the calendar was a century and a half ago when there were a lot of ferias, and, more importantly, what the calendar gave to the Church.

Otherwise, we have a shuffle of transferred feasts finding a place in the calendar, and the Passion being commemorated as the Friday preparation for Lent.  Eight weeks before Good Friday, six weeks before Passion Sunday, and we have a feast devoted to the Passion.  This simultaneously gives the lie to the fact that pre-Pius X the calendar was simply full of saints, while also showing that duplication and triplication are perfectly worthy tools to focus the minds of people: here, on the fact that Our Lord became Man and died for us; died, in fact most horribly for us.

Saturday isn't just Our Lady's Saturday: this Saturday we specifically commemorate the Immaculate Conception, and that commemoration is sufficiently important to push St Valentine into second place (the "calendar full of saints" meme is wrong again).  It's very rare that a feast in the calendar is completely missed, but we have to be prepared to budge saints about a bit.  Speaking purely for myself, I find this a very human aspect of the calendar: "we'll find somewhere to fit you in" is a lot nicer than "these are the rules".  If you were fanciful, you might even think back to Christmas Eve.

Two more plenary indulgences for the souls in Purgatory are available on Friday and Saturday: you'd almost think the Church was encouraging frequent communion as well as the liberation of the Holy Souls if you didn't believe that frequent communion was something thought up by Pope St Pius X.

The parish of St Marie in Sheffield is served by the Rev Canon William Fisher as Missionary Rector, and he is supported by the Revv Charles James Locke, Thomas Loughran and Patrick Kennedy.  Masses on Sunday are at 7.30, 9.00 (with Discourse), and High Mass at 10.30 (with Sermon).  Catechism, Instruction, and Devotions for children are at 3.00.  Vespers, Sermon and Benediction at 6.00 pm.  On Holydays, Masses are at 7.00 and 9.00, with High Mass and Sermon at 10.30, with Catechism, Instruction, and Devotions for children at 3.00, and  Vespers, Sermon and Benediction at 8.00 pm.  On weekdays, Masses are at 8.00 and 8.30.  On Days of Devotion and on every Thursday evening at 8.00 there are Prayers, Devotions and Benediction.  Every Friday from Septuagesima to Palm Sunday and on the first Friday of every month there are Stations of the Cross.  On other Fridays, the Bona Mors Devotions are said in the Mortuary Chapel.  Every Saturday evening at 8.00 Prayers, Rosary, Litany etc of the BVM are sung. In May, for the month of Mary, there are Devotions and a Discourse every evening.  There are Devotions, a Discourse and Benediction every evening in the Octave of Corpus Christi.  Every evening in the Octave of All Souls there are Devotions in the Mortuary Chapel.  There are Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament, the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Conversion of Sinners, the Scapular, the Rosary, and of Christian Doctrine.  Marriages are on Sunday at 9.00, and other days at 10.00.  Baptisms on Sunday at 2.00 pm and Wednesday at 10.00 am. Churchings on Monday mornings at 9.00.

(The Bona Mors devotions are fairly simple: a pall is put on the ground to stand as the catafalque and the Office for the Dead is recited.  In some places there are Confraternities of the Bona Mors.)

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31 January 2015

Septuagesima Sunday 1863

1 SUNDAY. SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY, semidouble. Second prayers A Cunctis. Third prayers Ad libitumViolet. First Vespers of the feast of the Purification with commemoration of the Sunday. White. [In diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Plenary Indulgence.]

2 Monday. FEAST OF DEVOTION. THE PURIFICATION OF THE BVM, double of the second class. Creed. Preface of Christmas. White. Plenary Indulgence.

After Compline, Ave Regina until Maundy Thursday exclusively.

3 Tuesday. St Peter's Chair at Rome, greater double (transferred from 18 January). Second prayers of St Paul, Apostle. Third prayers of St Blase. Creed. Preface of the Apostles. White.

4 Wednesday. St Andrew Corsini, Bishop Confessor, double. White.

5 Thursday. St Agatha, Virgin Martyr, double.  Red.

6 Friday. The Prayer of OUR LORD, greater double. Creed. Preface of the Cross. Red. Plenary Indulgence. Abstinence.

7 Saturday. St Romuald, Abbot Confessor, double. White.

At Septuagesima we begin the pre-Lenten season which lasts for the couple of weeks before Ash Wednesday.  On the three Sundays, the priest wears violet, alleluias have disappeared, and the Tract is said instead of the Gradual.  The Septuagesima season was abolished during the Bugnini reforms which led to the New Mass, along with the distinction between Passiontide and the rest of Lent.  Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday in the new rite.  The Septuagesima season was followed by Lent, which was followed by Passiontide earlier. 

The feast of the Purification is the first Feast of Devotion of the year.  It is one of the Holydays suppressed after the Reformation which are too many to be restored as Holydays of Obligations, but which the faithful are encouraged to treat as such if they can

The feast of St Peter's Chair at Rome finally appears after being displaced from 18 January, but St Ignatius is displaced by Septuagesima (a privileged Sunday), moving from 1 to 9 February, and St Titus from 6 to 11 February.  St Peter's Chair and the commemoration of St Paul means that St Blase (Saint Blaise nowadays) is simply commemorated on his feast day: the blessing of throats will still take place at the altar rails after Mass, however.

At this time, the two feasts of St Peter's Chair at Rome and St Peter's Chair at Antioch were kept as separate feasts.  I suppose it isn't a surprise that they should have been merged under Pope St Pius X: the point that it wasn't Rome where the Petrine Ministry was first exercised but (for however brief a period) Antioch has, or could have, all sorts of implications for the ultramontane Vatican I-nostalgic.  We should remember that de-emphasising historical facts to support present shibboleths isn't just something practised post-Vatican II.

On Friday we celebrate the feast of the Prayer of Our Lord.  On the Friday of each -gesima and each Lenten week, ie from now until Passiontide, we will have a feast of Our Lord which focuses us on an aspect of His Passion. These were abolished during the reforms of Pius X.  (The Friday before Good Friday is the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the BVM.)  The calendar of the next few weeks would have felt as strange to somebody in the 1950s as the 1950s calendar would feel to somebody who only knew the New Mass.

(The order of these Friday feasts varies between different hierarchies: in fact, in Rome (and therefore in Scotland, the Scottish Hierarchy not yet having been re-established) those celebrated in England and Wales on the next two Fridays are celebrated instead on the next two Tuesdays.)

The prayer which is the motive of the feast, by the way, is "Father, if this chalice may not pass me by". Let me know if you can't find the prayers and readings for these Fridays and I will include them.

Monday and Friday being feasts of the BVM and of Our Lord respectively, there is a plenary indulgence available for the souls in Purgatory.

At Crook, near Darlington, the parish of Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert, is served by the Rev Thomas W Wilkinson.  On Sundays and Holydays Mass is at 10.00, and Vespers and Benediction are at 6.00.  On all Holydays, Days of Devotion, Feasts of Patrons, and on every Thursday, Benediction is at 7.00 in winter, and 7.30 in summer.  On weekdays Mass is at 8.30, except for Saturday when it is at 8.00, and there are Devotions every evening.  On the first Sunday of every month at 3.00 pm there is a procession of the Rosary Confraternity.
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30 January 2015


I had a message asking if all I was going to do this year was post a weekly parish newsletter from 1863.  Well, the answer, at the moment, is "probably" or at least it is for the next couple of months.

The 1863 weekly series is possibly a bit more important than you might think and is therefore worth doing as well as I can.  Three Popes: Pius X, Pius XII and Paul VI: changed the calendar and the Mass utterly during the twentieth century, and I think we all ought to know just how radical that change was.  It doesn't write itself, though, and spare minutes are hard to come by; and because, in each set of reforms, the victors wrote the history as they went along, tracing what was done when and the real reasons why (rather than the reasons given out at the time and subsequently), studying this stuff is more of a task than I'd imagined.

But another reason is thinking about what my subject matter would be if it wasn't this.  I stopped reading Mundabor because of the dreary article by article attack on everything the Pope was saying, and on everything that people were saying in the Pope's name.  When you get to the point of realising that it's the style that's objectionable (and how!), and that on some, maybe just some, maybe quite a few, questions of substance he might have a point, it's time to take sides. 

And I'm taking the side of those who choose not to get publicly involved.

So expect a lot about 1863 from me, but not much more at present.

24 January 2015

Third Sunday After Epiphany 1863

25 SUNDAY. Third after Epiphany. The Conversion of St Paul, Apostle, greater double. Second prayers of St Peter, Apostle. Third prayer and Last Gospel of Sunday. Preface of Apostles. White. [In diocese of Liverpool, fourth prayers for the Bishop.] Second Vespers of the feast with commemorations of St Peter, St Polycarp, and of the Sunday.

26 Monday. St Polycarp, Bishop Martyr, double. Red.

27 Tuesday. St John Chrysostom Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. White.

28 Wednesday. St Raymond of Pennafort, Confessor, semidouble. Second prayers of St Agnes, third prayers of the BVM. White.

29 Thursday. St Francis of Sales, Bishop Confessor, double.  White. [In diocese of Clifton second prayers for the Bishop.]

30 Friday. St Martina Virgin Martyr, double. Red. Abstinence.

31 Saturday. St Peter Nolasco, Confessor, double. Second prayers and last Gospel of the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. Red.

The third Sunday after the Epiphany is outranked this year by the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.  As on any feast of St Paul, the second prayers are of St Peter (as vice versa on any feast of St Peter), it means that the prayers proper to the Sunday are said as third prayers, and its Gospel as the Last Gospel. 

Bishop Goss succeeded to the See of Liverpool on 25 January 1856 so fourth prayers are said for him in his diocese (as well as an ad libitum fifth prayer: the number of prayers is always odd).  On Thursday, the diocese of Clifton celebrates Bishop Clifford, though not on the anniversary of his consecration, which will also earn him extra prayers in February: His Lordship the Honourable Doctor William Clifford had been brought up in Rome, the grandson of Cardinal Weld, and would vote against the definition of Papal Infallibility at the Vatican Council, not because of the doctrine, but because of what he saw as the clumsy, Protestant-provoking, drafting of the Decree.

On Saturday, the feast of St Peter Nolasco, the prayers proper to the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany and its Last Gospel are said as second prayers after those of the feast.  There is a fixed number of Sundays in the Missal, and those not used after the Epiphany before Septuagesima are said after the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost until the last Sunday before Advent.  This year, there are only two Sundays fitting that bill, so the fifth and sixth after the Epiphany will be said.  But the prayers and Gospel of the fourth Sunday must be said, so they are recited the day before Septuagesima. 

(After the reforms of St Pius X things become even more complicated, and the Saturday is treated as an anticipated Sunday, I imagine as a result of Pope Pius X's "sanctification" of Sundays but that is the territory of a real expert, The Saint Lawrence Press, not mine. I've no idea what happens in the 1962 Ordo and I can't tell from the online published Ordines, but I bet it's much simpler and tidier than either of the earlier options.)

St Patrick's in Leeds is served by the Revv M O'Donnell and Martin Kelly.  On Sunday, Mass is at 7.00, 8.30, and 10.45, in summer, and at 8.00, 9.00 and 11.00 in winter.  On Holydays, mass is at 8.30 and 10.00. On weekdays Mass is at 8.30.  There is an Exhortation at the first two Sunday Masses, and a Sermon at the third.  Vespers, with a Discourse, is celebrated at 6.30 on Sundays, and at 7.30 on Holydays.  Benediction is on the first Sunday of the month and on all principal festivals.  Confessions are from 6.00 to 10.00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and on the eves of festivals.

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