Monday 28 March 2011

National Pilgrimage in York

Some recollections of this extraordinary occasion.  As someone remarked afterwards: "How much longer can our bishops look away?"!!

The Latin Mass Society writes:

Huge Success for the Latin Mass Society at York Minster

Over 700 Catholics committed to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) converged on York Minster on Saturday 26 March to attend the first celebration of a Catholic Mass in the Minster since the Reformation. Sung Mass in the ancient Latin Rite, complete with beautiful vestments, ceremonial and incense, was celebrated at the High Altar by Fr Stephen Maughan of the Catholic diocese of Middlesbrough. (The Mass was a Votive Mass of a Holy Woman Martyr Not a Virgin).
   Afterwards, the huge congregation processed through the streets of York in public witness of the Catholic Faith to the Shrine of St Margaret Clitherow in York’s historic Shambles before completing a memorable day with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the Catholic Church of the English Martyrs.
   The occasion was the Latin Mass Society’s first annual York pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow, one of the LMS’s patron saints. The day was organised by Paul Waddington, National Treasurer and local Representative for the LMS who said: “I am overwhelmed by the response of so many hundreds of faithful Catholics. The number of young families with children in buggies was particularly encouraging”.
   Permission for the Mass was given by the Dean, the Very Reverend Keith Jones, and Chapter of York Minster; the Dean and the Precentor, Canon Peter Moger, sat in choir during the Mass.
   The Latin Mass Society had originally hoped to celebrate the Mass in the nearby Catholic parish Church of St Wilfrid’s, but unfortunately it was not available; however, the parish’s loss was York Minster’s gain.
   The massive choir of York Minster was completely packed and over 150 people had to be accommodated in the nave with extra seating brought in. The music was provided by the Rudgate Singers, a local choir who specialise in the Latin Mass and who sang William Byrd’s polyphonic Mass for Five Voices.
   Saint Margaret Clitherow, (1556-1586) who lived in York was an ordinary wife and mother who refused to renounce her Catholic faith and who was martyred by being pressed to death in the reign of Elizabeth I. She was executed on Good Friday 1586 and was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
   Following the Mass, there was a procession from York Minster through the city streets to St Margaret Clitherow’s shrine in the Shambles, and then across Ouse Bridge, the place of her execution. The sight of so many Catholic pilgrims publicly processing and praying the Rosary drew the notice of Saturday afternoon shoppers, and a respectful silence fell as the procession passed.
   The procession finished at the Catholic Church of the English Martyrs where a relic of St Margaret Clitherow, on loan for the occasion from York’s Bar Convent, was venerated and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was conferred by Fr Michael Brown, the LMS’s Northern Chaplain.
   The occasion was widely covered by TV, radio and local press.

Christina Beards writes:
Mass at York Minster 
A number of parishioners of St Mary’s Barnard Castle took part in a truly historic liturgical event in York on Saturday 26th March. The Latin Mass Society obtained permission from the authorities of York Minster to celebrate a traditional Latin Mass there in honour of St Margaret Clitherow on her feast day.  Fr Stephen Maughan, of English Martyrs’ York, was the celebrant and a number of other priests attended in choir, assisted with the distribution of Holy Communion, and took part in the procession through the town and the celebration of Benediction which followed the Mass. The congregation was seated in the Choir of the Cathedral, but clearly many more people than expected turned up; the gentleman ushers of the Minster, always so helpful and gracious, were forced to put out a good number of extra chairs. As is increasingly common with important celebrations of the traditional Latin Mass these days, the congregation was made up of all ages, with a good number of young families represented. The beauty of the liturgy was further enhanced by the singing of the Rudgate singers, who provided the chant and polyphony for the Mass, while the whole congregation joined in the singing of Credo III.  A Mass setting and anthems by William Byrd were chosen, since Byrd, a contemporary of St Margaret, was, like her, one of the persecuted Catholic minority in the Reformation period.
In his moving sermon Fr Maughan began by thanking the Dean for his gracious invitation to hold the event in the Minster. He went on to say how St Margaret, the wife of the butcher from the Shambles in York, can be seen as a spiritual mother of priests; she lost her life because of her love and care for priests at a time when their presence in the country was seen as treasonable.  Executed in 1586, Margaret refused to plead, since she knew that in doing so the legal process to follow would implicate others who attended Mass in her house. The punishment for her choice was terrible; as Fr Maughan reminded us, she was tethered in a dungeon for three days and her life was ended by a sharp stone being placed beneath her back while large stones were gradually laid on top of her. Fr Maughan emphasised the fact that she had died for the Mass. The Mass is the Mass in either form as we celebrate it today, he said, but the traditional Latin Mass that he was celebrating in the Minister was a liturgy with which she her herself would be familiar and which nourished her heroic faith. Indeed one had to pinch oneself during the ceremony to recall the full historical and spiritual significance of this Mass which was being celebrated in what we now call the Extraordinary Form: the clock was being turned back several hundred years and we were together again with all those Catholics who had built this magnificent place of worship out of love for their Catholic faith, a faith well established in York by the end of the third century, at the latest.
After the Mass the procession through the town followed. This proceeded first to St Margaret’s house in the Shambles. We then crossed the Ouse Bridge, the site of her execution, and the day ended with Benediction and veneration of the relic of St Margaret at English Martyrs’ Church.
Photos of the occasion will be appearing on the blog of Dr. Joseph Shaw (Chairman of the LMS) at:

Carol Goldberg writes:
National Pilgrimage to York
This was my second pilgrimage to York in honour of St Margaret Clitherow. I remember making a similar pilgrimage whilst a junior at school here in Barnard Castle.
I had read in our parish newsletter about the pilgrimage on March 26th and although not a member of the Latin Mass Society, did think what a marvellous opportunity, and great honour it would be to hear Mass in York Minster.
I had arranged to meet my cousin who lives in Escrick (south of York). We would make this pilgrimage together, because, when again in our lifetime, would we be able to hear Mass in such a wonderful place.
We arrived early (before 1pm) anticipating there being many similar pilgrims like ourselves. We took our seats, over-awed by the majestic splendour and beauty f our surroundings.
The wonderful music, the Mass, the occasion, will be something to remember for many days to come.  Even the 3 hour delay in returning home could not dampen the elation we felt, because we had been witness to something very special indeed.

Mary and Tom Ball write:
On the 425th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St Margaret Clitherow, we attended the Extraordinary Rite of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at York Minster.
We had the sense of being present at a great historic occasion, it was the same Mass which St Margaret attended.
It was full but the people kept coming and they had to get a lot more seats; young and old knelt on the bare floor with great reverence and silence at the Consecration.  The Holy Mass was beautiful as was the music. There were some from our parish and many parishes.
The Dean and his colleague sat behind us, they were familiar with  the Latin and sang the Credo (I think we got the choicest seats); Tom thought they were bowing at him!
After the Mass the large procession formed outside the Minster, proceeded (saying the Rosary) through the Shambles, over the Ouse Bridge where she was martyred and to the Church of the English Martyrs, a distance of over a mile, where we had Benediction and Veneration of the Relic; it was a very moving experience.  Of course we finished with the stirring 'Faith of Our Fathers' which we sang with gusto. Then a very welcome cup of tea and biscuits.

Friday 25 March 2011

Barney Life No.23

Spring has Sprung!

What a difference a few days of warm sunshine can make to the human psyche and to Mother Nature!

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Good News for England!

This is the latest news from the Latin Mass Society:

Latin Mass Society's Response to the Announcement of Negotiations Between Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has announced that he is negotiating with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, an international order of priests who solely celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, for them to take control of the landmark Church of SS Peter and Paul, New Brighton, on the Wirral. The church is commonly known as ‘the Dome of Home’ for its prominence and visibility, even from sea.

In response, the Latin Mass Society has announced that it warmly welcomes the news that Bishop Mark Davies is negotiating with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) to enable the ICKSP to assume responsibility for the much-loved Church of SS Peter and Paul on the Wirral and for it to become a centre for Eucharistic devotion. The local membership of the LMS has been campaigning for the church to be reopened and for the Traditional Latin Mass to be regularly celebrated there.

This initiative is sure to promote Church renewal in Shrewsbury diocese to the great benefit of all Catholics regardless of which Form of the Rite they are attached to. The LMS will offer every help and assistance to Bp Davies and the Institute to bring their plans to fruition and invites all those attached to the Extraordinary Form to pray for Bishop Davies’ intentions.
Doctor Joseph Shaw, LMS Chairman, said: ‘This initiative is a clear expression of the harmonious reintegration of the Extraordinary Form into the life of the Church which Pope Benedict XVI so patently desires. It is a wonderful idea to have a centre for Eucharistic devotion in Shrewsbury diocese and the ICKSP are second to none in their devotion to Our Blessed Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar’.
The LMS provides regular financial support both to the Institute of Christ the King (ICKSP) and the Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) for their missions in England and Wales to reintroduce use of the Extraordinary Form; further financial support is given to English and Welsh seminarians at ICKSP and FSSP seminaries.”

Sunday 13 March 2011

To Be .... or Not To Be

I've been wondering: what would we in this diocese have to do to get all our Catholics back to Church and practising their faith?  I have just been reading of a new initiative which Bishop Seamus, our Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, is sponsoring - it is to have a Welcome Back Sunday on Pentecost Sunday when we will invite all those who have stopped attending Mass to come back and be re-energised by the faith.
The problem is this: the estimated number of Catholics in the diocese is 173,307, but the number who actually go to Mass each Sunday averages out at 39,216, only 22.5% of the total, a number which has been declining by about two thousand souls for each of the last forty years. A lot of our English dioceses have the same problem, and some, I gather, even worse. How depressing and perhaps terminal.

BUT all is not lost. I came across some statistics for the diocese of Lincoln in Nebraska, in the United States of America. The diocese of Lincoln has fewer Catholics than our diocese, only about 95,000 in 138 parishes. In that diocese the Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Bruskewitz, has laid down one important rule, which is:

Priests of the Diocese of Lincoln must faithfully follow the rubrics and words of the Roman Missal and liturgical creativity is not tolerated.

That's all - nothing fancy - just orthodoxy in the celebration of Holy Mass. I wouldn't be surprised if orthodoxy in the teaching of the Faith went alongside that.
As a result of this diocesan policy, the diocese currently has 148 diocesan priests, of whom 123 are active in the diocese, 7 active outside the diocese, and 18 retired.  There are currently 41 seminarians in the diocesan seminary. (The diocese of Hexham & Newcastle has 176 priests, of whom 54 are retired and many more on the cusp of retirement, and half a dozen seminarians).

But the really astonishing result of the diocesan policy is the effect it has had on Mass attendance.
The average Sunday Mass attendance in the Diocese of Lincoln is 60%.  Which means that something over 54,000 attend Mass each Sunday.  As a friend said to me .... WOW!

Welcome Back Sunday? Good idea, perhaps, but even better: Just demand that all priests follow the rubrics and words of the Roman Missal without any personal liturgical creativity.

(I wonder if the reader from Lincoln, Nebraska, who visited my blog a few days ago, and whom I hope will return, would like to comment from his personal experience about what I have written.)

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Notice from the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales

Latin Mass Society to Sponsor Young Catholics Attending World Youth Day in Madrid, 16-21 August

Thousands of young Catholics will be travelling to take part in World Youth Day (WYD) 2011 in the presence of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
 Previous WYDs have been attended by Juventutem, the worldwide youth movement for young people (age 16 to 35) who are attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. At WYD in Madrid, Juventutem will again be present and the Latin Mass Society (LMS) is subsidising the cost for young Catholics in England and Wales attending with them.

At WYD 2011, Juventutem will take part in all the official events, but will also have its own chapel and daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form plus its own catechesis classes.

There will also be an optional retreat in the week before WYD (9 to 15 August). This will take place at a former convent for Discalced Carmelites at Amorebieta-Etxano near Bilbao in northern Spain. There will be Traditional Mass, Lauds, Rosary and Compline, plus spiritual conferences as well as recreational activities, such as visits to the cities of Burgos and Bilbao, wine tasting in Rioja for older participants, one-day walking pilgrimages through the local countryside and more.

 The Latin Mass Society will sponsor young Catholics from England and Wales who attend either WYD Madrid only with Juventutem or the Retreat and WYD with them. This is a limited offer on the basis of first come, first served, and it is not necessary to be a member of the LMS.

The LMS will cover half the cost of attending with Juventutem (which includes accommodation, food, and travel within Spain) plus half the cost of budget air travel to Spain to join the Juventutem group. Likely Juventutem cost for WYD only is €250.00 (airfare not included); for the Retreat and WYD €400.00 (airfare not included). The cost to applicants with the LMS subsidy will work out at £95.00 for WYD only and £170.00 for the Retreat and WYD combined.

This LMS sponsorship will make it affordable for many more young people to attend WYD with Juventutem. The LMS is providing this sponsorship as a service to the Church.

To apply for LMS subsidy, youngsters should first register with Juventutem and then register for sponsorship with the LMS by filling in an application form or by phoning the LMS office on 020 7404 7284.

Michael Lord, General Manager of the LMS said: “Throughout 2011, the LMS is rolling out new initiatives and activities aimed at making those attached to the Extraordinary Form into one of the most vibrant groupings in the Church in England and Wales. I am very excited by this sponsorship scheme, particularly the fact that it is available to young people throughout England and Wales, many of whom may only recently have discovered the Traditional Form of the Mass”.

Fuller information about Juventutem (including contact details), World Youth Day and the LMS can be found at this link:

Follow this link to download an application form:

. . . . ENDS . . . .

For further information, please contact John Medlin, Publicist, or Michael Lord, General Manager, on (T) 020 7404 7284; (F) 020 7831 5585; (E mail)

Monday 7 March 2011

Barney Life No. 26

I hope you can see this dangling branch - it is high up, and dangles right over the footpath and over a busy road. About a fortnight ago I was officially made aware by no less a personage than the Highways Superintendent of Durham County Council that it was very dangerous and I had better do something about it! Actually I had not noticed it. So his warning was very valuable.
On Thursday the Chairman of the Church Trustees brought in a team of tree surgeons.  The photos which follow show how the tree, a great lime, one of an avenue of limes along the front of the Bowes Museum, was trimmed back.
The decision was to take off, not only the dangling branch, but everything which might in the future cause problems.  So having secured ropes higher up the tree, our intrepid surgeon set to work.  In this picture, look closely at the dead centre of the photo - there he is fixing his ropes.
Now he gets to work.
There goes the dangling branch.  The big trees to the right of the photo are in the Museum grounds - not my problem!
Meanwhile, down below, the crew stops the traffic and clears the mess of broken branches. And this is the final result:
This is what passes for excitement in my parish. Sometimes it's almost too much......

Saturday 5 March 2011

St Margaret Clitherow

Pilgrimage in Honour of “The Pearl of York”
Saturday 26th March

Pilgrims are expected to converge on York on Saturday 26th March to pay their respects to St Margart Clitherow, a former resident of York, who was crushed to death rather than deny her Catholic faith.  The pilgrimage is being organised by the Latin Mass Society, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of the Mass in its more traditional Latin form.

There will be a sung Mass at the High Altar of York Minster at 1.30pm.  This will be followed at 3pm by a procession which will pass through The Shambles, where Margaret Clitherow lived, over Ouse Bridge, where she was executed, and finish up at the Church of the English Martyrs in Dalton Terrace.  Benediction will be given there at around 4pm, followed by veneration of the relic of Margaret Clitherow, which is normally kept at the Bar Convent.

The Latin Mass Society is delighted to have use of York Minster, which is by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.  Margaret Clitherow, who is often referred to as the Pearl of York, would have been very familiar with the Minster, although she would not have worshipped there after her conversion to Catholicism at the age of 18.  She would also have been familiar with the Latin Mass in its traditional form, as she harboured priests at her home in The Shambles where Mass was regularly said in that form.  Indeed it was for harbouring priests that she was arrested and put to death in 1586 by crushing under a great weight of stones.

The Mass on 26th March, which is the feast day of St Margaret Clitherow, will be sung by Fr Stephen Maughan, and the music will be provided by the Rudgate Singers.  The Mass setting will be by Byrd, the great English composer of liturgical music and contemporary of Margaret Clitherow.

The Mass in York Minster will be open to all, regardless of religious denomination, and no tickets are required.  Similarly, it is hoped that the public will join in the procession, and attend the Benediction at English Martyrs’ Church.


Information about the Latin Mass society can be found at   It is a Catholic organisation dedicated to the promotion of the Latin Mass in the form used universally by the Church prior to 1970.  It is active throughout England and Wales

Information about St Margaret Clitherow  can be found on the internet on a wikipedia site.


For further information contact          Paul Waddington
                                                            01405 763985   (daytime)