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.

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