Friday, October 30, 2009
The basic carpentry work on our sanctuary is done, the steps are in place, the design we submitted to the Historic Churches Committee has been modified a little so we will have to go back to them for approval and approval of whatever will be the final covering, encaustic tiles would be splendid, fitting but beyond our means, at the moment we are thinking about laminated hardwood.
I still haven't found the right place for the chair. I hate sitting Caligula-like facing the congregation and I don't like radio microphones, some parts of the Mass not supposed to be heard, and depending on what you are wearing can make you sound like a crackling bag of crisps, so I want a freestanding microphone. The music stand, I know looks odd, normally we have a book bearer at "High" Mass, I need something for bits and pieces.
On Sundays and feast days we put out more candlesticks, in conformity with the General Instruction. I prefer taller candlesticks, because they add to the vertical, upward dimension. Besides, candles are supposed to give light and small squat candlestick don't illuminate much. The crucifix facing me looks a little strange with another crucifix immediately behind facing the people. I am never quite sure which one to incense, yes it is the Benedictine arrangement but I am sure it is meant to be transitional.
One little thing that I am rather pleased with. it is experimental at the moment is using the piscinae niches as credence tables, at the moment there are huge hunks of ply wood and blutak there, the level needs raising. We don't want to put unnecessary screws into the stone, if we find it works we will use glass or a thin sheet of matching marble. I am trying to keep the sanctuary free of unnecessary clutter like credence tables.
Tonight we'll see how it works in EF, Monday there is a High Mass for All Souls.
Eventually we want to face the altar with the carvings which are now behind it - this is mock up of how it will look - this will be in the final phase, if we can afford it.
So far we have spent less than £20,000 pounds, that includes sanding and sealing the floor, sanding the benches - they have yet to be varnished - moving the organ to the gallery, and the work on the sanctuary, in the next week or so the stone masons will start work on our poor old west window. Then we do the lighting and electrics, and pray for more money - God is good
This is the church las Good Friday, I hope posterity will say we have improved it.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Cardinal Pell celebrating Mass in Newman's Oratory earlier this year
photo: CardiRocco Palmo is suggesting Cardinal Pell may well move to Rome asa Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, which, if it is true, is really good news for us in the UK.
Catholic circles in Rome and Australia are abuzz with speculation that Pope Benedict XVI will shortly appoint Australia's Cardinal George Pell to a prestigious job in the top echelons of the Roman Curia.
Cardinal Pell's experience as Archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne, and his service on a range of Vatican organisations, is seen as an ideal background to take on a senior Vatican job.
Cardinal Pell, who was ordained in 1966, served as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge.
He is also a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and president of the Vox Clara Committee, which advises the Vatican on English translations of liturgical texts used at Mass.
One possible senior job becoming vacant in Rome is the powerful position of Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, which helps advise the Pope on the appointment of new bishops across the world.
Its Prefect, Cardinal Battista Re, who has held the job since 2000, reached the retirement age of 75 this year.
Tip to Insight Scoop.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I am not blowing their trumpet, actually I am very proud of them and quite biased and admittedly I don't get out much but I don't think that I have heard better in a Catholic Parish Church outside of the Metropolis or the University cities.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Whilst I was away in Italy Peter and Radic refloored the sanctuary and side chapels, it was only on Saturday morning that we managed to heave the mensa of the altar in place.
Our intention is to restore the appearance of the Church to what its Victorian architect Gilbert Blount intended, yet still have an altar seperated from the wall, as the Roman Missal says we should.
The main body of the altar platform is place, the steps are yet to be installed.
Mass this morning was the first time in forty years, people could see what was happening at the altar, well behind the candlesticks and smoke.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Cause for the Canonisation of John Henry Newman which is normally pretty laid back, in that Oratorian way, takes issue with Ms P's latest piece of erudition, which ends.
The important issue for all Catholics is that anyone of good conscience who seeks to join their Church, be they John Henry Newman, or Tony Blair, or the vicar of an Anglican parish or his flock, should be given a generous and hospitable welcome to their new home.
The best brief summary and analysis I have read on-line, so far, can be found here.
Personally I am not sure to what extent the Apostolic Constitution will touch us, or Anglicans, in England. Few who might consider the "Roman Option" use the Book of Common Prayer or its derivatives the English Missal, most happily use the Roman Missal and other liturgical books, perhaps some might use Hymns Ancient and Modern or an update thereof. Without being unkind I can see very little that might be considered to be "Anglican spirituality". The community this is really aimed at is TAC, The Traditional Anglican Community, and the congregations of Australasia and the Americas.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Mass today: the back of the Church, piles of timber; in front of the altar a void; in the sacristy, clutter.
I know it looks as though I levitating but I am on the same level as the altar servers and congregation. I am not that all!
A panoramic view of the sanctuary, cortesy of Clare, with the temporary tabernacle in the foreground, click to enlarge.
The Church will be closed until Mass on Friday evening, all the Masses today were cum populo, the first time some people had experienced it. The only reactions I got were positive.
The last Mass today was was a Traditional Latin Mass, the first Mass on the "bones" of our new sanctuary will be a TLM.
If you can help us financially click the Paypal gadget opr send a cheque, if not at least say an Ave that the work gets done while I am away.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Secularists have been complaining following a speech at Georgetown:
[He] equated atheists to religious extremists and urged the deluded (i.e., faithful) to unite against us. Seeing this sort of bigotry from someone of [his] prominence is disturbing."
[He] never says outright in this address that atheists or atheist activists are just as bad as, say, Al Qaeda, but even giving him the benefit of the doubt, the very fact that he would place secularism and religiously motivated violence in the same context is astounding, offensive, and shows an incredible lack of depth of thinking--not to mention revealing a level of animosity toward nonbelievers on the part of [him] that I am surprised to find exists.
Who is it who has joined my poke a secularist with stick campaign?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Personally I don't think the SSPX are actually that important in these discussions, nor is their reintegration into the Church that important in this context, it would be a happy by-product but most supporters of the SSPX seem happy with their present situation of being in communion with the Church but out of communion with her bishops and clergy and the ordinary form of its liturgy.
What is important is the "assaying of Vatican II". The Council was indeed a Pastoral Council but it also made dogmatic statements Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum, are not purely pastoral documents. The absence of a summary of doctrinal canons or anathemas was seem as an act of liberalism by John XXIII but in fact led to confusion and confusion led to a centralisation of authority, indeed it led to the victory of Ultramonanism, giving the impression that the Pope and his curia rather than being the servant of the Church are its arbitary masters.
The pre-Vatican II hopes for the decentralisation of the Church and wider evangelisation depended on clarity of what was actually at the heart of Catholic teaching, hence the Council's teaching of a "heirarchy of doctrine". It depended on bishops being faithful bearers of the Tradition, therefore they need to be in communion with that Tradition, hence VII's call for a deeper knowledge of Tradition and Scripture (read in the light of Tradition). What we have ended up with is bishops pushing the envelope of doctrine, not only have they confused the faithful about the central doctrines of the faith but are confused themselves. The result has been both a loss of confidence in evangelisation, of which a loss of a sense of vocation is just a part but even more importantly there is a loss of a sense of the centrality of the bishop, as a successor of the Apostles, and therefore a denial of the importance of the local Church, a central Vat II doctrine. It is not only the rise in the power of Bishop's Conferences but also the sense that comes from many in the Curia, which traditional minded Catholics might agree with, that the bishops cannot be trusted to be faithful bearers of the Tradition that has rendered bishops impotent.
Short of calling another Council these discussions are going to be highly significant. One of the other significant issues that must be touched on is the role of the Roman Pontiff's relationship with the Tradition of the Church. When Pius IX was asked to change the "perfidious Jews" Good Friday prayer, though apparently he was in favour of it, he refused saying that he did not have the authority to change the liturgy, the liturgy being "a given" thing, something belong to what had been passed on, not the subject of personal papal tastes.
"The pope must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God's Word," he said when taking possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on May 7.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Apart from our parish pilgrimage to Aylesford, some of my parishioners went up to Westminster Cathedral to see the relics. One waited for almost three hours. Why the devotion?
I can't imagine most people have read her autobiography, I am sure that most have but a rudimentary knowledge of her life and spirituality. Obviously one reason for the vast numbers is a reaction to the media coverage. Some might suggest that there is a blurring of faith and superstition, or others that in the presence of the relics there is a hope of miracles, the more pious that here was a meeting of heaven and earth.
But if that is so, why are the pilgrims failing to find it week by week in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament? The answer is that we allow the Eucharist to become ordinary, the visit of the relics is extraordinary. It is the same with the relics of St John Southworth which lie within the Cathedral.
Another reason is perhaps that veneration of the relics is about, "me and God", with a degree of chatter with other pilgrims, a chance for quiet reflection whilst one waits, a degree of being buoyed up by demonstrations of other peoples faith, a touch of asceticism in the wait, all topped off with a blessed rose. Unless you are there for something else too, there is no Liturgy of the Word, no sermon. There is no demand made on the individual except God speaking in their heart.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Today we stripped off the covering from the predella in front of the tabernacle. Originally there was a top step, where the boards show, interestly it was narrower than the predellae in the side chapels. The altar came out to the stone foundation. The step was covered with green marble effect vinyl tiles which would have looked quite spectacular for the first couple of years
This is our temporary altar arrangement, it is ad voidem for the whole of this week including all Sunday Masses. By the side of the altar are carved fragments recovered from the depths.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This morning after Mass we moved the altar, again. The base is quite light, the mensa took ten of us to move it.
The timber for the santuary floor levels arrived on two trucks , one bringing the plywood and the other bringing the massive beams.
Here the floor is removed
Below the sanctuary is a treasure trove of old bits and pieces, light fittings pictured here, but when more of the floor is removed we hope to find bits of the pulpit. ~#
The video of the Mass is here too.
I am a survivor of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda 1994.
A large part of my family was killed while in our parish church. The sight of this building used to fill me with horror and turned my stomach, just like the encounter with the prisoners filled me with disgust and rage.
It is in this mental state that something happened that would change my life and my relationships.
On August 27th 1997 at 1 p.m., a group from the Catholic association of the “Ladies of Divine Mercy” led me to two prisons in the region of Kibuye, my birthplace. They went to prepare the prisoners for the Jubilee of 2000. They said: “If you have killed, you commit yourself to ask for forgiveness from the surviving victim, that way you can help him free himself of the burden/weight of vengeance, hatred and rancor. If you are a victim, you commit yourself to offer forgiveness to those who harmed you and thus you free them from the weight of their crime and the evil that is in them.”
This message had an unexpected effect for me and in me....
After that, one of the prisoners rose in tears, fell to his knees before me, loudly begging: “Mercy”. I was petrified in recognizing a family friend who had grown and shared everything with us.
He admitted having killed my father and told me the details of the death of my family. A feeling of pity and compassion invaded me: I picked him up, embraced him and told him in a tearful voice: “You are and always will be my brother”.
Then I felt a huge weight lift away from me... I had found internal peace and I thanked the person I was holding in my arms.
To my great surprise, I heard him cry out: “Justice can do its work and condemn me to death, now I am free!”
I also wanted to cry out to who wanted to hear: “Come see what freed me, you too can find internal peace”.
From that moment on, my mission was to travel kilometers to bring mail to the prisoners asking for forgiveness from the survivors. Thus 500 letters were distributed; and I brought back mail with the answers of the survivors to the prisoners who had become my friends and my brothers... This allowed for meetings between the executioners and the victims....
From this experience, I deduce that reconciliation is not so much wanting to bring together two persons or two groups in conflict. It is rather the re-establishment of each in love and allowing internal healing which leads to mutual liberation.
And here is where the importance of the Church lies in our countries, since her mission is to offer the Word: a word that heals, liberates and reconciles.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Today is supposed to be my day off, at least from after Mass and Confessions, it invariably ends up by not being so. This afternoon I went down to Shoreham docks with Peter our carpenter to buy a sanctuary floor, it arrives tomorrow. The present floorboards are covered in glue, linoleum, mastic, acrylic tiles, more glue and the present horrible stained brown carpet.
I was surprised how cheap it was, less than £1,800. We will have to add the cost of labour then when the work has been finally approved by the Historic Churches Committee we can put a laminated hardwood surface down., unfortunately because the HCC only meets once a quarter, it won't be finished until after Easter.
Nowadays any restoration or "new build" has to take into account both forms of the Roman Rite, even in the recent past, to be faithful to the General Instruction of the Romman Missal Mass said in eithe direction should have been possible. I have been quite insistant that a sanctuary is not a stage, which fortunately is what our architect, Deirdre Waddington, understands too. We have wanted to restore steps up to the altar. It is not just about making sense of the words, "I will go up to the altar of God", but the altar is supposed to symbolise heaven, as well as the hill of Calvary. It is supposed to represent the Holy of Holies and be reminiscent of the bima of the synagogue.
The big problem is putting a freestanding altar into an area designed for the altar to be hard against the wall. We have had to compromise by reducing the planum, the area below the altar to a minimum, it ios not too much of a problem with the Ordinary Form, where the action hinges around the ambo, presidential chair and altar, nor for Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form where the altar is really the only consideration, the problem is going to be with Concelebrated Mass in the OF and High Mass in the EF where there is a need for a certain luxury of space.
We have made modifications to the plans I originally posted, pushing the altar and steps back a little and cutting out an area of steps on each side of the front of the sanctuary, to make space for the chair which will be at right angles to the altar and probably flush with the pillar. The space around the altar has also been reduced so the steps are seen and the servers are visible "ascending and descending". The steps will continue all the way round the altar, the credence table(s) will be placed against the pillars. The servers will have seating in the side chapels, I am not quite sure where we will put a sedillia, we have High Mass on All Souls Day - Faure!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
King Albert and Queen Poala of the Belgiums are received in audience by the Pope. I just wonder how the President and Presidentina of Europe will greet him.
Pray it is not pro-abortion, "I gave a skip of joy" Tone and "my contraceptive equipment" Chez. There is just too much innocent blood on his hands.