28 February 2015

Second Sunday of Lent 1863

1 SUNDAY. First 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.

More classified advertisements.  Click for a better view.

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.)

Click on the classified advertisements to see them in more detail.

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.
Here is a charity well worth supporting. Click on the picture to see it more clearly.

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.

Another building appeal: this time from Chester. Click on the image to see it in more detail.

20 January 2015

Novena To One's Guardian Angel

A group of us will be saying this Novena to our guardian angel, starting tomorrow (Wednesday 21 January).  I will be posting a reminder on Twitter every evening so if you want to join in and want a reminder, let me know @themunimentroom.

O holy angel, whom God, through His goodness and His tender regard for my welfare, has charged with the care of my conduct, and who assists me in all my needs and comforts me in all my afflictions, who supports me when I am discouraged and continually obtains for me new favours, I give you profound thanks, and I ask you earnestly, O most amiable protector, to continue your charitable care and defence of me against the malicious attacks of all my enemies.

Keep me away from all occasions of sin.  Obtain for me the grace of listening attentively to your holy inspirations and of faithfully putting them into practice.  In particular, I implore you to obtain for me the favour which I now ask for. (Here mention your petition.)

Protect me in all the temptations and trials of this life, but more especially at the hour of my death; and do not leave me until you have conducted me into the presence of my Creator in the mansions of everlasting happiness. AMEN.

17 January 2015

Second Sunday After Epiphany 18 January 1863

18 SUNDAY. Second after Epiphany THE MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS, double of the second class. Second prayers and last Gospel of the Sunday, third prayers (in Low Mass only) of St Prisca, Virgin and Martyr. Preface of Christmas. White. Second Vespers of the feast with commemoration of St Wolstan, the Sunday, and SS Marius and Companions, Martyrs. Plenary indulgence.

19 Monday. St Wolstan, Bishop Confessor, double. Commemoration of SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abacus, Martyrs. White.

20 Tuesday. SS Fabian and Sebastian, Martyrs, double. Red.

21 Wednesday. St Agnes, Virgin Martyr, double. Red.

22 Thursday. SS Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). Red.

23 Friday. The Espousals of the BVM, greater double. Second prayers of St Erementiara Virgin Martyr. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Abstinence. Plenary indulgence.

24 Saturday. St Timothy, Bishop Martyr, double. Red.

Where is the Feast of St Peter's Chair in Rome? Why are we not celebrating it on 18 January? Well, because the feast is a greater double, it has to be celebrated, but as it falls on a feast which is a double of the second class, it has to move to the first available day not already marked as a double or semidouble.  So we won't actually celebrate the feast until 3 February.  There will be a lot of this sort of thing as the year progresses.  (I won't copy out the rules of precedence yet, but if you are really, really, keen, I will at the end of the year.)

I wonder if St Wolstan will be celebrated in Worcester (never mind anywhere else)?  Will the Catholic schools have a celebratory morning and a half holiday?  Will the Archbishop of Birmingham turn up to reverence a great local Saint?

You will remember from last week's notes, that as Thursday's feast is only a semidouble, the options for second and third prayers are prescribed by the rubrics.

Otherwise, this is another quiet week until Friday, when we celebrate the feast of the Espousals of the BVM. This feast disappeared under Pius X and St Raymond of Pennafort was moved into the slot from his original feast day of 28 January.  I suppose there were people who thought that the feast of the Holy Family fits the same bill, but they were wrong.  In the same way as the Circumcision and the Baptism of Our Lord stress His willingness to undergo the same rituals as His people, however unnecessary they were for Him, this feast stresses His being born into a family which has been conformed to God's Law. The Epistle is Proverbs 8:22-35 as on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the Gospel is Matthew 1:18-21 as on the Vigil of the Nativity.

St Peter's in Gloucester is served by its Missionary Rector, the Very Rev Leonard, Canon Calderbeck. On Sundays, Mass is at 8.30 and 10.30, and on Holydays at 8.00 and 9.15.  Mass on weekdays is at 8.15.  On Sunday evenings at 6.30, there are Night Prayers, a Lecture, and Benediction.  Catechism is at 3.00 pm on Sundays.  On Holydays, there is Rosary and Benediction at 7.30 pm.  A portion of the general cemetery is set apart for Catholic burials.  There is a convent of the Dames of the German Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 3 Newland-villas on London-road.

All Saints Chapel on New-road in Stourbridge has the Rev Walter Keen as Missionary Rector. Please offer a prayer for the repose of the soul of this holy priest when you read his appeal.

10 January 2015

Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany 1863

11 SUNDAY. Within the Octave of and first after Epiphany, semidouble. Second prayers of the Octave, third prayers of St Hyginus, Pope and Martyr. White. Vespers of the Sunday with commemoration of the Octave. [Plenary indulgence in diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.]

12 Monday. Of the Octave of the Epiphany, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). White.

13 Tuesday. Octave of the Epiphany, double. White.

14 Wednesday. St Hilary, Bishop Confessor Doctor, double. Second prayers of St Felix martyr. White.

15 Thursday. St Paul the first Hermit, double. Second prayers of St Maur, Abbot. White.

16 Friday. St Marcellus Pope Martyr, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). Red. Abstinence.

17 Saturday. St Anthony, Abbot, double. White.

Before Pius X's reforms, this Sunday was simply the Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany.  Pius X moved the feast of the Holy Name from next Sunday to last Sunday, and subsequently the Sunday within the Octave was rededicated as the feast of the Holy Family. 

Tuesday's Octave of the Epiphany has also been rededicated as the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, though with no change to the readings, which commemorated His Baptism already.  There is a nice symmetry in the Octave of Christ's birth being marked by his circumcision and the Octave of his Epiphany being marked by his baptism, that has been completely lost by the designation of 1 January as the new date for the feast of the Motherhood of Mary and the abolition of the Octave of the Epiphany, but, as I'm sure the reformers thought, what use is symmetry?

(In a few years time, the diocese of Salford would begin to celebrate as a feast the Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple on this Sunday, adding something further to the sequence of Jesus's early life, but that is yet to come.)

The second and third prayers we have seen during the Octave will still be said after the Octave until Candlemas on all days except those whose feasts are doubles: the first is on Friday.

Otherwise, this is a quiet week.

St David's in Swansea has the Rev Peter Lewis as its Missionary Rector and the Rev Edmund Madden is his curate.  Mass on Sundays at 8.30 and 11.00. Evening service at 6.30 with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  Mass on weekdays is at 8.00 and 8.30.  There are some 3,000 Catholics in the parish.

In Dowlais, St Iltutus (St Illtyd) is served by the Rev Patrick Millea.  Mass on Sundays is at 9.00 and 11.00. Catechism is at 2.00 pm. Vespers with instruction at 6.00 pm. On Holydays Mass is at 9.00 and Evening Prayers at 7.00. On weekdays Mass is at 8.00. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is on the first Sunday of the month. Rosary on Tuesday and Thursday at 7.00 pm. On Friday Stations of the Cross at 7.00 pm. There are some 1,900 Catholics in the parish.

03 January 2015

Week of the Sunday before the Epiphany 1863

4 SUNDAY. (Vacant.) The Octave of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs, double, commemoration of Octave of St Thomas.  Red. At Vespers, second Vespers of the Octave Day to the little Chapter, thence of the first Vespers of St Thomas, with commemoration of the Holy Innocents, the Vigil of the Epiphany and of St Telesphorus Bishop and Martyr (antiphon Qui odit, versicle Justus).  [Plenary indulgence in diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, and as on all Sundays (so I won't mention it specifically again) in the diocese of Liverpool.]

5 Monday. Vigil. Octave of St Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop Martyr, double. Commemoration of Vigil of the Epiphany and of St Telesphorus. Last Gospel of the Vigil.

6 Tuesday. (Holyday of Obligation) EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD, double of the first class with an Octave during which Preface of the Epiphany is said. White. Second Vespers of the Feast. Plenary Indulgence.

The Indulgence ends

7 Wednesday. Of the Octave of the Epiphany, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). White.

8 Thursday. Of the Octave of the Epiphany, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). White.

9 Friday. Of the Octave of the Epiphany, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). White. Abstinence.

10 Saturday. Of the Octave of the Epiphany, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM (Deus qui salutis), third prayers for the Church (Ecclesiae) or for the Pope (Deus omnium). White.

I said last week that last Sunday and this were different: well, here's how.  The Sunday after the Sunday in the Octave of the Nativity and the feast of the Epiphany is simply vacant.  Not moveable, or temporarily superseded, but vacant.

As it happens, this Sunday is busy enough anyway: it is the Octave of the Holy Innocents, and by Vespers, a commemoration is made of Monday's Vigil of the Epiphany. The Epiphany is celebrated on Tuesday and its Octave, like those of Easter and Whit, imposes its character the weekdays following it, though as the Epiphany's date is fixed, it doesn't displace any feasts (as there are no important feasts during the period). On each day Mass is the same (though the priest can choose whether to say the third prayers for the Pope or for the Church).

The Christmas Indulgence comes to an end after the second Vespers of the Epiphany.

The parish of St Chad on Cheetham-road (not Cheetham Hill Road yet) in Manchester has as its Missionary Rector the Rev William J Sheehan, and the Revv Seth Henry Clarkson and Thomas Hayes also serve the parish.  (A Missionary Rector serves a parish which has no endowments: "A Burden, not a Benefice", as the priests are dependent either on private means or the generosity of others.) On Sundays, Mass is at 8.00, 9.00, 10.00, with High Mass and a sermon at 11.00. Baptisms are at 4.00 pm.  Vespers, Sermon and Benediction are at 6.30.  Mass is said in the Workhouse at 9.00.  On Holydays, Mass is at 7.00, 8.30 and 10.00, and there is a sermon and Benediction at 7.30 pm.  Weekday Masses are at 7.30, and 8.15.  catechetical instruction and Benediction are on Thursday evenings at 7.30.  Confessions on Mondays and Fridays from 4.30 pm to 11.00, on Saturdays from 3.30 pm to 11.00, and on the eve of Holydays from 4.00 pm to 11.00. Churching of women is on Mondays at 8.30 am. On Friday evenings in Advent and Lent there are Stations of the Cross.  There are Confraternities of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Living Rosary, as well as a Purgatorian Society, a branch of the Society of St Vincent of Paul, and a Young Men's Society.  Within the parish there are also two large schools conducted by the Nuns of Notre Dame and the Xaverian Brothers.

I hadn't realised that there was an English College in Bruges.


29 December 2014

Just A Thought ...

As "Midnight" Mass at Christmas  moves backwards to become earlier and earlier on Christmas Eve (6.00 pm is the earliest I know of this year: any advance ... err ... retreat?) why do we have to have the Easter Vigil so late?  Could we not start moving it backwards too?  Give it a few years and a bit of elastic thinking that seems to fit the current Vatican mood if the subject under discussion has to do with modern marriage habits, we could be back to pre-1955 in no time!

27 December 2014

Sunday in the Octave of the Nativity 1862

28 SUNDAY. (Vacant.) The HOLY INNOCENTS, Martyrs, double of the second class with an Octave, during which sixth prayers are of the Octave.  Red. At Vespers, second Vespers of Christmas to the little Chapter, thence of St Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop Martyr, commemoration of Holy Innocents and Octave of Christmas only.

29 Monday. (Feast of Devotion.) St THOMAS of Canterbury, Bishop Martyr, double of the first class with an Octave, during which third prayers are of the Octave and the Creed is said. Commemoration of Christmas only today. Red. [In the dioceses of Westminster, Hexham and Newcastle, Liverpool, and Southwark, Plenary Indulgence.  In the dioceses of the North, the Plenary Indulgence is available during the Octave.]

30 Tuesday. Mass of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, semidouble, with Commemoration of the Octaves of Christmas, St Stephen, the Holy Innocents, and St Thomas. White.

31 Wednesday. St Sylvester, Bishop Confessor, double, with commemoration of the Octaves of Christmas, St Stephen, the Holy Innocents, and St Thomas. White.

1 Thursday. The CIRCUMCISION OF OUR LORD, double of the second class. The Creed is said today and every day until the Octave of the Epiphany. White. Second Vespers of the Feast, and with commemoration of St Stephen only. Plenary Indulgence from first Vespers until sunset.

2 Friday. Octave of St Stephen, Proto-martyr, double. Commemoration of the Octaves of St Thomas, St John and the Holy Innocents. Red. Abstinence.

3 Saturday. Octave of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, double. Commemoration of the Octaves of St Thomas and the Holy Innocents.  Preface of the Apostles.  White. [In the dioceses of Clifton, St David's and Newport, and of Plymouth, principal Mass of the BVM with Gloria, one prayer, and Creed. White.]

Perhaps the biggest change the twenty-first century Catholic following this series will have to get used to is the fact that Sundays do not usually take precedence over other feasts, but this Sunday and next are rarer yet!  The Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day is rarely celebrated on Sunday.  It is transferred to 30 December if any of 25-28 December falls on a Sunday, such as this year. (If 29 December is a Sunday, then Sunday's Mass is said and St Thomas is transferred to the thirtieth. If 30 December is a Saturday, the Mass of the Sunday is said and Mass on the Sunday is of St Sylvester with a commemoration of the Sunday (as well as all of the Octaves)).

Apart from the wandering Sunday, this week is relatively straightforward, though there are a lot of commemorations to keep up with.  Of note is the fact that Thursday, New Year's Day, the feast of the Circumcision, is a Holyday of Obligation, one of seven in the year (the Epiphany, the Ascension, Corpus Christi, SS Peter and Paul, The Assumption and Christmas Day are the others).

Most dioceses honour the feast of St Thomas of Canterbury with a Plenary Indulgence, available in the North throughout his Octave.  There is a plenary Indulgence on the feast of the Circumcision applicable to the Holy Souls (as there was on Christmas Day and will be on all feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady). In the diocese of Liverpool, a Plenary Indulgence is available every Sunday.

In the South West of England and in South Wales the first free Saturday of each quarter (January, April, July and October) is celebrated as Our Lady's Saturday, though if there is more than one Mass, the feast of the day will be celebrated:  this week  the Octave of St John.

The Pro-cathedral of the Westminster Archdiocese was St Mary's in Moorfields.  It opened in 1820, and had cost £26,000 to build and furnish.  It served as Pro-Cathedral until 1869, when the episcopal see moved, as the area had become denuded of parishioners.  The church was demolished in 1899, the site being sold for £200,000. (Another church with the same name was built nearby and stands to this day, the only Catholic church in the City of London.)

The church was served by the Revv Daniel Gilbert DD, J L Patterson, Thomas Cahill, Leo Pycke, and James Hussey.
Mass on Sundays and Holy Days was a 7.00, 8.00, 9.00 and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00.  Catechism at 3.00 pm, accompanied on the Third Sunday of the month by Benediction.  Baptisms at 3.00 pm (and on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11.00 am).  Vespers, Sermon and Benediction at 7.00 pm. On weekdays, Mass at 7.30, 8.00 and 10.00. On Thursday, Rosary, Sermon and Benediction at 8.00, and on other weekdays Rosary and Night Prayers at 8.00.  First Friday of each month Sermon and Benediction in honour of the Sacred Heart.  Second Friday of each month the Way of the Cross.  Confessions daily except Monday and Tuesday from 8.00 to 11.00 am, and on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6.00 pm.  Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament, Sacred Heart, Holy Angels for children, and Christian Doctrine.  Socieities: Holy Trinity Total Abstinence Society, Benevolent Society of the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor, and the Night refuge for Homeless Women of Good Character.
The priests also served Newgate Prison; the Old Bailey; the Debtors' Prison, Lower Whitecross St; St Bartholomew's Hospital, Smithfield; Metropolitan Free Hospital, Devonshire Sq, Bishopsgate; Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, Blomfield St.
The Cardinal Archbishop, the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Nicholas Wiseman, had his residence at 8 York Place, Portman Square.  When in town he was at home every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 11.00 and 2.00, Tuesday being especially devoted to the clergy.  The Vicar-general, the Very Rev Dr Hearn would be in attendance at Archbishop's House on Tuesdays from 12.00 to 2.00.

20 December 2014

Fourth Sunday of Advent 1862

21 Sunday, 4th of Advent, semidouble. Second prayers of the BVM, third prayers for the Church or Pope. Violet. First Vespers of St Thomas the Apostle with commemoration of Sunday. Antiphon O Oriens. Red.

22 Monday, St Thomas the Apostle, double of second class (transferred from yesterday). Red.

23 Tuesday, Feria. Violet.

24 Wednesday, Vigil of the Nativity. Violet. FAST.

The Indulgence begins.

25 Thursday, THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, double of the first class with an Octave, during which second prayers are of the Octave, the Creed is recited in each Mass and the Preface of Christmas is said.  Three Masses, in the second of which there is a commemoration of St Anastasia.  The third Mass has as the last Gospel the Gospel of the feast of the Epiphany.  Vespers are Second Vespers of the feast, with commemoration of St Stephen. Plenary Indulgence.

26 Friday, (Feast of Devotion) St STEPHEN, Proto-Martyr, double of second class with an Octave during which fourth prayers are of the Octave. Red. Abstinence.

27 Saturday, (Feast of Devotion) St JOHN, Apostle and Evangelist, double of second class with an Octave during which fifth prayers are of the Octave. White.

The preparation for Christmas is completed by the fourth Sunday, which displaces the feast of St Thomas the Apostle to Monday (which should be a feria). Tuesday is another feria (so priests will say a votive Mass), and on Wednesday, Christmas Eve, there is a mass for the Vigil of the Nativity.  This is a very simple Mass, with only one prayer.  The Nativity is a feast on whose Vigil we are obliged to fast, but as it is a Wednesday in Advent, it is a day of fasting, anyway.

The Indulgence begins: there are eight periods in the year during which plenary indulgences can be obtained as long as certain conditions are met.  This was a way of encouraging people to receive Holy Communion more than once a year.  The conditions always include Confession and Holy Communion, but the other conditions fall into three categories according to the grant of the Indulgence.  The Christmas indulgence, which lasts until the Epiphany is one of four granted by Pope Benedict XIV (Fr Hunwicke's ghostly counsellor): Christmas, Easter, the Assumption and St Michael: whose third condition is to visit a Church or Chapel in which Mass is celebrated to pray for the peace of God's Church; and fourth, 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 fulfil the condition if the Indulgence is to be obtained.)

Christmas Day is the only day on which priests can say three Masses: there are three proper Masses, of midnight, of dawn and of daytime. (The concession for All Souls' Day dates from 1915.)  In a parish or foundation with many priests, they can be said by each priest one after the other, with special rubrics associated with eg purification of the chalice, or they can be said at the appropriate times.  St Anastasia, whose feast is today, is commemorated at the Dawn mass.  As the Gospel for the daytime Mass is the first part of the first chapter of St John's Gospel, which is the default Last Gospel, the Last Gospel at this Mass is the Gospel of the Epiphany.

Christmas has its own Octave, but unlike the Octaves of the Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost, which are (figuratively) weeks on which the principal feast is relived on each day, the Christmas Octave has various major feasts each of which carries its own Octave. These would all have been Holydays prior to the Reformation and are marked as Feasts of devotion so that those who are able should treat them as such.  As they are Octaves, they are commemorated each day: this means that the nativity will be commemorated every day until 1 January, St Stephen until 2 January, etc.  Already by Saturday this means that there are five sets of prayers, and next week will be busier still!

Separate from the period of indulgence, there is a plenary indulgence available on Christmas Day itself applicable to the Holy Souls to all who confess, receive Communion, and pray for the Pope's intentions.

Remember that Friday is still a day of Abstinence, and that means no eggs as well as no meat.  Next year we will see the only occasion on which the rule of Friday abstinence is abrogated: when Christmas Day fall on a Friday.  (Remember that I'm talking about the immemorial customs of the Church here, not about the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 2014.)

St Mary Magdalene, Mortlake is served by the Missionary Rector, Rev J G Wenham, and the Rev Sylvester Donnelly. Mass on Sundays is at 8.00 and 10.30, on weekdays at 7.30 and 8.00.  Vespers, Catechism and Benediction on Sundays at 6.30.  On Thursdays and Feasts of Devotion, Benediction at 7.30 pm.  Exposition on Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany, on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.  There is a Catholic Boarding School for Young Gentlemen in the parish, as well as a cemetery. (Click on the image to view the school's prospectus if it isn't clear otherwise.)

Though there is no information about Mortlake Cemetery, the two public Catholic cemeteries in London, St Mary's Kensal-green and St Patrick's at Leyton, have chaplains in attendance for interments between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm every day.  Single interments, all fees included, are a guinea (£1.05) for adults, and 15/- (75p) for children under 10.
(I offered a few weeks ago to include such details as are available for any parish which was open in 1862 or 1863: let me know if there's one you are interested in.)

13 December 2014

Third Sunday of Advent 1862

14 SUNDAY, 3rd Sunday of Advent, semidouble. Violet. Vespers of the Octave of the Immaculate Conception (the First Vespers of the Feast are used) with commemoration of Sunday. White. [In diocese of Hexham and Newcastle Plenary Indulgence.]

15 Monday, The Octave of the Immaculate Conception, double. White.

16 Tuesday, St Eusebius, Bishop Martyr, semidouble. Second prayers of 3rd Sunday of Advent, third prayers of the BVM. Red.

17 Ember-Wednesday, feria. Second prayers for the dead (Fidelium), third prayers of the BVM. Violet. FAST.

18 Thursday, The Expectation of the BVM, greater double. Creed. Preface of the BVM. White. Plenary Indulgence.

19 Ember-Friday, feria. Second prayers for the dead (Fidelium), third prayers of the BVM. Violet. FAST.

20 Ember-Saturday, Vigil of St Thomas Apostle. Mass of Ember-day. Second prayers of Vigil, third prayers of the BVM. Violet. FAST.

It is instructive that as we go into the third Sunday of Lent there is no mention of rose coloured vestments, of flowers being allowed on the altar, or any other of the small signs which would be indicated rubrically a century later. This is because the ornate Italianate style is still a novelty, indeed a dangerous novelty in the eyes of many, and most priests would still be suspicious of it.

This is an Ember Week, one of four weeks in the year where the faithful fast and implore blessings of God in the new season.  Fasting should also prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained, because ordinations would normally take place on the Ember Days.  Our fasting will help us pray more reverently for good priests.

We celebrate the Octave of the Immaculate Conception from first Vespers on Sunday until the end of Monday: this means that there are liturgical prayers to Our Lady every day this week, and two feasts: the Octave, and, on Thursday, a week before the feast of Christ's birth, we celebrate the Expectation of the BVM. 

This is one of the most affecting and human feasts of the year.  It is hard to imagine a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, who cannot sympathise with the discomfort of a mother a week away from giving birth, especially a mother who is journeying and who has nothing to sustain her but the love of her husband and the promise made to her by an archangel nearly nine months previously. The Mass is Rorate, except for the last verse of the Gradual, which is "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, Jesus Christ, Alleluia".

This feast is celebrated pretty well everywhere, but an American visitor to England and Wales might have felt the lack of Wednesday's feast of St Lazarus Born Again to Life, which was particular (in the English-speaking world at least) to the United States.  I can't help feeling that the American dioceses are on to something here, much as the diocese of Salford's celebration of the feast of the Good Thief struck me as being particularly apposite.

Finally, on Saturday, we will celebrate the Vigil of St Thomas the Apostle (though for the third Sunday in a row the Sunday of Advent displaces the feast itself).  Because it is an Ember-day, the Vigil is only commemorated.  There are  five collects, lessons and graduals (and a hymn) which are proper to this Ember-Saturday, and precede the prayers listed above.

Ember Days are ancient: they date from the time of (if not personally from) Pope Callistus (217-223) and were probably instituted as Christian alternatives to the seasonal agricultural festivals celebrated by pagans. For some centuries they were observed only in Rome, but came to England with St Augustine, and were then taken by Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Germany and Gaul in the eighth and ninth centuries, from where they spread to Spain only in the tenth and eleventh centuries: they never were adopted in the East.  The celebration of all of the propers of Ember-Saturday seems to have become optional during the reforms of either Pius XII or John XXIII.

According to Bugnini: "The Ember Days are to be celebrated at times and on days to be determined by the episcopal conferences, provided that that they are in harmony with the seasons and thus truly correspond to the purposes for which they are established." Pope Paul VI insisted that prayers for vocations to the priesthood should be part of the replacement.  It is sad that 1750 years of tradition could have been tossed aside, unnoticed, such that few Catholics under the age of sixty will have any idea what the term "Ember Days" refers to.  I have no idea when the "not Ember Days" are celebrated in England and Wales: surely nobody was so cloth-earedly aliturgically illiterate as to offer us Family Fast Days in their place? That CAFOD rather than vocations should become their object? Surely, surely, not!

The Immaculate Conception, Hagley Road, Edgbaston, in Birmingham, is served by the Fathers of the Oratory of St Philip Neri.  The Very Rev John Henry Newman DD is Father Superior, and the Rev Fathers Ambrose St John, H Austin Mills, Henry Bittleston, Edward Caswall and William Payne Neville serve as priests.  Masses on Sunday are at 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, and 10.00, with High Mass at 11.00. Benediction is celebrated twice, at 4.00 and 8.00 pm. I imagine they used rose-coloured vestments on the Third Sunday.