Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Traditional Mass in Copenhagen

On January 10, 2010, the Bishop of Copenhagen, Czeslaw Kozon, assisted by the clergy of his diocese and by members of the FSSP (including Fr. Josef Bisig), will offer a Solemn Pontifical Mass from the throne. He will offer the Mass in his own cathedral, St. Ansgar's, in Copenhagen. This will be the first Solemn Pontifical Mass according to the 1962 Missal in the Scandinavian region since the liturgical reforms.

Bishop Kozon had also celebrated Mass according to the 1962 Missal on August 2, 2009, when he offered the regular (twice-monthly) Missa Cantata in the Jesu Hjerte (Sacred Heart) church in Copenhagen.

(text: Rorate Cæli; image: St Ansgar Cathedral Church, Copenhagen)

Monday, 28 December 2009

First ordination for FSSP in new Church Year

by Martin Bürger

As I reported in November, December 19th saw Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, since May of this year Bishop of Oakland, ordain Deacon José Zepeda FSSP to the Sacred Priesthood. Zepeda is therefore the first new Priest of the Priestly Fratenirty of St Peter in this liturgical Year.

The Bishop at the Sermon:

Bischof Cordileone 1

Litany of the Saints:

Bischof Cordileone 2

The blog "Veritatem facientes in caritate" has made available five series of pictures, including videos: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

(translated from EXSVLTET)

Friday, 25 December 2009

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part VI)

On 22nd December, 1887, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Officio Sanctissimo to the Archbishops and Bishops of Bavaria regarding the state of the Church in Bavaria:

"5. And firstly We urge and exhort you concerning the preparation and welfare of the clergy. For the clergy are like an army, which, as they obey the laws and perform their duties so that they may be of service to the Christian multitude under the authority of the bishops, will bring honor and stability to public affairs in proportion to their number and discipline. Wherefore this has always been the first care of the Church that she should choose and bring up to the priesthood those young men, whose dispositions and desires afford a hope that they will persevere in the ministry of the Church (Conc. Trid., Sess. xxiii., de reform cxviii.), and again, that the young men should have been educated from their early years in piety and religion, before evil habits have gained possession of them as young men, (Conc. Trid., Sess. xxiii., de reform cxviii.), and for them she founded proper seats of training and seminaries, and laid down rules full of wisdom, especially in the holy Council of Trent (ibid.), so that this college of the ministers of God might be a perpetual seminary (ibid.). In several places indeed, certain laws are in force which, if they do not stop, yet hinder the clergy in their training and discipline. We deem that it behoves Us now as at other times openly to speak Our mind on this matter, which is of the greatest possible interest, and to preserve the holy law of the Church inviolate by every means in Our power. For indeed the Church, as a body, which is by its nature perfect, has an inalienable right of ordering and instructing its own forces, hurtful to none, helpful to many in that kingdom of peace which Jesus Christ founded upon earth for the salvation of the human race."

"6. The clergy, however, will fulfill the duties committed to their charge fully and as a whole when, by the care of the bishops such a disposition of mind and intention has been brought about in the sacred seminaries as the dignity of the Christian priesthood and the natural change of times and manners require; they ought, indeed, to surpass others in the excellence of their teaching, and, which is the chief thing, in great reputation for virtue, so that they may attract the minds of men to it and lead them to its observance."

Friday, 18 December 2009

Daily Lauds with the laity in Sacramento

by Tish Gallagher, Sacramento


The Latin Mass community of Sacramento, California began more than twenty years ago. In 1997 the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) was invited into our diocese to serve what was then known as the Ecclesia Dei Community. In 2002 a property was purchased and given by our diocese for our use; this included a church and small school. At the time, Fr. John Berg, FSSP (now the superior general of that congregation) was the priest in charge of our Latin Mass community. In the approximately five years that Fr. Berg was with us, he tried to give our parish, St. Stephen, the First Martyr (not formally a parish yet) a character and tradition which he hoped we would maintain. Among these traditions were things such as Sunday Vespers, the Rorate Mass in Advent, and Tenebrae. Happily, the priests who have come after him have kept these traditions, and even added to them.

Even at this time in the early morning the priest would sing Lauds together in the sanctuary of our church. I would silently pray from a breviary with the Pius XII Psalter, which of course was not the same. Occasionally we would also have Compline, especially after big feasts and after evening adult education classes. We would print out the Latin so that everyone could sing; it was a very prayerful and joyful time!

Now, we are blessed to have many resources for the words of the Divine Office so consequently people are beginning to download the Office from the internet and bring it with them to St. Stephens. What began as community prayer among the priests is becoming more of prayer also for the laity. We very gingerly attempt to pronounce the words of the psalms along with the priests each morning at Lauds and as each day passes we learn more, and more people seem to come.

We also have an opportunity on Monday and Thursday each week for the office of Sext. After our priests teach their Latin classes they come into the church to sing this hour together. In addition to this we regularly have Thursday evening Compline which is very well attended after evening Mass.

The Divine Office is very much a part of our Catholic culture at St. Stephens. Most of our children have some opportunity for learning some of the Psalms either in choir or even at our summer camps where Compline is sung each evening.

St. Stephen is a little bit of heaven on earth. It is a place where the Church is living and growing. It is a place where in the midst of all the trials of this world you can find peace.

(reproduced from Rorate Cæli)

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part V)

On 14th September, 1886, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Pergrata to the Bishops of Portugal concerning the state of the Church in Portugal:

"12. But there are some significant things which your diligence must cure one by one. The first matter is the shortage of priests caused by an insufficiency of seminaries. As a result neither the Christian instruction of the faithful nor the administration of the sacraments has received proper care. Now, however, by the blessing of divine Providence each diocese has its own seminary; where the seminaries have not yet been restored, We hope that they will be shortly. Here then is the means of supplying a body of priests, provided the learning of the candidates is such as reason demands. We entrust this matter to you, as We respect your prudence and wisdom. However lest you should lack Our advice in this matter, consider as addressed to yourselves what We have prescribed a short time ago to the bishops of Hungary:"

13. "In the education of clerics two elements are essential: learning for the development of the mind and virtue for the perfection of the soul. To the humanistic curriculum by which youths are educated must be added sacred and canonical studies. Care must be taken that their content is sound, entirely pure, and in full harmony with the documents of the Church; today especially the style must be forceful and eloquent, so that he may be able to exhort . . . and to refute those who contradict. -- Holiness of life without which knowledge puffs up and does not edify, consists not only in good and honorable habits, but also in that body of sacerdotal virtues which makes good priests exemplars of Jesus Christ the eternal High Priest.... In these institutions take care that the men appointed as teachers be men of sound doctrine and good morals, men to whom you can entrust a matter of such great importance. Choose rectors and spiritual directors who are outstanding for prudence, counsel, and experience. The common life and discipline should be so arranged by your authority that the students will never offend against piety; furthermore there should be an abundance of all aids which nourish piety, so that the seminarians may make daily progress in acquiring the virtues proper to the sacerdotal state.""

"14. Moreover your vigilance for your priests must be great and even singular, so that the smaller the number of workers, the greater their zeal in cultivating the vineyard of the Lord. The words of the Gospel, the harvest is indeed great, seem to apply literally to you, since the people of Portugal have always loved religious instruction; they receive it eagerly when they perceive in the priests, their teachers, the embellishments of virtue and the reputation for learning. It is marvelous how fruitful the future work of the clergy will be in instructing the people, but especially the youth, when that work is crowned with dignity and zeal. Good example is the best means of cultivating in men the love of virtue. For this reason let all priests take care not only that nothing is noted in them which is at variance with their office and the rules of their state, but also that the holiness of their lives and morals may shine forth, like a lamp on a lampstand, giving light to all in the house."

Thursday, 17 December 2009

FSSP Given Charge of Quebec Church

by Shawn Tribe

Those of you with an interest in Catholic Quebec will no doubt be interested to hear of the following development which came to the NLM recently. Namely, this week an agreement was signed which gives the FSSP charge of the parish of Saint-Zephirin de Stadacona which is located within the archdiocese of Quebec. Abbé Guillaume Loddé will be the curé.

I am sure the question will be asked as to the status of this church. Due to Quebec's "loi des fabriques" the parish will technically not be a "personal parish" -- which provincial act would, from my limited understanding of it, otherwise have the effect of putting the church property and goods under the control of a lay committee rather than either the FSSP or the Ordinary for that matter. This said, the FSSP curé will have a jurisdiction which is equivalent to a pastor and in that regard, it will function very similar to a personal parish.

The first public Mass will be held on January 1st.





See more photos of the church here. Also see: www.fssp-quebec.com

* * *

As an aside, film aficionados may recognize this as the same parish church which was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock's 1953 film, I Confess. (More on that film)


Scene from Hitchcock's, I Confess, showing the parish of Saint-Zephirin in the background

(reproduced from The New Liturgical Movement)

Monday, 14 December 2009

Diaconal Ordinations of FFI Friars in Florence

by Shawn Tribe

The Italian blog Rinascimento Sacro have a photoset up of the November 21st ordinations of eight Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who were ordained to the diaconate by Archbishop Raymond Burke in Florence at the Chiesa di Ognissanti.


To see all the photos, please see their photoset.

(reproduced from The New Liturgical Movement)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Cenacle of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus

News from Tulsa, OK: This week saw the clothing of the first novice of the Our Lady of the Cenacle monastery, Brother Juan Diego Maria de San José. Fr Mark Kirby, superior of the Cenacle, has been given a mandate by Bishop Slattery, the local Ordinary, to live under the Benedictine rule, in a life of adoration, thanksgiving, intercession and reparation.

The Cenacle is planning renting larger property for use as a temporary monastery. However, this depends on the generousity of others. More funds means this can be achieved, and even beginning may be made on a permanent monastery. Cheques can be sent to Fr Kirby at the address below.

~~*~~

The foundation of the Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma is a timely response to the Year of the Priesthood. The following notes present something of the vision for this new monastery under the Rule of Saint Benedict. Please address all inquiries to Father Mark at the address given below.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR LIFE IN ABUNDANCE

"I came," says Our Lord Jesus, "that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)

-- A LIFE THAT IS MONASTIC

"One thing is needful." (Luke 10:42)

• under the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict and the guidance of the Father of the monastery.
• in the school of the service of the Lord.
• in obedience, the love of silence, and humility.
• in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

-- A LIFE THAT IS EUCHARISTIC AND SACERDOTAL

"I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." (Luke 22:15)

"And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth." (John 17:19)

• the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: the sun illuminating each day.
• daily prolonged adoration, on behalf of all priests, before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, close to His Open Heart.
• in reparation for offenses committed against the Most Blessed Sacrament, and for the indifference of those who forsake Him, Who waits for us in the tabernacles of the world.
• in thanksgiving for the mercies that ever flow from the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.

-- A LIFE THAT IS OFFERED AND CONSECRATED

"I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1)

• for the sanctification of priests and the spiritual renewal of the clergy in the whole Church.
• in reparation for the sins that disfigure the Face of Christ the Priest.
• in the sacrificial love that is inseparable from the gift and mystery of the priesthood.

-- A LITURGICAL LIFE

"I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; in the presence of the angels I sing your praise." (Psalm 137:1)

"O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." (Psalm 28:2)

"Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God." (Hebrews 13:15)

• Holy Mass and the Divine Office celebrated in Gregorian Chant.
• bringing to the traditional forms of the sacred liturgy a diligence and beauty worthy of the Holy Mysteries.

-- A LIFE WITH OUR LADY, THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

"When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." (John 19:26-27)

• following in the footsteps of Saint John the Apostle who, obedient to the word of Jesus crucified, took Mary into his home and into the intimacy of his priestly heart.
• communitarian and personal consecration to the Virgin Mary.
• commemoration of the Mother of God at all the liturgical Hours.
• Holy Rosary daily.

-- A LIFE THAT IS ECCLESIAL AND APOSTOLIC

"In the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations." (Ephesians 3:21)

• heeding the Supreme Pontiff, our Holy Father, the Successor of Peter.
• in filial obedience to the Bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
• in generous service of the clergy by means of hospitality given to priests, deacons, and seminarians for days of silence and adoration, for retreats, and for spiritual direction.
• promoting Eucharistic adoration in the diocese of Tulsa.
• direction of the movement for spiritual motherhood benefiting priests.

-- A LIFE OF WORK

"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one." (1 Corinthians 11:4-7)

• hospitality to priests, deacons, and seminarians.
• spiritual care and support of the clergy.
• both manual and intellectual work, according to the abilities and gifts of each one.

-- A LIFE THAT INCORPORATES DIVERSE EXPRESSIONS WITHIN A SINGLE FAMILY

"If all were a single organ, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you,' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'" (1 Corinthians 11:19-21).

• choir monks dedicated to the integral service of the liturgy and, normally, destined for the priesthood.
• monks not destined for the priesthood who, imitating Saint Joseph, dedicate themselves to the ceaseless prayer of the heart in the daily tasks entrusted to them.

• diocesan priests, Missionary Adorers of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, sacerdotal Oblates of the monastery, living its charism and sustained by the monastic community in the midst of their pastoral labors. The Missionary Adorers, while remaining incardinated in their respective dioceses, will live according to the Statutes approved by the Bishop of Tulsa.

• deacons and laymen, single and married: secular Oblates of the monastery.
• women Oblates dedicated as Spiritual Mothers for Priests, following the initiative of the letter of 7 December 2007 of His Eminence, Claudio Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation Pro Clericis.
The monastery will provide these women with a suitable initial and ongoing spiritual formation.

-- ADORERS OF THE EUCHARISTIC FACE OF JESUS

"You have said, 'Seek my Face.' My heart says to You, 'Your Face, O Lord, do I seek.' Hide not your Face from me." (Psalm 26:8-9).

"It is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of the darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6).

• all participate daily in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the monastery, or for priest, deacon, and lay oblates, in their parishes

-- MONASTIC FORMATION

For Catholic men between the ages of 18 and 35.
Postulancy: 3-6 months
Novitiate: 2 years
Temporary Vows: 3 years
Monastic Consecration after 5 years

~~*~~

Please send your contributions toward building the Eucharistic Cenacle to:
Reverend Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B.
1744 South Xanthus Avenue
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104-5324
Telephone: 918-749-0995
E-mail: cenacle at sbcglobal.net
Thank you for your generosity. May Our Lord Jesus Christ make the light of His Eucharistic Face shine upon you.

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part IV)

On 6th January, 1886, Pope Leo XIII promulgated his Encyclical Iampridem to the Archbishops and Bishops of Prussia concerning the state of the Church in Germany:

"7. The priestly order, heir of such a sublime ministry, renews itself from age to age without changing. Those who are called to this order must thus follow by their sincerity of doctrine and innocence of life, in the footsteps of the first sowers of the faith, whom Christ Himself chose. The right and duty to teach young people whom God calls to become His ministers and the dispensers of His mysteries falls to the bishops alone. The people are to take their religious training from those to whom it was said, "teach all nations." If this is so, how much greater is the obligation imposed on bishops to give the nourishment of sound doctrine as they see fit to these ministers, who will be the salt of the earth and will take the place of Jesus Christ among men? This duty is not the only one incumbent on the bishops; in addition, they must look after the welfare of the seminarians. They should initiate them quickly into the practices of a firm piety, a piety whose absence would leave them unworthy of the priesthood and incapable of fulfilling its duties."

"8. You know very well from theory and practice the difficulties and prolonged labors which this instruction of seminarians requires. Those who have chosen God as their inheritance should show themselves to the Christian people as living models of virtue and self restraint, according to the teaching of the Prince of the Apostles. Under the authority of the bishops and the instruction of appointed teachers, they should learn to dominate their passions, to despise the things of this world, and to seek heavenly goods. Fortified by heavenly thoughts and inflamed by heavenly love, they will remain chaste and pure amidst the corruption of this world. They must also become quickly accustomed to constantly and fearlessly explaining and defending Catholic truth, which the world despises and pursues with an implacable hatred. The times demand a vigorous struggle to preserve the cause of the Church. What could we expect, then, if our ministers were not prepared long in advance by religious training and love to faithfully support their bishops, to listen to their words, and to endure boldly the harshest difficulties for the name of Jesus Christ? Seminaries and other institutions of sacred learning give the seminarians, far from the bustle of daily concerns, the qualities required to fulfill the apostolic ministry properly. Their education also teaches them to endure joyously all the inconveniences of life and all those types of work necessary to save souls. Under the vigilance and protection of the bishops and the priests delegated by them by virtue of their long experience in sacred studies, the students will learn to equitably measure their strengths and to recognize what they are capable of. The pastors can test the abilities and character of each one, in order to judge wisely who is worthy of the honor of the priesthood and to dissuade those who are unworthy. But what salutary fruits can be obtained if the pastors do not have full liberty to remove obstacles and to use the means appropriate to that end? On this subject, since your nation counts among its distinctions the glory of the military, We can draw an analogy. Would the heads of government permit young men placed in military institutions to have any other teachers than those who excel in this art? Do we not choose appropriate military men to teach army discipline, the use of arms, and the military spirit?"

"9. The Church's concern for its seminaries is therefore easy to understand. From the earliest years of the Church, the popes and the Catholic bishops took special care to establish centers for candidates to the priesthood. Here, either by themselves or with the help of suitable teachers (sometimes taken from the priests of the cathedral church), they taught the humanities, theology, and above all the conduct suitable to their vocation. The houses which the bishops and monks opened to receive clerics are celebrated up to this day. Among them shines the memory of the Lateran Patriarchate; from here, as from a fortress of wisdom and virtue, illustrious popes and bishops appeared, men remarkable for their holiness and for their teaching. The careful and diligent teaching of clerics seemed very important and necessary even from the beginning of the sixth century. The Council of Toledo, speaking about "those whom their parents forced to enter the clerical state as children," commands "that after having received tonsure or being ordained lector, they must be educated in the Church under the vigilance of the bishop." Thus we see why we must strive to organize and govern the seminaries of your dioceses according to the rules established by the fathers of the Council of Trent. That is also why in the previous agreements between the popes and the secular authorities from different periods, the Apostolic See -- especially watched over the preservation of seminaries and reserved to the bishops the right to govern them, to the exclusion of all other powers. Among other documents, we have a clear example in the apostolic letter beginning "De salute animarum." Pius VII published this encyclical on July 18, 1821, after reaching an agreement with the king of Prussia concerning a new delimitation of dioceses."

"10. Therefore, may the bishops have the full and entire right to train in the seminaries the peaceful army of Jesus Christ. May they be free to choose officials according to their own judgment for the clerical hierarchy, and may they place priests in various posts to fulfill their pastoral duties without obstacles."

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ordinations at Campos

by Gregor Kollmorgen

This Sunday, 6 December, Msgr. Fernando Arêas Rifan ordained two new priests for the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney dedicated to the usus antiquior in Campos, Brazil. Salvem a Liturgia has some images.

(reproduced from The New Liturgical Movement)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Priests Training Conference (Ushaw)


LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham.

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham, one of England’s most prestigious seminaries.

The conference will run from Monday 12 April to Friday 16 April 2010 (i.e. Low Week) and will feature Traditional liturgies in Ushaw’s magnificent neo-Gothic St Cuthbert’s Chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be tuition in Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis and there will be streams for beginners and more advanced students. There will be a keynote lecture and 1962 Missals and altar cards will be available.

There will be opening and closing High Masses, daily Mass and Devotions, and Rosary. There will also be a closing Conference dinner with guest speaker.

The subsidised fee to participants is only £115.00 which includes all accommodation, meals and training materials. There are limited places and priests are asked to register as soon as possible.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284, e mail: info at latin-mass-society.org) or from the conference organiser, Mr Paul Waddington (Tel: 01757 638027, e mail: paul at gooleboathouse.co.uk).

Paul Waddington said, “This is the second time the LMS has organised such a training conference at Ushaw College and we are delighted to be going back. I hope the laity will tell their priests about this wonderful opportunity to learn the Usus Antiquior in the setting of one of England’s finest Catholic seminaries.”

Latin Mass Society, 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH
Tel: 020 7404 7284
E mail: info at latin-mass-society.org
Website: latin-mass-society.org

(photo: Fr Ray Blake)

Friday, 4 December 2009

Procession for the Immaculate Conception


A Torchlight Procession in honour of Mary Immaculate to take place in Rome on 8th December, 2009, at 7 p.m., for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be carried n the Torchlight Procession 'aux flambeaux,' through the Via del Corse, presided over by a Cardinal.

The procession will leave the Church of Gesù e Maria at 45, Via del Corso, (in front of San Giacomo) and will arrive at 8 p.m. at the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Information can be obtained from Canonico Don Giuseppe Luzuy of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest:

Tel./fax: 06 66 24 922
Cell: 335 345 163
e-mail: roma@icrsp.org

Papa Stronsay Calendar

by Fr Tim Finigan

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay have a beautiful and original calendar for 2010 featuring photos of Liturgy and manual work on the island. For information, see: Into a New Year with the Papa Stronsay Calendar. There are some copies left after their regular mailing to subscribers so it would be good if they were able to sell them. The first page has a list of "n00th" anniversaries through the centuries, such as the 1800th anniversary of the birth of St Cyprian. Each day has the celebration listed according to the liturgical calendar of 1962.

You can get a copy via paypal by using the order link on the sidebar of the Papa Stronsay blog, or you can order one from ebay. Price £5.

(reproduced, with permission, from The Hermeneutic of Continuity)

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part III)

On 8th February, 1884, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Nobilissima Gallorum Gens to the Archbishops and Bishops in France on the religious questions in France:

"8. All this good, which affords the best hopes for the future of France, must not only be pre served, but increased by united efforts and constant watchfulness. Above all, care must be taken that the ranks of the clergy shall be more and more filled with worthy and capable men. Let the authority of their Bishops be sacred to the priest; let the latter be convinced that their ministry will be neither holy, nor profitable, nor respected, if it be not exercised under the guidance of their Bishops. The prominent laymen also, those devoted to Our common Mother the Church, and who are able to render useful service to the Catholic religion by their word and by their pen, must multiply their efforts in the defense of the Church. To obtain these results, it is an absolute necessity that wills should be in harmony, and the action unanimous. There is certainly nothing more wished for by Our adversaries than dissensions between Catholics, who should avoid nothing with greater care than any disagreement, mindful of the Divine words: "Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate.""

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Historic homecoming for the Knights of Malta

by Gerald Warner


West Lothian witnessed an historic event as the Knights of Malta returned after 450 years to Torphichen Preceptory, their mediaeval headquarters in Scotland lost at the Reformation, to celebrate the Latin Mass.

The occasion was presided over by Fra' Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, Grand Prior of England of the Order of Malta, accompanied by knights and dames of the order (above).

The traditional Mass was arranged by Una Voce Scotland, the Scottish branch of the International Latin Mass Federation. Una Voce has been conducting Masses in the extraordinary form in different historic venues in Scotland and at the end of October they celebrated an Old Rite Mass at Cambuskenneth Abbey [Stirling].

The celebrant was Mgr Hugh Boyle; Fr John Emerson, of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, was seated in the sanctuary beside the Grand Prior. The splendid vestment worn by Mgr Boyle, which attracted much attention, were 19th-century French cloth of gold.

Fred Stone of Una Voce explained that when they were taken to the Burrell Collection for expert assessment the museum was anxious to acquire them, but they are still very much in service and far from becoming museum.

Torphichen Preceptory near Bathgate in West Lothian was granted to the Knights Hospitaller by King David I in the 1140s, but there had been a church there from very ancient times, allegedly established by St Ninian around 400AD and said to have been visited by King Arthur a century later.

Torphichen was the Scottish Commandery of the Knights of Hospitaller of St John (known from 1530 as the Knights of Malta, after they took possession of that island.) Before and after the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, it was visited respectively by William Wallace and Edward I Longshanks, the Hammer of the Scots.

After the Reformation the building was partly demolished; only the foundations of the knight's cloister remain. The nave of the cross-shaped church became the parish kirk, but that too was demolished in 1756 and replaced by the present parish church.

Of the original commandery building all that remains is the central tower and transepts of the mediaeval church. These portions only surive because they were for a time used as a courthouse. The tower was at one point ruinous, but was re-roofed in 1947.

The building, now in the care of Historic Scotland, is still impressive. The vaulted ceiling is fine example of mediaeval craftmanship and, as the Una Schola schola discovered, provides excellent acoustic for Gregorian plainsong. They sang the Mass and then Te Deum, concluding with the Salve Regina.

In his homily Mgr Boyle invoked the historic nature of the occasion and the ancient link that Torphichen represented with the Order of Malta and Scottish Catholicism. At the end of Mass, Fra' Freddy Crichton-Stuart led the knights in reciting the prayer of the Order of Malta.

(photo © Martin Gardner;
reproduced from The Scottish Catholic Observer, 27.11.09)