Sunday, 16 March 2014

Giant Chemistry Experiment

Next week's science is shaping up nicely as our weekend digging to set up a new vegetable plot revealed a sizeable coal seam right underneath where our rhubarb and Jerusalem artichokes are  supposed to be going. The digging had its own drama, the air resounding with screams every time a worm was dug up....and that was just Dad!! One of my sisters who is not afraid of anything (except dead things killed by the cats) , kept up morale with "come on, you're never gonna make farmers if you're afraid of worms!" ...We broke a spade on the coal before Dad realised he'd found a solution to all our heating bills. We're going to dig some up and burn it tomorrow if you hear about it on the news, you'll know it's all gone horribly wrong. I've never been that keen on rhubarb crumble anyway.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Oratorian as new auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham!

Today, at 11 in the morning,  His Holiness the Pope,  announced a new auxiliary Bishop for Birmingham. He has chosen Fr Robert Byrne, a Priest of the Oxford Oratory to be the new Bishop.
Thank you St Philip Neri,
Thank you Bl John Henry,
Thank you Our Lady,
Thank you Pope Francis,
and Thank you God!
(Not in any particular order!)
See here.

N.b. My Birthday cake was a total failure... It was meant to be a biretta...But way too much black food colouring played havoc with the taste!! One occasion when I was unable to eat my hat! (Sorry that was terrible)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

In a great and noble tradition...

The time of year is coming up when a cake related to the liturgy makes an appearance as my birthday cake.  Here are some shots of the past two years efforts:
The cake of two years ago, meant to represent the high Altar at the Oratory. I even based the Altar Cards after a particular set that they have there...

However, I don't think it made it on to my blog...

The Papal Tiara of last year.

Seeing as you guessed what the cake was so easialy last year, this year I'm going to ramp up the difficulty, and not put a picture of it here! (Another reason being that I haven't yet made it...) I shall give you a clue, by saying that it falls in the same category as both of my previous attempts! The answer shall go up later this week!

Ad Multos Annos... To me!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Liturgist.

On the feast of St Francis, here is a small passage from his biography:

(This takes place while Saint Francis was in exile from his episcopal see, as it was in the Protestant occupation)
On the 25th of May, Sunday of the Blessed Trinity according to Charles Augustus, the Bishop "went up into the pulpit and explained everything he wanted to be done for the solemn procession of the feast of Corpus Christi."
 But since he desired to himself to carry the Body of the Savior of the world (as was his duty), in which case it was necessary that he should be accompanied by the canons of his cathedral, it came to pass that the cannons of the collegiate church of Notre-Dame entered into an argument with them [the cathedral cannons] concerning the order of precedence; indeed the scandal went so far that the aldermen of the city even denied that the holy Bishop should carry the Blessed Sacrament since, they claimed, the cannons of Notre-Dame were the parish priests of the city and the cathedral cannons were outsiders, and no previous Bishop had ever tried such a thing.
 The response was immediate and conclusive. Francis de Sales replied strongly: "Neither I nor my cannons must be thought of as your opponents, and I certainly never thought I would hear you speak such words. Those who proceeded me in my office were weak, ill and aged; but as for me, by the grace of God I am strong and healthy, so why would I not carry the Body of my Lord and Master just as well as someone else? After all, while we are on the subject, do not forget that I am your bishop, and so I shall certainly do everything that belongs to the office of Bishop. The cannons of the cathedral are my senators and my counsellors, and I can hardly neglect to call upon them when I celebrate liturgical offices. This is what I have decided. If this decision causes you an injustice, we shall decide what to do about it later on.
In a tract dated the 27th of May, addressed to the dean of the chapter of Notre-Dame, the Bishop wrote:
 Reverend Dean,
 I insist, without the possibility of any reply whatsoever, that the cantors, subdeacon and thurifer whom you will assign should all be cannons, notwithstanding your usual customs, because those who fulfil these functions in my own Church are of that rank. I order you and your chapter to accept this decision in the name of holy obedience, sub poena excommunications latae sententiae.
In witness whereof I have signed the present letter.
Francis de Sales,
Bishop of Geneva. 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

During this Octave of prayer for Christian unity...

...Let us pray for heretics and schismatics, that the Lord our God may save them from all their errors, and draw them back to their holy mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church. (Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise.) Almighty and everliving God, you save all men and desire that none should be lost: look on those who are led away by the Devil's deceits, that they may reject their mischievous errors, and come back repentant to the unity of your truth.

(Good Friday prayer for the unity of the Church.)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Late night Latin attack...

As I write this now, Mom is about to pass out in horror after discovering a little note in the answer key of my Latin textbook. It runs as follows:
'Exercise 31. See introduction note three.' 'Certain extremely simple exercises involving nothing more than a knowledge of word meanings and syntactical forms are left unanswered...'
So, on those exercises I think I will either get 100% or 0%! Mom is very good at French, German and a bit of Russian, but she doesn't have a broad knowledge of Latin word meanings and syntactical forms...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A new blog, a High Mass, and two Missa Cantatas...

I'm very sorry that I haven't posted here for so long... I have been somewhat busy!
There is a very good blog I discovered from the comments of one of Cardinal Eccles' posts. It is an absolutely hilarious blog, in my opinion. Some of you who support the SSPX may not be best pleased with it, but I think it well worth the read... Here.

Anyway, on Sunday and also yesterday, the Oratory had splendid festivities for the feast of the Immaculate Conception... I think that the first solemn high E.F. Mass on the feast may well have been the first on their Patronal feast for some time... (I.e. 50 odd years!) The set of vestments used on the feast were splendid... The Missa Cantata yesterday in the Novus Ordo was very nice as well, and it is such a treat to hear a plainchant Mass setting. Cum Jubilo is one of the nicest settings...

And on the subject of Missa Cantatas, at Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, on the first Friday of every month since November, there has been a Missa Cantata there. I am having to MC them which is pretty nerve wracking... Even more so than for High Mass...
I will try to update my blog a bit more regularly....

Monday, 4 November 2013

Mass and Vespers!

Every Monday during November (starting tonight!), at the Birmingham Oratory, there will be an FE requiem Mass at 6pm, followed by vespers of the dead at 6:30pm. This will be at the Holy Souls altar... I imagine that Chasuble wise, there will be some rather fine ones worn. On All Souls day, for the early, private Masses that the Fathers each said, what appeared to be the same chasuble was worn by all the Fathers, but, to my surprise, when I went in to the sacristy to serve the last Mass, I found that there were 2 low Mass sets laid out, not to mention the matching High Mass set laid out for the 11am High Mass!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bishop urges people to go to Confession...

And Priests to hear confessions!!! In a Pastoral Letter today, His Grace Archbishop Bernard Longley asked Priests to hear confessions and people to go to confession. Very Fr. Z! If only the letter was online... (I did check.)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Private Masses at the Birmingham Oratory...

The pictures say it all...


If you haven't already noticed, my blog is undergoing some major maintenance... It is being taken to parts and being put back together again! I don't know when it will be completed, but your feedback would be very much appreciated!!!! The reason for the redesign is simply that I had got fed up with the last one!!!   (I did have it for 2+ years...)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

First Vespers of the Assumption...

...with the chessmen!!! Enjoy! 

It is pontificated by a random Bishop with a lot of attendants, 4 Catholic monarchs in attendance and 8 cantors! (I know that that is too many... But they are chessmen!!!)

Monday, 12 August 2013

A new website!!!

The Birmingham Oratory now has a freshly redesigned website, which is very befitting... It is by far the nicest website it has had yet, compared with the 2 previous ones... It is, (What else would it be?!?) very baroque. It is undoubtedly the most baroque website I have seen in a while... Take a bit of time and take a look over it, there are stunning photos scattered all over the site. Go here.
Oh, and did I mention that there will be first Vespers for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary? They will be at 6:30 on the 14th of August... The Mass for the feast, will be a low Mass at 6:00pm and at that Mass my youngest sister will be receiving her first Holy Communion, so if you could say a prayer for her, it would be much appreciated.

And if you don't mind, NO negative comments about the fact that the 7pm High Mass will be a N.O. Mass. The poor Fathers and Brothers have to have one occasionally, otherwise they would forget how to say it...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


While I was at Gricigliano, several debates came up... One of the major ones was about the benefits of the LMS. As far as I could hear, these were considered to be few....but as I was listening to two conversations at once,  and also half asleep, I may be mistaken... Another one was whether smoking is the sin of suicide. And....before you stub your cigarettes out, it was decided that it was not.  Yet another was about which calendar was better, that of 1939, or that of '62... That was inconclusive.
Yet more debate took place in the sacristy of the Birmingham Oratory on Sunday,  between one of the Fathers and the MC . This was about whether the ICKSP are too baroque!.. The MC accused the Father of just being jealous,  and I think that he was probably  right!

Breakfasting with a Bishop, part 2!

Wednesday morning:
I woke up at 6:15, and had a shower, after walking into a window shutter... By 7:30, I was being driven down to the station by a seminarian... Not quite as dangerous as last time! The 8am train was invaded by Seminarians, Canons, and others, all heading for the ordination... By 8:30, my friends and I were all in the sacristy, where we had to wait an hour before Mass began... The hour passed uneventfully and, (without breakfast) Mass began... It was the first Pontifical high at the Faldstool I have ever been to. Needless to say it was very long... By 12:45 it was finished, so we went back to the sacristy, got out of our (very hot) serving stuff, and went back to the train station, absolutely famished! We got the train back to where we came from, and a Seminarian gave us a lift to the house of the Sister adorers, where lunch was that day...

Wednesday afternoon:
After a delicious lunch at the Sister adorers, we went up the hill to the seminary, where we had a rest until Vespers, at 6, followed shortly after by (yet another) lovely meal... Following that, Compline and bed!

Thursday morning:
Thursday morning was much the same as Wednesday morning, except that we went to a cafe a stone's throw away from the Church, and had a coffee and a croissant there...

Thursday afternoon:
At the beginning, almost identical to Wednesday afternoon, but all similarity stopped at 6. Vespers were not sung, but at 7, there was adoration, with the Te Deum. Pontificating  was Cardinal Bertoil, with Cardinal Burke, two Bishops, and the Abbot of Le Barroux in choir!!! After that, there was a small snack in preparation for the big meal, followed by the big meal which was superb...

Very early on Friday:
At 12 midnight, or there a bouts, the raffle was drawn! Following that, there where some speeches that I could not understand a word of... After the speeches there was the most spectacular display of fireworks, possibly in the history of the universe. I'm not joking. Apparently, the fireworks last year didn't work, so there were two years worth of fireworks!!! It was superb!! After that I went to bed.

Quite early on Friday:
I was woken up at around 6:30 by some inconsiderat French boys, who belived that if they had to get up early , then so did everyone else!!! I tried to get to sleep but couldn't, so I went and had a shower...

Later on Friday morning:
At 8, I went to the first of 5 first Masses, and then went for a little walk around the gardens. By 9:30, I was felling peckish, and went to Breakfast. On my way over to breakfast, I noticed the sign, which said (in French) Breakfast from 8-10, which I misread late last night, and mistook to mean breakfast at 8 and 10. Opps! Following Breakfast I went and had another look at the wreckage of the fireworks... Oh I was at the same table as the Bishop at breakfast, but didn't talk to him, as it was a very big table...

Friday afternoon:
After a hasty lunch, our group was driven down to the station, where we got  a train into Florence, from where got a bus into Pisa, and from there we got a plane to Manchester! Mom came and picked me up, and I got home late that night, but still managed to serve the Birmingham Oratory's 9:30 Mass the following morning!!!