Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas - glad to be back

To my embarrassment I was left with only 20 minutes to get to Stydd earlier this month. It is a good 90 minutes' away, so I went immediately to bed so as to nurse my virus which had by then hit my chest. I was at Stydd in spirit.
A lot of unpleasant and extremely time-consuming e-mails (again) and the soul destroying experience of watching excited children in a totally secular society and environment trying to out greed themselves in the last week of term. How much somebody spends on them is used as a measure of love. It follows that as Jack's mum can "only" spend a couple of hundred on him this year and he had some Reeboks in September and Jill's Dad can afford double that and actually will see her over Christmas, being out of prison for the first time in three years, that Jill's Dad loves Jill more than Jack's Mum loves Jack. Hearing what I do from these kids I could not doubt that the parents love their children as much as I love mine - and possibly more!
But we do seem to have lost any sense of perspective. We are in a moral vacuum, which as the tough times start to kick in more and more and with little expectation of seeing light at the end of the tunnel there is a danger that anything and everything could and probably will fill that void.
Time for prayers to Sts. Michael, Joseph and Peter and Our Lady, Comfort of the afflicted.

I, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, forgot to advertise Fr. Wadsworth's Carol service at his new parish, St. Marie's, Manchester Road, Bury, after he sent an e-mail to alert me to the fact. There is great news from Fr. Wadsworth, which I shall share with you once I have contacted Fr. W to proffer my apologies at my latest omission.

Many thanks to all of you who have sent cards and gifts to the Society I shall get back to everybody before Twelfth Night. I am setting a new trend - send Christmas cards during Christmastide, thereby avoiding the rush and feeling relaxed enough to personalize each card and hopefully taking in enough of the Spirit of the Nativity at the same time, so as to forgive those who have upset us, wittingly or unwittingly, during the course of the year. As I always get a new fountain pen at Christmas - sometimes complete with green ink, I look forward to sending such personalized greetings.
If you haven't gathered by now I have only managed to write two cards this year, having bought the cards weeks ago from the CTS along with the stamps.
The CTS has smartened its act up so much over recent years and produces some really first class material at very reasonable prices. Manchester is fortunate to have a CTS shop and I am happy to support this Charity.
Back in 1985 I spent the princely sum of 80 pence for a pristine copy of Canon Cafferata's explanation of the penny catechism from the CTS bookshop in Manchester, in my student days. Its pale blue sugar paper cover and newsprint content has been well thumbed over since then and always to hand on my desk - along with piles and piles of paperwork.

Thinking about it, the CTS have produced excellent OF Mass booklets in English, Latin and Polish, so I should contact them to request that they consider producing an EF Mass booklet, or even reprint one of their pre Vatican II editions. This would be a great help to the increasing number of parishes where Mass is offered regularly in the Extraordinary Form, on some sort of regular basis. Some outlets produce a facsimile of the CTS small prayer book already. A refreshed look of this booklet might be the order of the post Summorum Pontificum days in which we joyfully find ourselves living.

St. Osmund's in Breightmet, Bolton is just such a parish the Holy Father appears to envisage. Mass is offered each Thursday at 7.15p.m. followed by Benediction on the third Thursdays of the month.
I mention St. Osmund's because we have only recently got back from there, where we had the joy of attending our first ever Traditional Mass actually at midnight. Mass was preceded with an impressive service of lessons, extracts from the Gospels and interspersed with carols, concluding with Adeste fidelis, whilst Father G. Hilton vested for the Low Mass. It was a beautiful and solemn occasion with a lot of young people present. Not one person received Holy Communion in the hand.
On the M62 tonight we passed four other vehicles going to Bolton and only two returning to Bradford, on otherwise empty roads.
They were both "speedy" journeys!

Please remember to vote on your favourite expression for the Mass offered in a non-vernacular Rite before the Second Vatican Council in the Roman Church. That is as impartial as I can get in my description of It. It's a two horse race at the moment.

Wishing you all peace and happiness in this joyful season.

Please watch out for news of extra Masses and a new link to a great new Catholic blog from the north of England.