Sunday 30 November 2008

Holy Year of Saint Paul

We have received confirmation of three pilgrimages to honour the Holy Year of Saint Paul.

The first pilgrimage will be to Dublin on Saturday, 24th January, 2009, where Mass will be celebrated in the Gregorian Rite at 11 a.m. in St. Paul's Church on Arran Quay on the banks of the River Liffey. Blessed Columba Marmion was baptised in this Church, which was home for many years to the Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

St. Paul's Church, Arran Quay, Dublin 8

The interior of St. Pauls features a startling full-height fresco of the Conversion of Saint Paul in the apse of the Church.

Interior of St. Paul's, Arran Quay
The second pilgrimage will be to Kilcock, Co. Kildare, on Saturday, 21st March, 2009, where Mass will be celebrated in the Gregorian Rite in St. Coca's Church. Kilcock, on the bank of the Royal Canal, stands upon the site of the foundation of St. Coca, another ourstanding lady Saint of Kildare, of whom more in June about the time of her feastday.
St. Coca's Church, Kilcock, Co. Kildare.
The third confirmed pilgrimage is to the village of Vicarstown, Co. Laois, on Saturday, 25th April, 2009, where Mass will be celebrated in the Gregorian Rite at 11 a.m. in the Church of the Assumption. Vicarstown lies on the banks of the Grand Canal, near the ancient monastic settlement of Clonenagh, home of St. Fintan, known as the Father of Irish Monks, and St. Aengus the Culdee, author of the Felire and co-author with Maelruain of the Martyrology of Tallaght.

Church of the Assumption, Vicarstown, Co. Laois.
Further information on these and other pilgrimages will appear as it becomes available.

Saturday 29 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


This heroic act of charity in behalf of the souls in purgatory consists in a voluntary offering made in their favour by any one of the faithful of all works of satisfaction done by him in this life, as well as of all suffrages which shall be offered for him after his death; by this act he deposits them all into the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that she may distribute them in behalf of those holy souls whom it is her good pleasure to deliver from the pains of purgatory, at the same time that he declares that by this offering he only foregoes in their behalf the special and personal fruit of each satisfactory work; so that, being a priest, he is not hindered from applying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the intentions of those who give him alms. This heroic act of charity, called also a vow or oblation, was instituted by F. Gaspar Oliden, a Theatine; for although it was not unknown in former ages, it was he who propagated it, and it was at his prayer that it was enriched with many indulgences first by Pope Benedict XIII. in his decree of August 23, 1728; and then by Pope Pius VI., in a decree of Dec. 12, 1788; these indulgences were finally specified by our Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX, in a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of Sept. 30, 1852. They are as follows:

i. An indult of a privileged altar, personally, every day in the year, to all priests who have made this offering.

ii. A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the departed, to all the faithful who have made this offering, whenever they go to Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or public oratory, and pray there for a time according to the mind of His Holiness.

iii. A Plenary indulgence, every Monday, to all who hear Mass in suffrage for the souls in purgatory, provided they visit the church, and pray as above.

iv. All Indulgences granted or to be granted, even though not applicable to the dead, which are gained by the faithful who have made this offering, may be applied to the holy souls in purgatory.

v. Lastly, the same Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius IX., having regard to the young who are not yet communicants, as well as to the poor sick, to those who are afflicted with chronic disorders, to the aged, to farm-labourers, prisoners, and others who are debarred from communicating and unable to hear Mass on Mondays, vouchsafed by another decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, of November 20, 1854, to declare that for all the faithful who cannot hear mass on Mondays, the mass heard on Sundays should be available for gaining the Indulgence no. iii; and that in favour of those who are not yet communicants, or who are hindered from communicating, he leaves it at the disposal of their respective ordinaries to authorise confessors to commute the works enjoined. And note lastly, that although this act of charity is denominated a vow in some printed tracts, in which also is given a formula for making the offering, no inference is to be drawn therefrom that this offering binds under sin; neither is it necessary to make use of the said formula, since, in order to share in the said indulgences, no more is required than a hearty act of our will.

Saturday 22 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


"Purgatory opened to the Piety of the Living, or a Brief daily Exercise in aid of the Souls in Purgatory," as the title of a little book of which many editions have been printed in Rome and elsewhere, and which is in the hands of many a devout person. Pope Leo XII., in order to hold out a greater inducement to the faithful to pray for the faithful departed, granted by a Rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov, 18, 1826 -

An indulgence of 100 days, to all who say with contrite heart and devotion once a day the prayers assigned in the above mentioned exercise to each day in the week, with one Pater, Ave, and the De profundis; and his holiness expressed at the same time his desire that the little books containing these devotions should be distributed gratis, as indeed has hitherto been the constant practice. Those, however, who use these prayer-books, are therein exhorted to say every day two Ave Maria's additional; one for all those who are associated in the exercise, and the other for all those who of their charity assist in promulgating it.


For Sunday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the garden, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul amongst them all who is most destitute of spiritual aid; and vouchsafe to bring it to Thy glory, there to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Monday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and that soul especially amongst them all which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory; that so it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Tuesday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that one amongst them all which would be the last to depart out of these pains, that it may not tarry so long a time before it come to praise Thee in Thy glory and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Wednesday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem when He carried the cross upon His sacred shoulders, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul which is richest in merits before Thee; that so, in that throne of glory which awaits it, it may magnify Thee and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Thursday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy Divine Son Jesus, which He gave with His own Hand upon the eve of His Passion to His beloved apostles to be their meat and drink, and which He left to His whole Church to be a perpetual sacrifice and the life-giving food of His own faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite love, that it may with the same Thy Divine Son, and with The Holy Spirit, ever praise Thee for Thy love therein in eternal glory. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Friday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son shed upon the wood of the cross, especially from his most sacred Hands and Feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that soul for which I am most bound to pray; that no neglect of mine may hinder it from praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Saturday.
O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee, by the Precious Blood which gushed forth from the Side of Thy Divine Son Jesus, in the sight of, and to the extreme pain of his most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one amongst them all which was the most devout to her; that it may soon attain unto Thy glory, there to praise Thee in her and her in Thee world without end. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

Friday 21 November 2008

The Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple

Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple, by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne.

These praises and prayers I lay at thy feet, O Virgin Most Holy! O Virgin Most Sweet! Be thou my true guidethrough this pilgrimage here: and stand by my side when death draweth near.

This performance of Schubert's Ave Maria sung by Dianna Durbin in the unhappily titled 1940 film It's a Date reminds us of the deep respect which popular culture once held for our Catholic Heritage - in the days when we Catholics held our Heritage in respect too. Durbin had earlier recorded the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria with the Vienna Boys Choir and reprised it in Mad about Music in 1938.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Mass in Stamullen, Co. Meath

Fr. David Jones, O.Praem., of Duleek, Co. Meath, has just advised us that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered in the Gregorian Rite (1962 Missal) every Sunday from the First Sunday of Advent at 10.45 a.m. in the Visitation Convent, Stamullen, Co. Meath.

Fr. Jones preaching in Emo

This Visitation Convent is located in what was formerly Silverstream House, built about 150 years ago as a dower house to the Preston family of Gormanston Castle. In 1941 it passed to the Order of St. John of God and in 1955, they passed it to the Visitation Nuns. This first Irish foundation at Silverstream was led by Mother Theresa O'Dwyer, with 8 sisters, 3 sisters from America and 5 from England. It was a foundation of the Visitation Convent in Snellville, Georgia, USA.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

The Congregation of the Visitation was founded on Trinity Sunday, 6th June, 1610, by St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, and Baroness, later Saint, Jane Francis de Chantal, seen here in the traditional habit, including the barbette or white wimple that is still a part of the habit of Visitation Nuns today.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Receives the Vision of the Sacred Heart

The Visitation Order was privileged to receive, through one of its members, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, the revelation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the same regard, we can say that Fr. Jones also advises that a High Mass is celebrated at the Hermitage in Duleek, Co. Meath, every First Friday at 12 noon.

To the Sacred Heart of Jesus, thanks; to the Visitation Sisters of Stamullen, blessings; to Father Jones, many years; to the Mass on Sundays at 10.45 a.m., much fruit!

Mass for St. Paul in Emo, Co. Laois

Pictures have recently become available from the Mass organised in July to honour the Holy Year of Saint Paul. In light of news from Meath (see next post), we release them today.

On a fine July morning, members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Group travelled to the Church of St. Paul in the small village of Emo, Co. Laois, for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Traditional Latin or Gregorian Rite.

Fr. David Jones, O.Praem., who is a Norbertine Priest living in a hermitage in the village of Duleek in the County and Diocese of Meath, celebrated the Mass, which was a votive Mass of the Holy Ghost for Vocations.

A congregation of 65 members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association were present for Fr. Jones' stirring sermon on reverence for the House of God and the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. He went on to say that the same spirit of reverence must be shown for the ecclesia domestica, the Catholic Family. The Catholic Family, like the House of God, must be permeated by a spirit of silence, a spirit of prayer and a spirit of devotion to our proper duties. We mustn't neglect the duties of our station in life.

While a small schola sang the propers of the votive Mass, the proper of the Mass and vernacular hymns such as O Sanctissima, Soul of My Saviour, Salve Regina and Faith of Our Fathers were sung by the whole congregation.

Following Mass, the De Profundis was recited. This is a venerable custom in Ireland after Low Masses, endorsed by the Holy See, to pray for the souls of the Faithful departed who died during the long years of persecution when they may have gone without the Last Rites or even a Catholic Funeral during those centuries of British Rule when being a Priest or Bishop in Ireland was a criminal offence, as was the carrying out of any 'Popish Rites'. The Irish are deeply conscious of the debt they owe to those who suffered to preserve the Faith in Ireland and the duty we owe to pray for their souls.

The Church of Saint Paul is the only Church dedicated solely to the Apostle of the Gentiles in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, although several Churches in the Diocese are dedicated to him jointly with St. Peter. Dr. Comerford tells us:

"The handsome parish church of Emo, the site of which was a gift from Lord Portarlington, was erected during the pastorate of the Very Rev. T. O'Connell, but chiefly through the zealous exertions of the Rev. William Hooney, then resident curate. The bell-tower was completed by the Rev. John Phelan, P.P. Father Hooney died, to the great grief of his many friends, on the 3rd of May, 1872, and was interred in his native parish of Suncroft. The Altar of the Sacred Heart, at Emo, and another under the same invocation, at Suncroft [dismantled during later re-ordering!] have been erected to his memory. The commodious parochial house, and land attached to it have been granted by the Earl of Portarlington at a nominal rent. In the burial-ground hard-by, the Rev. James Murray lies interred; the inscription over his grave records that he was Parish Priest of this parish for 18 years, and that he died on the 18th of May, 1823, aged 80.

A monument to the memory of Aline, late Countess of Portarlington, has been erected in this church by her husband, the present Earl. It is a recumbent effigy in Carrara marble, by the eminent sculptor, Boehm, and is reputed to be one of his best works. This lady became a convert to Catholicity in 1867, from which time to the period of her death, she resided chiefly at Emo Park, edifying all by the earnestness with which she devoted herself to her own sanctification, to works of charity, and to the promotion of the beauty of God's worship. Her lamented death took place on the 15th of January, 1874."

After Mass, many members and friends went to Emo Court, which was built by James Gandon as the seat of the Earls of Portarlington. Emo Court forms part of our Catholic Heritage, not just as the seat of the Catholic Lady Portarlington but as the home of Noviciate of the Irish Jesuit Province for about 30 years from 1934. The house was purchased from the Jesuits by its most recent owner, Major Cholmeley Harrison, who did so much to rescue the house from ruin and who died this year. He donated it to the People of Ireland in 1994.

Saturday 15 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


Pope Pius VII., by a Brief dated Feb,. 7, 1817, the original of which is kept in the Archivium of the Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Arezzo, whose bishop first prayed for this Indulgence, granted -

i. An indulgence of 300 days, to all the faithful who, being contrite in heart, and devoutly meditating on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall say in suffrage for the faithful departed five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias, with the versicle Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti, or, who shall say the ejaculation, "Eternal Father, we pray Thee help the souls of Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with the blood of Jesus Christ;" and the Requiem Aeternam.

ii. A plenary indulgence and remission of all sins to all who shall have practised this pious exercise every day for a month, on any one day in each month when, being repentant, they shall, after Confession and Communion, pray for our holy Mother the Church, &c., and for the eternal repose of the departed.

Sunday 9 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls

The Sequence of the Requiem Mass, the Dies Irae, is the foremost of the hymns for the Holy Souls. Removed from the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, it is now only heard at concerts or at Masses for the Dead in the Extraordinary Form.

Annibale Bugnini, the architect of the Ordinary Form, in his work The Reform of the Liturgy : 1948–1975, (The Liturgical Press, 1990), Chap. 46.II.1, p. 773, explains why it was removed: "They got rid of texts that smacked of a negative spirituality inherited from the Middle Ages. Thus they removed such familiar and even beloved texts as the Libera me, Domine, the Dies Irae, and others that overemphasized judgment, fear, and despair. These they replaced with texts urging Christian hope and arguably giving more effective expression to faith in the resurrection".

This first video is of the Requiem Mass celebrated by the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, on EWTN recently. Their superb schola cantorum renders the Dies Irae during the Mass. The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, has recently received the approval of its statutes by the Holy See and has been given the status of 'Pontifical Right' under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

The text of the Dies Irae seems to be derived from the first Chapter of the Book of the Prophet Sophonias (Zephaniah, if you're reading a non-Catholic Bible) and is usually attributed to Thomas of Celano, who was a Franciscan during the lifetime of St. Francis of Assisi. Thomas of Celano is also attributed with the Vita Prima or first biography of St. Francis.

Like so many texts of the Traditional Latin Liturgy, it has inspired the finest composers for two millennia to create some of their most sublime masterpieces. The most obvious example is that of Mozart in his Requiem Mass, the first movement of which can be found in the second video. If this setting can just be considered more liturgical than operatic, it is in contrast with the later and more obviously operatic settings of, for example, Verdi in the third video.

Although we can clearly see that later settings often seek more for emotional effect than to inspire devotion and repentence among the living and prayer for the dead, it is certainly true that the texts of the Traditional Latin Liturgy stand for something that answers deeply to the yearning of the human heart. The following words are from the plea addressed to Pope Paul VI at the time when he proposed to reform the Liturgy and to consign, as it then seemed, to the rubbish heap of history, so much of our Catholic Heritage:

"...The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts - not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression - the word - it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms."

Source: Latin Mass Society of England and Wales website.

Mother of Sorrows, pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory!

Second Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The second Monthly Mass in the Extraordinary Form provided by the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin took place this afternoon in the Church of Our Lady (Cill Mhuire), Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland. The baptism ceremony of a local child, attended by more than 100, was just finishing at 1 p.m. So, when they were invited to leave by a visitor from Dublin, Mass was able to start not very long after the scheduled time.

Fr. Brendan Gerard, FSSP, celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Dedication of the Latern Basilica for a congregation of almost half the number who attended last month, including a very healthy number of young children with their parents. Once again, the organisers were fortunate to have a significant number of visitors from Dublin in attendance. Unfortunately the Dublin choir who sang at last month's Mass was not present today. On the other hand, the Low Mass was much the more familiar form when the Latin Mass was universal in the Parishes of Ireland.

Fr. Gerard noted in his sermon what a pleasure it was to fly in from Rome to witness the dedication of the Cathedral of that Diocese being celebrated in Churches throughout the world - a forceful sign of the universality of the Church.

[Apologies for the quality of images. This Church, despite being very modern in design, is not remarkably photo-friendly.]

Saturday 8 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


Pope Clement XII. was the first who, in order to move the piety of Christians to pray for the souls in Purgatory, granted, by a Brief of Aug. 4, 1736, Coelestes Ecclesiae thesauros -

i. The indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful, every time that at the sound of the bell, at the first hour after the evening Ave Maria, they say devoutly on their knees the psalm De profundis, with a Requiem aeternam at the end of it. (The evening Ave Maria in Rome varies with the season; it is commonly taken as 6 o’clock.)

ii. A plenary indulgence to those who perform this pious exercise for a year at the hour appointed, once in the year, on any one day, after Confession and Communion. Those who do not know by heart the De Profundis, may gain these Indulgences by saying in the way already mentioned for the De profundis, one Pater noster and one Ave Maria, with the Requiem aeternam.

Observe also, that the aforesaid Clement XII. declared, Dec. 12, 1736, that these Indulgences might be gained by saying the De profundis, &c., as above, although, according to the custom of a particular church or place, the "signal for the dead," as it is called, be given by the sound of the bell either before or after one hour after the evening Ave Maria. Pope Pius VI., by a Rescript of March 18, 1781, granted the above-named Indulgences to all the faithful who should chance to dwell in any place where no bell for the dead is sounded, and who shall say the De profundis or Pater noster, as aforesaid, about the time specified above.

Ps. 129. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: * Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuae intendentes: * in vocem deprecationis meae. Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: * Domine, quis sustinebit? Quia apud te propitiatio est: * propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine. Sustinuit anima mea in verbum ejus: * speravit anima mea in Domino. A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: * speret Israel in Domino. Quia apud Dominum misericordia: * et copiosa apud eum redemptio. Et ipse redimet Israel: * ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus. Requiem aeternam * dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetna luceat eis.Requiescant in pace. Amen. End at pleasure with the following:

V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam, R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Oremus. Fidelium Deus omnium conditor et redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut iudulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. R. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

V. Requiescant in pace. R. Amen.

[Customarily recited at Low Mass in Ireland after the Last Gospel and before the Leonine Prayers for the souls of those who died during the ages of persecution.]

Saturday 1 November 2008

Of your Charity, pray for the dead!

Film of Pope Leo XIII (r. 1878-1903)

In this month of the Holy Souls, let us not forget to pray for the predecessors of our Pastors: our deceased Priests; our deceased Bishops; and our deceased Popes.

May their sweet souls, and the souls of all the Faithful departed, rest in peace!