Sunday 25 March 2012

Dome of Home: Beacon of Hope

1046 people were counted into the Shrine Church of Saints Peter, Paul and Philomena this morning for a very special Mass (Solemnity of the Annunciation of the BVM) to mark the establishment of the shrine which has been entrusted by His Lordship, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The church was packed to the rafters - standing room only. The vast majority of people were local, many unfamiliar with the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, but reading faces and overhearing conversations afterwards, it was clear that the response was overwhelmingly positive.

There's a lot I'd like to write about the day, which takes the brick-by-brick Hermeneutic of Continuity restoration of tradition to a new level in England. I saw many eyes rimmed with tears after the Mass. An elderly man next to me was almost speechless with joy: he said he'd not seen anything remotely close to a Mass this "powerful and holy" since his youth. He felt that this was the beginning of something new.

I was delighted to meet Canon Meney, the Rector of the Shrine, as well as Monsignor Wach who founded the Institute. Both know our ICKSP contacts and friends in the South of France, so it felt a little like a homecoming. I was pleased to be able to thank Msgr Wach for the work done by the Institute: it is a truly blessed foundation. In return, we were invited to join the ICKSP at their headquarters in Italy for a holiday! I think we'd better start saving or I won't hear the end of it from my eldest son... We also met several religious sisters from the Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus some of whom had come over from Switzerland, others from Italy, especially for the Mass. It's wonderful to see so many young vocations. I'm always struck by how happy young religious are, and these women were no exception. The children - particularly the girls - enjoyed meeting them and they are such wonderful role models. I'm particularly grateful to them for offering to pray for us during our long drive home.

The reception afterwards was extremely busy but we were determined to squeeze every wonderful second out of the day and so we stayed and met old friends and new. I was especially pleased to bump into Charlie Chasuble and meet his lovely family; what with Father Simon Henry there, it was a bit like an impromptu blognic.  

It was a long day: we left our house at 4:30 am and drove for almost 6 hours to get the the Shrine.  It didn't matter what the journey threw at us (roadworks, fog, bad traffic, the van's transmission temporarily packing in on the M6) we were clearly meant to get there. We had no sat-nav with us and almost ended up taking the tunnel to Liverpool, but were saved at the last minute by a friendly tollbooth operator who showed us a sneaky way out. Even then we had no clue where we were - it was 10:15am and the Mass started at 10:30 - "pray kids, pray" I shouted as I drove with more hope than certainty. We rounded a corner and there, above us, only moments away was the "Dome of Home".  We arrived with 10 minutes to spare and   - Deo gratias - a kind steward let us park behind the church, so we were on time!  It took over five hours to get home, which makes 11+ hours driving. Was it worth it? Would we do it again? Absolutely. Next time we'll stay a little longer though...

The "Dome of Home" becomes, in Canon Meney's words a "beacon of hope"

The Reverend Canon William Hudson (left in black) translates the welcome address from Monsignor Wach (in blue)

The Most Reverend Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewbury vests at the beginning of Mass 

Spot the blogging priest.

Reverend Canon William Hudson, Pro-Provincial for England reads part of the Apostolic Blessing

Our favourite Bishop!

Men of the moment: His Lordship, Bishop Davies, Msgr Wash and Canon Meney 

Bishop Davies cuts the cake!


See Father Simon Henry's blog for a detailed description of the Mass and subsequent festivities as well as some wonderful photographs that capture some of the spirit of the day.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Bigger than the Beatles. Cooler too.

We're all getting rather excited here about the grand opening of the Shrine Church of Ss Peter and Paul and St Philomena, New Brighton, Wirral which has been entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest an order both dedicated and devoted to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite; an order dedicated to defending Catholic orthodoxy and priestly spirituality. We love the ICRSP who run our parish in France, and our contact with them has been a great blessing to our family.

We'll be leaving SE England in the small grey hours of Saturday morning, to arrive at the Shrine Church on time for Mass which will be celebrated by Monsignor Gilles Wach, the French founder of the Institute, and the homily will be preached by our favourite Bishop, Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury

How much better can it get? 

Well, try this on for size: the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has offered a Papal Blessing with an attached Plenary Indulgence (usual conditions apply) for all the faithful who attend the grand opening.

Well, what ARE you waiting for? Details below

...and while you're sorting out your travel arrangements, why not say a decade (or five) of the Rosary for Bishop Mark Davies, a courageous and visionary shepherd, without whom none of this would be possible... 

...and when you've done that, say another decade (or five) for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. who, (as I wrote last year) 
"have a steady stream of vocations for the priesthood and of women to the religious life. Their parishes are so demographically healthy that anyone much over 40 will be at the top end of the age bell-curve. They run excellent schools, academically and doctrinally rigorous, educating children in the Faith. They run orthodox Catholic summer camps for boys and girls, and traditional Catholic scout groups. In short, they are a massive success story". 

God bless the ICRSP: may they repeat their international successes here in Mary's Dowry.