From our friends at The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales:
Huge Success for the Latin Mass Society at York Minster
Over 700 Catholics committed to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) converged on York Minster on Saturday 26 March to attend the first celebration of a Catholic Mass in the Minster since the Reformation. Sung Mass in the ancient Latin Rite, complete with beautiful vestments, ceremonial and incense, was celebrated at the High Altar by Fr Stephen Maughan of the Catholic diocese of Middlesbrough. (The Mass was a Votive Mass of a Holy Woman Martyr Not a Virgin).
Afterwards, the huge congregation processed through the streets of York in public witness of the Catholic Faith to the Shrine of St Margaret Clitherow in York’s historic Shambles before completing a memorable day with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the Catholic Church of the English Martyrs.
The occasion was the Latin Mass Society’s first annual York pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow, one of the LMS’s patron saints. The day was organised by Paul Waddington, National Treasurer and local Representative for the LMS who said: “I am overwhelmed by the response of so many hundreds of faithful Catholics. The number of young families with children in buggies was particularly encouraging”.Permission for the Mass was given by the Dean, the Very Reverend Keith Jones, and Chapter of York Minster; the Dean and the Precentor, Canon Peter Moger, sat in choir during the Mass.The Latin Mass Society had originally hoped to celebrate the Mass in the nearby Catholic parish Church of St Wilfrid’s, but unfortunately it was not available; however, the parish’s loss was York Minster’s gain.
The massive choir of York Minster was completely packed and over 150 people had to be accommodated in the nave with extra seating brought in. The music was provided by the Rudgate Singers, a local choir who specialise in the Latin Mass and who sang William Byrd’s polyphonic Mass for Five Voices.
Saint Margaret Clitherow, (1556-1586) who lived in York was an ordinary wife and mother who refused to renounce her Catholic faith and who was martyred by being pressed to death in the reign of Elizabeth I. She was executed on Good Friday 1586 and was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Following the Mass, there was a procession from York Minster through the city streets to St Margaret Clitherow’s shrine in the Shambles, and then across Ouse Bridge, the place of her execution. The sight of so many Catholic pilgrims publicly processing and praying the Rosary drew the notice of Saturday afternoon shoppers, and a respectful silence fell as the procession passed.
The procession finished at the Catholic Church of the English Martyrs where a relic of St Margaret Clitherow, on loan for the occasion from York’s Bar Convent, was venerated and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was conferred by Fr Michael Brown, the LMS’s Northern Chaplain.
The occasion was widely covered by TV, radio and local press. Michael Lord, LMS General Manager, said: “Something special happened in York on Saturday. Hundreds of Catholics gathered in this historic centre of northern Christianity to honour one of England’s bravest women in a quite extraordinary way. Indeed, some people travelled from as far away as London, Oxford and Dublin.
“This Mass in the ancient Roman Rite demonstrates quite clearly the suppressed level of interest in the Latin Mass, particularly amongst the young. I’m afraid many English and Welsh bishops are still very grudging in helping to organise celebrations of the Latin Mass but our huge congregation today shows that hundreds of people want to stand alongside Pope Benedict in his efforts to restore beauty and dignity to Catholic worship and to restore Christianity in its ancient European heartland.
“The LMS is already making plans for an even bigger celebration in honour of St Margaret Clitherow next year”.
The LMS offers its grateful thanks to the Dean and Chapter of York Minster, the Bar Convent, the Church of the English Martyrs and all those volunteer members of the LMS who co-ordinated the day’s events, and without whom such a happy and successful occasion would not have been possible.