Monday, 22 July 2013

First Fridays on the Island

In the last post we saw images of St Mary’s, Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The daughter-church to St Mary’s is St Michael the Archangel (below), located in the pretty seaside town of Bembridge. The church was built in 1965, and the first Mass celebrated there was on 20th June of that year. Just six months later, the solemn conclusion of the Second Vatican Council took place in Rome, and the newly-built church had to be adapted to the new form of the Mass.

St Michael the Archangel, Bembridge

Today, both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are celebrated in the church. Despite its modern appearance, the sanctuary has been made a fitting and beautiful setting for the Latin Mass, as can be seen from the photographs below.

Fr Glaysher celebrates Low Mass at St Michael's on the First Friday in July.
LMS rep Peter Clark is serving.

The sanctuary is beautifully adorned.

A set of Rococo light fittings adds splendour to the church.

Fr Glaysher celebrates an Extraordinary Form Mass in this church every first Friday at 9.30am. There is also a Holy Hour on First Fridays in St Mary’s, Ryde. We reproduce below a text that appears on the parish website about First Fridays, a devotion which is observed with great care in this part of the world.

The First Friday of each month was designated by our Saviour Himself as a day to be consecrated to honouring His Sacred Heart. The object of this devotion is to make our Saviour Jesus Christ ardently and perfectly loved, and to make reparation for the outrages offered to Him in the past, as well as for those which he daily receives in the Blessed Eucharist. Jesus Christ merits our love at all times, but alas! So many in the world today simply do not recognise His redeeming love for mankind. We should remember that He is truly present in every Catholic church. We should then adore Jesus Christ in this Sacrament, make a fervent act of love to Jesus in the tabernacle, thank Him for having instituted this Mystery of love, express our sorrow at seeing Him so abandoned, and resolve to visit Him as soon as possible and love Him unceasingly. Attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is assuredly the best means of honouring and loving the adorable Heart of Jesus.

First Friday devotions in honour of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Act of Consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Act of Reparation
The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Sacrament of Penance (Confession)

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Surrounded by Angels, c. 1775 by Jose de Paez.

The Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

"I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life."
"I will establish peace in their homes."
"I will comfort them in their afflictions."
"I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death."
"I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings."
"Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy."
"Tepid souls shall grow fervent."
"Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection."
"I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honoured."
"I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts."
"Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out."
"I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

The Church also teaches us that the most efficacious prayer is prayer in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Prayer in the Divine Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament releases the power, blessings and graces of God upon mankind. 

 Each time you go to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, you touch His Heart with your faith. Each Holy Hour you make in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament releases His power and graces upon you, your family, your parish, your diocese and the world. 

Our Lord appears to St Margaret Mary Alacoque

Here in St. Mary's in Ryde we are pleased to have a Holy Hour on every First Friday, at the start of which, we meditate on Christ's Passion while publicly reciting the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary followed by the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Our own Sacred Heart Chapel contains stained glass windows of saints famous for their love and adoration of Our Blessed Lord, including St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, the French nun, who had a vision of Our Lord exposing his Sacred Heart on 15th June, 1675. Our Lord said to her: "Behold this Heart, which loves men so much. Yet in return I receive ingratitude, irreverence, sacrilege and a coldness and contempt which they exhibit for me in this Sacrament of love." 

The Garden of Gethsemane by Andrea Mantegna, c. 1470.

It was through St. Margaret Mary that Christ instituted the "Holy Hour" of devotion and prayer to the Sacred Heart in reparation for the three apostles who fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Lord told her to, "encourage people to make reparation for the ingratitude of men. Spend an hour in prayer to appease divine justice, to implore mercy for sinners, to honour Me, to console Me for my bitter sufferings when abandoned by my apostles when they could not watch and pray for one hour with me". 

It was Pope Pius IX who added the feast of the Sacred Heart to the Roman Calendar in 1856 in order to "stimulate the faithful to honour with greater devotion and zeal the love of Jesus Christ under the symbol of the Sacred Heart". Consequently the practice of honouring the Sacred Heart with pictures, shrines and statues in homes was encouraged by the Church. From Victorian times priests would visit family homes to solemnly enthrone a representation of the Sacred Heart and urge each family to pray together and seek mercy and forgiveness for sins, as Christ himself requested in his appearance to St. Margaret Mary. 

In the 1930s Pope Pius XI affirmed devotion to the Sacred Heart to be, "the epitome of religion and the norm of the more perfect life which more readily leads souls to acknowledge Christ the Lord, and which more effectively, inclines hearts to love Him more ardently and imitate Him more closely." In the 1950s Pope Pius XII describes the Sacred Heart of Jesus as, "the divine remedy which will save men from the devil and all forces of evil."

Reproduced with kind permission of Fr Glaysher and Peter Clarke.

Friday, 19 July 2013

A good place for a holiday

St Mary's Ryde

When planning a holiday destination, one point Catholics must consider is ‘can we get to Mass while we are there?’ For those attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, this question is not always very easy to answer in the affirmative. However, if you were to book a holiday in the Isle of Wight, within reach of the seaside town of Ryde, you would be in luck. Fr Anthony Glaysher, parish priest of St Mary’s in Ryde, offers Latin Masses every Tuesday at 12.30pm, every Thursday at 7pm, preceded by a Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and devotions, and a Missa Cantata at 6pm on the first Sunday of each month.

St Mary’s, Ryde is the first church in England to be dedicated to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was founded in 1844 by Elizabeth FitzGibbon, Countess of Clare, who converted to Catholicism in St Peter’s, Rome after a ‘Grand Tour’, and returned to the Island to build a church in honour of Our Lady. She engaged the well-known architect Joseph Hansom, an admirer of AWN Pugin, to build a fine Gothic church on the High Street. At that time, anti-Catholic sentiment on the Island was such that the Countess had to ask a Protestant to bid for the site on her behalf, and there was an outcry in certain quarters when the tall, elegant Catholic church was completed, occupying a prominent position on one of the most important streets in the town (see above).

Stained glass windows in the north-west end of the church,
depicting three of the seven sacraments.

Inside, the church has many interesting features, including a rare set of stained-glass windows depicting the seven sacraments (above). One of the highlights of a visit to the church is the beautiful Lady Chapel, which was built in response to a request by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII that the English Hierarchy re-dedicate England to the Patronage of Mary in 1893. The Hierarchy carried out this request on the feast of SS Peter and Paul 1893, in a solemn ceremony at the London Oratory. Thereafter, every parish was encouraged to construct chapels, shrines or grottoes in honour of Our Lady.

Lady Chapel, St Mary's Ryde

The shrine and altar in St Mary’s was built from designs by Pugin. The altar (below) which dates from the 1850s, depicts Our Lady of Walsingham. It is one of the earliest representations of this image following the Restoration of the Hierarchy, and pre-dates the re-opening of the Slipper Chapel.

Lady Altar designed by AWN Pugin

Our Lady of Walsingham, designed by AWN Pugin.

The walls and ceiling of the Lady Chapel were decorated in 1894 by the Victorian artist Nathaniel Westlake, F.S.A. Westlake covered the chapel with images from the Litany of Our Lady and scenes from the Joyful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary in rich jewelled colours (below). On the feast of the Visitation, 2nd July this year, a Latin Mass was celebrated at the chapel, followed by recitation of the Litany of Our Lady.

The Assumption

The Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven

Low Mass for the Feast of the Visitation in
the Lady Chapel, St Mary's Ryde.

Another gem in the church is the Countess of Clare’s private oratory, which occupies the north-east corner above the sacristy (below). It is dedicated to St Elizabeth of Hungary, the Countess’ patron, and it was her favourite place of prayer. She would attend Mass here with her family and household servants, out of sight of the congregation but with a good view of the High Altar and the sanctuary.

St Elizabeth's Chapel

Altar of St Elizabeth's Chapel

When Bl. John Henry Newman visited the Island in 1865 he celebrated Mass in St Mary’s, and used the Countess’ chapel for his private devotions. Towards the end of her life the Countess spent many hours praying there. A small fireplace can still be seen in the north wall, and one can imagine a maidservant arriving early in the chapel to light a fire on cold mornings. In the 1970s the chapel was stripped of its altar and all its adornements, and it quickly fell into disuse, and for several decades it was used as a store-room. In 2008 Fr Glaysher and a small group of parishioners set about restoring the chapel, and today it is once again a beautiful and peaceful place of prayer, filled with statues, lamps, candlesticks and a wonderful collection of reliquaries, including relics of St Dominic Savio and St Edmund of Abingdon. Every Thursday evening from 6pm the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the chapel with devotions, followed by a Latin Mass at 7pm. It is a truly uplifting experience, highly recommended to any visitor to the Island.

Statues and Reliquaries in St Elizabeth's Chapel

Reliquaries in St Elizabeth's Chapel

Reliquary containing a relic of St Edmund of Abingdon
in St Elizabeth's Chapel.

The LMS Rep for the Isle of Wight is Peter Clarke. He and his wife Gill are parishioners of St Mary’s Ryde, and give guided tours of the church on Wednesdays at 12 noon. They would also be happy to give a tour at any other time. Contact them on: 01983 566740.
Peter Clarke is also the founder of the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society, whose patron is our own Bishop, Rt. Rev. Mgr. Declan Lang. See the website here.

Peter’s book, ‘Ryde to Rome’ is a fascinating history of the Countess of Clare and the building and adornement of St Mary’s Ryde. It paints a most interesting and illuminating picture of Catholic life on the Island in the days of Queen Victoria. The book can be purchased for £3 plus p&p from: the Isle of Wight Catholic History Society, Whitehaven, 72 Mayfield Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 3PR.