Thursday, 18 December 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


I've received a request to give this event some publicity, which I'm more than happy to do. One of our Schola members is going even though he doesn't fit the age criteria. He's certainly young at heart though!


Guest Speakers - John Pridmore, Fr. Gregory Person OP, Fr. Matthew Goddard FSSP

There will be:-
Sung/High Masses
Marian Procession

Cottages (student style dormitory accommodation) £18 per person per night (incl. food).

Guest House (mostly single rooms - hotel style accommodation) £60 per person per night (incl. food).

Day Guests. For those wishing to come for the day on Saturday or Sunday - please bring a packed lunch. It will not be possible to provide food in the Guest Refectory for people coming for the day.

-Please note to guarantee your place this year Douai Abbey have requested that everyone books in 3 weeks before the start of the weekend i.e. 29th August 2014.

How to book

For more details, please see:-

Or use the online booking system at:

Monday, 26 May 2014

Catching up...

Much has happened since the last time I was able to write and post anything here. I won't go into detail on everything, just pick out a few highlights, so here goes!

The annual Margaret Clitherow pilgrimage on 29th March was again a huge success. You can see a very short video commemorating the days events here.

Holy Week and Easter came and went at St. Wilfrid's. This year for the first time, two of the Rudgates sang in choir for the offices of Matins & Lauds (Ordinary Form) for Good Friday & Holy Saturday.

Low Week saw some of us travel down to Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire, about 2 miles west of Hereford to take part in the annual Training conference for Clergy & Servers in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Our role was to provide the music for all the public services during the week. As we didn't want to interfere with the existing Monastic Office, this consisted of singing Vespers twice and Solemn Mass three times, so there was plenty of time to explore the local area, and for me to indulge in the local cider & perry!

All services were recorded for posterity on my trusty camcorder and can be found here: - Tuesday Vespers - Wednesday Mass St. Catherine of Siena - Wednesday 1st Vespers of St. Joseph the worker - Thursday Mass St Joseph the worker - Friday Solemn Requiem

There are some odd camera angles, but that's the disadvantage of guessing and placing the camcorder in a position where it's hoped that it will capture most of what's going on, and leaving it there whilst taking part yourself!  I'm already looking forward to next year, wherever that may be.

On 9th May, some of us went up to sing with the Darlington Ordinariate choir for the annual May Procession and Devotions. another wonderful service, and another Mozart Mass!

More recently, returning to St. Wilfrid's, we had a visit by Fr Cassian, the prior of the monastery at St Benedict’s birthplace in Norcia, Italy, who gave a splendid talk on the place of chant in the Church’s worship. This was followed by Monastic Compline, which caused a little confusion, as it's not quite the same as Compline which we sing regularly at St. Mary's! Again, some of us sang in choir in the Sanctuary, which is a very rewarding place to sing from!

We're now working towards Mass for Ascensiontide at St. W's, which will be followed swiftly by the first High Mass there for decades on the Feast of Pentecost, so do come along if you can!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

St. Margaret Clitherow Pilgrimage - THIS SATURDAY!

Posted here in case you hadn't noticed it on other blogs/websites which are much bigger than mine. :-)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

A Tale of Three Liturgies

Twice year at Ampleforth Abbey, there is an Orthodox Liturgy (of St. John Chrysostom) one of which takes place around the time of the week of Christian Unity. It's a rather unique event, since it takes place in a Catholic monastery – with the permission of both Abbot & Bishop of the Diocese – and the choir, who come from a variety of different church denominations are directed by Fr. Alexander McCabe from the abbey. It is really rather wonderful, and I would encourage more people in the Yorkshire Region to go and experience it for themselves. The Liturgy itself, is sung in English with music taken largely from the Russian & other Slavonic liturgical services & translated into English. The post Liturgy Lunch is also highly recommended. The Beef Stroganoff this year was simply amazing and it was hugely tempting to go back & have some more, but one has to make room for pudding you know!

Sadly, I don't have any photos for this year, so here are a few from previous years to hopefully whet your appetite – in more ways than one. :-)

The day after this, saw the very first (we believe) Gregorian Chant Sunday Mass – in either Form of the Roman Rite – sung at St. Wilfrid's church in York. We can't prove definitively that it was the first, so if anyone has conclusive proof of one taking place previously, I'd love to know. Following the many very favourable comments received from people (not all known to me!) I've been asked to form a Schola to sing for the EF Sunday evening Mass at St. W's each week – starting from 23rd February. There are 17 people (so far) who've expressed an interest in singing for this, and whilst I don't expect everyone to turn up week by week, I think that's more than enough to make a weekly sung Mass viable. Frustratingly, this means I'll have to drop out of the main choir that sings at the OF Mass in the morning, for the sake of my health (which isn't that great atm) more than anything else, as I know I can't manage 2 Sung Masses a day, especially when I have to organise the music and take any necessary rehearsals for one of them! That said, I've already indicated to others that I’ll be supporting the main choir indirectly, by pointing singers who don't wish to sing chant (most of the time) in their direction, and also by sourcing suitable music. However, this is a fantastic opportunity to get a Gregorian Chant Schola established in York independently of the Rudgates which will remain separate & sing for Rudgate services only, and one which I can't possibly turn down!

The final liturgy, was the following weekend, the Feast of Candlemas, and was for me, the most enjoyable of the three. This, I'm sure will come as a surprise, possibly even shock, to some of you who know me personally as it was an Ordinary Form Mass with the Darlington Ordinariate up in Gainford with a few ex C of E bits added to reflect the Anglican Patrimony of course. A marvellous Mass with Mozart, choir anthem (Eccard – When to the temple Mary went) and hymns sung superbly by both choir & congregation. This was followed by a parish lunch, which I hadn't intended staying for but nevertheless got talked into it. The community there are really rather wonderful, and very persuasive! Here's a link to some photos from the day. If you're ever free on a Sunday morning, do consider going to their solemn Mass at St. Osmund's, Gainford. You'll be made very welcome.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

From the archives.

I can't believe it's over 5 years since I wrote this. The answer to one of the questions I raised then is now St. Wilfrid's in the centre of the city. See previous post for how to get in touch!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Happy New Year!

Albeit a day late. I had intended to write this yesterday on returning from church but instead, almost immediately retired to bed and have spent most of today there also having picked up a bug from somewhere which has consequently kept me off work today & possibly tomorrow.

That's enough whingeing! November has come and gone and ended in a flurry of activity, the last weekend seeing me being involved in 3 different events in 3 different locations in 3 days... (None of them being Rudgate services)

On the 22nd (Feast of St. Cecilia) I along with a few other Rudgates joined forces with the Middlesbrough Diocesan Choir to sing Solemn Vespers at St. Wilfrid's church in York (home to the new Oratorian community of which more later!) directed by the wonderful Tim Harrison - Tim, if you read this, we still have to have that post-service pint. ;-) The following day, I went up to Edinburgh to join forces with singers from a local Schola, the Cantors of the Holy Rude in order to sing the first Dominican Rite Mass celebrated there for decades. The Schola was directed by James MacMillan CBE. No doubt some of you will have heard of him! It was nice to be able to have a chat as the last time we met was in London nearly 2 years ago. The Mass itself was celebrated by fr. Lawrence Lew, another friend. We've known each other since fr. Lawrence (aka Paul) was one of the first choral scholars in Leeds Cathedral Choir during my time there. You can read fr. Lawrence's account of the day here.

Finally on the Sunday of that weekend, the solemnity of Christ the King in the OF, I went up to Teesside to sing with the Darlington Ordinariate Choir. If you're ever in the Teesside area on a Sunday, do consider going to St. Osmund's church in Gainford where they are based. The community will offer you a very warm welcome and you can be assured of some splendid music sung in the contect of the OF Liturgy. Evensong is still sung from time to time, reflecting the Anglican patrimony which is a charism of the Ordinariate and it was this that I went for. In fact this was Solemn Evensong & Benediction and it was all rather splendid - not just the music. If you have a Facebook account, you may be able to access the photographs taken by Deacon Andrew Bunce here.

We now move on a week to the beginning of the new Church Year and back to the York Oratorian Community. Several of you reading this will no doubt know by now that the Oratorians of Oxford were invited to send priests to St. Wilfrid's church in York upon the retirement of the previous parish priest, Canon Michael Ryan with a view to establishing an independent Oratory in York eventually.

I (along with others) had already been asked about the feasibility of establishing a choir there along the lines of the existing Oratory choirs elsewhere in the country. Yesterday, the 1st Sunday of Advent, saw a scratch choir, almost half of whom have sung with the Rudgates, sing at St. Wilfrid's for the first time in decades directed by the organist at St. Wilf's, Iain Robertson. I stand to be corrected, but if memory serves, the last  choir that sang for a Catholic Mass on a Sunday in York was also directed by Iain, some 30+ years ago! This is no quick fix though, and to get a choir of the calibre of the existing Oratories will take more than just a few York-based Rudgates and other volunteers turning up on a Sunday morning. We're talking time, probably a year or two before we can realistically achieve this. If you're in the Greater York area and want to be part of what is a very exciting & (hopefully) rewarding venture, then please do contact the new Parish priest, Fr. Richard Duffield who will be delighted to hear from you! For contact details and more about the St. Cecilia Vespers click on this link. If you're not sure yet, you can always have a quiet word with me first via the Rudgate link on this page.

In addition to the new choir which will sing for the main OF Mass at 11am each Sunday, I've also been asked to form a Gregorian Chant Schola for the EF Mass which has now moved there from English Martyrs church and is offered at 5pm each Sunday, followed by Rosary & Benediction. Hopefully this won't be as big a task as the choir as many of the current Rudgate Schola already live in the York area and I hope they will relish the opportunity to sing Masses more often! It is anticipated that Missa Cantatas will start next month with a view to extending this to a weekly sung Mass eventually.

Compline continues as before at our York base, St. Mary Bishophill Junior. We once jokingly referred to this as the Little Oratory! Little did we know what was in store for the future... Times of Compline this month are :

9pm 6th December
9pm 13th December
9pm 21st December

Our Annual Carol Service at St. Mary's is on December 20th at 7.30pm. This sadly clashes with Fr. Richard's induction Mass at St. Wilfrid's, but the date had been fixed months ago, so we can't change it now. Music Plans are also in place for the 4th annual York Pilgrimage in honour of St. Margaret Clitherow. More of that nearer the time, but for now all I'll say is expect some Mozart..!