For our friends in the UK: Solemn High Mass at Westminster Cathedral

I received the report that this Saturday 6 October at 2pm there will be Solemn High Mass at Westminster Cathedral to celebrate the publication of Summorum Pontificum.

I assume this is in the Extraordinary Use.

Either way, I am sure the music will be extraordinary.  I wish I could be there. 

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26 Responses to For our friends in the UK: Solemn High Mass at Westminster Cathedral

  1. Cacciaguida says:

    In June of ’06, I was at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday morning for a Solemn Mass in the Ordinary Rite, in Latin. It was quite impressive; even “better,” if that’s the right word, it was followed immediately by an Extraordinary Rite Mass, organized by Una Voce or some such.

    I couldn’t stay b/c I had to catch a train out of Paddington; but I wanted to, and did, stay long enough to see how they made the transition.

    Turned out it was easy. The “low” altar at Westminster Cathedral is sufficiently far from the high altar that it doesn’t even have to be wheeled away for Tridentine purposes: the clergy simply enter, place the books etc. on the high altar, move down the three steps, and carry on as if the low altar weren’t there.

    Now let’s start a thread about the Brompton Oratory…!

  2. danphunter1 says:

    Does anyone know if Westminster Cathedral will permanently offer the Tridentine Mass?
    My wife and I would like to be in England at Christmastide and we would love to assist at the Mass at Westminster.
    Are there any other magnificent churches that offer the Tridentine Mass all the time?
    Thank you so much.

  3. Patrick says:

    To follow up your comment, Father, yes this will be indeed be in the Extraordinary Use, followed by the Te Deum. See http://www.latin-mass-society.org/2007/westminstermass.html.

    Westminster Cathedral does not yet offer the Extraordinary Use on a regular basis, although the daily sung Novus Ordo is celebrated very beautifully, with Latin propers. There is a monthly Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    For Masses in London at Christmas, check out the Latin Mass Society website at http://www.latin-mass-society.org/supmass.htm. Mass at the London Oratory, Brompton, although usually Novus Ordo, is celebrated very beautifully, using many of the features of the old rite.

  4. Dominic says:

    I am looking forward to attending the Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday!

  5. elizabeth mckernan says:

    I recently attended Mass in Westminster Cathedral after a day in London. It was sung in English but not to any music I had heard before and it would appear that none of the congregation either knew the music as few joined in. I found this very sad, remembering being told that once it was all in english we would all be able to join in.
    I look forward very much to attending Mass there in our great cathedral on Saturday afternoon and being able, at last, to join in the singing of the ancient and still familiar parts of the Mass. I understand that a Te Deum will be sung at the end of Mass. The only ‘downside’ I can see is that the Mass will not be celebrated by our Cardinal Archbishop. I wonder whether he will attend?

  6. Tom says:

    “I can see is that the Mass will not be celebrated by our Cardinal Archbishop. I wonder whether he will attend?”

    No, he won’t.

  7. Graham says:

    Votive High Mass of the Holy Trinity at the High Altar at Westminster Cathedral, followed by the Te Deum. Saturday 6th October at 2.00pm. In Thanksgiving for the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio. Celebrant and Homilist: Rev Msgr Antony Conlon, Latin Mass Society of England & Wales National Chaplain.

  8. John Polhamus says:

    Joining in the singing is nice, but I doubt that the music will be the Missa de Angelis. But then, if you had the men and boys of the Westminster Cathedral Choir at your disposal for a special mass, wouldn’t you have them singing Victoria or Palestrina? I know I would!

  9. Jim McPake says:

    Tom I would tend to agree with you that Cardinal Murphy O’Connor
    probably will not be there I tackled him at Lourdes last July….
    not a happy bunny….. not a happy bunny at all, his erstwhile
    auxiliary Bishop Patrick of Lancaster seemed to be chewing the
    same lettice leaf…. Meanwhile from my vantage point in the
    middle of the North Sea (Oil Rig ) I detect little in the way of
    change in Lancaster Diocese, I live in the frozen, frigid North
    of the Diocese where I have been told that we wont be having any
    regular Latin Masses….there used to be one every few months but
    that was some time ago…..I see no reason why we shouldn’t have
    Traditional Parishes set up through out the Diocese….this is
    what I proposed to The Cardinal and Bishop Patrick at Lourdes last
    July….we will get our Traditional Parishes, sooner or later,
    but we WILL get them. otherwise the Church WILL fail completly
    in our country….in the mean time, we find Masses in spite of
    the “restrictions” placed in our way.

  10. Zach says:

    Can somebody explain to me how you can have a “Solemn High Mass” in the ordinary use? I was under the impression that this terminology was abolished after the changes in ’70.

  11. Paul Murnane says:

    Zach,

    My understanding is that, for the liturgical revolutionaries of the 1970′s, a “Solemn High Mass” would have been “performed” with Godspell type music. ;);)

    I am only partially kidding: my Confirmation Mass in 1978 was chock-full of Godspell numbers.

  12. roydosan says:

    Usually when the cathedral choir sing for Masses arranged by the LMS, it is
    just the men who sing (not the boys) so it will undoubtedly be plainsong and
    the congregation usually joins in.

  13. roydosan says:

    Usually when the cathedral choir sing for Masses arranged by the LMS, it is just the men who sing (not the boys) so it will undoubtedly be plainsong and the congregation usually joins in.

  14. elizabeth mckernan says:

    Thank you roydosan – I do hope so!

  15. elizabeth mckernan says:

    Attending the ‘Extra-ordinary Form’ in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday will be, for me, the first time since the changes took place. I should like to ask you, Fr Z, if a three hour fast is required before receiving Holy Communion during a TLM as I do remember this to be so after the discontinuation of the midnight fast. I cannot find this information anywhere on the internet. Also
    are trousers frowned upon for women?

  16. roydosan says:

    Having attended the TLM at Westminster Cathedral before the answer to your questions is:
    One hour fast
    Trousers are fine

  17. Not only is the Mass in the usus antiquior but the authorities at the Cathedral have for a while now allowed the removal of the forward-facing table altar for these celebrations. It makes for a full, uninterrupted view of the sanctuary as it was originally designed.

    danphunter1 – Westminster Cathedral is still not committed to a regular extraordinary form Mass. But the London Oratory is now! South Kensington tube – the Oratory is to the right of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You won’t be sorry for finding your way there!

  18. John Fannon says:

    I too am looking forward to the Mass on Saturday afternoon at the Cathedral with my son.
    Afterwards we shall go round the corner from the Cathedral and drink a toast to our beloved Holy Father at a pub called ‘The Cardinal’

  19. Fr. Finigan: Not only is the Mass in the usus antiquior but the authorities at the Cathedral have for a while now allowed the removal of the forward-facing table altar for these celebrations. It makes for a full, uninterrupted view of the sanctuary as it was originally designed.

    I told you… I should have stayed a little longer!

  20. elizabeth: I should like to ask you, Fr Z, if a three hour fast is required before receiving Holy Communion during a TLM

    No, the current law applies. One hour before Communion.

    However, I think it is laudable to desire to fast a little longer, if possible.

  21. Justin says:

    Fr Finigan: [b]Westminster Cathedral is still not committed to a regular extraordinary form Mass[/b]
    My impression is that it is. The extraordinary form is normally always celebrated at least once a month on a ‘regular’ basis.

    The lay-clerks (i.e. gentlemen of the choir) will be singing the mass, but I have a feeling the mass setting will still be polyphonic. The lay clerks can sing in all four parts if needs be. We have extremely good counter tenors.

  22. Sue Sims says:

    At all the LMS masses I’ve been to (around ten or so, most of the Mass has been polyphonic (utterly glorious), but the Credo has been chant (Credo III), and the congregation joins in with enthusiasm.

    I can’t get to the Westminster Mass tomorrow, but the annual LMS MMAss for the Diocese of Portsmouth is on Sunday at 3.30 pm at Portsmouth Cathedral, for any other South-coasters. That’s always wonderful as well.

  23. elizabeth mckernan says:

    Thank you for your advice FrZ. I have just returned from London where I attended the Mass in Westminster cathedral. It was sung to the ‘Coronation Mass’ by Mozart and was a most uplifting experience as you can imagine. We were able to sing parts of the Creed alternating with the choir as i remember was the practice all those years ago. I was surprised how nervous I felt beforehand – but soon felt comfortable. A couple of things surprised me – I had forgotten the birettas! One had a red pompom on it – I don’t know what this signified. And the Pater Noster was only sung by the Celebrant which I don’t remember from the past. It was a wonderful thanksgiving for the Motu Proprio and yes the secondary altar was moved to give an uninterrupted view of the High Altar. Magnificent.

  24. John Fannon says:

    I too have just returned from the Westminster Mass with my son.
    We both found it a wonderful spiritual experience.
    After the Consecration the choir sang ‘Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat’. What a fantastic antiphon! It is of great antiquity.
    I read somewhere that this was sung on Christmas Day 800 when Pope St Leo III crowned Charlemange.

    From an aesthetic point of view the Cathedral looked so beautiful, with the westering sun shining across the nave, creating a scene of mediaeval splendour.

    And by the way, we did reach the Cardinal pub to drink a toast to His Holiness – a nice quiet pub at the back of the Cathedral, well known to the LMS I believe – since they gave me the directions

  25. Graham says:

    The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!

  26. Robert Badger says:

    Westminster Cathedral is a marvelous place. Their music programme is probably the best one could possibly hope for in the Catholic world. A number of cathedrals in Europe do have impressive music programmes, such as the Stephansdom in Vienna which manages to do a large number of Mozart, Haydn and Schubert Masses throughout the year. But Westminster Cathedral probably has the best choir and best programme of any Catholic Cathedral in Europe. I don’t expect that the Sistine Choir will catch up anytime soon. The musicians of Westminster Cathedral haven’t neglected adding to the repertoire of sacred music either. Benjamin Britten (Lord Britten of Aldeburgh) and other modern British composers were commissioned to compose Mass settings.

    Two particularly impressive ones of recent memory are in English. The first is the Westminster Mass composed by Roxanna Panufnik (daughter of Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik who moved to the UK during the Communist years in Poland). This Mass was composed in honour of Basil Cardinal Hume’s 50th anniversary of priestly ordination or some other auspicious occasion. The second is a marvelous Mass composed by the Scottish composer James Macmillan. Macmillan’s Mass is still available on recording and really worth hearing. To my mind, Macmillan accomplished the impossible. He made the horrid ICEL translations sing! Neither Panufnik’s Mass or Macmillan’s Mass permit congregational singing. They are meant for the choir alone.