Southwark, England: TLM in St. George’s Cathedral

I am informed that Holy Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Southwark, England on 6 December using the 1962 Missale Romanum.

A couple photos were sent.  Perhaps we’ll get more.



the Celebrant was Fr Andrew Southwell,
Deacon Fr Peter Gee,
Sub-deacon Fr Chris Basden,
Preacher Canon James Cronin, Cathedral Dean
Master of Ceremonies Jason Kenny
Composer of the Mass & Motet Nicholas O’Neill, Organist, St George’s Cathedral
Director of Music Nick Gale, St George’s Cathedral
Organist Thomas Wilson, Precentor, Westminster Cathedral
Choir the Choir of St George’s Cathedral
The Mass was the first performance also of Nicholas O’Neill’s new Mass setting & Motet.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ian Power says:

    “Insert obligatory wreckovation comment here”. But I’ve learned from reading this blog not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  2. PAH says:

    Didn’t Pope Paul VI abolish all distinctive canons’ dress, making all canons’ mozettas grey? Thankfully that is being ignored.

  3. Graham says:

    No this is formal canon’s choir dress in England, Wales and Scotland.

    In this photograph you are unable to see his black biretta with purple tuft.

    The canon in the photograph apart from being a canon of the Archdiocesan Cathedral Chaper is also the Cathedral’s dean.

    By the way does any other Capital City in the world – apart from London have 2 Archdioceses and 2 Archbishops (Westminster and Southwark)?

  4. Ian,
    One step at a time. The celebration of the “old” Mass in Southwark Cathedral was an important moment. For now, they use the forward altar. But one day, the sanctuaries and high altars of our churches and cathedrals will be reclaimed (and, where necessary, rebuilt) for the Mass. This will happen, if not yet.

  5. Graham: Well…. hmm… I believe that Winnipeg, capital of Manitoba, Canada, has a Latin Archbishop in Winnipeg and also a Latin Archbishop of Saint-Boniface for the French speakers as well as a Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy.

  6. PAH says:

    It seems that Per Instructionem abolished all canons’ privileges:


  7. Graham says:

    Thanks for that Father – I thought London was unique in having 2 Metropolitan Sees and 2 Metropolitan Archbishops within our capital city.

  8. Neil says:

    Good to see.

    Southwark now has three parishes where the TLM is the main Sunday mass celebration every week.
    St. Mary Magdalen, Wandsworth Common
    St. Bede’s, Clapham Park
    Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen

    In other words, this is what the parish gets around about 11 a.m., every week.
    It is not a strange occasional concession to an “interest group” or the local historical reenactment society.

    Slowly, surely, things are changing.

  9. MPod says:

    “Thankfully that is being ignored.”

    Picking and choosing what to obey is in reality disobedience. Praying for the return of and making the most of (approved and lawful) restorations of our liturgical tradition is the virtuous course to chart.

    Fortunately, it sounds like the latter is what has happened in this situation. That God may be glorified.

    Brick by brick, but not a single one mortared out of disobedience.

  10. Daniel Hill says:

    Gothic verse lace seems to be ignored for a weird concoction here. But a wonderful achievemnt regarding the mass all the same

  11. Daniel Hill says:

    2) The use of a purple mozzetta is permitted only to Canons endowed with the episcopal character. Other Canons use a black or gray mozzetta with purple trimming; Beneficiaries may wear a black or gray mozzetta, and Pastors may use only the stole

    from Per Instructionem

    can someone explain to me the difference between these ranks?

  12. Damian Thompson says:

    Southwark Cathedral is home to some old-style lay Tabletistas of the most irritating variety. They must be shuddering with horror.

  13. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Canons should dispense with mozettas altogether, and return
    to use of the almuice.

  14. PAH says:

    MPod, since this canon is presumably not a bishop and is wearing an ermine trimmed purple mozetta, he is breaking the rules, surely?

  15. Richard T says:

    Fantastic Mass at Southwark. Not quite as many as last year, but understandable given that last year was the IC on the 8th. Still, a healthy crowd. Good homily from the Cathedral Dean. Hope to see him celebrating the EF before long – I am sure he’d do it very well. The music was stunning. The chant was sung SO well, unlike most places. Very monastic and unpretentious but at a good pace and with a refreshing interpretation. Really inspiring. Does anyone know why they sing the chant like that? And so well? As for the Mass setting, wow! Really good to hear some modern music performed at the EF. I love polyphony but having some modern repertoire really makes the point that the EF isn’t some museum piece liturgy for the old trads but a modern, living liturgy. The Mass setting and the motet were, as I understand, written especially for this Mass and were very devotional. Anyone know where the motet text came from? Really good choice. And the Kyrie and Agnus were very devotional whilst the Santus was more triumphant. The Benedictus seemed somewhere in between. Was good to have a chant Gloria though – wise with all that modern rep to give those less entusiastic about modern music something familiar. I liked the O sacrum at communion too. Very good setting of the text, though I have no idea who Grayston Ives is! I understand the Mass and motet was written by the Cathedral Organist, Nicholas O’Neill. They’re lucky to have such a talented composer on their staff. I googled him and he has an excellent background, a load of composition prizes under his belt and a recording of his Ave Verum on the Hyperion label. Very impressive St George’s! The men of the Choir sang last year, and they were great, but what a treat to hear the boys too this year. I confess I thought St G’s abolished boys years ago. So pleased to see that Westminster isn’t the only decent boys’ choir in London. Bravo St George’s all round – good clergy, supportive archbishop, talented director of music and organist, great choir, lovely building – what more do you want!! MORE EF MASSES AT ST GEORGE’S PLEASE.

  16. Abasiama Mutetse says:

    I agree. I go to 11.30 Mass at st Georges Cathedral evey Sunday and music is always very good. I never been to the old mass before and it was wonderfful. I wish we could have it every sunday instead of 11.30 mass


  17. ATS says:

    Well said, Richard and Abasiama. I sometimes go to St George’s for Mass on Sundays at 11.30. The music is always excellent and the Chant is great to hear in that building. However, the altar-servers let the liturgy down, generally poorly-dressed and badly-trained, and the fantastic music almost works in the context of a new rite Mass – but not quite. I would like to see an EF Mass at the Cathedral, maybe just once a month for the 11.30. I am sure few people would object. In fact, I am sure people would come from far and wide. That is certainly the case elsewhere. The Cathedral MC would have to sort his servers out first though, Such a shame that good music isn’t matched by good serving – and I have to say a couple of the priests are very difficult to understand. I always enjoy the Dean’s preaching, however, and I agree with Richard that he should and would say the EF very well. Come on Canon James, get learning! Reading the reports from last year’s EF at the Cathedral (which I sadly missed) I see that Archbishop McDonald was in attendance. Where was he this year? It would be truly a great thing if he were to celebrate Holy Mass in his Cathedral according to the Gregorian Rite. Let’s face it, he has MORE than enough clergy in his diocese to train and assist him – Southwark has always been a haven for those attached to the EF, more and more so since SP, and that is a VERY good pastoral reason for His Grace to pontificate at Mass from his throne. Are we likely to see this? That’s one way to ensure a Cathedral PACKED to the brim with people. Canon James and Monsignor McDonald would do well to get this sorted, given the high proportion of Mass-goers on their turf who attend the EF, not just occasionally but, as Neil rightly pointed out in his earlier post, as the main Sunday Mass in at least three parishes. it really is about time this happened at Southwark Cathedral.

  18. Irish Catholic says:

    I went to this Mass too. I am too young to remember the Tridentine Mass, thanks be to God! But I follow this blog and Fr Boyle’s blog too – he used to be a priest at the Cathedral. So I thought I would attend this Mass. And I am very glad I did. It was lovely. Modern music isn’t my favourite, but it was very well sung. But for me it was lovely to see this mass in my own parish. I really am beginning to understand why people are so attached to it and I will definately go again in the future. I am upset that I found out about this mass online because it wasn’t advertised or publicised in our parish at St George’s. If it was, I think more people would have come along. I would have brought more people if I had found out earlier. Can we have this type of mass at the cathedral more often? Maybe on a Sunday? Our congregation is very multicultural and there are lots of languages spoken in the community. This mass would make so much more sense than an English mass because English isn’t the first language of the majority of our people here.

  19. therese says:

    Archbishop Kevin McDonald has been very ill for some time, and is still recuperating, and I would think it unlikely that he is currently well enough to participate. Southwark is blest with many fine priests who are re-introducing the EF – and it therefore seems likely that this is done with the Archbishop’s co-operation and approval. I hope his brother bishops follow his example.

  20. ATS says:

    Therese, thanks for this. I am sorry to hear Archbishop McDonald is ill. I pray that he recovers soon. I agree with you regarding Southwark priests. We are indeed blessed. It is also very encouraging that so many of them are saying the EF. I just wish the Cathedral would follow their example and celebrate the EF on a regular basis, instead of thses occasional, albeit magnificent, occasions.


  21. Nick Gale says:

    Thanks to ATS and Abasiama for their comments. And Richard, thank you so much for your endorsement of the music on Saturday. I am delighted you enjoyed the Mass and was particularly touched by your comments on the music. We are indeed very lucky to have Nick O’Neill working with us. Not only is he a first class organist but, as you say, a very talented composer. He has written 3 Mass settings for us, all Latin, 2 for SATB with organ, one for ATTBB a capella. He has also written over a dozen motets for us, including the motet he wrote for St Nicholas. The text, incidentally, was one of three I offered Nick O’Neill – it is the old sequence for St Nicholas which I lifted from Gueranger’s Liturgical Year, which is an excellent source for motet texts. Nick O has written several motets using texts that haven’t been set to music – very handy for certain feasts, where there is a shortage of appropriate music. The O sacrum convivium was by Grayston Ives, who is the outgoing Informator Choristarum at Magdalen College, Oxford – Nick O’Neill’s old college. He also writes very well and is a nice chap! We’re planning on recording Nick’s complete music for St George’s in the New Year. Will keep you posted if you drop me your email address.

    Re your chant question, the men all studied the chant on an intensive week at Solesmes a couple of years ago. They are all very keen on restoring the Chant to its rightful place in the liturgy and were inspired by Dom Daniel Saulnier’s teaching at Solesmes – he has since been poached to run the Chant classes at the Pontificul Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, another good move by the Holy Father himself, I understand! He was my personal chant tutor before he was seconded to Rome, so we’re all very lucky to have been taught by him at various times before the move – he spends very little time at Solesmes these days. It is worth noting that the men of the choir paid for their Solesmes trip, accommodation and tuition fees themselves. I think that says it all – not many professional singers would do that! A very good crowd of men, and the boys are very committed too. The interpretation is based on Dom Cardine’s semiological approach to the chant, rather than Mocquereau’s style, which is heard in most other places, so I am glad you appreciated it. I understand that only St Cecilia’s in Ryde uses the more up-to-date scholarship on the Chant to inform their performance. I don’t know which parish you are from, but I am happy to give chant workshops in and around London for choirs/cantors who wish to restore the Chant to everyday use in the parishes. Do drop me a line if I can be of any help. I have given 3 workshops recently, in Quarr, Ashford and Belfast, and all were well-received. I think people are bored of the banality of the standard fodder on offer in the parishes, even within the Novus Ordo, and the Chant seems to be making a long-awaited return to our churches!

    Kind regards

    Nick Gale
    Director of Music
    St George’s Cathedral, Southwark

  22. JS says:

    I too attended this Mass and was searching for pictures when I came accross this blog for the first time. I shall be reading it again and again. I am a chorister parent at St George’s and I am in awe of the work undertaken by the two Nicks who work so hard to produce such amazing music. I know I speak for my son, and for the sons of all the choirboys at the cathedral when I say they all get so much from singing in the Choir, and the people at the Cathedral are wonderful, particularly the Dean, who is clearly so supportive of the Cathedral Choir. I have to say it was my first Tridentine Mass and I was bowled over. It was quite perfect and I wish that we could have it every Sunday. The boys were mesmerised and my son said that he’d never felt so close to God. This is surely reason enough for a regular such Mass at the Cathedral. I for one, and I know the other choirboy mums and dads present are in total agreement if my chat with them afterwards is anything to go by, would love to see this every Sunday! As a newcomer to this Mass I feel I would like to seek out a regular Sunday Mass. I’ll wait till my son’s voice breaks first though! I hope I won’t have to if Bishop Kevin reads this blog…..

  23. MPod says:

    “MPod, since this canon is presumably not a bishop and is wearing an ermine trimmed purple mozetta, he is breaking the rules, surely?”

    If so (and I am admittedly not particularly well-versed on the proper vesture in this case) then he ought not do it. Disobedience is disobedience.

    Brick by brick, but not a single brick mortared in disobedience. That God alone may be glorified.

  24. Nick Gale says:

    Re the reformed choir dress, in some countries this reform of dress for canons has not been enforced. Where this custom has continued without censure for over thirty years, the traditional choir dress still in use is acceptable and does not count as disobedience. A fuller explanation can be found in the latest edition of Fortescue & O’Connell. This has been and is normal practice in England and Wales – only the canons of Westminster have their own distinctive dress which differs from the garb you see the Dean of Southwark wearing in the picture above.

  25. PAH says:

    Very interesting, Nick, thank you. My copy of Fotescue is about 55 years old (two euro at a book sale) but I will have to check out the new edition.

  26. Nick Gale says:

    No problem PAH. Check out Code of Canon Law 26. Nick

  27. Khosi Manaka says:

    It is the first time I am posting but I came to the blog right after we had the extraordinary form of the Roman Missal on the 7th or 8th of December,which by any standard was superb and the singing that went with that was excellent as usual, the blog itself was full of beans and very informative and exciting.It would be wonderful if we could have an exponential increase of an additional one(R Missal) each year until we reach at least about 6 or so per year. If we are a bit strategic about it, it might just work; in this way it would not be overwhelming and it would be realistic. I am not sure about protocol, as to who is going to follow this up and so forth, I guess this would take a lot of organising and restructuring, changing the diary calender, I am not sure? I guess maybe people who would volunteer to take this upon themselves as a project under the auspices of maybe Canon Cronin/Mr Gale or so, so that there is no more burden on the same people who are already so busy. What are people’s thoughts so that that initial energy is put to action? Another thought, what do you think about audio recording or even video recording the choir and Canon Cronin’s wonderful apt oratory and insightful homilies? both these moments are very unique and each moment in turn more unique than the other. I sincerely believe these should be captured for posterity. We really do not know what blessings we have. This can be done by young church journalists or those studying media and video and for them it would be a voluntary priviledge. What do we think, any suggestions? The same kind of energy could also be injected in the alter service. Let me stop here, before I write a book. Thank You and God Bless, Khosi(Sikho for blogging)

    P/S Please check the blog clock. It seems to be 6 hours behind as it states that I blogged at 3am rather than 9am, thanks

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