Follow up: TLM at York for St. Margaret Clitherow

You may recall that there was to be a TLM in York as part of a celebration of St. Margaret Clitherow.  Photos are available.

Apparently the Anglican Dean of the Cathedral of York, and Chapter, were very accommodating.

The music for the Mass was William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices.

The LMS reports:

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    An honest question for Fr. Z.

    How can celebrating a Catholic Mass in a Protestant Cathedral be considered a good thing? I realize that the cathedral was Catholic at one point in history, but from what I gather, that was more than 450 years ago. So, it is easy to assume that any Catholicity has been eradicated and the altar desecrated, assuming that it was consecrated at one point.

    If clebrating Mass at York Minster is ok, does that mean that celebrating Mass at St. Paul’s on Summit is ok? I’m curious. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I am wondering what I am missing from the equation. Thanks.

  2. asophist says:

    It seems that if it’s OK to offer mass on the hood of a Jeep (one hopes after washing off the mud, bird droppings, etc.) why not on an Anglican altar?

  3. Brooklyn says:

    I visited York about 15 years ago, during the days of my lapsed Catholicism. I remember going to this Cathedral, which is magnificent. I’m sure there were many angels and saints in attendance at this Mass, many English martyrs, rejoicing at this wonderful event, at the fact that the Eucharist, at least for a short time, had found its way back home.

    The pictures of the Mass are beautiful, but I thought how sad the “rehabilitated” Catholic Church looked in comparison to the Cathedral.

  4. Andy: First, the Church’s law says that Mass can be celebrated in a decent place. York Cathedral is a decent place. Secondly, in the context Anglicanorum coetibus going into force and many Anglicans making use of the provisions, the welcome of the Chapter is significant, especially in that this was for an English martyr. Thirdly, I am sure the local Catholic bishop must have signed off on the event, which is also a good sign. What’s not to like?

  5. BobP says:

    If the TLM brings in more “converts,” then I’m all for saying the TLM anywhere.

  6. Andy Milam says:

    Fr. Z…

    Thanks for the response. I guess I was under the impression that celebrating Mass in a non-Catholic church was frowned upon. Thanks for the correction.

    I completely agree that AC is going to make things very sticky for the Anglicans, so I guess that we’ll see what is going to happen. Personally, I’d like to see all of the great cathedrals of England come home.

    It isn’t that I didn’t like it, but I was just taken aback. Thanks for the response.

  7. asperges says:

    I am an cradle English Catholic. For us the English Reformation and its consequences are deeply ingrained. To live and see our heritage both in stone and in the hearts of our people reduced almost to a folk memory and wander around our ancient churches almost as though they were museums is a sad burden to carry for anyone who loves the Faith. That is not to belittle our separated brethren and their good faith.

    Then to have – almost by accident – permission suddenly to have the Mass our English and Welsh martyrs died for celebrated in what was in former times our second most important church after Canterbury, and to be able to honour the Pearl of York, St Margaret Clitherow, a simple butcher’s wife, put to death for harbouring (Catholic) priests who tried to live the faith in terrible times of persecution and lose her life for it, whilst we, largely indifferent, suffer nothing for that same faith… Yes it does matter.

    Saturday’s Mass was a piece of living history. Not only did it restore momentarily the Blessed Sacrament to its proper place, but it healed wounds; it joined us across time, Church triumphant and militant, and gave us all hope. There were hundreds of people present. I was astonished.

    The Anglican Dean and Chapter extended to us a great deed of Charity. I cannot commend them highly enough and their courtesy. It would have been much easier to say a polite “no” to our request. We all know from the Holy Father what true unity and ecumenism is, and it is not about pretence and papering over cracks. But it is about Christian charity and mutual respect, and if history teaches us something, it must be not to make the same mistakes twice.

    York was, at least for us, a very powerful symbol and much grace will come from it, I am sure. (Sorry, Fr Z, for the long post.)

  8. JARay says:

    I echo what Asperges has just said above. I too am a cradle Catholic, born and bred in Yorkshire. York Minster and St. Margaret’s house in The Shambles are part of my upbringing. I rejoice at this event. I could not be there because I now live at the other side of the world.

  9. JARay says:

    May I also add that a look at the Latin Mass Society’s blog gives some more details and pictures:-

  10. amenamen says:

    It sounds almost too good to be true. I am grateful for their courtesy, but I am not sure why the Anglicans would agree to let Catholics say Mass there, in “their” cathedral (or is it really “ours,” after all?). In fact, I find this deeply puzzling. Do they understand the significance of this? Are they just being “nice”? It seems to signify much more than that. It seems to be an act of extraordinary charity, for which every Catholic should be grateful, and even an act of reconciliation, to a degree. But it is obvious that the Anglicans and the Catholics have not really “reconciled.” Does this signify a kind of “apology” for the martyrdom of St. Margaret Clitherow?

    I hope it is not impolite to ask: Can we do this again next year? Can we stay? Can we have our cathedral back?

  11. danielinnola says:

    “can we have our cathedral back?” Thank goodness the Anglicans own it now. I would really hate to see the old shack after the Catholics were done “modernizing” it…. And I think what some here are missing is the enormous generosity and courtesy shown by the Anglican Dean and his chapter. Downright Christian behaviour I should say. Does it matter that its Mass said in an Anglican Cathedral? I think not. What matters is this; the answer could have been “no” but instead it was “yes” Deo gratias! The very Rev’d Keith Jones Dean of York Minster and the chapter should be thanked profusely. BTW I noticed in the pics that two members of the Chapter were attending in choir! The Rev’d Canon Glyn Webster -Chancellor and The Rev’d Canon Peter Moger -precentor .

  12. david andrew says:

    In the summer 2004 I had the privilege of singing with a choir that had been selected to sing Evensong for 4 consecutive days “in residence” at York .

    While we were there, the choir director (who like myself is a convert from Anglicanism) who was very familiar with the story of St. Margaret, took me to the Bar Convent outside the walls of old York to see the convent, but most importantly to see their relic of St. Margaret. Tradition tells us that her hand was secretly severed from her body after her martyrdom by a faithful Anglican priest who then took it and hid it for safekeeping. It is incorrupt. (I read that veneration of the relic was a part of this event, originally to be held at the Bar Convent, but the LMS anticipated large crowds and the Bar Convent chapel is rather small).

    An interesting response to those who wonder about the propriety of offering the Mass in an Anglican church or cathedral: I have a picture of the choir stalls at Westminster Abbey (another site that the choir sang in residence) in my little choir loft “office”. A choir member, clearly scandalized, said, “But that’s ANGLICAN!” I replied, “Don’t worry . . . we’ll get it back.”

  13. Seraphic Spouse says:

    I live in the UK, and my understanding is that bishops are much more likely to give permission for Mass to be said in pre-Reformation churches than in post-Reformation never-RC churches.

    It was an absolutely beautiful Mass, and I was amused to see my husband and self in some of the photos! We had no idea how many were there; we hazily guessed “over 500” and are not surprised to discover there were about 800. Those who organized could not have guessed these numbers, in advance for in the end dozens had to be turned from the communion rail: not enough Hosts had been confected for all who would receive.

    It beggars the mind that Anglicans no longer pack their glorious Cathedrals and pre-Reformation churches, and that glorious choirs sometimes sing to nearly-empty walls, but there it is. We two are very grateful to the Dean and Chapter of York Minster–and to the local RC bishop–for allowing this Mass to happen in York Minster. It was truly a graced occasion.

  14. irishgirl says:

    I went over to see the pictures-how glorious! This is so wonderful to see!
    And how gracious of the Dean and Chapter of York Minster to allow the Mass to take place! It was also nice to see the Chancellor and Precentor attending in choir dress.
    I’ve been to York a few times when I visited England-I remember attending an Choral Evensong service (you’re right, Seraphic Spouse, about the Anglicans not packing their Cathedrals and their choirs singing to nearly empty walls) . I did go to St. Margaret’s house in The Shambles, but I have a rather vague memory of it. Didn’t get to Bar Convent, however.
    What’s the name of the Sisters who staff Bar Convent?

  15. Would they be Bar Tenders? Bar Keepers?

  16. irishgirl says:

    Oh, that’s funny, Father Z! ‘Bar Tenders…Bar Keepers’….ooo, you got quite the wit there!

  17. moon1234 says:

    Did anyone else notice the female alter server in picture:

    Is this common in the UK in the EF of the Mass?

  18. Moon1234:

    LOL! That “female altar server” is my Son! We’re both long haired…

  19. Joseph Shaw says:

    Thanks, Gregory, you beat me to it – I can vouch for him, I’ve met him! And he was a very good boat-boy!

  20. John Nolan says:

    Three years ago the Association for Latin Liturgy and the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge were invited to Gloucester Cathedral on the feast of the Visitation of the BVM. This is a former Benedictine foundation and a Solemn Latin Mass (OF) was celebrated by the Abbot of Downside in the morning . In the afternoon we sang Solemn Vespers (EF) with the organ interludes by Marcel Dupre in place of their normal Saturday evensong. One of their regulars remarked afterwards “Well, it was different!”

    There are photos on the website (click on “events”)

  21. Organorum says:

    If I may put the record straight the Dean of York was not present at the Mass as has been suggested in a number of reports. I did suggest that had the “Latin” Mass Society looked at the inscription above Canon Glyn Webster’s stall they would have seen the Latin word “Cancellarius” i.e. Chancellor!

    As someone who spends much time at York Minster (carillonneur) I have seen several Catholic Masses celebrated there, including one a couple of years ago by the former Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. The Minster is used by Catholics simply because it is a huge building – it is the largest medieval Gothic church in Northern Europe. I don’t think that the Dean & Chapter are in any fear about the Minster being “taken back”, and I’m sure that the RC Bishop of Middlesbrough would run a mile if it was offered back to him.

    As one of the official photographers at the Mass you might care to take a look at my photos. They can be found at

  22. medievalist says:

    irishgirl: The Bar Convent, so named for it’s proximity to Micklegate Bar (Mickle being ‘Great’ not ‘Michael’ and in York a bar being a gate and a gate (cf: gait) being a street) is home to the Congregation of Jesus founded by Mary Ward. Unfortunately, I can report that these same sisters celebrated Mary Ward’s 400th anniversary a few years back in the same Minster, but with liturgical dance rather than solemn rites.

  23. Organorum says:

    medievalist@ I was at the start of the Mass for the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of Jesus by Mary Ward. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor (the then Archbishop of Westminster) aided and abetted by several members of the notorious “Magic Circle”. Hundreds of CJ nuns from all over the world were in the entrance procession, but who would have known they were nuns? Most were in lay dress, a handful were in the modern “grey everything” nurse-type uniforms, and one – yes one! – was in a traditional black habit. There was a curious feminist litany, “liturgical” dance, and various “reflections” by some of the nuns.

    How unlike the beautiful, dignified, and spiritually moving Mass of just over a week ago!

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