Friday, 30 September 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 5

During the time "per annum" we are pleased to present this charming set of green vestments recently completed for a Canadian customer by the Saint Bede Studio.

The chasuble, in a more ample Gothic style, is made from a magnificent English silk damask in a distinctive and pleasing shade of green.  The ornamentation is custom-made, being formed from a teal-coloured dupion silk, outlined with a galloon in black and gold and enriched with applied medallions. The vestments are lined with an aqua-blue taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Friday, 23 September 2016

Enquiries with the Studio and 2017 Commissions

Each day, the Studio receives a significant number of e-mail enquiries about vestments and related matters. It is not possible for these messages to receive immediate attention.

In this age, we are accustomed to instantaneous responses to e-mails, tweets, Facebook posts etc. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this ethos is not entirely embraced by The Saint Bede Studio.

We try to answer messages within 7 - 10 days.

If you do not receive a reply, then either your message has not been received or else gives the impression of being a "hoax" enquiry and is deleted.

It would be most helpful if, when contacting us, you could indicate your Parish / Diocese and whether you are a Catholic priest or seminarian. The work of the Studio is confined to customers who are in full communion with the See of Peter.  Messages which gives no details of the name of the sender are, generally, not responded to.

Because of the large number of commissions which the Studio has received in the last six months and is trying to manage, it is not anticipated that work on any new enquiries could be commenced before August 2017.

Your Christian patience is greatly appreciated.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Peter Glenville's Movie of "Becket" (1964)

Richard Burton as the Archbishop of Canterbury with
Peter O'Toole in the role of King Henry II in the
1964 Paramount Pictures movie of Becket.
The cope worn by Richard Burton is in part based
on actual vestments of Saint Thomas Becket;
the curtains in the background have a Papal monogram:
the triple tiara and crossed keys.

Typically, whenever the rites of the Catholic Church are depicted on the big or small screen, they are represented inaccurately (sometimes laughably so), or even sacrilegiously. An exception to this is the very fine 1964 movie "Becket" produced by Paramount Pictures, and starring the late Richard Burton in the role of Saint Thomas Becket (1117 - 1170), once Chancellor of England and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury.

This post is not about the life of the Saint, but rather about aspects of the presentation of the rites of the Church depicted in this movie. We find that production design for this movie was in the care of John Bryan; art direction by Maurice Carter; set decoration by Robert Cartwright and Patrick McLoughlin with costume design by Margaret Furse. These people obviously researched the rites and vesture of the Church in the early Mediaeval period quite carefully.

A search of the internet has uncovered some interesting stills of this movie, which are shewn here, together with some commentary. Largely they depict that scene where Becket is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury. An interesting description of the Consecration is given here .

Click on the following images for an enlarged view.


At the Profession of Faith.
The consecrating bishop is vested for Mass in full pontificals.
The co-consecrators are vested in matching copes and mitres.
Surrounding the prelates are deacons vested in dalmatics
and young acolytes some vested in albes, some in surplices.
Amice apparels are everywhere.


At the Laying-on of hands.
A detail of the ornamentation of the cope used in the production.
The ornamentation is accurately based on a stole of Saint Thomas
still housed in the Sens Cathedral.


Imposition of the mitre.
The mitres worn are all accurate reconstructions of mitres
worn in the 12th century.
They are small, and their titulus and circulus ornaments are
enriched with jewels.


After the Imposition of the mitre.
A specially printed impression of the Pontificale Romanum 
prepared for the movie is seen here.


The well-designed and finely-worked ornamentation
of all the vestments can be seen here.
Note the blue stole worn by the co-consecrator. The practice of having all
the vestments worn by a celebrant of the same colour is not an ancient one.


At the Enthronement.
The new Archbishop, now dressed in full Pontificals for Mass,
is also wearing the pallium: a fine interpretation of the mediaeval form.
Also clearly seen are the fringed dalmatic and tunic
worn by the consecrating bishop.
We must also take note of the beautiful Western-style iconography
created as a backdrop for the Archbishop's throne:
vigorous and very religious in feeling.


The Final Blessing of the Mass of Consecration.
We are able to see the altar in this photograph, ornamented with
images of the saints and with a tabernacle resting upon it.
This would seem to be the least accurate aspect of this scene from the movie.


The Final Blessing, somewhat over-dramatically depicted.


Years after the movie was made,
the costumes designed by Margaret Furse for Richard Burton's use were auctioned.
This photograph shews the chasuble and dalmatic, with an amice apparel.
The chasuble is a rather free redesign of the famous Becket chasuble
kept even to this day at Sens Cathedral.


The actual chasuble of Saint Thomas Becket,
housed in the treasury of Sens Cathedral.
This image is the copyright of Genevra Kornbluth.


A 19th century engraving of the mitre, chasuble and stole of Saint Thomas
venerated at Sens Cathedral.
These vestments were carefully studied for reproduction in the Paramount movie.
The ornamentation of the ancient stole was replicated as the ornament of
a cope and amice apparel used in the movie, whilst the ornament
of the mitre (see below) was used as the basis for several mitres in the production.




Friday, 16 September 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 4

During the time "per annum" we are pleased to present this attractive set of green vestments recently completed for a returning customer by the Saint Bede Studio.

The overall colour scheme for these vestments is "earthy" rather than vibrant. The chasuble, in the Borromeon style, is made from a deep shade of olive green dupion silk and is ornamented with a rich brocade of burgundy and gold according to the Roman form, outlined with a galloon in the same colour.  The vestments are lined with a bronze-coloured taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Monday, 12 September 2016

On Raising the Chasuble at the Elevations


In the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the minister (deacon or altar server) is directed to raise the chasuble slightly in his left hand as the celebrant elevates the Sacred Host and then the Chalice. This direction is given in the Ritus Servandus VIII, 8; the Caeremoniale Episcoporum II, viii and a decision of the Congregation of Sacred Rites no. 3535.

What is the origin of this practice? It dates from that period when chasubles were voluminous and constrained the celebrant from raising his arms above his head. Lifting the lower right hand corner of the chasuble actually enables the celebrant a greater movement of the arms. Thus, the origin of this ceremonial action is purely practical. Much has been written about mystic and symbolic meanings as being the origin of this action, which assertions have no basis in fact.

The ceremonial books direct that the raising of the chasuble be a very subtle action. It was never intended that the chasuble be raised half-way up the celebrant's back or - worse still - be held up by both hands of the minister, making the chasuble seem like some fantastical ecclesiastical sail. Most assuredly such exaggerated movements are distracting both to the celebrant and to the congregation.

If the chasuble is not very ample at all, there is even more reason for its raising at the Elevation to be a very modest action: just a couple of inches at most. Furthermore, this gesture only accompanies the actual Elevations, and not the celebrant's accompanying genuflections.

Attached is a beautiful photograph of a Low Mass celebrated at Prinknash Abbey (UK) in 1940, illustrating perfectly how it should be done.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Bidding Prayers : 1

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium laid down the desire of the Fathers for the restoration of intercessions:

53. The “common prayer” or “prayer of the faithful” is to be restored after the gospel and homily, especially on Sundays and holidays of obligation. By this prayer - in which the people are to take part - intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.

This paragraph made reference to Saint Paul’s admonition at 1 Tim. 2:1-2. This paragraph is found – with only slight alterations – in the General Instructions on the Roman Missal.

Such intercessions are, therefore, of Apostolic origin, and were everywhere known by the time of Saint Augustine. The Solemn Orations of the Good Friday Afternoon Liturgy were the only survival of such intercessions in the Roman Missal for centuries. In the East, however, they were preserved in the unvarying Litanies, or Ektenia that are prayed throughout the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. From the East, such intercessions made their way during the first millennium into the various Rites in England and, centuries later, were incorporated into the Services of the Church of England, long after they had ceased being a usual feature of the Roman Rite.

Anciently, the intercessions formed part of non-Eucharistic prayer service (sometimes called a Synaxis). But when such services came to be usually celebrated immediately before the Eucharistic Liturgy, the intercessions gradually fell into disuse. This was because intercessions made during the Eucharistic Liturgy often repeated those found in the Synaxis. Such was the origin of the Roman Mass being described in two parts: the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful.

What is found in almost all the ancient examples of these intercessions are common intentions, which were summarised and made explicit by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

It was never envisaged by the Council - nor was it part of the ancient practice - that such intercessions vary on a daily basis, nor that there be any inclusion of extemporaneous prayer. It might easily be argued that the Council Fathers wished that these intercessions would become fixed in people’s consciousness, by being prayed week after week. Such is the practice with our Eastern brethren.

Upon this simple concept outlined by the Council Fathers, there have been many accretions over the last 50 years. Not uncommonly, we find intercessions anaemic in their theological content and not specifically Christian in their outlook. We commonly find the intercessions to be linked to the Propers of the Mass, and the lections of the Mass of the Day, as if “theme” were all-important. But this was never intended by the Council Fathers. Furthermore, a new and more noble translation of the Roman Missal for the English-speaking world has highlighted the often unsacral, even trite expression of these intercessions. But even the formulae found in the Roman Missal are so terse as easily to be described as bland.

Further posts in this small series will examine some forms of Intercession drawn-up immediately after the first liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Enquiries with the Studio and 2017 Commissions

Each day, the Studio receives a significant number of e-mail enquiries about vestments and related matters. It is not possible for these messages to receive immediate attention.

In this age, we are accustomed to instantaneous responses to e-mails, tweets, Facebook posts etc. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this ethos is not entirely embraced by The Saint Bede Studio.

We try to answer messages within 7 - 10 days.

If you do not receive a reply, then either your message has not been received or else gives the impression of being a "hoax" enquiry and is deleted.

It would be helpful if, when contacting us, you could indicate your Parish / Diocese and whether you are a Catholic priest or seminarian. The work of the Studio is confined to customers who are in full communion with the See of Peter.  Messages which gives no details of the name of the sender are, generally, not responded to.

Because of the large number of commissions which the Studio has received in the last six months and is trying to manage, it will not be possible for any new enquiries to be commenced before August 2017.

Your Christian patience is greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Priestly Ordinations 2016 : 6

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Gabriel Greer of the Diocese of Wichita (Kansas) USA.  Father Greer was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on 28th May by the Most Rev'd Carl Kemme.

A videogram on YouTube of Father Greer's First Holy Mass may be seen here.

Father Greer commissioned a set of festal vestments from the Studio in the Gothic style.

The chasuble was made from an ecclesiastical brocade, gold in colour, and was ornamented with a braid of red and gold, especially designed and made for the Saint Bede Studio. The vestments were lined in red taffeta.

Please pray for Father Greer and for all newly-ordained priests.

Figure 2.
Father Greer during the celebration of his
First Holy Mass.

Image courtesy of Father Greer.



Figure 3.
Father Greer at the Imposition of Hands during
the Mass of Ordination. 

Image from the Diocese of Wichita Facebook page.


Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Lord to whom shall we turn?
Epilogue

Follow the links below to previous articles in this series.

We began this short series of posts by making some observations about a fierce debate that had arisen worldwide concerning the celebration of the Ordinary Form (the New Mass) of the Roman Rite ad orientem. Many bloggers were decidedly up-in-arms and quite grumpy.*  Some prominent bloggers developed a case that ad orientem was normative for the Roman Rite, a view we cannot share since it manifestly contradicts the reality of the past fifty years.

In our second post, we wished to observe that the focus of any church building was not the ambo or the chair, but the ALTAR and that this is in accordance with Tradition.

The High altar of the Italian Cathedral of
Saint Nicolas, Bari rests beneath a twelfth century civory
or canopy. Behind the altar is the eleventh century cathedra
of the bishop : centrally located,
but completely invisible to the faithful.
A bishop, as chief shepherd, in the early centuries of the Church frequently had his cathedra positioned directly behind the free-standing altar, but this was a manifestation of his jurisdiction and was particular to bishops. Most examples of cathedra which have survived in such a position reveal that the chair of the bishop was not significantly elevated above the position of the altar and consequently would not have been completely visible to the faithful. The point of this is that the chair of the bishop was not positioned centrally to facilitate communication with the Faithful, but to express his headship of the presbyters gathered around him.

Following from this, our third post investigated the tradition of the chair in the Roman Rite, drawing the conclusion that prior to 1965, it was the normative practice for any priest-celebrant to offer the fore-Mass, or Mass of the Catechumens at or near the altar and facing ad orientem. The subsequent practice (found in the New Missale Romanum of 1970) for the priest to celebrate parts of the Mass at the chair and facing the congregation as a presider, is an innovation unknown to Catholic tradition.

Recitation of the Creed during the
celebration of Mass according to
The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite.
Our fourth post, developing this theme suggested that consideration of ad orientem celebrations of the New Mass need not be primarily focussed on the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In some instances, the construction of a sanctuary or the steps leading up to the altar do not readily facilitate ad orientem celebrations of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Such constraints, however, do not obtain when considering ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Word, and in particular the Penitential Rite, Kyrie, Gloria, Collect and Credo : any or all of which might be celebrated at the altar, or at its foot, ad orientem.  Whilst it is probable that many priests and congregations might not welcome ad orientem celebrations of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, surely fewer would object to parts of the Liturgy of the Word being celebrated ad orientem, particularly if such a practice were introduced slowly and in stages.

SUMMARY
of the five preceding posts
  1. It has been the practice for the Mass according to the 1970 Missale Romanum (and the intention of its devisers) that the Liturgy of the Eucharist be celebrated versum populum. This is (at present) normative but not obligatory.
  2. The celebration of the fore-Mass or Liturgy of the Word versus populum has only a limited expression in Catholic liturgical tradition and was particular to bishops (only) as a sign of their jurisdiction.
  3. The altar is the focus of the Mass of the Roman Rite - Ordinary or Extraordinary uses - not the chair or ambo. The priest is the celebrant of the Mass, not a presider.
  4. Prayers addressed to God during the Liturgy of the Word according to the 1970 Missale Romanum ought be offered ad orientem and preferably at the altar or its foot, in order to make clear that such prayers are not a dialogue between the celebrant and the faithful present.
  5. A gradual introduction of this principle could subsequently (over a period of years) lead to the celebration of the Ordinary Form of Mass being entirely (or mostly) ad orientem.
Already a variant of the Roman Rite exists which puts into effect the points made above (3) and (4); this is the newly-published Altar Missal for the Personal Ordinariates Anglicanorum Coetibus. Some have described it as the Anglican Use of the Roman RiteA forthcoming series of posts will discuss this new Missal in detail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Undoubtedly a manifestation of the "Francis effect".

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Vestments for Masses of the Dead

Recently completed by the Saint Bede Studio is this simple set of vestments, made of a blend of linen and silk. It is not intended as a Festal vestment because it has been designed for use in Masses for the Dead.

Unhappily, in many Dioceses, a strict policy exists requiring white vestments for Funerals, contrary to the general liturgical law of the Church. There is no requirement, however, about the shade of white or how such vestments are to be ornamented.

With this in mind, the Studio designed this set which is ornamented in a traditional manner - but subtly - with a braid of black and gold. A slight enrichment occurs within the lines of the braid in the form of a cream-coloured silk damask. The vestment is unlined and deliberately very plain, almost rustic.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.