Monday, 20 August 2018

Papal Mass of Benedict XVI : 3

In Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, on Saturday 19th July 2008, Pope Benedict celebrated Pontifical Mass with the Australian Bishops for seminarians and religious novices.  This was part of the Pope's visit to Australia on the occasion of World Youth Day.

In this final post, the Studio is pleased to reproduce a number of photographs take by L'Osservatore Romano, most of which have not been published anywhere hitherto.  Please note that these photographs are under the copyright of L'Osservatore Romano and not to be reproduced.

The vestments and mitre worn by Pope Benedict for this Papal Mass, together with the dalmatics of the deacons-assistant were designed and made by the Saint Bede Studio, by the commission of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Holy See.

All of these photographs were taken at the conclusion of the Mass, as the Pope and his ministers left the sanctuary. Pope Benedict is carrying the staff or ferula of Pope Pius IX.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.











Wednesday, 15 August 2018

On the Assumption of the BVM

Ave Maris Stella
On the Solemnity of the Assumption, we are pleased to describe this Marian chasuble,  Ave Maris Stella,  made for a returning customer in Australia.  This is a chasuble in the Gothic Revival style.

The decorative focus of this vestment is an orphrey braid which is based on the work of AWN Pugin.  This braid is produced in two shades of blue (lighter and darker) with figured ornament in gold.

These vestments were made from a silk damask in the shade of ivory and lined in a Royal Blue taffeta.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Papal Mass of His Holiness Benedict XVI : 2

In this second post, the Studio is pleased to reproduce a number of photographs take by L'Osservatore Romano, most of which have not been published anywhere hitherto.  The vestments and mitre worn by Pope Benedict for this Papal Mass, together with the dalmatics of the deacons-assistant were designed and made by the Saint Bede Studio, by the commission of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Holy See.

For this post, we are pleased to include the homily given by Pope Benedict during the Papal Mass with Bishops, Seminarians and Novices in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Sydney Saturday, 19th July 2008.

The homily can be found at the website of the Holy See.  Illustrating images are under the copyright of L'Osservatore Romano and may not be reproduced or re-posted from this website.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


The Saint Bede Studio
Pope Benedict aspersing the new altar of Saint Mary's Cathedral
during the Rite of Consecration.

Image : L'Osservatore Romano.

In this noble cathedral I rejoice to greet my brother Bishops and priests, and the deacons, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Sydney. In a very special way, my greeting goes to the seminarians and young religious who are present among us. Like the young Israelites in today’s first reading, they are a sign of hope and renewal for God’s people; and, like those young Israelites, they will have the task of building up the Lord’s house in the coming generation. As we admire this magnificent edifice, how can we not think of all those ranks of priests, religious and faithful laity who, each in his or her own way, contributed to the building up of the Church in Australia? Our thoughts turn in particular to those settler families to whom Father Jeremiah O’Flynn entrusted the Blessed Sacrament at his departure, a “small flock” which cherished and preserved that precious treasure, passing it on to the succeeding generations who raised this great tabernacle to the glory of God. Let us rejoice in their fidelity and perseverance, and dedicate ourselves to carrying on their labours for the spread of the Gospel, the conversion of hearts and the growth of the Church in holiness, unity and charity!


We are about to celebrate the dedication of the new altar of this venerable cathedral. As its sculpted frontal powerfully reminds us, every altar is a symbol of Jesus Christ, present in the midst of his Church as priest, altar and victim (cf. Preface of Easter V). Crucified, buried and raised from the dead, given life in the Spirit and seated at the right hand of the Father, Christ has become our great high priest, eternally making intercession for us. In the Church’s liturgy, and above all in the sacrifice of the Mass consummated on the altars of the world, he invites us, the members of his mystical Body, to share in his self-oblation. He calls us, as the priestly people of the new and eternal covenant, to offer, in union with him, our own daily sacrifices for the salvation of the world.

The Saint Bede Studio
Pope Benedict anointing the new altar of Saint
Mary's Cathedral
during the Rite of Consecration.
He is shewn wearing the Episcopal dalmatic.
Image : L'Osservatore Romano.

In today’s liturgy the Church reminds us that, like this altar, we too have been consecrated, set “apart” for the service of God and the building up of his Kingdom. All too often, however, we find ourselves immersed in a world that would set God “aside”. In the name of human freedom and autonomy, God’s name is passed over in silence, religion is reduced to private devotion, and faith is shunned in the public square. At times this mentality, so completely at odds with the core of the Gospel, can even cloud our own understanding of the Church and her mission. We too can be tempted to make the life of faith a matter of mere sentiment, thus blunting its power to inspire a consistent vision of the world and a rigorous dialogue with the many other visions competing for the minds and hearts of our contemporaries.

Yet history, including the history of our own time, shows that the question of God will never be silenced, and that indifference to the religious dimension of human existence ultimately diminishes and betrays man himself. Is that not the message which is proclaimed by the magnificent architecture of this cathedral? Is that not the mystery of faith which will be proclaimed from this altar at every celebration of the Eucharist? Faith teaches us that in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, we come to understand the grandeur of our own humanity, the mystery of our life on this earth, and the sublime destiny which awaits us in heaven (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 24). Faith teaches us that we are God’s creatures, made in his image and likeness, endowed with an inviolable dignity, and called to eternal life. Wherever man is diminished, the world around us is also diminished; it loses its ultimate meaning and strays from its goal. What emerges is a culture, not of life, but of death. How could this be considered “progress”? It is a backward step, a form of regression which ultimately dries up the very sources of life for individuals and all of society.

The Saint Bede Studio
Pope Benedict anointing the new altar of Saint
Mary's Cathedral
during the Rite of Consecration.
He is shewn wearing the Episcopal dalmatic, and over this, a gremial.
Image : L'Osservatore Romano.

We know that in the end – as Saint Ignatius of Loyola saw so clearly – the only real “standard” against which all human reality can be measured is the Cross and its message of an unmerited love which triumphs over evil, sin and death, creating new life and unfading joy. The Cross reveals that we find ourselves only by giving our lives away, receiving God’s love as an unmerited gift and working to draw all men and women into the beauty of that love and the light of the truth which alone brings salvation to the world.

It is in this truth – this mystery of faith – that we have been “consecrated” (cf. Jn 17:17-19), and it is in this truth that we are called to grow, with the help of God’s grace, in daily fidelity to his word, within the life-giving communion of the Church. Yet how difficult is this path of consecration! It demands continual “conversion”, a sacrificial death to self which is the condition for belonging fully to God, a change of mind and heart which brings true freedom and a new breadth of vision. Today’s liturgy offers an eloquent symbol of that progressive spiritual transformation to which each of us is called. From the sprinkling of water, the proclamation of God’s word and the invocation of all the saints, to the prayer of consecration, the anointing and washing of the altar, its being clothed in white and apparelled in light – all these rites invite us to re-live our own consecration in Baptism. They invite us to reject sin and its false allure, and to drink ever more deeply from the life-giving springs of God’s grace.

Dear friends, may this celebration, in the presence of the Successor of Peter, be a moment of rededication and renewal for the whole Church in Australia! Here I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country. Indeed, I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured, and I assure them that, as their Pastor, I too share in their suffering. These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain and have damaged the Church’s witness. I ask all of you to support and assist your Bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice. It is an urgent priority to promote a safer and more wholesome environment, especially for young people. In these days marked by the celebration of World Youth Day, we are reminded of how precious a treasure has been entrusted to us in our young people, and how great a part of the Church’s mission in this country has been dedicated to their education and care. As the Church in Australia continues, in the spirit of the Gospel, to address effectively this serious pastoral challenge, I join you in praying that this time of purification will bring about healing, reconciliation and ever greater fidelity to the moral demands of the Gospel.

The Saint Bede Studio
At the Offertory during the Mass in
Saint Mary's Cathedral.

Image : L'Osservatore Romano.

I wish now to turn to the seminarians and young religious in our midst, with a special word of affection and encouragement. Dear friends: with great generosity you have set out on a particular path of consecration, grounded in your Baptism and undertaken in response to the Lord’s personal call. You have committed yourselves, in different ways, to accepting Christ’s invitation to follow him, to leave all behind, and to devote your lives to the pursuit of holiness and the service of his people.

In today’s Gospel, the Lord calls us to “believe in the light” (Jn 12:36). These words have a special meaning for you, dear young seminarians and religious. They are a summons to trust in the truth of God’s word and to hope firmly in his promises. They invite us to see, with the eyes of faith, the infallible working of his grace all around us, even in those dark times when all our efforts seem to be in vain. Let this altar, with its powerful image of Christ the Suffering Servant, be a constant inspiration to you. Certainly there are times when every faithful disciple will feel the heat and the burden of the day (cf. Mt 20:12), and the struggle of bearing prophetic witness before a world which can appear deaf to the demands of God’s word. Do not be afraid! Believe in the light! Take to heart the truth which we have heard in today’s second reading: “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and for ever” (Heb 13:8). The light of Easter continues to dispel the darkness!

The Saint Bede Studio
Pope Benedict distributing the Sacrament.
Image : L'Osservatore Romano.

The Lord also calls us to walk in the light (cf. Jn 12:35). Each of you has embarked on the greatest and the most glorious of all struggles, to be consecrated in truth, to grow in virtue, to achieve harmony between your thoughts and ideals, and your words and actions. Enter sincerely and deeply into the discipline and spirit of your programmes of formation. Walk in Christ’s light daily through fidelity to personal and liturgical prayer, nourished by meditation on the inspired word of God. The Fathers of the Church loved to see the Scriptures as a spiritual Eden, a garden where we can walk freely with God, admiring the beauty and harmony of his saving plan as it bears fruit in our own lives, in the life of the Church and in all of history. Let prayer, then, and meditation on God’s word, be the lamp which illumines, purifies and guides your steps along the path which the Lord has marked out for you. Make the daily celebration of the Eucharist the centre of your life. At each Mass, when the Lord’s Body and Blood are lifted up at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, lift up your own hearts and lives, through Christ, with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, as a loving sacrifice to God our Father.

In this way, dear young seminarians and religious, you yourselves will become living altars, where Christ’s sacrificial love is made present as an inspiration and a source of spiritual nourishment to everyone you meet. By embracing the Lord’s call to follow him in chastity, poverty and obedience, you have begun a journey of radical discipleship which will make you “signs of contradiction” (cf. Lk2:34) to many of your contemporaries. Model your lives daily on the Lord’s own loving self-oblation in obedience to the will of the Father. You will then discover the freedom and joy which can draw others to the Love which lies beyond all other loves as their source and their ultimate fulfilment. Never forget that celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom means embracing a life completely devoted to love, a love that enables you to commit yourselves fully to God’s service and to be totally present to your brothers and sisters, especially those in need. The greatest treasures that you share with other young people – your idealism, your generosity, your time and energy – these are the very sacrifices which you are placing upon the Lord’s altar. May you always cherish this beautiful charism which God has given you for his glory and the building up of the Church!

Dear friends, let me conclude these reflections by drawing your attention to the great stained glass window in the chancel of this cathedral. There Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, is represented enthroned in majesty beside her divine Son. The artist has represented Mary, as the new Eve, offering an apple to Christ, the new Adam. This gesture symbolizes her reversal of our first parents’ disobedience, the rich fruit which God’s grace bore in her own life, and the first fruits of that redeemed and glorified humanity which she has preceded into the glory of heaven. Let us ask Mary, Help of Christians, to sustain the Church in Australia in fidelity to that grace by which the Crucified Lord even now “draws to himself” all creation and every human heart (cf. Jn 12:32). May the power of his Holy Spirit consecrate the faithful of this land in truth, and bring forth abundant fruits of holiness and justice for the redemption of the world. May it guide all humanity into the fullness of life around that Altar, where, in the glory of the heavenly liturgy, we are called to sing God’s praises for ever. Amen.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Value of the American Dollar

A special note to American customers of the Saint Bede Studio.

At present the Australian dollar's value is decreased against the value of the American dollar.  This means that a commission with the Studio from American customers is significantly less expensive than it was over the last year.  Please keep this in mind if you are considering placing an order for vestments with the Studio.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Friday, 3 August 2018

For Zealous Shepherds

Thanks to Father Finigan we found this beautiful prayer of Saint John Fisher, dating from the year 1508, which he uttered during a Sermon. It is a prayer for the appointment to the Church of good bishops. Unfortunately the prayer was not answered as fully as he might have hoped. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester since 1504, was the only Bishop in Catholic England to refuse to assent to the Act of Supremacy, the supreme arrogation of the vile despot Henry VIII (Tudor), severing England from Communion with the Roman Church. For such a refusal, Fisher was put to death by the tyrant in June 1535.  Pope Paul III had made him a Cardinal shortly before his death. Pope Pius XI canonised him four hundred years later (together with Sir Thomas More).

The portrait accompanying this post is described here . Based on Holbein's famous drawing, this portrait might easily be a photograph taken yesterday, so lifelike is it.

Lord, according to Your promise that the Gospel should be preached throughout the whole world, raise up men fit for such work. The Apostles were but soft and yielding clay till they were baked hard by the fire of the Holy Ghost.

So, good Lord, do now in like manner again with Thy Church militant; change and make the soft and slippery earth into hard stone; set in Thy Church strong and mighty pillars that may suffer and endure great labours, watching, poverty, thirst, hunger, cold and heat; which also shall not fear the threatening of princes, persecution, neither death but always persuade and think with themselves to suffer with a good will, slanders, shame, and all kinds of torments, for the glory and laud of Thy Holy Name. By this manner, good Lord, the truth of Thy Gospel shall be preached throughout all the world.

Therefore, merciful Lord, exercise Thy mercy, show it indeed upon Thy Church.



Monday, 30 July 2018

Papal Mass of His Holiness Benedict XVI : 1

In Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, on Saturday 19th July 2008, Pope Benedict celebrated Pontifical Mass with the Australian Bishops for seminarians and religious novices.  This was part of the Pope's visit to Australia on the occasion of World Youth Day.

In this and two following posts, the Studio is pleased to reproduce a number of photographs take by L'Osservatore Romano, most of which have not been published anywhere hitherto.  Please note that these photographs are under the copyright of L'Osservatore Romano and not to be reproduced.

The vestments and mitre worn by Pope Benedict for this Papal Mass, together with the dalmatics of the deacons-assistant were designed and made by the Saint Bede Studio, by the commission of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Holy See.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict leaves the Cathedral Sacristy flanked by
the deacons-assistant
Revd Messrs Higgins (left) and Benton (right).

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict seated in the cathedra
listening to an Address of Welcome by a Religious sister.

The Saint Bede Studio
Pope Benedict is greeted by a Religious Sister
after an Address of Welcome.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict is greeted by a Religious Sister
after an Address of Welcome.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict blessing incense before the
chanting of the Holy Gospel.

Pope Pius IX
Pope Benedict XVI listening to the chanting of the Holy Gospel.
He holds the Papal Ferula or staff of Pope Pius IX.

The Holy Gospel chanted from the pulpit of the Cathedral
by the Revd Mr James McCarthy.


Wednesday, 25 July 2018

For the Season "Per Annum" 2018 : 2

The vestments featured in this post were made from an English ecclesiastical brocade in a shade of green and straw, ornamented with a galloon in the Roman manner. The vestments were lined in a green taffeta.

This set was prepared for an ordinand, Father Maurice Moon of the Diocese of Fort Worth (Texas).  Father Moon was ordained on 19th May.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com 


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Happier Times ...

Today is a very special anniversary for the Saint Bede Studio, being ten years since our vestments were worn by Pope Benedict at a Papal Mass in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.  In the next few days, we will publish a special post of hitherto unseen photographs from that Mass.  What follows below is the post from this Blog of 14th July 2008, discussing our privileged commission.



In March, the Saint Bede Studio was contacted by the Archdiocese of Sydney with a request to submit designs for sets of vestments for the Papal Mass in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, Saturday, 19th July. Designs were prepared for vestments decorated in three different styles: the Gothic Revival; Carolingian; and according to the traditions of Rome. These designs were then submitted by the Archdiocese of Sydney to the Prefect of Pontifical Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, who selected the design for vestments ornamented in the Roman style.

A chasuble and stole, Pontifical dalmatic and mitre were to be prepared for the Pope’s use, in addition to the three dalmatics for the deacons assisting the Pope at the Mass.


In preparing the design, certain considerations were paramount. Firstly, that the vestments be beautiful and dignified, as is fitting for vestments used by His Holiness. Secondly, that the vestments be convenient for the use of His Holiness. Lastly, that the vestments be visually related to Roman traditions for ornamenting sacred vestments.

The design for the chasuble is inspired by a 16th century Saragossan painting of Saint Martin of Tours. But the semi-conical shape of that chasuble was changed to accord more with the shape and dimensions set down in the same century by Saint Charles Borromeo.


The fabric for these vestments is a magnificent silver and gold silk lampas which is figured in the Italianate style of 18th century. The front of the chasuble is decorated with the “tau”: an ornament in continual use in Rome for almost 1000 years. The ornament of the chasuble, Pontifical dalmatic and dalmatics of the three deacons is in yellow "Lovebirds" silk damask, trimmed with a 2cm wide quatrefoil braid of red and gold, especially designed by the Saint Bede Studio. All the vestments are lined in crimson-red silk and bear the Papal coat of arms.

The mitre is made from cloth gold upon which is embroidered mediaeval scrollwork in gold, silver and crimson thread. These embroideries are derived from the historic mitre of Saint Thomas Becket (12th century) kept at the Sens Cathedral. The lappets of this mitre are also embroidered with scrollwork and bear the Papal coat of arms. The embroidery of the mitre was carried out splendidly by Fullerton Design Embroidery (Lithgow NSW).

Attached images shew the original design submitted to the Holy See; the individual Papal vestments; the mitre of Saint Thomas Becket and a reproduction of the painting of Saint Martin of Tours, upon which the vestments were based.

Working on the Papal Mitre
The Saint Bede Studio has regarded it as the most tremendous privilege to make these vestments and has given of its best to produce something worthy. It was a project with its ups and downs but, protected by the Divine Hand, it was possible to bring it to a happy conclusion. But there were also human agents whose generous assistance I gratefully acknowledge: Fr Don Richardson, Sydney Archdiocesan Prefect of Ceremonies; Mrs Louise Thygesen (Canberra), Mrs Helen McLoughlin (Maitland), Mrs Barbara Little & Mrs Kyoko Peacock (Newcastle) and Mrs Sandy Fullerton (Lithgow) whose practical support enabled this project to be completed in time for the Papal visit.

Ut in omnibus Deus glorificetur!

This article and its photographs may not be reproduced in any way without permission from the Saint Bede Studio.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com



Coat of Arms of Pope
Benedict on the lappet
of the Papal Mitre

Papal Stole
Papal Dalmatic
Papal chasuble


Dalmatic for Deacons

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Affording Quality Vestments When Funds are Tight

Good-quality vestments, especially if they are handmade and use silk fabrics, are quite costly.  Indeed, they always have been.  Some years ago, on a website, was found a strategy for being able to afford a vestment which seems too expensive.  It may be useful for readers.  It goes something like this...

Father had his heart set on a particular set of vestments, but didn't have the money to purchase them. The Parish had many commitments and could not justify making such a purchase. But the Parish did buy them and then they were put on display in the Church, with this sign:

"These new vestments were recently purchased. When we have raised enough money to cover their cost, they will be used at the Altar. Until then, they are only for display."

It didn't take too long for the money to be raised for the vestments to be used for Mass and more besides; in fact, enough for another set to be purchased! The Parish loves the vestments and loves to see Father wearing them for Mass.


There is another facet of this story which many priests will be familiar with : the Faithful appreciate being asked to contribute to the beautification of their Parish church and its Sacred Liturgy. After all, it is the Faithful who look at the vestments worn by the priest. Is it not natural to wish to look at things of beauty?

Monday, 16 July 2018

For the Season "Per Annum" 2018 : 1

Green vestments
The Saint Bede Studio has recently completed this set of green vestments for a returning customer, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark (New Jersey USA).  These vestments are in the Studio's Saint Giles style, being a form of Gothic Revival chasuble.

The vestments were made from an English ecclesiastical brocade, ornamented in one of the Studio's Puginesque braids.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com