Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Gaudete 2018

As Gaudete Sunday approaches, we are pleased to present this set of Rose vestments, made for a returning customer, an Italian prelate.

The vestments were made from a silk brocade in a subtle shade of Rose.  They were ornamented with one of the Studio's unique braids in colours of silver, red and purple.  The taffeta lining was in a shade of silver.  Shewn in the adjacent image, the chasuble was made in the Borromeon form.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Friday, 7 December 2018

During the Season of Advent

The Saint Bede Studio
We are pleased to present this chasuble commissioned from the Saint Bede Studio by a returning customer from the Archdiocese of Salzburg (Austria).

The set of vestments is in the Studio's Saint Austin style, being a form of Gothic Revival chasuble.  An English ecclesiastical brocade was chosen, lined in a wine-red taffeta.  Ornamenting the vestments is the Studio's unique braid Saint George, derived from Pugin's own work.



Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Monday, 3 December 2018

For Australian Readers

In diebus illis

An additional blog has now been created which deals specifically with Australian Catholic history in the 19th century.  The blog is named In diebus illis.

The internet address : https://inthosedayes.blogspot.com

It is intended to make available on this new blog, articles on the history of the Church in Australia during the 19th century, together with extracts from primary sources, photographs etc., particularly focussing on the life and ministry of Australia's first Catholic bishop, John Bede Polding OSB and his contemporaries.

This Blog has been established in conjunction with the Facebook page


We wish to help a new generation of Australian Catholics to learn about the beginnings of the Church on this continent.

Most Reverend John Bede Polding OSB
Australia's first Catholic bishop.

Image : The Saint Bede Studio

Saturday, 1 December 2018

As Advent Begins

At the beginning of this Season of Advent, a debate regularly emerges about the use of "blue" vestments. The use of blue has advocates and fierce opponents.

Exactly what colour, however, is being suggested as Advent "Blue"? Is it the same colour as the flowers called "violets"? If so, then using that colour in Advent is not only permissible, but is embedded within the Church's Traditions. Some years ago, we presented an article about the history of the use of "violet" for vestments of the Roman Rite.

Click the links for Part One of the article and Part Two of the article.

In the adjacent illustration, a prelate of the Roman Court is shewn wearing choir dress.  What is distinctive is that the colour of the prelate's manteletta is not the Roman purple that is familiar now for prelates, but violet. Up until the beginning of the 20th century (and even beyond in some places, such as France), violet was very common - even usual - for the choir dress of prelates.  Perhaps we may be permitted to regret that it no longer is.

This colour is the more traditional shade of "violet" used by the Church, despite the prevalence of darker shades now, which are more akin to "indigo".

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Vestments on a Budget

Since 2016 the Saint Bede Studio has occasionally been offering for sale a new range of simpler vestments, unlined and less expensive than our usual work. When the Studio began work in 2001, we wished to make beautiful and distinctive vestments available at affordable prices. As the years went on, however, it became obvious that most of customers wished to commission more elaborate vestments and our work has almost entirely been devoted to such a “market”.

Not everyone can afford expensive vestments, whilst others, for various reasons, prefer a more modest beauty. 

Mostly, our new range of simpler vestments will be made from unadorned silk or other quality fabric and ornamented with our distinctive and unique braids. Simpler they may be, but there is no diminution of the quality for which the Studio has become so highly-regarded. 


A priest-customer, who purchased one of our first simple vestments (shewn in the adjacent image), wrote to the Studio as follows:

The green vestments arrived here today. Your work is stunning as ever, even in this simple form. I only dare to call the vestments “simple”, because you used the term yourself on The Saint Bede Studio blog.

In 2019 these simpler vestments will continue occasionally to be offered for sale via the Studio Blog. 

Please pray for God’s continued Blessing on our work.

Contact : stbede62@gmail.com

Friday, 23 November 2018

Red dalmatic

Red dalmatic
A Professor of Sacred Liturgy from an American Seminary, also a returning customer, commissioned the Studio to make a chasuble and dalmatic set, based on the famous chasuble of Saint Thomas Becket preserved at Sens Cathedral.

Featured in this post is the dalmatic of the set, made from a lovely European brocade of cotton and rayon.  The dalmatic was ornamented with one of the Studio's narrow braids and is fully lined in blue taffeta.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Priestly Ordinations 2018 : 4

conical chasuble
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands.  Happily, 2018 is no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Joseph Lustig of the Diocese of Boise (USA).  Father Lustig was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist on 7th June by the Bishop of Boise, the Most Rev'd Peter Christensen.

Father Lustig commissioned a set of festal vestments from the Studio in the semi-conical style for his First Holy Mass. 

The vestments were made from an ecclesiastical brocade in a shade of ivory and ornamented with Puginesque braids in colours of red, blue and gold.  The vestments were lined in a red-coloured taffeta.

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

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Armistice Day Centenary

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of 1918, an armistice between warring parties came into effect and subsequently lead to the end of hostilities known as the Great War.  That was exactly one century ago.  That day is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.

A church brought to ruins by artillery shelling during World War One.
In the space of four years, the order of Europe was overthrown, millions were dispossessed and maimed and several million people killed (largely soldiers).  It is easy to type such statistics, but to comprehend their awful scale is another matter altogether.

On this Day, please pray for the souls of all those who suffered or lost their lives in the Great War.

The Saint Bede Studio had the privilege of preparing for a returning customer a set of vestments intended for a special Mass in England commemorating the Armistice Day Centenary.

The vestments, in the Borromeon form, were made from a black brocade and fully lined in a bronze-coloured taffeta.  They were ornamented in a brocade of black and gold (which depicts the Crucifixion) outlined with a foliated braid in black and gold.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

Recently the Saint Bede Studio refurbished a set of black vestments which was made with great devotion by a Religious in the 1960s.  The old silvery ornament was very tired, but yet the vestments were still quite usable.

Removing all the braids, which had been sewn down with both precision and diligence, a new orphrey was applied, using a new braid in red and gold, designed by AWN Pugin.

The chasuble was presented as a benefaction to the Church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Lewisham (Archdiocese of Sydney).

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

All Souls' Day Mass at the Church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury
Lewisham.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Highest form of flattery ?

In more recent years, increasingly we have found (usually quite by accident) images on the internet of the Studio’s designs being reproduced by vestment-makers and others.  It seems that visitors are looking over the Studio blog in order to obtain designs for other vestment-makers to prepare.  Unfortunately, in these cases, permission to re-create the Studio’s designs was never sought.  

On the one hand, there is a natural desire that good vestment design will flourish and the Saint Bede Studio is very pleased to be considered part of that endeavour.  On the other hand, finding the Studio’s designs being reproduced by others and passed off as their own - and for commercial gain - seems to lack a basic respect and a sense of propriety. 

Reproducing our work without permission is a violation of our artistic property.  

If you are in doubt, please send us a message, there is always an opportunity for discussion.  Read more about this matter here.

Enquiriesstbede62@gmail.com

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Notice

Our schedule of commissions for priestly ordinations in the period May - August 2019 is now full.  We regret any inconvenience caused by being unable to accept further commissions for this period.

Friday, 19 October 2018

In the month of October

The Saint Bede Studio
During the month of the Blessed Virgin, we are pleased to present these vestments, recently made for a returning customer from the Diocese of Colorado Springs (USA).

Given the name Maria Regina, these vestments will be familiar to readers of this blog and is our most commonly-made chasuble.  The Saint Bede Studio has completed three such chasubles this year and we have commissions for three more.

Made from a beautiful ivory-coloured English brocade, the vestments are lined in Royal Blue taffeta and ornamented with our unique braid and narrow galloon, featuring the monogram MR.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Canonisation of Pope Paul VI

On 21st June, 1963, GIOVANNI BATTISTA MONTINI, Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, 
was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals and took the name Paul VI. Unlike his immediate predecessor, John XXIII, the election of Cardinal Montini was completely expected, since he had been prominent in Rome and Internationally for many years.

Giovanni Battista Montini was born was born in the village of Concesio, in the province of Brescia, on 26th September 1897. He was ordained a priest in Brescia in 1920, but undertook studies whilst working in the Papal Secretariat of State from 1922. He continued in this work throughout the 1920's and 1930's, but when Cardinal Pacelli was Elected as Pope in 1939, Monsignor Montini became one of his closest associates. In 1954, Pius XII appointed Monsignor Montini as Archbishop of Milan. Pope John XXIII elevated Monsignor Montini to the Sacred College of Cardinals in 1958.

Pope Paul VI's Pontificate spanned the years of the Second Vatican Council and the troubled years which followed it. He was the first Pope in modern times to travel outside of Italy, visiting the Holy Lands, South America, Africa, Oceania and the United States. He died on 6th August, 1978 at the age of 80 and is buried in the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica.

On Sunday 19th October, 2014, before a large concourse of the Faithful in Saint Peter's Square and in the presence of Benedict XVI, the College of Cardinals and representatives of bishops worldwide, Pope Paul was beatified by his successor Pope Francis.

Today, 14th October 2018, the same Bishop of Rome declared Pope Paul VI a saint, together with others of the beati.

An attempt to present a balanced account of his not uncontroversial life and work can be found here.

At this time of disturbance and discouragement in Holy Mother Church, we might well turn to Saint Paul VI to bring peace and right-teaching in the midst of confusion.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


The newly-elected Pope Paul VI receiving the Homage of the Cardinals
in the Sistine Chapel, 21st June 1963.


The newly-elected Pope Paul VI receiving the Homage of the Cardinals
in the Sistine Chapel, 21st June 1963.


The scene in S' Peter's Square on the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul in 1963
when Paul VI was crowned Pope.



The scene in S' Peter's Square on the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul in 1963
when Paul VI was crowned Pope.



The scene in S' Peter's Square on the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul in 1963
when Paul VI was crowned Pope.



Paul VI at the Cathedra shortly after the moment of his
Coronation, 29th June 1963.
This much-commented on triple tiara was made of aluminium and gold
and was a gift of the Archdiocese of Milan.


Paul VI at the Cathedra shortly after the moment of his
Coronation, 29th June 1963. 


Preparing incense during the Solemn Papal Mass of Coronation
celebrated in S' Peter's Square, 29th June 1963.
This was the first time that a Pope had celebrated Mass in the Square.
Note the array of mitres and triple tiaras resting on the Altar.


Coronation medal of Pope Paul VI.


Sunday, 7 October 2018

Some Applications of Mutual Enrichment (re-posted)

Every now and then, articles will appear on Blogdom discussing that mutual enrichment between the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite which Pope Benedict advocated in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Perhaps the Saint Bede Studio may be allowed its two-pence worth about this subject? In this post, let us discuss this from the perspective of mutually enriching the aesthetics of the two Forms for, although the external appearances are of a lesser degree of importance than the prayers and rituals of the Mass, these external forms do, nevertheless, make a strong impression upon those who look at them, namely the congregation.

For the purposes of this discussion, let us consider the scenario where both Forms of the Roman Rite are offered in the same Church or Parish, using the same sanctuary or altar and by the same priest and community.

The Benedictine Abbey of Le Barroux: 
Contemporary vestments intended for the EF.
Whilst it is true that there are in use worldwide tasteful vestments and tasteless vestments, there is no stipulation that a particular style of vestments is appropriate to one Form of the Roman Rite more than another.  Readers of liturgical blogs might be excused for thinking this is not the case: they might be forgiven for thinking that the only appropriate style of vestments for the Extraordinary Form is the Baroque chasuble (sometimes mistakenly referred to as the "Roman" chasuble, or, more derisively, the fiddleback).  They might be forgiven this, because every day we see photographs appear on numerous Blogs of celebrations of the Extraordinary Form with Baroque vestments.  Sometimes, we even see Extraordinary Form Masses being celebrated with brand new Baroque vestments.  Well, the equation of Baroque vestments with Catholic Tradition simply is a non-sequitur

When the approach is taken that Baroque vestments must be used for the Extraordinary Form, we risk moving away from Tradition into the Re-Creation of bygone eras.  Tradition isn't about that, nor is the Hermeneutic of Continuity, which we hear so much about these days.  This is a very shallow interpretation of Tradition and Continuity.  Read more about that here.

In short, one obvious sort of mutual enrichment of the two Forms of the Roman Rite is when people observe that the same styles of vestments are appropriate for both and there is no required disjunct between the two.

Another is the manner in which altars are set up.  Leaving aside the question of the Orientation of the Extraordinary Form, an altar may be set up for Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form simply with two candlesticks and a Crucifix, resting on the mensa of the altar.  Tragically, some have now implemented the practice that, for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form, a timber shelf is placed on an altar, sometimes with a faux-tabernacle built into it, in order to make the altar seem more like "a Traditional High altar".  This frightful practice is not only nonsense, it is also unliturgical.  Is it not disrespectful of the dignity of a consecrated altar to place portable shelves on it?

Processional Cross as the altar Cross.
Vest the altar in worthy antependia (altar frontals) and with cloths of white linen.  If you find altar cloths (the cloths that cover the mensa of the altar) in your church which are made in the liturgical colours (another frightful practice) instead of pure white, dispose of these with a just penalty.

You don't have to place six candlesticks on your altar for the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form.  It became fashionable to do this, adopting what people referred to as the Benedictine Arrangement.  Two good-sized, worthy candlesticks will do, particularly if the altar is a small one.  If you do use a set of six candlesticks, make sure they are a matching set and proportionate to the altar.

Here is another suggestion: if you have a free-standing altar, locate the Processional Cross in the very centre of the altar (at the front of the altar for the Ordinary Form and at the back of the altar for the Extraordinary Form).  Anciently, the Processional Cross was used this way before there was ever a thought of placing a Cross on the altar.  A processional Cross so located can serve for both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms.

Secondly, then, ornament the altar for both Forms of the Roman Rite in much the same manner, even if the Orientation of the celebration is different.

Priestly crossing of the stole.
Thirdly, for priest readers: start crossing your stole when you vest for Mass in the Ordinary Form.  It might be immediately objected that this is forbidden by the GIRM (a debatable point),  but if you crossed your stole, would anyone mind that much?  If they do, they don't have enough to do with their time. It is an ancient practice to cross the stole and it reinforces the distinction between the threefold Orders of deacon, priest and bishop.  Give it a try.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

In the month of the Blessed Virgin

Marian vestments
The Saint Bede Studio has recently completed this set of vestments for a priest of the Diocese of Norwich (Connecticut, USA). 

Our customer wished to have a set of vestments in honour of the Blessed Virgin, in the Borromeon style.  A lovely English brocade was chosen for the vestments, ornamented with a silk damask in subtle shades of blue. A galloon in a neutral shade was used to outline the orphrey.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 29 September 2018

For the Season "Per Annum" 2018 : 3

Green vestments
In this post we present a chasuble recently completed for a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse (USA).  Our customer had particular ideas about the appearance of the vestments, which have been made in the Studio's Saint Martin style.

The usual palette of green fabrics is replaced here with a very light green damask with a lining of a lighter olive green.  The ornament is formed from a braid of moirĂ© taffeta, outlined with narrow galloons.  Upon the orphreys, medallions have been applied to enhance the ornamental effect.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Enquiries with the Studio

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.  If in doubt, please write to us again.

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.

Your Christian patience is greatly appreciated.

Please note :  Messages sent to the e-mail address saintbedestudio@hotmail.com should automatically be re-directed to our principal e-mail address (see below).  It is better, however, that all enquiries are directed to the address below, which is advertised on the Studio Blog and website :

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Thursday, 20 September 2018

For the Season "Per Annum" 2018 : 2

The Studio recently completed this set of green vestments (shewn in the adjacent image) which forms part of a benefaction to the Church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Lewisham (Archdiocese of Sydney).  This historic church has recently undergone a comprehensive restoration and refurbishment, for which the Saint Bede Studio was a consultant.

These attractive vestments were made from a lovely ecclesiastical brocade in deep green and were lined in a  Emerald green-coloured taffeta. The chasuble is in the Studio's Saint Giles style, being a contemporary refinement of the Gothic Revival style. The ornament is formed from one of the braids designed by the Studio, in colours of green, gold and white upon red.

The vestments were worn for the first time at the re-hallowing of Saint Thomas' church by the Most Rev'd Dr Fisher OP, Archbishop of Sydney, on Sunday 22nd July.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com


The Saint Bede Studio
View of the High Altar of the Church of Saint Thomas
of Canterbury, Lewisham (Australia).
Ornamental work on the sanctuary wall was designed by
The Saint Bede Studio as part of the restoration works
on the church.

Image : The Saint Bede Studio.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

For the Feast of the Holy Cross

The Saint Bede StudioRecently, the Studio completed a set of vestments for an Australian priest, resident in Victoria, a returning customer

Our customer commissioned vestments in the Saint Philip Neri style, to be used on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. 

The chasuble (shewn adjacent) was made from wine-red silk dupion and was ornamented in the Roman style with a brocade and narrow galloons in the colours of burgundy and gold. The vestments were lined in a copper-coloured taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 8 September 2018

On the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

Maria Regina
On this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, we are pleased to present this set of vestments, recently completed for a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver (USA).

This is the Studio's now-familiar Maria Regina vestments, made in the Gothic Revival style using braids designed by the Studio.  The ground fabric is an English ecclesiastical damask, being lined in Royal Blue taffeta.

A Prayer to the Blessed Virgin
Being a collect from "Divine Worship", the Missal for the Ordinariates of the English Use.

Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the child-bearing of Blessed Mary : grant that we, who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and, through her constant intercession, conformed to the pattern of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, 31 August 2018

"Saint Bartholomew" Borromeon chasuble



A young priest from the Diocese of Rockville Centre (New York state USA) commissioned vestments made in the Borromeon form from the Studio. The chasuble (shewn in adjacent photograph) was made from a beautiful silk damask in muted gold and was ornamented with a damask in the colours of burgundy and gold, outlined with narrow braids, in the Roman style. The vestments were lined in burgundy taffeta.  This design, of which the Studio has made several, we have named Saint Bartholomew.

A matching dalmatic made for our customer is shewn in an earlier post.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Monday, 27 August 2018

A Dark Hour

Statue of the Archangel Michael
at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Mexico City.
Blessed Michael 
the Archangel, 
defend us in the hour of conflict.
Be our safeguard against the 
wickedness and snares of the Devil:
may God restrain him, 
we humbly pray.
And do thou, 

O prince of the Heavenly Host, 
by the power of God 

thrust down Satan into hell 
and with him 

the other wicked spirits 
who wander through the world 
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

For the Church in Difficult Times

O Heavenly Lord

We beseech you continually to inspire the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant, that all who confess your Name may agree in the truth of your Holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.

We beseech you to give grace to Francis our Pope and to all bishops, priests and deacons, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth your true and living Word and rightly and duly administer your holy Sacraments.

We beseech you to guide and prosper those who are labouring for the spread of your Gospel among the nations, and enlighten with your Spirit all places of education and learning; that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of your truth. Amen.

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.