Tuesday 29 April 2014

Saint John XXIII : 1

Saint John XXIII 1958 - 1963.
On 28th October, 1958, ANGELO GIUSEPPE RONCALLI, Cardinal-Patriarch of Venice, was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals and took the name John XXIII.  His election had not been expected, since he was a man of advanced years (77).

Angelo Roncalli was born in humble circumstances in a village within the Diocese of Bergamo on 25th November 1881. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bergamo in 1904. Father Roncalli was consecrated bishop in 1925 and had a series of appointments as Papal Representative in foreign countries. In 1953 was elevated to the Sacred College by Pope Pius XII and appointed Patriarch of Venice.

Pope John is mostly remembered as the Pope who convoked the Second Vatican Council, which opened in the year 1962. John XXIII died in the following year and was buried in S' Peter's Basilica. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000.

On a memorable Roman day, 27th April 2014, he was canonised by Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Square.

A useful summary of his life may be found here.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Father Roncalli photographed during World War 1 with his brothers.

Monsignor Roncalli, Papal Nuncio to France, celebrating Pontifical Mass.
This may be the only occasion that Roncalli wore "Gothic" vestments.

The contrast between Pope Pius XII and his Successor
Cardinal Roncalli is clearly illustrated in this photograph.

Cardinal Roncalli in the Vatican shortly before his Election.
At his side is Father Capovilla, still living at 98, and recently created a Cardinal.

Pope John XXIII receiving the Homage of the Cardinals after his Election
as Supreme Pontiff.

Pope John giving his Blessing on the central loggia of S' Peter's
after his Coronation,  November 1958.

Pope John giving his Blessing on the central loggia of S' Peter's
after his Coronation, November 1958.

At the Papal Mass on Coronation Day, Monsignor Dante,
Prefect of Pontifical Ceremonies, exchanges a quite word
with Pope John.  November 1958.

Pope John at his Cathedra in the Lateran Basilica.

Pope John at the Altar of the Confession in S' Peter's
with Monsignor Enrico Dante.

Solemn Papal Mass in S' Peter's Basilica offered by Pope John.

A Consistory in S' Peter's presided over by Pope John.

Part Two to follow.

Monday 28 April 2014

The Day of the Four Popes

"We declare and define blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church." 

Aerial view of the vast crowd in and around Saint Peter's Square.

It is very unlikely that any reader of this Blog failed to observe, in one manner or another, the remarkable and historic occasion when the sanctity of two great Popes of the twentieth century was formally recognised by the Church. The previous Papal canonisation was in May 1954, when Pope Pius XII made the same declaration concerning his predecessor, Saint Pius X. 

Pope Benedict entering the Square
before the beginning of Mass.
The crowd of the Faithful was so large it stretched back along all the Via della Conciliazione and onto the adjacent bridges which span the Tiber. Approximately the same number of people - one million - thronged Rome in 1954.

The Occasion was also memorable in that a former Pope - Benedict XVI - concelebrated with his Successor: never before in the history of Holy Mother Church.

We are pleased to present some photographs of this historic Mass, the occasion of many Graces.

Photographs in the collections of Getty Images, Spaziani, Reuters.

The Incensation.

The Greek deacon kissing the Fisherman's Ring.

At the Offertory.

Before and after Mass, Pope Benedict was greeted by his Successor.

Leaving the Square quietly after the Mass, Pope Benedict was
cheered by Representatives of other Religions and other Christian denominations.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Paschal Greetings

The joy of the Resurrection renews the whole world: to all readers of this Blog, a most Blessed Easter.

Adjacent is a photograph of a new set of vestments in the Borromeon style, which is the first in a series of vestments to be made for a Monastic Community in Brazil.

The vestments are of a brocade woven from silk and metallic thread and are ornamented in the Roman manner.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Thursday 17 April 2014

The Mandatum Revisited

A 19th century engraving depicting the Pope, surrounded
by the Papal Court washing the feet of thirteen
poor men of Rome.
This rite took place in the Sistine Chapel on the
morning of Maundy Thursday.
On Maundy Thursday, the Pope's celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper will again not be held in the Vatican Basilica. This Pontiff has shewn that he will adapt liturgical Traditions in accordance with his own views.

Last year, the Pope's decision to wash the feet of girls (as well as boys) and non-Christians during the Mandatum attracted an enormous amount of disquiet on the one hand and rapture on the other.

Many other blogs have a coverage of this matter from a polemical perspective, but it is not our intention here to add to this. Rather, we wish to give an outline of the history of the Mandatum in order to present reasons why the significance of the Rite is open to different interpretations and philosophies.

The Catholic Encyclop√¶dia (1907-1914) has an article on the history of the Mandatum, written by Herbert Thurston SJ, of which the following is an extract.  Father Thurston had written previously about the Mandatum in his monograph Lent and Holy Week (1904):

This tradition, we may believe, has never been interrupted, though the evidence in the early centuries is scattered and fitful. For example the Council of Elvira (A.D. 300) in Canon 48 directs that the feet of those about to be baptized are not to be washed by priests but presumably by clerics or at least lay persons. This practice of washing the feet at baptism was long maintained in Gaul, Milan, and Ireland, but it was not apparently known in Rome or in the East. In Africa the nexus between this ceremony and baptism became so close that there seemed danger of its being mistaken for an integral part of the rite of baptism itself (Augustine, Ep. LV, Ad Jan., n. 33). Hence the washing of the feet was in many places assigned to another day than that on which the baptism took place. In the religious orders the ceremony found favour as a practice of charity and humility. The Rule of St. Benedict directs that it should be performed every Saturday for all the community by him who exercised the office of cook for the week; while it was also enjoined that the abbot and the brethren were to wash the feet of those who were received as guests. The act was a religious one and was to be accompanied by prayers and psalmody, "for in our guests Christ Himself is honoured and received". The liturgical washing of feet (if we can trust the negative evidence of our early records) seems only to have established itself in East and West at a comparatively late date. In 694 the Seventeenth Synod of Toledo commanded all bishops and priests in a position of superiority under pain of excommunication to wash the feet of those subject to them. The matter is also discussed by Amalarius and other liturgists of the ninth century. Whether the custom of holding this Maundy (from Mandatum novum do vobis, the first words of the initial Antiphon) on Maundy Thursday, developed out of the baptismal practice originally attached to that day does not seem quite clear, but it soon became a universal custom in cathedral and collegiate churches. In the latter half of the twelfth century the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum (1600) directs that the bishop is to wash the feet either of thirteen poor men or of thirteen of his canons. The bishop and his assistants are vested and the Gospel Ante diem festum paschae is ceremonially sung with incense and lights at the beginning of the function. Most of the sovereigns of Europe used also formerly to perform the Maundy. The custom is still retained at the Austrian and Spanish courts.
A number of points may be made here.  Although the origin of the Mandatum is a Divine Precept, which the Church has since earliest times considered binding, its expression and its symbolism are by no means clear in liturgical history. On the one hand, it is associated with the Catechumenate, on the other hand with the poor; yet again, a demonstration of the attitude of service which a bishop or religious superior ought to have towards his community.

The question of the Mandatum being linked to Ordination to the ministerial priesthood is somewhat less clear, although it is often spoken about.

What is quite clear, amongst various uncertainties, is that throughout its history, the Mandatum had no relationship with ordinary parish life: it was a rite which pertained to the Diocesan Cathedral or Church of a Religious Community.  Only since 1955, with the revisions of the Holy Week Liturgy approved by Pope Pius XII, has the Mandatum been included in the ceremonies of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday and consequently, celebrated ordinarily in parishes. Perhaps this revision was not as laudable as was thought at the time.

In the last two decades, we have witnessed the spectacle of all sorts of curious and frightful additions to the Mandatum, advocated by tinpot liturgists. We will refrain from describing any of these accretions. And so, the symbolism of this ancient rite has become obscured again.  An unfortunate by-product of this trajectory is that the real focus of the Evening Mass of Maundy Thursday - the Institution of the Blessed Eucharist and Ministerial Priesthood - becomes obscured.

Happily, we note that in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, the Mandatum is optional. Its being observed at a time other than during the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday is something, we might suggest, which might be given serious consideration (including by the Pope). Were that to happen, perhaps it would be of lesser consequence if the feet of those who are not men were also washed. 


Thursday 10 April 2014

Saint Philip Neri-style Vestments

A Catholic Academy in Minnesota USA commissioned the Studio to make a set of red vestments after the style of Saint Philip Neri.  The completed vestments are shewn in the adjacent photograph.

These vestments are made from a beautiful English brocade in red and gold and are lined in red taffeta.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Friday 4 April 2014

Ave Maris Stella vestments

We are pleased to return to web-logging with this post depicting a newly-made dalmatic.  This vestment has been made specifically for Festivals of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is called Ave Maris Stella. The decorative focus of this dalmatic 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. This braid was designed by the Studio and is only available through it. The braid can be used on fabrics either brighter white in colour, or ivory and can also be used to decorate dalmatics and copes.

The dalmatic matches a chasuble (shewn in the photograph below) which was produced last year for a priest of the Archdiocese of Galvaston-Houston USA. These vestments were made from a silk damask and lined in a vibrant blue dupion silk.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com