Monday 30 May 2016

For the Season "Per Annum" 2016 : 1

This post concerns a set of vestments made for a young priest in the Diocese of Kansas City (Missouri) USA.

Our customer commissioned vestments made in the ample Saint Martin form. The chasuble was made from dupion silk in a subdued shade of olive green and was ornamented with braids in the colours of burgundy, red and platinum, part of the suite of braids designed especially by and for the Saint Bede Studio. The vestments were lined in burgundy taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.


Friday 27 May 2016

A Night Prayer (updated)

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; 
and by thy great mercy defend us 
from all perils and dangers of this night; 
for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

This brief but lovely prayer is found in the 1559 version of The Book of Common Prayer, and had its antecedent in pre-Reformation English Catholic use.* The prayer was intended to be said at Evensong, the last Hour of the day.

The redoubtable Father Hunwicke has an exposition of this prayer for us, which is most interesting.

Whatever the intention of the ancient author of this oration, we can now look at Cranmer's choice of the translation "lighten" in two ways :

"Shed your light upon our darkness"   or

"Lift the burden of our darkness".

In such an understanding, Darkness may refer to our sinfulness, or to our spiritual or intellectual blindness. It is certainly a prayer for those who wish to be at rights with God before sleep descends.


* UPDATE A priest-reader has kindly written to me to explain that this prayer was of Catholic origin, being the last prayer of the Office of Compline in the Sarum Use.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Anglophone Missals of the "Interim Rite" 1964 - 1969 : Part One (re-posted)

Fifty years ago, in 1964, as a consequence of the deliberations of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, culminating in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, changes began to be introduced into the Celebration of Mass. New liturgical books which reflected these alterations were required.

This is the first in a series of posts examining the various iterations of the Roman Missal which were published between 1964 and 1969. These missals are often referred to as "Interim Rite" missals. Of necessity, these posts must be confined to Anglophone Interim Rite Missals.

The first of these Missals for the English-speaking world was published by the Catholic Book Publishing Company (New York) after May 1964, for the use of the Dioceses of the United States of America. Below are photographs from that Missal.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

The Missal handsomely-bound in red morocco leather and gold stamped.

The titlepage of the 1964 Missal.

On the reverse of the titlepage, the Imprimatur of Cardinal Spellman of New York
is shewn. It also makes reference to the translation of the Scriptures 
which the Bishops determined for use.

In publishing this Missal, the Bishops Conference of the United States obtained a decree from the now infamous Consilium, signed by Cardinal Lercaro and Father Annibale Bugnini CM and dated 1st May 1964. The decree defined the specific changes to the celebration of the Mass which were permitted. The English language was permitted to be included in the following parts of the Mass (shewn in the photograph below) : the proclamation of the Epistle and Gospel; in the chants of the Ordinary of the Mass, namely the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei; in the Lord's Prayer; in the formula Ecce Agnus Dei before the Communion of the Faithful; in the chants of the Proper of the Mass, namely the Introit, Gradual etc., Offertorium and Communio; in acclamations, Greetings and Dialogues between the celebrant and the faithful. Lastly in the "Common Prayer" or Prayers of the Faithful.

First part of the decree of the "Consilium" : May 1964.

This Missal, however, is a curiosity: it was published before the decisions regarding revisions to the rite of Mass were published at the beginning of 1965. Consequently, ritually it contains no changes from the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 typical edition of the Missale Romanum. All it admits of is the inclusion of the English language. It permits English for the use of the "Common Prayer" (General Intercessions), but no reference to these prayers is made in the rubrics of the Order of Mass. But one thing worthy of note : where these vernacular admissions are printed, no alternative in Latin is shewn. It seems that when the Consilium used the words in its decree " Linguam anglicanam adhibere licet ", it was more of a requirement than a permission.

The first page of the Proper of the Seasons
shewing the Introit and Epistle in English,
but the Collect still entirely in Latin.

The next photographs are a selection of the pages of the Order of Mass.

The Prayers at the foot of the Altar : still entirely in Latin.

Pages shewing the Kyrie and Gloria, given only in English.
Compare the translation with the present translation for
the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

One of the prefaces :
The Preface itself and its introductory dialogue are
entirely in Latin;
the Sanctus given only in English.

Pages shewing the Communion Rite :
The Lord's Prayer and Agnus Dei given in English,
everything else in Latin.

The concluding prayers of the Mass remain unaltered
from the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum and all its predecessors.

Pages shewing the Rite of Burial, including English for chants and orations,
but the antiphon remaining in Latin with its gregorian notation.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Welcome, New Visitors, to the Studio Blog

Recently, daily visitors to the Saint Bede Studio blog have significantly increased, prompting me to write a word of welcome to those visiting these pages for the first time. This Blog was established in March 2007 for two purposes :

  • To illustrate the vestment-making work of the Saint Bede Studio
  • To discuss aspects of Sacred Liturgy and Ecclesiastical architecture in general and in particular.

In 2014, a subsidiary blog was established specifically to discuss Ecclesiastical architecture and Sacred furnishings. Unfortunately, the pressure of vestment-making work has limited my capacity to add to this Blog regularly, but there is hope of improvement soon.

In the sidebar there are links to help you look through the blog by category.

Happy reading : ad majorem Dei gloriam.

Friday 20 May 2016

The Liturgical Colour Red (Ruber) : 1

For those observing the calendar of the 1962 (or earlier) edition of the Missale Romanum, the Octave of Pentecost is still being celebrated. * It seems an appropriate moment to commence a short series here on the history of the use of the liturgical colour red (ruber).

Red chasuble
Chasuble made from a brighter red silk.
This vestment in the Studio's
Saint Martin form.
We begin by noting when red vestments are to be used :

Articles 123-126 of Chapter XVIII of the Rubricae Generales of the Roman Missal (1962) prescribe that the colour red is to be worn in Offices and Masses of the Season from the Vigil Mass of the Pentecost throughout the week to the Saturday following.

It is also prescribes red to be used on feastday Masses of the mysteries and instruments of the Lord's Passion; on feastday Masses of the Apostles and Evangelists (except Saint John); on the feastdays of all the Roman Pontiffs; on the feastdays of the Martyrs and on feastdays of the Holy Relics.

Further, red is to be used in Votive Masses of the Passion of our Lord; of the Holy Spirit; and for the election of the Roman Pontiff. And lastly red vestments are to be used for the Blessing of Palms &c on Palm Sunday.

The Roman Missal of 1970 at article 308 of its General Instructions is somewhat altered and abbreviated :

Dalmatic made from a silk 
damask of deep red.
Red is used on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, Pentecost, feasts of the Passion of our Lord, feasts of the Apostles and and Evangelists and the feasts of martyrs.

Nowhere is it prescribed in either sets of liturgical directives what shade of red is to be used. Consequently we find several different shades of red in liturgical use, but mainly two : a very bright red (similar to the scarlet used in the choirdress of Cardinals) and deeper shade, perhaps even darker than crimson.

Whilst neither one or the other of these two shades is prescribed, it is fitting that a deeper red - a blood red - be used on the feasts of the martyrs and evangelists and for mysteries of the Lord's Passion (for example, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross). Conversely, on the Solemnity of Pentecost and other days associated with the Holy Spirit (for example, ritual Masses for Confirmation), it seems fitting that a flame red be used.

Chasuble made from a brocade 
of red and gold. The combination 
produces a flame-like colour, 
very fitting for Pentecost.
Throughout the history of the liturgical colour red, both these shades - blood red and flame red have been found.  The use of vestments which are both red and gold is most fitting for the Solemnity of Pentecost, since these colours in combination frequently give the impression of a flame colour. The festal character of this combination is also very fitting to so great a Feast.

In further posts, we shall trace the varied history of the use of red as a liturgical colour.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

* A very misguided act it was by the devisers of the 1970 Roman Missal to suppress the beautiful Whitsun Octave. 

Friday 13 May 2016

Deaconesses? Not again!

Astonishingly, we hear that the tired subject of a "female diaconate" has been raised again, but this time - most disappointingly - by a Supreme Pontiff (who shall remain nameless) who claims that the history of the deaconesses in the Early Church is "obscure".

It assuredly is NOT obscure, but was the focus of a definitive study published in 1982 by the distinguished French liturgiologist, Monsignor Aime-Georges Martimort.  Ignatius Press published a translation of this wonderful work in 1986 Deaconesses : An Historical Study, which is still in print. I urge you to obtain this book and read it (it assumes a working knowledge of Greek and Latin). It also appears to be available to be read online.

Deaconesses DID exist in the Early Church but they WERE NOT female deacons. Their ministry was narrowly defined, completely distinct from the ministry of the deacon and DID NOT include any liturgical role at the altar, where traditionally no woman set foot.

Sunday 8 May 2016


The Saint Bede Studio has recently completed a set of white vestments for a Cathedral in the United States. The chasuble, shewn in the adjacent image, is in the Borromeon form, but modified in its decoration to suit its Gothic environment.

The vestments were made from dupion silk and ornamented with Puginesque braids of the Studio's own design. The braids are in colours of red, green and straw-gold. The taffeta lining was also straw-gold.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

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