Wednesday 31 October 2018


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.

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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.

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