Saturday 30 April 2022

Festal Dalmatic

In this Easter Season, we are pleased to present this dalmatic made by the Studio as part of a set of vestments for a returning customer.

These vestments were constructed from an English ecclesiastical brocade and ornamented with one of the Studio's unique braids called ChiRho.  The vestments were lined in taffeta in a shade of moss-green.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

The Saint Bede Studio

Saturday 23 April 2022

The Screens ! The Screens!

Before the procession is formed, the deacon cries "The Screens !  The Screens"  whereupon the minister turns on the screens and monitors so that the assembly may more fully enter into the Sacred Mysteries.

General Instructions on the Roman Missal from the year 2040.

This naughty rubric is, of course, invented, but it has a semblance of possibility about how the liturgy of the modern Roman Rite could develop, as things are presently celebrated.

Forty years ago, those who were concerned more about the transcendent aspects of the Sacred Liturgy and less about Liturgy as communication would bemoan the over-arching importance of the sacred microphone and public address system.  Everything had to be clearly audible; everything had to be amplified ... or perhaps over-amplified.

Decades later, the Sacred Liturgy has moved beyond the imperative of the public address system to the imperative of the digital SCREEN : the ultimate liturgical accessory for the digital age.  I must qualify, this is the Catholic experience in Australia.

Where once was a shrine, now a SCREEN or monitor is placed.  Where once you could enter the church and try to recollect yourself before Mass, now - just like the movie theatres in the old days - a series of notices is put up on the SCREEN, advising people of the name of the Church they are in, where the fire-exits are, the names of ministers etc.  Finally, the fixation with the SCREEN large and small that dominates our lives has entered our places of worship.  Once content to use hymn books and missals, now everything is flashed up on the SCREEN : look away if you can.

Rather than direct our greater attention to the Sacred Mysteries, the SCREENS are now their own point of focus.  The casualty is recollection and prayer.  Instead of closing our eyes to pray, we look upon the SCREEN.  Gathered in a large and noble church, where we may look upon many beautiful works of sacred art, instead we are given close-ups of the celebrant and ministers, shewn on the SCREEN.  Look away if you can ... we are drawn to it.

Why must we hear everything, be it sung or spoken, over-amplified?  Is there not a more recollected way of worshipping God?  Why must we have close-up images of the Holy Place, as if we are at a concert watching every gesture and expression of the performers we are applauding?  It is the attitude which deems these new electronic phenomena essential to modern worship which is the enemy of transcendent celebrations of the Sacred Liturgy.  

You will be ever-hearing, but never understanding; you will be ever -seeing, but never perceiving.

The Septuagint text of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 6 : 10.

Purveyors of ecclesiastical digital equipment, please let the Faithful come into our churches and pray without worldly digital distractions.  

Sunday 17 April 2022

Paschal Greetings 2022

To all readers of this blog and to customers and friends of the Saint Bede Studio, may many Graces be yours on the Day of our Lord's Resurrection.

On Easter Day 2022, the Shadow of the Cross looms large across a world still stricken with plague and war.  But in these fearful moments, we look again to the optimistic Christian message that God has overcome Death - and all the awfulness, frailties, discord and disappointments of this earthly life - and loves each and every poor sinner. 

Christ is Risen !

Friday 15 April 2022

On Good Friday

On this Good Friday, we wish to feature this set of black vestments, completed for a returning customer, in the Saint Philip Neri style.

The vestments are extremely simple, but in the classic Roman style of ornament. A black damask was used for these vestments, ornamented with silver braids and lined in charcoal-grey taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Black vestments

Black vestments

Saturday 9 April 2022

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.
The practice of the present Bishop of Rome to celebrate the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper outside of the chapels and basilicas of the Vatican and in places which are not churches, but prisons or hospices, continues to catch the attention of the world. The Pope's decision to wash the feet of girls (as well as boys) and non-Christians during the Mandatum has variously attracted perplexity and rapture.

An analysis of the merits of these divergences is not the purpose of this post. 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 baptised 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 dismal 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.  In the more ancient (pre-1955) rites of Maundy Thursday, as we noted, the Mandatum is reserved to the local Bishop's celebration of Holy Week.  Its being observed at a time other than during the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday is something which, we might suggest, might be given serious consideration. Were that to happen, perhaps it would be of lesser consequence if the feet of women were also washed. 

Monday 4 April 2022

Vestments for the Penitential Seasons 2022 : 3

Purple vestments
In this Holy Season, we are pleased to present a set of penitential vestments, made for a returning Australian customer.

These vestments were made from dupion silk, in a rich shade of plummy-purple and lined with a taffeta bronze in colour.  The vestments were ornamented in the Roman manner with silk damask in colours of rust-red, subdued green and old gold and outlined with a galloon in colours of burgundy and gold.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.



The Saint Bede Studio

Saint Philip Neri

The Saint Bede Studio

Saint Philip Neri