Saturday, 25 March 2023

Vestments in the Season of Lent : 4

The Saint Bede Studio
In this Holy Season, we are pleased to present a set of penitential vestments, made for a returning American customer.

These vestments were made from an English ecclesiastical brocade, in a rich shade of violet and lined with a taffeta red in colour.  The vestments were ornamented in the Roman manner with the crimson red damask, outlined with a galloon in colours of burgundy and grey and a narrow galloon of the same colours.

Saint Philip Neri vestments

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.


Violet vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

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Saturday, 18 March 2023

A Rose by any other name but Pink

Pope Paul VI
Figure 1. Pope Paul VI in 1978
wearing a rose chasuble 
made from dupion silk.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano
Twice a year, the Church breaks the tone of its penitential seasons by the use of rose-coloured vestments.  Rose-coloured vestments were never commonplace and they still are not.  Nevertheless, you will find various pronouncements these days (usually on websites) about what the real or authentic shade of rose is which is to be used for vestments.

Newsflash: there is no official shade of Rose designated by the Church, nor has there ever been.  One reason for this is rather simple: only in the nineteenth century did the process of dyeing fabric become sufficiently sophisticated to ensure that much the same shade of a colour emerged from one batch of fabric dyeing to another.

Many different colours have been deemed by the Church as acceptable as liturgical Rose.  Some of these are a salmon shade; some a silvery-pink, almost mushroom-colour; some close to what we would call Bishop's purple or fuchsia.

Another thing is certain: Bubblegum Pink is not Rose, nor has it been a traditional variation for use on these days. Whilst not intending to get into the argument as to whether the use of pink (be it vibrant or subdued) is a fitting colour for a man to wear, Bubblegum Pink certainly manifests a lamentable lack of liturgical good taste. And yet we find so many pink vestments for sale from ecclesiastical suppliers etc.

Rose vestments
Figure 2. Pope Paul VI greeting a priest
after Mass in Saint Peter's on Laetare Sunday 1978.
Both are wearing rose 
chasubles made from dupion silk.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano
At an old post on the Blog, The New Liturgical Movement, we find a number of interesting vestments in that shade of Rose commonly found in Italy in centuries past: a salmon colour.  Go there and take a look.  But don't be mistaken about that particular shade of Rose being universal: it was used in Italy, but probably not much elsewhere.

Adjacent are two pictures of another shade of Rose.  These are sets of vestments worn by Pope S. Paul VI on Laetare Sunday, 1978. The vestments are made from dupion silk of a very subdued silvery-rose.  Ornamenting them is a column-orphrey almost fuchsia in colour.  Sadly, these vestments have not been seen in Papal Masses since :  lamentable sets of brighter pink vestments, of rather unimaginative fabric and design, have been used instead.

Below is an image of a set of Rose vestments made by the Saint Bede Studio of similar colour to the vestments of S. Paul VI.

The Saint Bede Studio


Monday, 13 March 2023

For the Church in an Hour of Need

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, the Bishop of Rome 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.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

Vestments in the Lenten Season : 3

Violet vestments
For a returning customer from Canada, the Saint Bede Studio recently completed this very rich set of dark violet vestments in the Gothic Revival style.  This particular variant of the Gothic chasuble we have named Saint Austin.  It is pointed at the front and the back and reaches to the elbows.

Gothic Revival Vestments

The vestments were made from a beautiful ecclesiastical brocade, woven in the United Kingdom.  Lined in a beautiful shade of deep rose-coloured taffeta, the vestments were ornamented with one of the Studio's unique braids.  This ornate and beautiful braid Saint George is derived from elements of the designs of AWN Pugin and is woven in burgundy and taup upon a red background.

Violet vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

Gothic Revival vestments

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : This page.


Thursday, 2 March 2023

Vestments in the Lenten Season : 2

Purple Gothic vestments
In 2022, the Saint Bede Studio completed two sets of Gothic Revival vestments for an American customer.  One of these sets is illustrated in this post.  The chasuble is in the Studio's Saint Benet style, being a variant of the Gothic Revival form and closely based on the chasuble shape developed in the 1840s by AWN Pugin. 

These attractive vestments - intended for the Penitential Seasons - were made from a lovely brocade in a beautiful fuchsia-purple and were lined in a  crimson-red taffeta. 

The Saint Bede Studio

The ornament is formed from one of the Studio's braids re-worked from the designs of AWN Pugin by the Studio, in colours of blue and gold upon red; this braid is called Saint Austin.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Purple Gothic Vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

The Saint Bede Studio


Saturday, 25 February 2023

Vestments in the Lenten Season : 1

Purple vestments
In this Season of Lent, we are pleased to present some penitential vestments made by the Saint Bede Studio.

This particular set was made for a priest in North Dakota USA, a returning customer.

It is made from purple ecclesiastical brocade, this shade of purple being very similar to the colour of choir dress of bishops.

The chasuble is in the Studio's more ample style of Gothic, called Saint Giles.  Its ornament is formed from a simple braid in colours of burgundy upon taup, with some enrichment from another ecclesiastical brocade of a richer shade of purple.

Purple vestments

The vestments were lined in a taffeta in a brighter shade of red.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquirers should review this page.

Purple Vestments

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Purchasing quality vestments in times of fiscal constraint

Saint Martin vestments
One of the Studio's more contemporary
styles "Saint Martin".
Good-quality vestments, especially if they are handmade and use silk fabrics, are quite costly.  Indeed, they always have been.  Some years ago, on a website, was found a strategy for being able to afford a vestment which seems too expensive.  It may be useful for readers.  It goes something like this...

Father had his heart set on a particular set of vestments, but didn't have the money to purchase them. The Parish had many commitments and could not justify making such a purchase. But the Parish did buy them and then they were put on display in the Church, with this sign:

"These new vestments were recently purchased. When we have raised enough money to cover their cost, they will be used at the Altar.  Until then, they are only for display."

It didn't take too long for the money to be raised for the vestments to be used for Mass and more besides; in fact, enough for another set to be purchased! The Parish loves the vestments and loves to see Father wearing them for Mass.

There is another facet of this story which many priests will be familiar with : the Faithful appreciate being asked to contribute to the beautification of their Parish church and its Sacred Liturgy. After all, it is the Faithful who look at the vestments worn by the priest. Is it not natural to wish to look at things of beauty?

Enquiries with the Saint Bede StudioThis page. 

Saturday, 18 February 2023

Priestly Ordinations 2022 : 3

Borromeon vestments
In this post, we are pleased to describe a set of vestments in the Saint Bede Studio's Borromeon style, which was commissioned by an ordinand from New Jersey, USA.

These vestments were made from a magnificent silk damask in colours of straw-gold upon a taup background.  The damask is called Lovebirds.  

The chasuble was ornamented in the Roman manner with a TAU at the front and a column at the back.  This ornamentation was formed from a damask in colours of burgundy and old gold, outlined with a galloon in a brighter shade of gold. 

The Saint Bede Studio

The lining of these vestments was formed from a shade of red taffeta.

Please pray for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Borromeon vestments

The Saint Bede Studio

Festal vestments

Enquiries : This page.


Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Thorny Issues around Ad Orientem worship

A new skirmish in the "Liturgy Wars" has broken out - at least in the United States - surrounding the practice of celebrating the New Order of Mass "ad orientem".

The novel practice of celebrating the Roman Mass "versus populum" began universally during the Second Vatican Council (1962 - 1965), but became more or less normative with the introduction of the New Order of the Roman Mass in November 1969.  With the New Mass was introduced many things which were passed off as being revivals of liturgical practices from the Early Church. But among them was also an entirely new concept, namely, the priest-celebrant as “Presider”. 

We would like to suggest that this particular break with Tradition has largely facilitated the widespread distortion where, from the very beginning of the Mass, the priest becomes more of a compere or emcee, rather than a celebrant. The principle of communication is most prominent in the New Order of Mass in what is termed The Introductory Rite. Here, the predominance of dialogue between the “presider” and the “assembly” occurs.  

It is for this reason precisely that the incorporation of ad orientem  posture is desirable from the very beginning of the Order of Mass and not simply during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  It is desirable because it would have the effect of lessening the prevailing tendency that the Mass is a dialogue (which varies from place to place in degrees of formality) between those physically present in a particular church, rather than being the worship of the entire Church, Visible and Invisible.

A Conventual Mass according to the New Missal
in the Abbey-Church of Sant'Antimo, Tuscany.
Already, some pastors through the catechesis of their flocks, have introduced the celebration of Mass ad orientem and have been doing so for some time.  But not every pastor of souls is in a position to do this.  Leaving aside the issue of prudence, the sanctuaries of some churches are not readily suited to this arrangement, namely that the celebrant offers the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the altar facing towards the apse.  For these two reasons, suppose the focus were not on the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but on a partly ad orientem Liturgy of the Word?

Whilst it may well be argued that many priests and congregations would not welcome ad orientem celebrations of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, surely fewer would object to parts of the Liturgy of the Word being celebrated ad orientem, particularly if such a practice were introduced slowly and in stages and with appropriate catechesis. 

As a principle, prayers addressed to God during the Liturgy of the Word of the "Ordinary Form" Mass might be offered ad orientem and preferably at the altar or its foot, in order to clarify that such prayers are not a dialogue between the celebrant and the Faithful present. A gradual introduction of this principle could (over a period of years) lead to the celebration of Mass being entirely (or mostly) ad orientem. Already a variant of the Roman Rite exists which puts into effect this principle, namely the Order of Mass prepared for the use of the Personal Ordinariates Anglicanorum Coetibus in the United Kingdom, the USA/Canada and Australia.

Read a much elaborated version of this article at this link on the Saint Bede Studio blog.


Saturday, 11 February 2023

Red Gothic Revival Vestments

Red vestments
In this post, we are pleased to present a lovely set of red Gothic Revival vestments  prepared by the Saint Bede Studio for a priest from the United States, a returning customer.

This chasuble was tailored in the Studio's Saint Austin design, being in the "pointed" style.  The vestments were made from an English brocade in a brighter shade of red and lined in a brassy-gold shade of taffeta.

The Saint Bede Studio

The vestments were ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design in colours of green and gold upon red. The braid is called Saint Chad and is directly based on a design of AWN Pugin.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries Visit this page

Red Gothic vestments

The Saint Bede Studio


Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Gothic Revival Festal Vestments

Saint Austin vestments
This is our first post of recently-completed vestments for 2023.  Shewn in the adjacent photographs are vestments prepared by the Saint Bede Studio for a priest from the United States, an esteemed returning customer.

This chasuble was tailored in the Studio's Saint Austin design, being in the Gothic Revival style.  The vestments were made from an English brocade in the colour of ivory and lined in a muted shade of olive taffeta.

Saint Austin vestments

The vestments were ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design in colours of green, white and gold upon red. The braid is called Chi Rho.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries Visit this page

The Saint Bede Studio


Friday, 3 February 2023

In Memory Cardinal George Pell

Yesterday, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, His late Eminence, Cardinal Pell was laid to rest in the crypt of Saint Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, near to all his predecessors going back to the foundation of the Church in Australia in 1820.  As an historian by discipline, he would relish the company he now keeps in death.

Cardinal Pell

It is a sad fact that the Cardinal was a man much-hated in his native Australia, thanks to years and years of unrelenting detraction from the Australian media and liberal elements within the Church.  He was also greatly admired and regarded as a hero by Faithful Catholics from the time of his appointment as a bishop in 1987.  In Australia, he subsequently became Archbishop of Melbourne and then Archbishop of Sydney before accepting a role within the Roman Curia to tidy-up financial affairs.

The late Cardinal had a great vision for the Church in Australia, once commenting that he intended to work to avoid the worst possible outcome : namely, the Church in Australia following the lead of the Church in Holland.  As Archbishop of Melbourne and then Archbishop of Sydney his steadily put into place his broad and deep vision for a revitalised, faithful, well-educated and apostolic Australian Church.  It will take a further twenty years for his vision to be entirely realised, in God's Providence.

Throughout his years of leadership his work was thwarted by the hatred of a certain element of Australian society, who wished to present themselves as champions of justice.  This culminated in the shameful moment when a Prince of the Church was falsely accused, convicted and gaoled in his own land.  How could any Catholic reflect on these facts and not feel the deepest shame?  These trials compromised the health of the Cardinal, and he has died prematurely for a man of such renowned vigour.  

We lament his loss, pray for his soul and thank God for his good, faithful work and for the wonderful example of his courage and integrity in the midst of persecution.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, with your saints forever; for you are merciful.


Tuesday, 31 January 2023

In Memory Benedict XVI : 22

Concluding our posts in this series in tribute to our late beloved Benedict XVI, of happy memory and on the 30th day following his death, I wish to write about my one and only encounter with Pope Benedict, which took place in Sydney Australia in July of 2008.

In March of that year, the Saint Bede Studio was contacted by the Archdiocese of Sydney with a request to submit designs for sets of vestments for the Papal Mass in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, which was to be held on Saturday, 19th July, as part of World Youth Day.  A chasuble and stole, Pontifical dalmatic and mitre were to be prepared for the Pope’s use, in addition to three dalmatics for the deacons assisting the Pope at the Mass.

Design for the Papal Vestments
Designs were prepared for vestments decorated in three different styles: the Gothic Revival; Carolingian; and according to the traditions of Rome. These designs were then submitted by the Archdiocese of Sydney to then Prefect of Pontifical Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, who selected the design for vestments ornamented in the Roman style.  The adjacent image depicts the design chosen by the authorities in Sydney and Rome.  At the time they were drawn up, Pope Benedict was still using the ferula of S. John Paul II and the form of primitive pallium imposed on him at the beginning of his Pontificate in 2005.  He did not use either during his trip to Sydney.

In preparing the design, certain considerations were deemed important. First, that the vestments be beautiful and dignified, as is fitting for vestments used by the Pope. Second, that the vestments be convenient for the use. Lastly, that the vestments be visually related to Roman traditions for ornamenting sacred vestments.

Papal vestments
S' Martin.
The design for the chasuble was inspired by a 16th century Saragossan painting of Saint Martin of Tours. But the semi-conical shape of that chasuble was changed to accord more with the shape and dimensions set down in the same century by Saint Charles Borromeo; this would be more convenient for the use of Pope Benedict.

The fabric for these vestments was a magnificent silk damask silver and gold in colour, which was figured with embroidery in the Italianate style of 18th century. The front of the chasuble is decorated with the “tau”: an ornament in continual use in Rome for almost 1000 years. The ornament of the chasuble, Pontifical dalmatic and dalmatics of the three deacons was in a straw-coloured silk damask, trimmed with a 2cm wide quatrefoil braid of red and gold, especially designed by the Saint Bede Studio. All the vestments were lined in crimson-red silk and bear the Papal coat of arms.  An adjustment to the design occurred by way of enrichment.  The tau at the front and column at the back had embroidered medallions added to them, to give the chasuble a more three-dimensional effect.

Papal vestments
Mitre of S' Thomas.
The mitre for Pope Benedict's use was made from cloth gold upon which was embroidered mediaeval scrollwork in gold, silver and crimson thread. These embroideries were derived from the historic mitre of Saint Thomas Becket (12th century) kept at the Sens Cathedral. The lappets of this mitre are also embroidered with scrollwork and bear the Papal coat of arms. The embroidery of the mitre was carried out in Australia.

Below are images of all the vestments taken in the course of their manufacture.

Papal vestments
Constructing the mitre.

Papal Vestments
The completed mitre.

Papal vestments
Completed mitre shewing lappets.

Papal vestments
Detail of the mitre lappet
depicting the coat of arms of
Benedict XVI.

The Saint Bede Studio
The Papal stole.

Papal vestments
The Papal tunicle.

Papal vestments
Sewing the Papal chasuble.

Papal vestments
The completed Papal chasuble.

Papal vestments
Dalmatics for the deacons-assistant.

It was a tremendous and unexpected privilege to make these vestments for the use of Pope Benedict.  It was a project with its ups and downs but, protected by the Divine Hand, it was possible to bring it to a happy conclusion. There were also human agents whose generous assistance enabled this project to be completed in time for the Papal visit.

Ut in omnibus Deus glorificetur!

A concluding post will describe my experiences at Saint Mary's Cathedral Sydney during the Papal visit.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

In Memory Benedict XVI : 21

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.

The Saint Bede Studio is pleased to reproduce a number of photographs take by L'Osservatore Romano, most of which have not been published anywhere else.  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.