Thursday, 7 April 2011

God save the poor West!

I mean, the West of Wales where I reside. It is a fairly remote region where sheep far outnumber the human population and where the chief industries, such as they are, are tourism and farming. Neither of which is particularly good for the working man or woman.
But while it is economically disadvantaged it is now spiritually between a rock and a hard place.

Sheep in Menevia Diocese - looking for a good shepherd!

We have no priest willing to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of Mass within 70 miles of us - a mere hop and a skip if you are Canadian or Australian but a big journey for us Brits!

What to do? Well the LMS is trying hard but you cannot magic up a Mass when all the odds are stacked against you.
A small group of laity and a priest have established (embryonically) a Confraternity to work alongside the LMS to jointly promote the Latin Mass and, to their credit, they are working towards raising funds to pay for a priest to go on one of the Latin Mass Society's training programmes. So far we have £155 of the £250 needed. Good. Well done even. But there the story looks to end as there is not a priest in West Wales (the western part of Menevia Diocese) who wishes to say the old Mass.

Without a distinct directive from Rome I would not be for coercing a priest to do something that he inherently does not wish to do. What sort of Mass would be the result? And it is not as though we have rich pickings to work on. Most parishes have either an elderly native priest (too long in the tooth for the double somersault), one from India or the Phillipines (culturally all at sea) or a young native who dresses in grubby trainers, sweat stained t-shirt and jogging pants. The latter can barely manage to order a Big Mac let alone celebrate a reverent Latin Mass.

So, when we have our £250 what do we do? Maybe find a seminarian from the Diocese who is willing. But then, his card will be marked and the forces of 'you know who' will be brought to bear on him.

The only thing we can do is pray and ask for your prayers also. Compared with some regions in the world we are well off, I know that. But it should not prevent us from trying.

Any ideas (Christian ones) greatly appreciated. 


  1. I live in Texas (Dallas-Ft Worth area), where natives and long-time residents constantly brag about how big everything is ... and 70 miles is still a long way to drive. The closest TLM to me is about 45 miles away; the closest parish is around the corner. Guess which one I go to? (Hey, saving the environment, y'know, so I offer up my sufferings ....)

  2. Anthony - attending an OF - that is a true lenten penance :)

  3. Looking on the bright side: it is good to hear that the missionaries are getting through. Pray the natives don't eat them!

  4. I would enlist everyone you can, personally and through your blog, to offer a nine-day novena for this cause. I would commit to participating and I would also be willing to donate a few American dollars to the cause, if you could figure out how I can do that.

  5. Little Way - thank you so much for your kind offer - I had not intended my post to be an appeal for money but it is most welcome. We have a treasurer and we are in the process of setting up an account to make payment simple and cost free.
    You have inspired me to ask our priest if we can compile a roll of all who contribute so that, at every Confraternity EF Mass, prayers will be offered up for those who have donated and their families...for as long as the Confraternity exists. I will report back.
    Meanwhile, your novena idea is great, again, thank you.

  6. Dear Mr. Collins,

    I have sent the link to this post to Father Z. It's a long shot, but I thought he might be able to promote your noble cause as well. As you know, his readers are certainly sympathetic to the widespread availability of Mass in the extraordinary form.

    In the meantime, I will join you in prayer, and I look forward to reading your next post about God's superabundant generosity in answering our most worthwhile requests. :)

  7. Richard - isnt there supposed to be an EF co-ordinator now in the Diocese? That's wht i heard when they had a recent shuffle and made one priest head of "youth outreach" or somesuch. i may be wrong (i usually am, but it's never stopped me in the past) but isn't the priest in Morriston [ex-Cardigan?] now the one to try and promote the EF??? I'll be happy to be corrected! And if the Diocese IS promoting the widespread availability of the EF -- wont he help? btw, what hapopened to the Monsignor in Fishguard? doesn't he do the EF anymore [you can tell i have my finger on the pulse eh?]

  8. Yes Gareth, you are right. Fr Jones is now at Morriston where the sanctuary arrangement makes it impossible for him to celebrate the EF Mass. He has a very full workload being hospital chaplain on call at all hours and also Diocesan Director of the Lourdes Pilgrimage (among many other things). I often wonder why the Bishop placed him there and made him EF Co-ordinator (?)Seems a very full workload to me. He celebrates an EF Mass at Clydach on the 3rd Sunday of each month.
    Mgr Johsnon kindly comes to either Cardigan or Newcastle Emlyn on the first Sunday of each month on a temporary arrangment that terminates in 8 months time.
    And Fr Brophy celebrates a 5pm EF Mass on the second Sunday of each month in Port Talbot.
    It works relatively well for the Neath/Swansea folk but not so well for us primitives out west!

  9. And no good for holiday makers attracted to the EF either.Darn.