Thursday, 22 November 2007

Remembrance Sunday.

As I returned from Chester the other week (on the rail replacement bus, as the trains were not working as usual) the first thing I did was to go to the KroBar for a large Laphroaig to get over said journey. Directly afterwards I went next door to the Holy Name which was, as usual, having an Old Rite High Mass for Remembrance Sunday at 4pm. This was followed by a few pints of bitter in the Ducie Arms. As any alumnus of Manchester University will tell you, the Holy Name is situated in the centre of the University District and is otherwise notable for always being open. It is quite simply a stunning church, built and later abandoned by the Jesuits who had built a newer church and chaplaincy up the road, it was, I am told, going to be abandoned by the Diocese (which shows horrendous short sightedness) until a band of intrepid priests came and offered to keep it running. From this original band, one remains, the unique Fr Ray Matus, now Rector. Lately a community has stabilised under him, who hope, with the Church, to become a member of the Congregation of the Oratory. It is incredible that, years on, the Church has still held true to it's vision and has not been taken over, or under, by other groups or factions, for I can imagine that now the Church has almost completely been restored and is in the best state it has been in for many years, both in material terms and in terms of attendence, it would be the icing on the cake for other groups. Opus Dei, maybe. The altars are still Eastward facing, the vestments are still, generally, beautiful, more importantly the liturgy is reverant, there is Mass twice a day and Benediction daily. I spent much time when I was at Manchester University attending Benediction and made a number of important decisions during it and I am sure it is the same for another year and another year.
For many a dark year, the Holy Name had the only traditional liturgy in the Diocese and from my now more distant viewpoint, I can hope that successive Bishops value it for what it is, particularly after the recent 'Summorum Pontificium' of Pope Benedict. Assuming the next Pope does not repeal or 'clarify' that document. Anyhow, here you can see Fr Ray Matus, the Rector, as celebrant, Fr Chris Hilton of the Community as Deacon and someone whose name I think is Richard who sang for some time in the (excellent) choir here and who I understand is now a member of the Community, as Sub Deacon. In choir is Fr Francis Wadsworth, all round good chap and Priest in Ashton Under Lyne, to the East of Manchester. The music was Requiem in C minor for choir & orchestra by Michael Haydn sung by the St Phillip Neri singers, who are the resident Choir. The website for the Church is found at and is well worth a visit if, like me, you are a fan of the Gothic. My apologies for the slightly poor quality of pictures, with hindsight I realise that I had my borrowed camera on the wrong setting.