May 2019 | Edition Number 247 | FREE
Westminster Cathedral Magazine
Christ, who endured the shameful Tree, Oâ€™er death triumphant welcome we, Our adoring praise outpouring. On the third morn from death rose he, Clothed with what light in heaven shall be, Our unswerving faith deserving.
READING, LISTENING, ACTING
The God Who Speaks The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales will dedicate the year 2020 to Sacred Scripture. The initiative has been given the name 'The God Who Speaks', and is being organised in co-operation with the British Bible Society. Several events are scheduled throughout the year to ‘celebrate, live and share’ the Word of God. The year will also serve to commemorate two important anniversaries of Scripture's role in the Church: 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini. It is also the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome's death, whose Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible would go on to serve the Western Church up until the last century.
As such, details of the events are yet to be announced. What the Bishops have said is that the events and resources will be centred around three themes in approaching the Word of God: celebrating, living and sharing. Parishes throughout the country are invited to reflect on how they celebrate, live and share the Word, and to ask themselves where to improve so as to ‘achieve transformation in our hearts and in our communities’.
© Didier Descouens
On 30 September 2019, the feast of St Jerome, the Bishops' initiative will be officially launched, and on 1 December, the First Sunday of Advent, the campaign year begins. In order to shape the resources and events of the year, the Bishops of England and Wales invite Catholics and all who are interested to take part in a survey on how they use Scripture in their daily lives.
St Jerome (and lion) in marble by Alessandro Vittoria (before 1564) in the Church of the Frari, Venice
Oremus Cathedral Clergy House 42 Francis Street London SW1P 1QW T 020 7798 9055 E email@example.com W www.westminstercathedral.org.uk
Oremus, the magazine of Westminster Cathedral, reflects the life of the Cathedral and the lives of those who make it a place of faith in central London. If you think that you would like to contribute an article or an item of news, please contact one of the editorial team. Patron The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Chairman Canon Christopher Tuckwell Editor Fr John Scott Oremus Team Tony Banks – Distribution Zoe Goodway – Marketing Manel Silva – Subscriptions Berenice Roetheli – Proofreading Eucharia Sule – Office Assistant
Cathedral Life: Past & Present From the Sacristy by Richard Hawker
Disputed Decoration, Part I by Peter Howell
10 & 11
Cathedral History: The Marble Seekers by Patrick Rogers
16 & 17
Cathedral History in Pictures: The Papal Mission to the Coronation of King George VI by Paul Tobin
St Augustine’s Society at Work
Restoring the Façade by Neil Fairbairn
Design and Art Direction Julian Game Registered Charity Number 233699 ISSN 1366-7203 Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor or the Oremus Team. Neither are they the official views of Westminster Cathedral. The Editor reserves the right to edit all contributions. Publication of advertisements does not imply any form of recommendation or endorsement. Unless otherwise stated, photographs are published under a creative commons or similar licence. Every effort is made to credit all images. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission.
Putting Scripture at the Centre
Faith Schools Affirmed
Rallying to Stand Together by Martha Behan Anglo-German Collaboration reveals Medieval Monasticism
Joaquin Sorolla: A Spanish Master of Light by Jane Lowe
12 & 13
The Rosary: A Homily by Bishop John Wilson
14 & 15
Martyrs of May and June by Tony Galcius
18 20 22 & 23
Street Shrines, French and English-style: Lyon and St Albans
Arithmetic Charity by Stephen J Graham
Regulars The image is on a painted wooden panel of 1449 by an unknown artist and is located in the church at Schöppingen in Westphalia. Whilst Christ rising from the tomb occupies the lower half of the panel, the top centre shows the feet of the Lord as he ascends and the disciples, with Mary, look on. At the top right the same group is gathered indoors as the Holy Spirit descends upon them at Pentecost.
On behalf of the Chairman
© The Yorck Project
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More News from Norcia – The Monks Rebuild
18 & 19
24 & 25
Friends of the Cathedral
Crossword and Poem of the Month
St Vincent de Paul Primary School
FAITH SCHOOLS VINDICATED
Join the Companions ... and help us to keep publishing Oremus free of charge Although Oremus earns income from the advertising it carries, we rely on donations to cover our production costs. The Companions of Oremus was established to recognise those who give generously to support us. Open exclusively to individuals, Companions’ names are published each month (see page 7). All members are invited to at least one social event during the year and Mass is offered for their intentions from time to time. If you are able to support us by joining the Companions of Oremus please write to Oremus, c/o Clergy House, 42 Francis Street, London SW1P 1QW or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Members are asked to give a minimum of £100 annually. Please mention in your email or letter how you would like your name to appear in the listing. If you are eligible for Gift Aid, please provide your name and address, including postcode. Thank you for your support.
An Attack Repulsed
The Rt Hon Lord Justice Flaux upheld the original ruling by Mrs Justice Christina Lambert of the High Court, describing her decision as ’unimpeachable’. The judge, from her ruling in October 2018, described Humanists UK’s arguments as having a certain ’artificiality’, before dismissing the case for a Judicial Review. This is the third hearing in which Humanists UK have challenged the CES in court on this point and it is the third time they have been defeated. After each ruling they questioned the judgement of the court; however, this decision cannot be appealed. At present, teachers do not have to be Catholic to work in a Catholic school and in fact half of teachers in Catholic schools are not of the faith. Nevertheless, in order to preserve the ethos and mission of Catholic schools, the Church asks that senior leaders come from the Catholic community. Paul Barber, Director of the CES, commented: ‘Lord Justice Flaux’s ruling is highly significant and extremely welcome. The policies on the employment of Catholic leaders is about 4
The secular campaign group, Humanists UK, has lost its appeal to launch Judicial Review proceedings against the Catholic Church. The proceedings were brought against the Catholic Education Service by the anti-Catholic school group, which wrongly claimed that rules which give priority to Catholics for senior positions in Catholic schools were contrary to EU legislation.
ensuring that the Catholic vision, mission and ethos are at the front and centre of a school’s life, as parents have a right to expect. Catholic leadership is essential in maintaining what makes and keeps a Catholic school Catholic as well as providing strong leadership in both the school and the local Catholic community. This is the third time Humanists UK has attacked Catholic schools in court and is the third time they have been defeated. Mrs Justice Lambert's ruling was clear about the artificiality of the claim, stating that it was the Secretary of State for Education, not the CES, that should be the focus of this Mrs Justice Christina Lambert campaign group's activity. The CES will continue to fight on behalf of the Catholic community, defending what keeps Catholic schools special, and what makes them some of the most popular and high performing schools in the country’. There are 2,122 Catholic schools in England. 48,072 teachers work in Catholic schools in England and 50% of teachers are of the Catholic faith. Catholic schools outperform the national average at KS2, GCSE and Ofsted. Oremus
ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRMAN
The Editor writes Canon Christopher asks me to pass on to all Cathedral parishioners and readers of Oremus his heartfelt thanks for all the support which has been given to him during his time in hospital. This has come in many different ways; very particularly through the faithful prayer of so many for him, as well as through the countless messages of best wishes which we have been able to pass on to him. He now has a time of recuperation and rest before him, so please continue to pray that he will be able to make the best recovery that he can. The Chaplains become particularly aware at certain points during the year of just how much care and support we receive from the faithful in the Cathedral and it has been most gratifying to see this manifested so strongly for Canon Christopher. Thank you. As well as May being Our Lady’s month – and Oremus includes a homily on the Rosary to mark this – it also marks the highpoints of the sacramental cycle, with the children coming to their First Holy Communion. If we make a great celebration of this, it is only because we pray that the Eucharist will be a constant focus in their lives, however they grow up and wherever they may find themselves. Preparation for First Holy Communion rightly involves the parents, the ‘first educators of their children’ as St John Paul II called them, and offers them, also, the chance to reflect on their own commitment and how it is expressed.
Westminster Cathedral Cathedral Clergy House 42 Francis Street London SW1P 1QW Telephone 020 7798 9055 Service times 020 7798 9097 Email email@example.com www.westminstercathedral.org.uk Cathedral Chaplains Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Administrator Fr Daniel Humphreys, Sub-Administrator Fr Julio Albornoz Fr Michael Donaghy Fr Andrew Gallagher, Precentor Fr Rajiv Michael Fr John Scott, Registrar Sub-Administrator’s Intern Oliver Delargy Also in residence Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Victories Music Department Martin Baker, Master of Music Peter Stevens Obl. OSB, Assistant Master of Music Jonathan Allsopp, Organ Scholar Cathedral Manager Peter McNulty Estates Manager Neil Fairbairn Chapel of Ease Sacred Heart Church Horseferry Road SW1P 2EF
In the second half of the month we have two Deanery Confirmations, with another at the beginning of June and then our Parish Confirmations with Cardinal Vincent on the Solemnity of Pentecost. Please do remember all the candidates in your prayers. This edition of Oremus reports on the recent rally against knife crime in Trafalgar Square as a reminder that our young people across the diocese grow up among strong pressures to conform to various forms of behaviour and lifestyle. The dignity and determination shown by the families of those who have lost their children to seek better ways for their communities and young people remind us that we shall do well throughout Eastertide to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ each day, so that the power of God’s forgiveness and love may be revealed in the lives of us all. May God bless you with the joy of the Lord’s Resurrection
ON A KNIFE EDGE
On Saturday 6 April I joined my Caritas colleagues in Trafalgar Square for ‘Standing Together’, a rally against violent crime in London in solidarity with victims and their families. Organised by church groups led by the Ascension Trust, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, and London City Mission, Cardinal Vincent addressed the rally as the Catholic representative alongside the Anglican Bishop of London, Sarah Mullaly, and other Christian church leaders from around the capital. For two hours the substantial crowd was addressed by Christian preachers from all different denominations, interspersed with gospel singing and spoken word, all of it centred on the harm that knife crime has done. Necssarily the focus was also on how the church as a whole in London has to take action to work with young people, to prevent any more loss of life. Despite being held only six days into April, the month has already seen 10 stabbings, three of which were fatal. One of the most moving parts was the testimonies of families of the victims of fatal stabbings. They told the story of what had happened to their sons and nephews and how much support they had found in their church communities. We also heard from a survivor of a stabbing about how he turned his life around, giving us a much-needed message of hope. The rally, as well as trying to inspire action, was also about acknowledging loss; that of loved ones and friends, the loss of trust in our young people and the loss we all feel as Christians when we think about confronting this issue. This was not to provoke despair, the organisers said, but to see the suffering of families who are relying on the strength of God and allowing that strength to drive action. However, there was a message of hope, delivered again and again by preachers, choirs and poets, one that is focused on action through collaboration. Pat White, a lay member of Brixton Baptist Church and trustee of CTBI, prayed that the churches would be inspired by God’s ‘sacrificial love . . . We can together put an end to death and bring new hope, new peace to our city. Shine in light, the light of Christ, through the darkness and the loss.’ In the words of Canon Rosemarie Mallett, Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Angell Town: ‘The blood on our streets belongs to the children of our community . . . We need to speak up, and speak out, and let people know that we do care about this issue’. This hope was affirmed by the presence of Sophie Linden, the Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime, who spoke about the Mayor’s commitment to tackling knife crime at its roots, working with churches and the communities that are most affected. 6
The crowd in Trafalgar Square
Throughout the rally there were times of reflection and prayer, giving us space to think about the two elements needed to start making our streets safe for young people. The first is of pastoral care and prayer, which was spoken about by Cardinal Vincent, the Bishop of London and other ordained clergy. The second is of campaigning and advocacy, spoken about by the families of victims, lay leaders and the organisers, led by Rev Les Isaac OBE, who gave the penultimate address on the three things needed to tackle the issue of knife crime and violence, the Three W’s: Words, the Word of God, and communication between the churches; Works, the day-to-day work of accompaniment; and Wonders, the divine power of God. Afterwards he encouraged people to stay and talk to their neighbours, forming ecumenical community bonds that would help us care for ‘all God’s children.’ Reflecting afterwards, Cardinal Vincent spoke about the need to warn young people about gangs and to provide them with alternatives: 'I know some of our Catholic schools in London are leading the way in the work with the Metropolitan Police to try to explain to young people early in their lives about the dangers, about the risks, and about how to react. The only way of counteracting a gang culture is to create for young people a sense of belonging to something else: something that's positive, creative and attractive to them. I had a request from a priest this week who's looking to start a boxing club in his parish. In my youth in Liverpool there were a lot of Catholic parishes with boxing clubs, because they taught discipline and the right use of strength. They even produced a few world champions (John Conteh was one), but this was the alternative to gang culture and this is the kind of Oremus
ON A KNIFE EDGE/COMPANIONS
Companions of Oremus
We are very grateful for the support of the following:
reaction we need to involve young people in a way that calls out their commitment and helps them to build discipline and self-control in their lives; and that's the best counter to some of the worst influences today’. He also made reference to negative social media influences: 'In families and schools we need to be scrupulous in telling each other the truth and not hiding behind the half-truths, crudeness and unworthiness of things that are cheap, quick and popular today. Young people need deep roots so they can stand tall and grow to their full potential’. To young people who have found themselves involved in gangs or carrying knives he has a direct message: 'If you or your friends are involved in gangs, try to find a way out. If you or your friends carry or possess knives, go to one of the secure knife banks and anonymously get rid of the knife in your possession, just get rid of it. It doesn't make you safer, it puts you at risk of using it and not only will you cause harm to somebody else, you'll damage your own life. So build friendships, find places where you can go and sit and honestly talk and share your experiences with other people. Say your prayers, turn to God, turn to Christ and let your life grow from that relationship with Jesus rather than from anywhere else’. Continuing to emphasise the need for prayer and to look to the Cross not just as a place of sorrow and suffering but a place that witnesses the birth of new hope, he said: 'For families worried about their youngsters, talk, talk, keep talking. To families who are worried and strained in their relationships, find times of silence when you sit together, say a simple prayer’. Martha Behan works in the Communications Office of the diocese and with Caritas Westminster. May 2019
Mrs Mary Barsh Mrs Else Benson in memoriam Dr Stuart Blackie Anne Veronica Bond Richard Bremer Francis George Clark Daniel Crowley Ms Georgina Enang Alfredo Fernandez Fred Gardiner Connie Gibbes Zoe & Nick Goodway Mrs Valerie Hamblen Bernadette Hau Mrs Henry Hely-Hutchinson Mrs Cliona Howell Alice M Jones & Jacob F Jones Poppy K Mary Thérèse Kelly Florence M G Koroma Raymund Livesey Barry Lock Alan Lloyd in memoriam Clare and John Lusby Christiana Thérèse Macarthy-Woods Pamela McGrath Linda McHugh Peter McNelly in memoriam James Maple Dionne Marchetti Mary Maxwell Mrs C Mitchell-Gotell RIP Abundia Toledo Munar Chris Stewart Munro Mrs Brigid Murphy Kate Nealon Emel Rochat Berenice Roetheli John Scanlan Mr Luke Simpson Sonja Soper Tessa and Ben Strickland Eileen Terry Robin Michael Tinsley Mr Alex Walker Jacqueline Worth Patricia M Wright and of our anonymous Companions If you would like to become a Companion of Oremus, see page 4
New in Cathedral Gift Shop We are pleased to announce an exquisite addition to the range of gifts available in Westminster Cathedral Gift Shop. Cross pens are renowned worldwide for their design and quality and we now have for sale a luxury ball-point pen which comes with the Cathedral logo and in its own box. This will make an excellent gift for a loved one on that special occasion. Retail Price: £35.00
MANUSCRIPTS GO ONLINE
The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and the German library, Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, have announced a new collaborative digitisation project that will open up repositories of medieval manuscripts from German-speaking lands. The three-year project will ensure that more than 600 western medieval manuscripts from both libraries' remarkable collections are made freely available online to researchers and the public worldwide. The project was launched at an event at the Bodleian Libraries on 19 March with the German Deputy Head of Mission, Julia Gross, in attendance. The project, funded by the Polonsky Foundation, will have much to tell us about the European Middle Ages and about the history of Germanic monastic traditions. Through coordinated digitisation and shared software and cataloguing standards, the project will open up new opportunities for research across the two libraries’ collections. A video about the project can be found at: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=YZhwBfk-olA The digitised collections focus specifically on manuscripts from German-speaking lands that originate from monasteries in the lower Saxony, Bavaria and Baden -Württemberg regions: Medingen, Braunschweig, Hildesheim, Helmstedt, Clus, Würzburg, and Eberbach. The Medingen manuscripts, from a nunnery in the area, are of particular importance and are highly illustrated. Most of the manuscripts held at the Herzog August Bibliothek were collected in the 17th century by Duke August and the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg in Wolfenbüttel while the items held in the Bodleian Libraries were brought to England by Archbishop William Laud around the same time and included 46 important Latin manuscripts. 8
Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, said: ’Transforming these ancient documents into digital form helps transcend the limitations of time and space which have in the past restricted access to knowledge. Scholars will be able to interrogate these documents in new ways as a result of their availability in digital form. The Bodleian Libraries are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the Herzog August Bibliothek in this cross-cultural collaboration. We are immensely grateful to the Polonsky Foundation for its inspirational support.’ Peter Burschel, Director of the Herzog August Bibliothek, said: ’Thanks to the far-sighted and generous support of the Polonsky Foundation, two longestablished libraries in Europe will join forces in an innovative approach to digitisation driven by the actual needs of scholars and scholarship.’ Dr Leonard S. Polonsky CBE, Founding Chairman of the Polonsky Foundation commented: ’Following our support for the Bodleian’s path-breaking collaboration with the Vatican Library, we are proud to support its significant collaboration with the Herzog August Bibliothek. Benefiting from the extraordinary opportunities afforded by digitisation, the project brings together the riches of Western Medieval civilisation and makes them available to researchers and the wider public in innovative and attractive ways.’ The project website will showcase thousands of images of these rare manuscripts as well as providing detailed explanation about the texts, and their unique differences. The website will also provide background on the manuscripts’ origins via an interactive map. Visitors will be able to browse the digitised manuscripts by shelfmark, language, date and place of origin and explore highlights from the digitised collections. The manuscripts have been chosen for the strength of
© Vincent Eisfeld / nordhausen-wiki.de / CC-BY-SA-4.0
Revealing Medieval Monasticism
The central hall of the Herzog August Bibliothek
the collections in both libraries and their importance for scholarship in their respective fields. The resource itself will be of interest to scholars in religious studies, German studies, medieval studies and history, amongst others. With approximately 133,000 images from the Bodleian Libraries and 100,000 images from the Herzog August Bibliothek, the digitisation effort will also benefit scholars by virtually uniting materials that have been dispersed between the two collections over the centuries. At launch the website already features over 18,000 images of 40 objects (with eight different religious houses represented); more images and content will be added over the three-year project. Staff across both sites will also be enabled to share knowledge on digitisation and conservation work on these collections. Other major projects made possible by contributions from the Polonsky Foundation are the digitisation of the Bodleian's exceptional collection of over 25,000 Cairo Genizah fragments, available online at http://genizah. bodleian.ox.ac.uk and the digitisation of ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew manuscripts and incunabula between the Bodleian Libraries and the Vatican Library, at http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Oremus
From the Sacristy Richard Hawker
It is very easy to begin anything about a somewhat arcane duty in the church with a defence of the role: why do we have one? Why do we need one? Why do we have to pay for one? It would be nice to think that we had moved on from the days of asking why we need priests (cf Hans Kung et al.), but I have often been asked what the point of a sacristan is. I am then looked at in horror when I suggest that such persons might be paid for the work they do! The office of the sacristan is an ancient one. For as long as we have had churches, we have had people to look after them, keep them clean, keep sundry day-to-day necessities well stocked, and make our churches look beautiful for feasts. In former times, in large churches and cathedrals, the sacristan was one of the clergy; although the everyday duties would often be devolved to a layman. This is still largely the arrangement here at Westminster: the Precentor is also Prefect of the Sacristy, as part of his role of being in charge of liturgy. What, therefore, does a sacristan do, and how did I end up doing it? Setting up and clearing away for Masses is probably the most obvious and public thing we are seen doing. Beyond that, much of our work is hidden; polishing, cleaning, laying out and clearing away vestments. The basic duties of the sacristan are care for the sanctuary and side altars, keeping them in good order, maintaining the candle supplies, looking after vestments, and taking care of their upkeep and renewal. Lots of little jobs that make for a very busy life! You should not for a moment think that I am carrying out this daily round of duties here single-handedly; far from it! There are three other sacristans, who I dare say are known to many of you: Rose, Jerry, and Philip. We are also glad of the faithful and unseen team of volunteers and support staff, who help with keeping the holy water stoups topped up, making sure the candle supplies do not wane, washing the altar linens, and generally helping to keep the place ticking over. More volunteers are also always welcome! How did I end up doing it? Growing up in a vicarage (I am a former Anglican), often means growing up in sacristies and vestries (and on occasion undertakers’ sheds). Consequently, for as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by the church. I am told I also have a natural aptitude for liturgy and ceremonial, understanding what is done and why, and have always been keen on it. At the age of 13 I was running my school sacristy, my work experience was with the vergers at Worcester cathedral, and I have been looking after sacristies ever since. About seven years ago I moved to London, to take up a post with Watts & Co, the well-known firm of vestment makers, finishing up as creative consultant, and responsible May 2019
Richard in uniform at his post
for designing vestments for churches all over the world. I felt, though, that my vocation was really to run a sacristy. St Thérèse of Lisieux, herself a sacristan, tells us that salvation lies in doing little things with great love. Sacristans do not always get the best press. One has only to look at the sacristan in Tosca, or Voltaire’s description of someone having such a vehement hatred of the clergy that he must be ‘either an atheist or a sacristan’. Indeed, a wise sacristan of my acquaintance has remarked that the true vocation of a sacristan is ‘to be unloved’. Perhaps this could also be summed up in St Philip Neri’s maxim that one should ‘love to be unknown’. St Philip, of course, had great trouble with sacristans making his life insufferable. We are not, however, totally beyond salvation: John Bradburne, a possible candidate to be raised to the altars, was a sacristan here for a brief period. Our patron saint was a sacristan of St Peter’s, Rome: Abundius the Sacristan who, St Gregory the Great tells us, miraculously cured a man of gout. I hope this gives you a little insight into what we sacristans here at Westminster Cathedral do. Please come and say hello as you see us around the place! Richard Hawker is the newly-appointed Head Sacristan of the Cathedral. He replaces Tom O’Brien, well known to all, who retires after no less than 22 years in post. Tom seeks no publicity and is averse to any fuss as he leaves the Cathedral, but it is right that Oremus, as a magazine of record, should at least report his departure with thanks for his faithful and diligent service in this vital role. 9
ARTISTS AT LOGGERHEADS
Disputed Decoration of the Cathedral, Part I Peter Howell
In the 1918 novel The Roll Call by Arnold Bennett, the architect Mr Enwright asks his pupil George Cannon whether he has visited Westminster Cathedral. George has not; ‘Well’, said Mr Enwright sarcastically, ‘better take just a glance at it – some time before they’ve spoilt the thing with decorations. There’s a whole lot of ‘em only waiting till Bentley’s out of the way to begin and ruin it’. Fascinating evidence about this ‘dispute’ emerged recently when James Ritchie got in touch, in connection with the involvement of his great-uncle, Gerald Caldwell Siordet. Born Gerald Siordet in uniform, 1916 in 1885, of a family of Huguenot merchants, he was educated at Clifton College and Balliol College, Oxford. Later he became a Catholic. He was a poet, artist and critic, and his friends included John Singer Sargent, Glyn Philpot and Brian Hatton, who all painted his portrait. On 3 March 3 1912 he wrote a long letter to Wilfrid Philip Ward, the Catholic biographer and ecclesiastical historian, about Westminster Cathedral, expressing his concern about ‘the process of filling the interior with piecemeal and artistically incongruous pieces of mosaic’. He had seen no protest about ‘the terribly tawdry and “common” mosaic figure of Joan of Arc’. He thought that there should be a committee, divided into a subcommittee of ‘learned clerics’ to devise a complete scheme of decoration, and an artistic one ‘of the highest order’ to judge all work. He had discussed the matter with Sir William Richmond, whom he knew, and who was ‘better acquainted with the “ins and outs” of mosaic than any man in England’ (he had designed the mosaics in St Paul’s Cathedral). Richmond was a friend of Bentley, who ‘talked freely to him of his plans for Westminster’ (Mrs de l’Hôpital, Bentley’s daughter, quotes a letter from Richmond to Bentley of February 1901; Richmond had been appealed to by one of ‘certain artists whose advice had not been sought’, but had replied that the matter must be left to Bentley, who then ‘entered into discussion’ with Richmond). Siordet offered to arrange a meeting between Ward and Richmond, either at his club (the Cavendish) or at Richmond’s home. He also suggested that a paper might be read to the Westminster Catholic Dining Society, which had been founded by Ward. 10
Richmond did indeed read a paper to the Society on 21 May. Ward invited Cardinal Bourne to attend and respond. A copy of the paper survives in the archives of Arundel Castle. According to Ward’s daughter Maisie, Richmond ‘held that Bentley had been a great genius and had created one of the most magnificent buildings of modern days, which was being rapidly defaced by its decorations’. However, he was too tactful to make any but the most minor of criticisms in his paper, particularly of the marble frames set up to receive the Stations. He thought that the Stations would be better placed on the inner face of the piers. He emphasised the importance of laying a marble floor in the nave, and of appointing a committee to devise an overall iconographical scheme. He thought mosaic preferable to opus sectile, and gave advice on marble revetment and colour. Maisie Ward described the occasion as ‘an interesting evening to look back upon, but painful to live through’. She and her mother told Ward that he had ‘put his foot in it’. Afterwards Siordet wrote to Ward that: ‘there was a general impression that the Cardinal had “scored all along the line” at the meeting’, which he thought ‘unfortunate’. The ‘ideal’ would be that the Duke of Norfolk should commission Sargent ‘or some such man’ to decorate a chapel. However, he had heard that the Duke was ‘not at the moment very rich’. In June 1912 he wrote another letter, of 11 typed pages, to Ward, referring to the meeting. It had been emphasised that the decoration should be under the supervision of a ‘practising artist’. The reply was that Marshall was aware of his lack of technical knowledge, and had been sent abroad to look at mosaics. (Maisie Ward claimed that Richmond ‘gave himself a rather broad smile’ when he heard that Marshall had been sent to Ravenna for four months.) This reply did not satisfy the critics, who thought that a Director of Mosaics should work alongside the ‘Keeper of the Fabric’ (Marshall), and that he should be advised by a committee which Siordet suggested might include Sir William Richmond, Sir Edward Poynter, Harrison Townsend, and Hamilton Jackson, together with Robert Ross, Wilfrid Meynell, the Duke of Norfolk, and others, with Bourne as president, and Marshall in attendance. Designs should be welcomed, and not just from Catholics. The chapels provided separate fields for decoration. One could be entrusted to Sargent (who was occupied with Boston Public Library, and sadly made no design for the Cathedral), one to Sir Frank Brangwyn (who had recently repeated his offer of some 10 years before to design a mosaic for the tympanum over the west door, and who did in fact produce designs for mosaics for the Lady Chapel – sadly unused), while a third could be opened to competition. Oremus
ARTISTS AT LOGGERHEADS Siordet circulated his letter to others. Everard Green, the Somerset Herald, who had been a close friend of Bentley, wrote: ‘I know of no one who is worthy to touch Bentley’s superb Westminster Cathedral ... I hope you will live to see the end of incompetent Marshall, and a new Archbishop’. It seems to have been suggested that some decoration should be undertaken by Glyn Philpot, an excellent painter best known for his portraits, and a good friend of Siordet, but Sargent wrote to Siordet that ‘I cannot imagine him decorating a church in any other way than for instance Goya at the Florida’ (where Goya did paintings rather than decorative work). Siordet wrote to Ward that ‘after the Cardinal’s attitude at our meeting’, he imagined that he found it difficult to take ‘any positive action’. He had had a long interview with the Cardinal himself, after which he decided ‘to work ... in confidential relations sub rosa’ with Marshall. He had persuaded him that mosaic was unsuitable for the Stations, which would probably be carved in flat relief ‘by a clever friend of mine, Eric Gill’. Another friend, ‘a Russian’ (Boris Anrep) would do a mosaic in the crypt. He was afraid that St Andrew’s Chapel would be ‘bad’, and was trying to prevent the tympanum over the west door from being given to Robert Anning Bell (here he failed). Peter Howell is a parishioner, a member of the Cathedral’s Art and Architecture Committee and also a Committee member of the Victorian Society.
Gerald Siordet: A Portrait by Glyn Philpot
AT THE NATIONAL
A Spanish Master of Light Jane Lowe An exhibition of works by Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida is now open at the National Gallery. His works were last in seen here in 1909, when he was one of the most famous living artists in the world. He was beguiled by the changing effects of light and his paintings are a visual feast of colours, dappled light, low melancholy hues and dazzling sparkling waters. Sorolla came a poor family. Orphaned at the age of two, he was brought up by relatives. Fortunately, his artistic talent was recognised at a very early age and he began studying art at the Academy of San Carlos in Valencia at the age of 15. He went on to study in Madrid and Rome. His approach was to paint large, bold canvases and send them to important international 12
galleries in Paris, Venice and America, gaining critical approval for works on social subjects in the early years of his career. In the first room we meet the man himself, his wife and family, who were immensely important to him in his personal and professional life. His wife, Clotilde, was his lifelong love and favourite model. Room Two deals with Spanish themes. There are seven paintings and two studies displaying moving and provocative issues of social justice with titles such as And They Still Say Fish is Expensive!, a painting which pricked the Spanish cultural conscience. Two fishermen are seen tending an injured younger worker after hauling in a catch. The young man lies all but lifeless, reminiscent of Christ taken down from the Cross. The
painting was awarded a gold medal at the 1894 National Exhibition of Fine Arts and was immediately bought by the Spanish government. Another Marguerite, a Faustian reference, shows a forlorn young woman, arrested and handcuffed, having murdered her child, sitting with subdued and broken body language awaiting her fate. Sorolla did not judge his subjects, he said, but painted only what he saw. This is emotively captured in Sad Inheritance. Disabled children from the hospital of St John of God in Valencia are led into the sea to bathe by a priest. An amputee is in the water, a blind boy is guided by another, an emaciated and weak child is physically helped by the priest. The painting was a sensation and was exhibited in Paris a year later. It went from Paris to Madrid and then on Oremus
AT THE NATIONAL to New York where it hung on a church altar on Fifth Avenue for eighty years before it returned to Spain. Despite the acclaim, Sorolla was quoted as saying: ‘I suffered terribly when I painted it. I had to continually force myself. I will never paint a subject like that again’. Kissing the Relic is set in the sacristy of a Valencian church close to his home. The priest offers a relic for the faithful to revere. Sorolla has painted an honest image of a local church, in a poor state of repair, with predominantly women waiting in turn. The light falls on the young woman as she kisses the relic. Sewing the Sail relieves and balances some of the sorrow in this room of the exhibition. A painting flooded with sunlight and a family working cheerfully together on a lustrous white sail is a pure joy to behold. Room Three shows him ringing the changes on the Spanish traditions of Goya and Velasquez into the 20th century. Of special significance is his inspiration from the Rokeby Venus. His wife is the Female Nude on a bed of pink satin which shimmers against the model's skin with its shades of olive and cream. Amongst the eight portraits here is one of his three children gazing at their proud father, My Children and by contrast another, The Drunkard, featuring men not at
Room Five is dedicated to Visions of Spain. The philanthropist Archer Huntingdon asked Sorolla to decorate the library of the Hispanic Society in New York. Nine paintings express the cultural riches of various provinces, costumes, ways of life and evolve into a decorative cycle of 210 square metres of canvas, featuring the Alhambra, Salamanca and Toledo. It became a mini royal progress with many workers accompanying him on route as he travelled through Spain. It took almost 10 years and was installed three years after his death in 1926. Landscapes and gardens fill Room Six. His authenticity towards his subjects continuously developed throughout his career. He was a relentless and restless traveler, observing seasons and weather with honesty and purpose. Reflections in a Fountain has the artist playing a trick on our eyes. Initially it appears upside down, until it is noticed that the painting is almost entirely a reflection! The Smugglers is almost unnerving in its ability to convey height and jeopardy while contraband is carried away. He added an additional canvas to convey spatial emptiness among the rocks and sea. The final Room Out in the Light, highlights Sorolla's fascination with his family. Towards the later part of his life some of his most beautiful work emerges. His relationship with photography is seen in Snapshot, a painting of his daughter holding an early camera. Another is Skipping Rope, with a girl captured mid-jump and her shadow delineated below: a virtual early 20th century photograph captured in oils. One of my personal favourite paintings is that of his wife and daughter, Strolling Along the Beach, which effortlessly captures his ability to define light and movement. Christopher Riopelle, curator of the exhibition, says: ‘His pictures radiate the dazzle of sunlight on water, the heat of a sultry afternoon and the force of a stiff sea breeze’, while Dr Gabrielle Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, commented that: ‘He painted tough social themes, but became famous for his sun-drenched beach scenes and luxuriant gardens. No-one before or since has painted Mediterranean sunlight like Sorolla’. The exhibition runs until 7 July.
Strolling Along the Beach May 2019
their best. In Room 4, Sunlight and Sea, eight paintings are featured, with light dancing on the sea and light on the human body. Sorolla had acquired a strong reputation in the art world, which rewarded him with substantial wealth. He mounted an exhibition in New York City in 1909 which was a phenomenal success, with queues around the block. The show continued for five months. He sold 190 paintings, and gained 25 commissions to paint portraits of American grandees, including a request to paint the incumbent of the White House, President William Howard Taft. Sorolla became imbued with the importance of the Elgin Marbles following a visit to the British Museum, the influence of which is reflected in Running along the Beach. This exquisite painting brims with fluid movement and vivacity. He plays with water so that the waves are almost audible, and the light in such a way that you can feel the air billowing through the girls’ dresses. In Young Fishermen the silvery fish in his basket glisten with natural acuity. Sorolla regarded After the Bath, the Pink Robe as his finest work. The woman being dressed appears Grecian and monumental in her stature, yet all the while retaining her natural poise.
© Didier Descouens
A MAY DEVOTION
Our Lady presents the Rosary to St Dominic and St Catherine of Siena, 18th century oil painting in the church of St Michel, Verdun-sur-Garonne
Praying the Rosary Bishop John Wilson At the root of our faith is a divine promise. It comes to us through the Mother of Jesus. She co-operated uniquely with God to bring this promise to fulfilment. ‘Mary,’ the Angel Gabriel said to her, ‘do not be afraid. You have won God’s favour ... you are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.’ God’s promise is a person. Love, forgiveness, salvation, come in flesh and blood. Born in poverty, crucified on Calvary, raised from death on the third day to open the way to heaven. The Lord Jesus is God’s promise of hope to the world. The Lord Jesus is God’s promise of merciful love to you and me. St Bernard of Clairvaux said when Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to be the Mother of God’s Son, it was as if all the angels in heaven held their breath waiting for her to say ‘Yes.’ ‘Yes, let what you have said be done to me.’ Through Mary’s faith and obedient consent, Jesus enfleshed God’s fundamental promise to humanity. That each of us is precious. That each one of us is worth dying for. That divine 14
mercy has no limits. That we are made for the eternal life of heaven. In faith receive again today God’s promise to you in Jesus through Mary. God’s favour rests on you. Beginning with the Annunciation to Mary which we find in the Gospel, all the beautiful truths of our faith find their place in the Rosary. Perhaps like me, you have rosaries in different pockets and places around the house. I take a rosary with me everywhere and one always hangs on my bedpost. When I wake up in the middle of the night, restless or anxious, it’s the Rosary that brings me through Mary to Jesus. St Pio of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio, said, ‘Love our Lady and make her loved; always recite the Rosary and recite it as often as possible.’ Last October our Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked every member of the Church to pray the Rosary on every day of the month. On the bus or the tube, out for a walk, in a lunch break, sitting quietly in church or at home, each bead is a prayer, each decade a share in the mysteries of Christ. Oremus
A MAY DEVOTION After the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles joined in continuous prayer with Mary. This image of the Church, prayerfully gathered around our Blessed Lady, comes to life every time we pray the Rosary. As the beads move through our fingers, we pray with Mary as she shows and leads the way to Christ. Moving through the scenes of salvation, Mary guides us into tender intimacy with Jesus. Through our prayerful repetition Mary, who received Christ within her womb, invites us to enthrone him in our heart. The Rosary is the remembrance of God’s promise. A virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son who is forever Emmanuel, God with us. God is with us in our joys and sorrows. God is with us in our successes and failures. God is with us in darkness and light. God is with us through life and death and in glory. A few years ago I travelled to the Greek island of Cephalonia. It became famous as the idyllic setting for Louis de Bernière’s moving story Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Both the book and the film are based on true events during the Second World War and refer to the patron saint of Cephalonia, St Gerasimos. The picturesque village where the story unfolds was sadly only a movie set. But the shrine and monastery of St Gerasimos really do exist. And so I went to visit them. The new monastery church is the size of a cathedral. The inside is covered completely, from floor to ceiling, by the most exquisite iconography. High up, in a gallery on the right hand side, are a series of large sacred images. They trace the unfolding truth of God’s promise to Mary about Jesus. Beginning with an icon of the Annunciation, then follows the Visitation, when Mary visited Elizabeth, her cousin. Then an icon of the nativity, the birth of Jesus, followed by his presentation in the Temple. As I looked, I thought there was some kind of mistake. There was not one icon of the Annunciation, but two. The first showed Gabriel reaching out to Mary, communicating God’s promise that she would conceive his Son. The second was almost identical, but showed Mary reaching out to Gabriel, embracing the promise for herself.
the power of Our Lady’s prayers to untie the knots of life, the difficult situations that affect the world, the Church, other people and ourselves. ‘To some it may sound naïve,’ he said, ‘but I pray.’ We come as students to the school of Mary to be taught to pray. With her we learn to trust that, for God, nothing is impossible. In fact, for God, everything is possible. Our Blessed Lady shows us how to live according to God’s promise. She witnesses how to receive Jesus into our lives and hearts. She mirrors how to follow him as faith-filled disciples. And Our Lady teaches us, especially through the Rosary, prayerfully to ponder and live the mysteries of Christ. Always keep a rosary close at hand, in your pocket, by your bed. Pray often through these truths of faith, embracing them for yourself and those in need. Lord, we are your servants. Please give us new faith and trust so that, like Mary, everything you have promised might come to life in us. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us. St Dominic, preacher and teacher of the Holy Rosary, pray for us. Bishop John is an Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese; this homily was preached at the Dominican church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Dominic, Haverstock Hill, which has been the Diocesan Shrine of the Most Holy Rosary since 2016.
In Jesus, God promises that we can be saved from sin and death. This is a lavish promise, cast out from the cross into human history and beyond. This is a promise of life, of joy and of peace. But God’s promise awaits a response. God’s promise awaits our response. It needs a personal embrace, an acceptance in the heart of each person, in your heart and in my heart. Mary took God’s promise to herself, into her heart: ‘I am the servant of the Lord,’ she says, ‘let everything you have promised be done in me.’ This is the mighty faith of a true disciple. But is it our faith? Is it my faith? Is it your faith? Sometimes it is. Sometimes our faith is strong like Mary’s. But it can also be hard to believe God’s promise in Jesus. We can doubt our faith, listening more to the world than to the Lord. And yet, whatever the challenges to our faith and in our life, we come today to place ourselves in God’s presence, to ask Our Lady’s prayers. No matter how spiritually firm or flimsy we might feel, we continue, with Mary, as the pilgrim people of God’s promise. Last Autumn I took part in the ad limina visit of the Bishops of England and Wales to Rome. It concluded with a privileged meeting with Pope Francis when we spent over two hours in conversation with him. Towards the end I asked about his own devotion to Our Lady under the title of ‘Untier of knots’. He spoke movingly about his simple trust in May 2019
The Marble Seekers Patrick Rogers
It all started at the Paris Opéra. Then a young Italian in Algeria got in on the act, and finally an Englishman decided to do the job properly. They were the marble seekers, men who, some 145 years ago, went searching for marble quarries, many of them used by the Romans and then abandoned and lost for over 1,500 years. Without these men Westminster Cathedral would look very different.
© Musee d’Orsay
The first was Charles Garnier, chosen from 171 contenders to be the architect of the new Paris Opera House. Which was opened, amidst great publicity, in 1875. The style he adopted was a new one, ‘the style of Napoleon III’ as he put it, and the materials used included many varieties of marble, particularly for the grand staircase. One of these, Swiss cipollino, was used there for the first time. Charles Garnier by Paul Baudry Twin columns of it are now at the entrance of the Chapel of St Gregory and St Augustine in the Cathedral. Garnier wanted to revive the full-scale use of marble for decoration. But the material was largely available only in small amounts for mantlepieces, paving, table-tops and tombs. So Garnier went looking.
a particular problem. After looking at every possibility, Garnier finally chose yellow Sarancolin from a quarry half-way up a high mountain in the Pyrenees. In January 1863 he went there to inspect the blocks. It was piercingly cold, there was deep snow and oxen had turned the paths into liquid mud. ‘C’était horrible’, wrote Garnier. Meanwhile a penniless young Italian from the Del Monte family of marble merchants in Carrara had gone to Algeria soon after the French conquest. His first discovery was of Algerian onyx quarries near Tlemcen in 1849. At some risk to his life, for the countryside was unsubdued, he approached the local Arabs and bought the quarries for a small amount, subsequently selling them on. Then, in excavations near Arzeu, he discovered mosaics of a totally different marble, so he set out to find its source. What he eventually found in about 1875, high on a mountain plateau north-east of Oran, were the old Roman quarries of Kleber. French geologists had surveyed the area for iron ore but not for marble.; for iron, while not present commercially, had stained the porous rock red. From a natural creamy white on the eastern plateau the marbles ranged through rose to a red-flushed yellow. To the west, great earth movements had fragmented the rock and water had subsequently carried iron oxide into the fissures, staining the breccia from orange to a deep blood-red. Marble from these quarries, which Del Monte immediately arranged to exploit, now decorate the walls of the Lady Chapel (pink-flushed Giallo antico), those of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel (deep pink Rose de Numidie), the altar frontal of St George’s Chapel, the floor in the Holy Souls Chapel and the nave piers at gallery level (all Brèche sanguine).
© Benh LIEU SONG
Back in England events were being closely watched by a young sculptor named William Brindley. Described by Gilbert Scott in 1873 as: ‘The best carver I have met with … a man whose whole soul is absorbed and devoted to his art’, Brindley was the sculptor chosen by Scott for the capitals and other stone carving on the Albert Memorial. In the 1860s Brindley formed a partnership with another sculptor, William Farmer, at 67 Westminster Bridge Road. Initial commissions, many of them working to Scott’s designs, consisted mainly of stone and wood carvings for churches, but also included plaster models of animals, prior to their execution in terracotta, for the façade of the Natural History Museum, Kensington. The Grand Staircase at the Paris Opéra
The marbles he eventually assembled came from Algeria, France, Italy, Scotland (granite), Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Most, including black and white Grand antique and green Campan vert are also in the Cathedral. Obtaining 30 great load-bearing columns for around the grand staircase was 16
But by 1880, like Garnier and Del Monte before him, Brindley had decided that marble was a material of the future. Knowing from Garnier’s 1878 book about the Opera House that he had failed to obtain Green cipollino (he used Swiss instead), Brindley went there and arranged to supply it. After previously listing themselves simply as sculptors, in 1881 Farmer and Brindley advertised as ‘sole agents for Cipollino’. Oremus
Carrara marble exploitation in the Apuan Alps
Columns of this wavy green marble are now at the entrance to the Chapels of St Joseph, St Patrick and St Paul and in the Cathedral transepts. In 1885, by now having expanded to 63 Westminster Bridge Road, the firm was advertising ‘Coloured marbles, antique and foreign. Sole agents for rediscovered Roman quarries, Numidian, Cipollino, Pavonazzetto’. 1886 saw Brindley on the Greek island of Chios searching for the ancient quarries of Africano marble. Instead he discovered those of Porta Santa. ‘Pliny was wrong’, he complained. The following year, determined to find the source of perhaps the most famous Roman marble, the purple porphyry of the Emperors, he set off into the Egyptian Eastern Desert with 19 attendants and 15 camels. After a week in the saddle he found the porphyry blocks and quarries used at the time of Hadrian, at Djebel Duchan, 23 miles from the Red Sea. By this time, he wrote, the water from the goatskin ‘tasted like hot rancid bacon broth’. The following year Farmer and Brindley’s listing in the Trades Directory included the words ‘Quarry proprietors of ancient Egyptian porphyry’. Because of the isolation of the desert quarries and the great hardness of the stone, porphyry was not a commercial success, but Brindley’s next venture was. Using a description by Paul the Silentiary (the Emperor Justinian’s court poet) at the opening of the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in 563, Brindley set off to find the source of the celebrated Roman marble, Verde antico. After a quest which lasted from 1886-92, Brindley found 10 ancient quarries near Larissa in Thessaly, Greece, and arranged to exploit them. Eight columns of this dark green marble, the first to be hewn for 1,500 years, now line the nave of the Cathedral, while slabs of the lighter varieties appear in almost every chapel. Meanwhile, orders for marble decoration were increasing, as Brindley had foreseen. There was a building boom in England from 1897-1906 and again from 1910-14 and marble was fashionable. Major commissions completed by Farmer and Brindley included Surrey House, Norwich (1904), the Victorian and Albert Museum (1909) and the National Gallery (1911). Westminster Cathedral was a continuing source of work. The structural columns with their carved capitals (1900) were followed by the baldacchino (1906), the Blessed Sacrament Chapel (1907), the Lady Chapel (1908), Sacred Heart Shrine, Vaughan Chantry and remaining altars (all 1910), the Baptistry floor (1912), St Andrew’s Chapel (1915) and St Paul’s Chapel (1917). May 2019
From 1908-23 Farmer and Brindley advertised as ‘Largest establishment and with greatest variety and stock of choice coloured marble and rare stones in the Kingdom’. But the 1914-18 War resulted in a slump in demand. Brindley died in 1919 and without him the heart seemed to go out of the firm. London’s County Hall and Glasgow’s City Council Chambers provided work until 1922-23, but commissions elsewhere were sparse. In Westminster Cathedral the apse wall was decorated in 1921 and the Grand Organ screen in 1924, while intermittent work on St Patrick’s Chapel took place from 1923-29. Here went some of Brindley’s rarest remaining marbles – framed panels of purple porphyry, dark green Brèeche universelle from the Nile and lighter green Smaragdite from Corsica on the west wall, with costly Lapis lazuli and diamonds of grey Africano set in red Languedoc over the niches beside the altar. In 1929 Farmer and Brindley appeared in the Trades Directory simply as marble decorators. The same year the firm ceased trading. For many years the site on Westminster Bridge Road lay derelict and wild flowers grew up amidst the marble chippings. It is now a block of flats. Besides being a talented sculptor and businessman, William Brindley was a traveller and adventurer. Without the marbles which he found and his firm installed, without Del Monte’s discoveries in Algeria and without Garnier’s determination to revive the use of marble in a building of which France could be proud, our Cathedral would be the poorer.
Del Monte’s Brèche sanguine with Brindley’s Verde antico on either side of it in St George’s Chapel
Stabat Mater: Music and Movement
That’s why the pulpit is that size!
Allegri’s Quartet at the tombstone
The Cathedral Choir’s Lenten Concert offered the opportunity to use the building in several different ways. In various groups, the singers performed from the apse, the Lady Chapel, different sides of the nave and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The image shows full advantage being taken of the pulpit, whilst Allegri’s Miserere used the Cathedral from end to end. Lay Clerk Nick Keay sang the verses from the console balcony of the Grand Organ, whilst the main body of singers were at the head of the nave, with the quartet (pictured) in front of the tombstone on the apse. The Cathedral does not wish to go down the route of illuminating music with smoke and coloured lights, but careful highlighting with spots proved very effective.
Books Keep the SVP Afloat SVP Book Sales on Sundays through the year attract a number of Cathedral parishioners who drift in to browse and those who come for tea and coffee after the 10.30am Solemn Mass tend to get drawn in too. It may not look from the image as if tremendous business is being done, but the reality was different. The SVP Society is delighted that a new record was set at this recent sale, with £750 taken. The work of the SVP is, by its nature, hidden, since it supports those in particular need or financial straits, but this record profit will go directly to help those in trouble. Congratulations! 18
A steady stream of punters Oremus
SVP School witnesses the Crucifixion Those who pray in the Cathedral on weekday afternoons during Lent and Advent may well be familiar with the careful rehearsals that precede SVP Primary School’s Passion and Nativity plays. This year’s Passion play drew in the usual support from parents and friends as well as Cathedral regulars and curious visitors. We are blessed to have a school next door to the Cathedral where the faith is taught, learnt and practised very seriously, and the children are much to be commended for the high standard both of their behaviour and their work. The Passion on the sanctuary
The Hopefuls Among the Chaplains there has been a desire to provide opportunities for growth in faith during the Lenten season. One part of this, the Prayer and Life Workshops, is barely halfway through at the time of writing, and a full report will appear in due course. The other part, the Joy of Hope, used a film resource which drew on the Book of the Apocalypse, with groups meeting at three different times of day on four separate Tuesdays. An evening group is pictured here, and we commend all those who took the plunge into exploring our Christian hope through the medium of what is often thought of as one of the more inaccessible books of the bible.
A Cathedral Medal There has come to the Cathedral recently a medal of what might be termed standard size (i.e. roughly the size of a five pence coin). As can be seen, it bears an external view of the west front of the Cathedral on one side, whilst on the obverse is depicted Our Lady of Westminster. That in itself helps to date the medal, since it must postdate the purchase and installation of the alabaster image at the Solemn Mass of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1955; perhaps the medal was produced to mark Our Lady’s arrival? If any reader of Oremus has a medal like this, or can shed any light on the circumstances surrounding the medal’s production, its distribution or use, then please do be in touch, so that some light can be shed on this rediscovered small but interesting piece of Cathedral history. May 2019
LAUNDRY, DOGS AND BEER
News from Norcia: The Monks Rebuild The April Oremus contained a report on how Benedictine nuns had managed to return to a temporary home in the Italian city of Norcia, devastated by earthquakes in Autumn 2016. But they are not the only Religious to have had their home there. The community of Benedictine monks here describes how they have started their own rebuilding for the future. Prior Benedict Novikoff OSB
Construction has started on the new monastery, but on the most unlikely of sections: the laundry room! While washing our monastic habits and linens is indeed important, the reason that the building work is starting here is nearly 500 years old. When the Capuchin monastery was first built, the laundry room was constructed in a retaining wall which also channelled fresh mountain water to the monastery. We are trying to rebuild the monastery as faithfully as possible according to the ancient plan. That means that we too are building the laundry room in conjunction with the retaining wall. Laundry is a fitting theme to start this update since during Lent the monks try in a particular way to clean up, not our outer clothing but our inner souls. They can become dirty and tired through our negligence throughout the year. The monk’s life, St Benedict teaches, is a continuous Lent, but we grow weak and tired and need a season dedicated to penance. Aware of the continual stream of bad news about the scandals in the Church, we use this time to do penance for our personal sins as well as to pray for those affected by things happening in the wider Church and world. With the coming of Spring, we see the hope of new life both in nature and for ourselves. We are happy to share that our monastery farm is growing. Shortly after we built the chicken coop last year for our chickens, we realized we needed help to protect them from the wild boar, wolves and foxes that roam our woods. Help is now on the way in the form of Umbrian sheep dogs, born last month on a nearby farm. Their names will follow an ancient Roman custom: Primus, Secundus, Tertius and Quartus. 20
The arrival of this breed of protective sheep dogs means that we will soon be able to acquire a few goats. We need their help to clean the underbrush in the vast forest we have inherited from our Capuchin forefathers. As we grow, other animals will join the farm. A monastery, says our holy Patron, should have everything inside of it so that the monks do not need to leave unnecessarily. This takes time to build and set in order, but with your help, our fundraising will advance successfully and we will be able to complete the construction. And yet, as we plan for new life and growth, we must also plan for death. In the past two months, three monks lost a parent. The close proximity of these deaths was difficult, but nevertheless a powerful reminder to keep death before our eyes daily, as the Rule of St Benedict says. All of this present suffering, as well as the chaos and confusion in the world and in the Church will pass away and we must be ready for our own judgement. Along with our slow construction of the farm, we are also laying the ground for a monastic cemetery, a traditional place to pray for the souls not only of monks who will leave us (as of yet we have had no deaths) but for all our loved ones, family, friends and benefactors.
St Benedict of Norcia, Patron Saint of his home city, in the south transept of the Cathedral by the Confessionals
All revenue the monastery produces is used to support the work of prayer and evangelical witness at the monastery in Norcia. Naturally, this includes offering warm hospitality to pilgrims and the poor, who are assured of being welcomed at the monks’ door. The destruction wrought to St Benedict’s home city following the 2016 earthquakes has made urgent the task of building and preserving a space in Norcia for those seeking God, monks and pilgrims alike. As the monks work to build the new monastery that will be their permanent home on the mountainside outside the city walls, so they continue to brew their beer, using the facilities of a nearby brewery. For more information, and to order, visit https://birranursia.com/#beer. Every glass helps!
Cathedral History: A Pictorial Record Members of the Papal Mission to the Coronation of HM King George VI
Paul Tobin On Thursday 13 May 1937, the day after the Coronation of King George VI in Westminster Abbey, a Solemn Pontifical Mass of Thanksgiving was held in Westminster Cathedral, celebrated by Archbishop Arthur Hinsley, fifth Archbishop of Westminster (1935-1943). The reason for the Papal Mission being seated in the nave of the Cathedral rather than in the sanctuary was because the Papal Envoy (Legatus a latere, literally 'Legate from the [Pope’s] side’) Archbishop Giuseppe Pizzardo would have taken precedence over the Archbishop even in his own Cathedral. In the ecumenical age in which we now live, it is difficult to comprehend the fact that the Papal Mission was not accommodated in the Abbey itself for the Coronation ceremony but was seated in a stand outside like ‘strangers May 2019
without the gates’ *. This was at a time when there were no official diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the UK Government. That was to change in the following year, with the appointment of Mgr William Godfrey, (seated third from left in the picture) as Apostolic Delegate to the UK. The Cathedral Chronicle describes how, after the Mass: ‘The Papal Envoy, vested in cope and mitre, came into the sanctuary to intone the Te Deum, accompanied by members of the Papal Mission’ *. These can be seen seated in the front row in the picture, from left to right: the Rev Oswald Birley (Attaché), the Earl of Granard, Mgr William Godfrey, HE The Papal Envoy, Archbishop Giuseppe Pizzardo, Mgr Martin Howlett (Cathedral Administrator), Captain Legge (Military Attaché) and Marchese Pacelli.
‘After the singing of the National Anthem - and this time it was really sung! - Mgr Pizzardo unvested (back into choir dress of mozzetta and lace rochet) and went in procession to the West Door, giving his blessing to the people. The large crowd outside gave him a warm welcome and also singled out for a cordial reception the Duke of Norfolk (seen seated behind Mgr Godfrey), to whose labours as Earl Marshal much of the Coronation ceremonies was due’ *. Seven months to the day after this event, both Archbishops Hinsley and Pizzardo were created Cardinals by Pope Pius XI, and Mgr William Godfrey was to become seventh Archbishop of Westminster 20 years later in 1957. * Westminster Cathedral Chronicle June 1937
THE CREATION OF MARTYRS
The Sufferings of the Carthusians Tony Galcius The mere mention of martyrs from the Tudor and Elizabethan times usually evokes sickening scenes of inhuman and uncivilised barbarity. The vast majority of those who were penalised for their adherence to the Catholic Faith did indeed meet their deaths by hanging, drawing and quartering. Others were simply hanged or, in a smaller number of cases, met their fate by beheading, being pressed to death, tortured, ill-treated, and, in one instance, shot by Puritan soldiers. Some languished in prison but, under Henry VIII in 1537, 11 were starved to death, nine of them Carthusians from the London Charterhouse. The Charterhouse was a Carthusian priory from 1371 to 1538 and significant relics of it can still be seen in the Tudor and later buildings which occupy the historic site near the Barbican just outside the boundary of the City of London. It was in 1084 that St Bruno sowed the seeds of an innovative style of monastic life. With the spiritual and practical encouragement of St Hugh, the bishop of Grenoble, he and six companions, including three canons, a chaplain and two laymen, set up a small retreat, high up in the Chartreuse, a range of mountains between Grenoble and Chambéry in south-eastern France. Their life style was a mixture of the eremitical and the communal. The pattern then set remains the basis of all Carthusian monasteries or (in English) charterhouses. The life of the hermit was enabled by each monk living in a self-contained space, called a cell, which was usually sited on two floors, since it had to provide room for a bed, a wash basin, an oratory area for private prayer, a study area with shelves to stand his books on, a dining table, a stove for warmth and 22
hot water, a woodstore of with accompanying axe to chop the wood, and an area for manual work. Attached at the back would be a high-walled garden where the monk could take exercise and tend plants and vegetables. At the bottom of the garden was a latrine. Contact with the outside world was via a hatch beside the door, through which food and any messages could be passed. Each of the cells was attached to the cloister, along which the monks would walk to the church for Mass and Divine Office. A monument with a very moving message has recently been erected on the Green, now enclosed by the Barts and the Royal London School of Medicine, marking the site of the former Charterhouse cloister. The whole aim of the Carthusian cell, then, was to enhance a life of solitude and contemplation. It was under the leadership of a truly outstanding Prior, John Houghton, who was to become the protomartyr of Henry VIII’s reign, that the monks of the London Charterhouse were to adhere so faithfully to the spirit of detachment from the world and to union with God. It was undoubtedly the austerity of their life style that attracted, perhaps paradoxically, such generosity from its benefactors, including members of the nobility, the hierarchy, soldiers of fortune and the wealthy that they were able to build the monastery that the Charterhouse was to become. It was probably their very presence in London and the widespread veneration felt for them that caused the King and his henchman Thomas Cromwell to become so inordinately desirous of having the monks’ approval in the ‘King’s Great Matter’. This proved to be the start of the 18 Carthusians’ journey to martyrdom. With one exception, all died either in 1535 or 1537, 16 of them Oremus
THE CREATION OF MARTYRS picture based on an oil painting by Mrs Dering (1830-1923) of Baddesley Clinton.
being from the London Charterhouse. Chronologically, these were divided into four groups, the first including the death, on 4 May 1535, of the Prior, St John Houghton, together with two other Carthusian Priors, followed a month later by the death of a further three monks. Then in May 1537, another four met their fate and on the 29th of that month, ten of the remaining monks refused to take the Oath of Supremacy. For nine of them, their excruciating torment was to begin.
One ray of light shines in this dark and dismal story, and it was provided by Thomas More’s foster-daughter, Margaret Clement, who, disguised as a milk maid, tried to feed these hungry monks by smuggling into the prison meat hidden inside milk cans. More humbly and bravely still, she cleaned their soiled bodies. Eventually, she even took tiles off the roof to lower food down to the victims, but to no avail since, chained as they were, the men could not feed themselves. She had been well aware of Thomas More’s love for these Carthusians because, as a young man, he had spent a long time in the Charterhouse, reflecting upon a possible vocation to their way of life.
Thrown into what one of their brother contemporaries described as ‘the foul stench and pestilent squalor of the prison (The History of the Sufferings of Eighteen Carthusians by Dom Maurice Chauncy, translation edition, 1890), they were chained by the neck and thighs to pillars or posts, in a standing position ‘without any relief or relaxation for any purpose whatsoever’. According to an artist’s impression, some of them were sitting with their legs, pinioned in stocks and their wrists in handcuffs, left to die without food or drink, facing hunger and thirst accompanied by the humiliation of their physical condition as human beings. However, they must have been inspired by the deaths of their predecessors and in particular by the example of their Prior. As they passed through the monastery gate on their way to Newgate prison, they would have passed by of St John’s arms, severed from his body two years earlier and affixed to the gate as a warning to those who would follow his example of steadfastness. They would have remembered the particular portents witnessed in 1533, the most striking of which was the Mass of the Holy Ghost, celebrated just before the arrests began. Dom Chauncy reports that: ‘For when the most sacred Host was lifted up, there came as it were, a soft whisper of air, faint indeed to outward hearing, but of mighty power within the soul. Some perceived it with their bodily senses; all felt it as it thrilled into their hearts. And there came a sound of a melody most sweet, whereat the venerable prior was so much moved, God being thus abundantly manifested, that he melted into a flood of tears and could not for a long space continue the offering of the Mass. The Community meanwhile remained stupefied, hearing the melody and feeling its marvellous and sweet effects upon their spirits, not knowing it came nor whither it went. Yet their hearts rejoiced as they perceived that God was with them indeed’. The scene has been evoked in a
So, one by one, as days and weeks passed, the nine Carthusians died. June 6 1537, saw the first death in the person of the laybrother, William Greenwood. He was followed two days later by John Davy, a deacon. The next day another lay brother, Robert Salt, died. Then it was the turn of Brother Walter Pierson and Dom Thomas Green, a priest and Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. We do not know how long their dead bodies were allowed to remain there before being removed from the company of those still alive. On 15 June, the lay brother Thomas Scryven died, followed the day after by Brother Thomas Redyng. These latter had lasted over a fortnight; the reason for this may have been due to a change of plan in the minds of the King and his Council. Cromwell was well known to have been disappointed that they had not suffered the horrors of the gibbet and all that it entailed, so perhaps they were given a little food and water to keep them alive. The penultimate martyr of the nine, Dom Richard Bere, died on 9 August , while Dom Thomas Johnson lasted until 20 September. Despite the extremely long delay, both of these martyrs were officially recorded as dying from starvation. These men have all been beatified and are therefore in a position to intercede on our behalf. As we ask their prayer for the Church in this land and for their Carthusian brethren who continue to offer their prayer for the needs of all the world, I think they will make wonderful patrons also as we remember the millions who starve to death throughout our world today.
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St Matthias (feast day Tuesday 14 May) is the apostle chosen to replace Judas among the number of the Twelve after the Lord’s resurrection. His appointment is made by lot after two candidates were identified, the necessary qualifications being outlined by St Peter as 'having been with the Lord' throughout the time of his earthly ministry, so that the one chosen may more plausibly act as a witness to the resurrection. No further mention of Matthias is made in the Acts of the Apostles, although tradition records him preaching both in Judea and later in modern-day Georgia, where a portion of his relics are venerated, as also in Italy at Padua and in Germany at Trier. A pillar figure of the Apostle Matthias in the cathedral of Halle © Protesus
The Month of
Holy Father’s Prayer Intention: EVANGELISATION: That the Church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.
Wednesday 1 May
Ps Week 2
St Joseph the Worker am Masses in St Joseph’s Chapel
Thursday 2 May
St Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor Choral services resume
Friday 3 May
Friday Abstinence Ss PHILIP and JAMES, Apostles
G Gabrieli – Iubilate Deo omnis terra G Gabrieli – Ego sum qui sum Organ: Widor – Finale (Symphonie romane) 3.30pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction Bevan – Magnificat octavi toni Taverner – Dum transisset Sabbatum Organ: Elgar – Poco allegro (Vesper Voluntaries) 4.30pm Deaf Service Mass (Cathedral Hall) 4.45pm Organ Recital: Callum Alger (Birmingham Conservatoire)
Monday 6 May
Easter Feria (Bank Holiday) 10.30am Mass for Migrants (Bishop Michael Campbell) 11am – 12.30pm Confessions 12.30pm Mass 5pm Said Mass Easter Feria 5.30pm Chapter Mass
Wednesday 8 May Easter Feria
Thursday 9 May Easter Feria Easter Feria
© Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf
Easter Feria 12.30pm Parish First Holy Communion Mass 4pm Extraordinary Form Mass (Lady Chapel) 6pm Victoria Choir sings at Mass
The Martyrdom of Ss Philip and James by Giovanni Odazzi
Saturday 4 May
THE ENGLISH MARTYRS 9.30am-4.30pm A Day with Mary 6pm Visiting Choir at Mass – St Thomas on the Bourne, Farnham
Sunday 5 May
Ps Week 3 3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER 10.30am Solemn Mass (Full Choir) Palestrina – Missa Papae Marcelli
Our Lady of Fatima
Tuesday 14 May
ST MATTHIAS, Apostle
Wednesday 15 May Easter Feria
Thursday 16 May Easter Feria
Friday 17 May
Friday Abstinence Easter Feria 5pm Joint Vespers with Westminster Abbey 6pm Said Mass
Saturday 18 May
Sunday 19 May
Saturday 11 May
Sunday 12 May
Monday 13 May
Easter Feria (St John I, Pope & Martyr) 10.30am Choir School First Holy Communion Mass 2pm Deanery Youth Confirmation Mass (Bishop Michael Campbell) Afternoon and evening Filipino Club Flores de Mayo (Cathedral Hall)
Tuesday 7 May
Friday 10 May
4.45pm Organ Recital: Alessandro La Ciacera (Milan Cathedral)
Ps Week 4 4th SUNDAY OF EASTER 9am Family Mass 9.30am – 1.30pm SVP Book Sale (Cathedral Hall) 10.30am Solemn Mass (Full Choir) Langlais – Messe solennelle Casciolini – Angelus Domini Mawby – Ave verum corpus Organ: Tournemire – Rhapsodie Sacrée (L’Orgue mystique XIX) 3.30pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction Palestrina – Magnificat quarti toni Victoria – Surrexit pastor bonus Organ: Buxtehude – Praeludium in C (BuxWV 137)
5th SUNDAY OF EASTER 10.30am Solemn Mass (Full Choir) Sheppard – Missa cantate Widor – Surrexit a mortuis Palestrina – Dum ergo essent Organ: Elgar – Final (Sonata in G) 3.30pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction Bevan – Magnificat septimi toni Tallis – Missa Salve Intemerata Virgo Organ: Widor – Moderato (Symphonie romane) 4.45pm Organ Recital: Richard Brasier (St Laurence, Upminster)
Monday 20 May
Easter Feria (St Bernadine of Siena)
Ps Week 1
Tuesday 21 May
Easter Feria (St Christopher Magallanes and Companions, Martyrs) Anniversary of the Installation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols Eleventh Archbishop of Westminster (2009) 8am – 6pm NHS Blood Transfusion Service in Cathedral Hall Oremus
DIARY AND NOTICES Wednesday 22 May
Easter Feria (St Rita of Cascia, Religious) 7.30pm Grand Organ Festival Recital (Gerard Brooks, London)
Thursday 23 May Easter Feria
Friday 24 May
Saturday 25 May
St Bede the Venerable, Priest & Doctor 8am – 6pm NHS Blood Transfusion Service in Cathedral Hall 2pm Deanery Youth Confirmation Mass (Bishop John Wilson)
Sunday 26 May
Ps Week 2 6th SUNDAY OF EASTER 10.30am Solemn Mass (Men’s Voices) Palestrina – Missa Regina caeli a 5 Palestrina – Benedicite gentes Organ: Schmidt – Prelude and Fugue in D (‘Hallelujah!’) 3.30pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction Umbertus – Magnificat septimi toni Victoria – Regina caeli Organ: Langlais – Mors et Resurrectio (Trois Paraphrases Grégoriennes) 4.45pm Organ Recital: Matthew Blaiden (Leeds)
Monday 27 May
ST AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY, Bishop
Tuesday 28 May Easter Feria
Wednesday 29 May
Pope St Paul VI 5.30pm Vigil Mass of the Ascension of the Lord (fulfils obligation)
Thursday 30 May
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD (Holy Day of Obligation – Masses at the usual times) 8am – 6pm NHS Blood Transfusion Service in Cathedral Hall 5pm Solemn Second Vespers 5.30pm Solemn Mass (Men’s Voices) Victoria – Missa Ascendens Christus Victoria – Ascendens Christus in altum Victoria – Ascendit Deus Organ: Messiaen – Transports de joie (L’Ascension)
Friday 31 May
THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Key to the Diary: Saints’ days and holy days written in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS denote Sundays and Solemnities, CAPITAL LETTERS denote Feasts, and those not in capitals denote Memorials, whether optional or otherwise. Memorials in brackets are not celebrated liturgically.
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St Augustine preaching before King Ethelbert and Queen Bertha May 2019
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What Happens and When
Public Services: The Cathedral opens shortly before the first Mass of the day; doors close at 7.00pm, Monday to Saturday, with occasional exceptions. On Sunday evenings the Cathedral closes after the 7.00pm Mass. On Public and Bank Holidays the Cathedral closes at 5.30pm in the afternoon. Monday to Friday: Masses: 7.00am; 8.00am; 10.30am (Latin, said); 12.30pm; 1.05pm and 5.30pm (Solemn, sung by the Choir). Morning Prayer (Lady Chapel): 7.40am. Evening Prayer (Latin Vespers* sung by the Lay Clerks in the Lady Chapel): 5.00pm (*except Tuesday when it is sung in English). Rosary is prayed after the 5.30pm Mass. Saturday: Masses: 8.00am; 9.00am; 10.30am (Solemn Latin, sung by the Choir); and 12.30pm. Morning Prayer (Lady Chapel): 10.00am. First Evening Prayer of Sunday (Lady Chapel): 5.30pm. First Mass of Sunday: 6.00pm. Sunday: Masses: 8.00am; 9.00am; 10.30am (Solemn, sung by the Choir); 12 noon; 5.30pm; and 7.00pm. Morning Prayer (Lady Chapel) 10.00am. Solemn Vespers and Benediction: 3.30pm. Organ Recital (when scheduled): 4.45pm. Holy Days of Obligation: As Monday-Friday, Vigil Mass (evening of the previous day) at 5.30pm. Public Holidays: Masses: 10.30am, 12.30pm, 5.00pm. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: This takes place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel every Monday to Friday following the 1.05pm Mass, until 4.45pm. Confessions are heard at the following times: Saturday: 10.30am-6.30pm. Sunday: 11.00am1.00pm; and 4.30-7.00pm. Monday-Friday: 11.30am-6.00pm. Public Holidays: 11.00am1.00pm. Sacred Heart Church, Horseferry Road SW1P 2EF: Sunday Mass 11.00am, Weekday Mass Thursday 12.30pm Funerals: Enquiries about arranging a funeral at the Cathedral or Sacred Heart Church, Horseferry Road, should be made to a priest at Cathedral Clergy House in the first instance.
Throughout the Year Mondays: 11.30am: Prayer Group in the Hinsley Room. 6.30pm: Guild of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral Tuesdays: Walsingham Prayer Group in St George’s Chapel 2.30pm on first Tuesday of the month; 6.30pm: The Guild of St Anthony in the Cathedral. Wednesdays: 12.00pm: First Wednesday Quiet Days on the first Wednesday of every month in the Hinsley Room. Thursdays: 1.15pm: Padre Pio Prayer Group at Sacred Heart Church. 6.30pm: The Legion of Mary in Clergy House. Fridays: 5.00pm: Charismatic Prayer Group in the Cathedral Hall – please check in advance for confirmation. Saturdays: 10.00am: Centering Prayer Group in the Hinsley Room. 2.00pm: Justice and Peace Group in the Hinsley Room on the last of the month. 25
THE FRIENDS OF WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL
Cathedrals Galore – A Walker’s Guide We sold out of books and hope that he will make a return visit – maybe his next book on walking for The Times? And yes, thanks to a pertinent question, he confirmed that he has indeed walked every single walk so lovingly described for that newspaper. Christina White A large and appreciative group of Friends gathered last month to hear Christopher Somerville talk about the cathedrals which he loves. He should have been ‘in conversation’ with his sister, the journalist and broadcaster Julia Somerville, on the Wednesday at Hatchards in Piccadilly. That event had to be cancelled so we benefited – two Somervilles for the price of one. It was a lovely evening with brother and sister perfectly in tune – Julia asked expansive questions and her younger brother obliged. The focus was on Christopher’s book Ships of Heaven – The Private Life of Britain’s Cathedrals, and we heard him speak movingly about the ancient crafts which we will lose if a younger generation does not commit now to stone masonry and stained glass repair and manufacture. There were comic tales of warring Cathedral chapters, of humanist embroiderers repairing sacred copes for the love of needle and thread, of volunteers and helpers, but he could not resist also talking about walking, of strolling through wheat fields with the soaring spire of a cathedral ahead. Christopher’s book is dedicated not just to the ancient stones of England; Westminster Cathedral is included and also Coventry. He was deeply moved by the latter’s commitment to peace and forgiveness, despite the horror and devastation of the bombing that the City had endured. And he pleaded with Westminster Cathedral not to add mosaic to the lofty interior which benefited, he said, from its dark and mysterious appearance. 26
Christopher said repeatedly that his favourite cathedral is Ely and a painting of the cathedral is the cover of his book. More than any other it lived up to the moniker of a Ship of Heaven – afloat on the Fens, isolated on the high sea of the soft English countryside. We will try and organise a trip to Ely for the autumn; it is a beautiful cathedral. We are currently arranging a tour of St Etheldreda’s church, which of course is in Ely Place in London, so there would be a pleasing connection. It was encouraging to see so many of the audience picking up membership leaflets for the Friends – we also got a mention on Premier Christian Radio. A reminder that later this month we have our trip to Winchester College and to the hospital of St Cross, famous for its welcome to pilgrims over the centuries. I watched an episode of the recent BBC series Pilgrimage, The Road to Rome and was struck by the importance of hospitality to the pilgrims on their journey to the Eternal City. We are asking our pilgrims to bring a packed lunch (with prayers for good weather). Afternoon tea will be provided. Our thanks go to Paul Pickering for his very interesting tour of the National Gallery in the run up to Easter. His focus was the development of the altarpiece and its importance as an object of reflection and devotion. Paul is coming into the office soon to arrange some more art tours for the autumn. Tickets are selling fast for Winchester, so please book early to reserve your seat on the coach. And a reminder that tickets for all Friends’
events are available through Clergy House Reception or directly from the Friends’ Office – please call 020 7798 9059. Christopher Somerville’s book will be reviewed in the June edition of Oremus.
Forthcoming Events Tuesday May 28: Private tours of Winchester College and the ancient Hospital of St Cross – the oldest and most beautifully preserved almshouse in England. The coach departs from Clergy House at 8.15am sharp. Please bring a packed lunch. We have been given special permission to celebrate Mass in the College Chapel. Afternoon tea booked at the Hospital. Tickets £50 Tuesday June 4: Talk by Alison Weir on Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets. This is the latest book in the historian’s series on the wives of Henry VIII. Cathedral Hall. Doors at 6.30pm and talk is at 7pm. Drinks and book signing to follow. Tickets £10 Tuesday June 11: Quiz and fish and chip supper. Cathedral Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm and the quiz is at 6.45pm. Tickets £15 Thursday July 4: Outing to Ingatestone Hall with Rory O’Donnell. Coach departs from Clergy House at 9.15am sharp. We will visit the historic Petre family house where a House Mass will be celebrated. Lunch is included – please advise if you require the vegetarian option. In the afternoon we visit Thorndon Country Park, designed by Capability Brown, and the Petre Chantry Chapel. Tickets £50
Contact us • Write to: Friends’ Office, 42 Francis Street, London SW1P 1QW • Call: 020 7798 9059 • Email: friends@ westminstercathedral.org.uk Registered Charity number 272899
FIFTY AND ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
In retrospect: from the Cathedral Chronicle Many, I think, will be interested to know that coins from all over the world are found in the collections and in the collection boxes at the Cathedral. At the moment we have coins from no less than 96 different countries and this does not include G.B. or Eire. The exchange rate for coinage is always less than notes and there are some coins that the Banks will not accept. Now, if among the children of the parish there are any budding numismatists, here is a fine chance to start or add to your collection. For £1 you could receive a very good assortment of coins which would be value for money. Parents, please take a note of this and see if we cannot get £100 for the Cathedral in this way. Coin collecting can be a very interesting, illuminating and profitable hobby. John H Jackson
As Christians, shouldn’t we be imitating the God Man who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’? We think we should; ‘we’ is the Benedictine Community of Worth Abbey, near Crawley in Sussex. For many years Worth, which is a foundation of Downside, has been running a school, we now have 364 boys in our care, and this is our way of serving the community. Now the children we are educating and mainly sons of the rich and well-to-do. Is this a completely valid form of service? In some ways it isn’t, because the world’s rich are the world’s minority, and we feel that the poor of this world need our help, too. For this reason we have just sent three of our monks (almost a sixth of our whole community) to a remote jungle valley on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Peru. They left England last August, and this spring they will erect their ‘monastery’ – a pre-fabricated bungalow – in that valley and begin their work for the poor, 35,000 poor, scratching about in an area as big as Sussex and Kent put together. The situation in Peru is, like most desperate situations, very simple to describe. The native Indians, descendants of the Incas, are very poor and also very hungry. They have no future before them in their mountain homes. So they flock down to the big cities in the hope of bettering their lot. They come down to the coast in thousands. The result? They spend their lives in slum dwellings a mile or two from the bright lights of cities like Lima. Their last state is worse than the first – all that has changed is the scenery. Why haven’t we sent our monks to work in these slum dwellings? Because the answer lies in the jungles and mountains; if the Indians can be given a future to live and May 2019
work for in the place where they’re born, they won’t need to move to Lima and disillusionment. That is why the Peruvian government has given us this valley: we are to develop it, in the full sense of ‘develop’ – religiously, politically, economically, agriculturally. Friends of Peru
from the May 1969 Westminster Cathedral News Sheet The months and the weeks are going by. Not one question of capital importance has yet been settled, while revolution and anarchy are asserting themselves in ever-widening circles as the only forces claiming to be competent to deal with the world’s unrest … The news recently come from Russia, the dire necessities of the Balkan States, the deliberate fomenting by some nations of unrest in other countries, the false news which is being propagated to defeat legitimate aims, the suppression of true facts which might check the interested policy of financiers – all these things are the outcome of the delays to which a purely human wisdom is inevitably exposed. There are, no doubt among those who sit around the Council board in Paris many who daily seek from God the enlightenment and guidance Cardinal Bourne with Naval Officers on which they need board the St George in Mudros Harbour, .. but there are January 1919. others, also, who have no such faith who acknowledge neither the one true God nor Jesus Christ whom He has sent.; and it is they who have stamped upon the present Conference that character of complete forgetfulness of God which, I imagine, differentiates it from all those other great universal assemblies which from time to time the supreme moments of existence have brought together since Christ came among us. There has never been a crisis like the present one, never have the destinies of mankind been so momentously in the balance, and the Supreme Ruler and Judge of men is treated, publicly at least, as though He were of no account. from the Easter Sunday evening sermon of Cardinal Bourne in the May 1919 Westminster Cathedral Chronicle 27
STREET SHRINES, FRENCH AND ENGLISH STYLE
Our Lady in Lyon and War Memorials in St Albans In Lyon
In St Albans
For centuries, buildings in Lyon, France, were built with small niches on their facades to house statues of Our Lady. Over the years many have become empty as the tradition was neglected. However, a local organisation is bringing back this tradition. The Madonnas of Lyon Association (Les Madones de Lyon) is inviting homeowners and housing authorities to reinstall statues of the Virgin Mary in the many niches built for that purpose. The association has so far counted 200 niches. Some niches already have a statue, others are waiting for a new Madonna to be put in place. Each reinstallation of a statue of Mary in a niche is a small heritage victory!
The nine* stone memorials found in the streets of the Abbey parish in St Albans that commemorate the dead of the First World War form a unique collection. There is nothing similar in the country. Made from stone and listing only the names of the dead, they were unveiled at ceremonies in 1920 and 1921. They are known locally as ‘street memorials’. Judging by commentaries on the web and in print, there is confusion about their origins. Some historians claim they were erected as part of a general ‘street shrine‘ (sometimes ‘war shrine’) movement which gained substantial support across the country. However, for reasons of chronology, construction and purpose, the nine local street memorials are evidently not street shrines. For starters, typically made from wood, shrines were temporary in nature. Also they were only erected during the war itself. Moreover, they listed the names of men from a street then serving in the armed forces. When one of the men was killed, a mark (such as ‘RIP’ or a cross) was made The Street Memorial covering against his name Holywell Hill and surrounding streets to record the fact. In this way shrines were intended to provide support for both the anxious and the bereaved. Interestingly – and confusingly – there had been shrines in the Abbey parish. Eighteen had been dedicated by clergy from St Albans Abbey in 1916/17 as part of a programme of mission work. But all of these were taken down after the War, with the new street memorials providing support for the bereaved instead.
There are many steps to follow. First The Association’s guidebook to the shrines of Our Lady in Lyon the homeowner associations must be contacted and asked to present this topic on their meeting agenda. 'We have a very good working relationship with the city departments, who now notify us when a façade renovation is scheduled. We can then get in touch with the homeowners early enough to present our initiative,' said the association's president, Étienne Piquet-Gauthier. The Association says: 'By placing their building under the protection of Our Lady, homeowners implicitly recognise that they can't control all the hazards of life. The Virgin Mary thus creates an initial opening in their hearts, through which Christ can enter’.
* The origins of a tenth memorial, the one in Orchard Street, are obscure.
You can read more about the background and current progress, including a Madonna of the day, here: www.madonesdelyon.fr
Further information is available through the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society: http://www.stalbanshistory.org/category/contact_us
CROSSWORD AND POEM
In honour of the Lord’s Ascension Venantius Fortunatus
Hail thee, festival day! Blest day that art hallowed forever; day when our God ascends, high in the heavens to reign. Lo, the fair beauty of earth, from the death of the winter arising, every good gift of the year now with its Master returns. Daily the loveliness grows, adorned with the glory of blossom; heaven her gates unbars, flinging her increase of light. Christ in his triumph ascends, who hath vanquished the devil's dominion; gay is the woodland with leaves, bright are the meadows with flowers. Christ overwhelms the domain of Hades and rises to heaven; fitly the light gives him praise - meadows and ocean and sky. Loosen, O Lord, the enchained, the spirits imprisoned in darkness; rescue, recall into life those who are rushing to death. So shalt thou bear in thine arms an immaculate people to heaven, bearing them pure unto God, pledge of thy victory here. Jesus, the health of the world, enlighten our minds, thou Redeemer, Son of the Father supreme, only-begotten of God! Equal art thou, co-eternal, in fellowship ay with the Father; in the beginning by thee all was created and made And it was thou, blessèd Lord, who discerning humanity's sorrow, humbledst thyself for our race, taking our flesh for thine own. Hail thee, festival day! Blest day that art hallowed forever; day when our God ascends, high in the heavens to reign. Venantius Fortunatus (c. 530 – c. 600/609 AD) was a Latin poet and hymnodist in the Merovingian Court, appointed as Bishop of Poitiers at the beginning of the 7th century.
Alan Frost: March 2019
Clues Across 1 Vehicle for public hire between various London destinations (7) 6 Hill, such as that at Glastonbury (3) 8 ‘----- Doone’, classic Blackwood novel about kidnapped girl growing into virtuous woman (5) 9 Child Saint (canonised 2017), youngest of the three Fatima seers (7) 10 Person or book giving information about, e.g., cathedral (5) 11 Cardinal (statue by entrance to Brompton Oratory) soon to be canonised (6) 13 Puzzling Variations from 4 Down composer (6) 15 Public School in London where Mass offered daily in the chapel for Catholic pupils (6) 17 Book of the Old Testament (6) 20 Composer of a Requiem ending with the inspired In Paradisum (5) 21 Early Saint and Doctor of the Church, created a type of Plainsong (7) 23 A musical study, particularly by Chopin (5) 24 A very long period of time (3) 25 Lay people at the ambo during Mass (7)
Venantius reading his verse to Queen Radegonda and the Abbess in the monastery at Poitiers, by Laurens Alma Tadema
To submit a poem whether by yourself or another for consideration, please contact the Editor – details on page 3. May 2019
ANSWERS Across: 1 Bicycle 6 Tor 8 Lorna 9 Jacinta 10 Guide 11 Newman 13 Enigma 15 Harrow 17 Haggai 20 Fauré 21 Ambrose 23 Etude 24 Eon 25 Readers Down: 1 Bar-Jonah* 2 Cracow 3 Clan 4 Elgar 5 Braganza 6 Taming 7 Rose 12 Adoremus 14 Anicetus 16 Reuben 18 George 19 Baker 20 Fide 22 Bona (* Different spellings)
© Dordrechts Museum
Clues Down 1 ‘Simon …-…..’, how Jesus addresses Peter in Matthew 16:17 (8) 2 City in Poland, where Sister Faustina (in convent) received the Divine Mercy messages (6) 3 Kinship group, particularly linked with Scotland (4) 4 Catholic composer who set to music 11’s spiritual poem Dream of Gerontius (5) 5 Queen Catherine of --------, Catholic wife of Charles II (8) 6 ‘The ------ of the Shrew’, play by William Shakespeare (6) 7 Flower represented by bead on Our Lady’s Chaplet (4) 12 -------- in aeternum sanctissimum Sacramentum, antiphon at Benediction (8) 14 Early Pope recorded on Cathedral aisle wall, for whom Bp (St) Polycarp celebrated Mass (8) 16 Jacob’s eldest son and founder of a Tribe of Israel (6) 18 Patron Saint, with Chapel dedicated to him in the Cathedral (6) 19 Martin, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral(5) 20 See 22 Down 22 & 20 Down: Genuine: Latin for ‘in good faith’ (4,4)
ST VINCENT DE PAUL PRIMARY SCHOOL
Saints in Mosaic – St Joan of Arc Anna, Year 6
I’ve lived in Victoria all my life and I was born in London. However, my family come from the North and South of Italy. I have nine cousins and three grandparents there. I visit them at Easter and almost every year at Christmas. I’m proud of both sides of my family, Italian and British. I was baptised in Holy Apostles church, Pimlico, but I made my First Holy Communion in the Cathedral in May 2016. I was excited to do it there because I thought the Cathedral was important and I wanted to do it with all my friends. I remember that I had to read during the Mass. I was nervous, but I felt proud and I felt like all eyes were on me. I was wearing a white dress with a matching hairband. I normally never wear dresses, except for school uniform, so it added to the importance of it all. I don’t like to wear dresses because I’m not able to do things that I could when wearing trousers and casual clothes. I’ve known the Cathedral as long as I can remember and I have made many memories there. Memories are important because they remind you of what you did in the past and can lead on to important things in the future. When I enter the Cathedral, I always think of it as massive and that it makes me feel quite small. I feel like there is a presence that is bigger than myself, which I believe is God. As soon as I enter the cross is the first thing that captures my attention, because it reminds us of everything that Jesus went through and that he did it to show the love of God, which is massive, just like the cross. One of the mosaics close to the great cross is of St Joan of Arc. I admire women saints more than I admire men saints, because women did not have the same rights as men in history. If you are a woman saint from the past, you must have done something exceptional. I think it is quite unusual that a French saint is in an English Cathedral. I like France because there is a lot to explore and it has a lot of history. St Joan was one of the most extraordinary French saints to have ever lived. In a time when only men fought in battles, Joan claimed that she saw visions, which told her to help King Charles VII who was losing battles in a war that we know today as the 100 Years War. The King believed her visions and told her to go and fight in a battle called The Siege of Orléans. She cut her hair, stopped wearing dresses and wore armour. She carried a banner, which had a fleur-de-lis on it, which was on the French flag of the King, and also had a great sword. She rode a great white horse, and if you do this sort of thing, you are thought to be a bit of a tomboy 30
nowadays. At first, she was very successful, but then she was captured by the English and put on trial. She was accused of heresy, which means saying things the Church does not believe in; but the charges were not true, just made up by powerful people. She was later burned at the stake at 19 years of age in Rouen. The mosaic of her is one of the oldest in the Cathedral. W C Symons, the artist, designed it. The mosaic itself was actually made by George Bridge and his team of craftsmen, using the direct method, which is the old way of making mosaics: placing the pieces of stone directly onto the wall. All the mosaics in this corner of the Cathedral cost £780 in total (which sounds very inexpensive these days). I like all the detail in the mosaic: the sword and banner that Joan carries, the cope - that is her big cloak -, the armour, the fleur-de-lis, I like her short hair and the fact that she dressed a little bit like a tomboy. I think St Joan of Arc is the saint for me, because she was good at using a sword and in the future, I would like to do fencing as one of my many sports. I hope I’ll be as good as Joan of Arc one day. Oremus
AN AGM IN CELEBRATION/MUSICAL CHARITY
St Augustine’s Society at Work CDs for loan in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
A Little Arithmetic Stephen J Graham 1. Go to a Charity Shop and buy a stack of CDs for a total of £15. 2. In due course, take the CDs to another Charity Shop – as a gift. 3. In due course, that Charity Shop sells them for £15.
© Society of St Augustine of Canterbury
4. The result: a) You have spent £15; b) together the Charity Shops have gained £30; and c) you have gained enjoyment of the music for an undetermined, but limited period.
Michael Milbourn honoured
The AGM of the Society of St Augustine of Canterbury, a national charity which supports the promotion and advancement of the Catholic Faith in England and Wales and will mark its centenary in 2022, was held in the Throne Room of Archbishop’s House on 26 March and marked by two special events. John Barrie KCSG launched his book ‘A History of the Society: the First 90 Years’, which surveys the Society’s progress in the context of the Church in the 20th century. Cardinal Vincent then presented Michael Milbourn, a former chairman, with the Benemerenti medal in recognition for his work for the Church and spoke to members about the joy and inspiration to be found in the forthcoming canonisation of Bl John Henry Newman. May 2019
RESTORING THE WEST FRONT
The damaged surface of many of the bricks is visible; chalk marks indicate those destined for replacement
Cathedral Brickwork Restoration Neil Fairbairn, Estate Works Manager The scaffolding on the front of the Cathedral marks the start of restoration work to the brickwork. The upper parts of the walls are suffering from various degrees of decay, the worst areas being on the side that faces the prevailing weather. The images show what we are confronted with, in terms of damage and remedial action. Construction of the access scaffolding had to take into account protection to and access for our neighbours at SVP School and St Paul’s Bookshop. Sadly, we also have to prevent various types of anti-social behaviour and to defend the Cathedral from vandals who might scale it to break into the building. Once that was all dealt with, we were finally able to get on with the job. This work requires cutting out the facing bricks and replacing them, with each area inspected and the bricks to be removed being chalked. Exactly where to stop is tricky, as most of these bricks have some sort of damage. In the end, the judgement is made by the
architect and informed by the quantities allowed for in the contract price. Where the damage is to both sides of a brick detail, there is no option other than total removal. The intricate detailing of the Cathedral makes this a fairly common problem. Unsympathetic repairs carried out in the past are now also part of the problem; areas of ‘modern’ cement repointing have to be removed and replaced with a more traditional mortar. The replacement bricks are specially made and something of a work of art. As this article goes to press, we await the delivery of a second batch. The first batch arrived on time, but then it was realised they had been made to the wrong size and to a slightly different colour. If anyone recalls the problems with bricks and the toilet block, they might be thinking: ‘Oh no, not again’. We hope to restart work sometime in the next couple of weeks, as long as the new batch is acceptable, of course. This work has been funded by a grant from the Albert Gubay foundation.
The supporting bricks have already been cut out and temporary timber struts support the stonework below the cupola
All defective brickwork removed, ready for a new surround to the decorative stonework
Previous repairs need to be made good; in many areas the pointing has proved longerwearing than the brickwork
The Magazine of Westminster Cathedral