Monthly Archives: May 2010

One More Veni Creator…

I can’t let this Pentecost Sunday pass without one more magnificent version of the Veni Creator Spiritus. It is by Gustav Mahler. He wrote it at the very end of his life when he was looking for words that would be able to express “the unheard”. He reviewed all the world’s literature, including the Bible. Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, in his book, “Come Creator Spirit” tells us, “untimately, he decided upon the Veni Creator, and for it he assembled the greatest vocal and instrumental ‘ensemble’ ever attempted. The work has come to be known as the Symphony of a Thousand. The first line, Veni Creator Spiritus, contains the theme of the whole work; it is a kind of cosmic paean [ song of praise] rising wave upon wave as the various voices and instruments take up the cry. The composer wrote to a friend ‘ try to imagine the universe itself beginning to sing and let its own voice resound. What I want to hear are not simply human voices, but whirling planets and suns.’ ” This passage comes in Fr Raniero’s treatment of the Holy Spirit as the “Creator”.

Here it comes: Mahler Symphony No.8, 1st Movement, by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle at the 2002 BBC Proms. I have written a translation for all our many viewers who speak “Manderin”.

Happy Pentecost, for the last time this year!

Regina Caeli – one last time!

Here at St Robert’s, at the end of every weekday Mass, since Easter Sunday, we have sung the Regina Caeli. It is my favourite antiphon to Our Lady. Short but intensely sweet, it is a proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus and the joy of Mary. The Easter season ends today so here it is one more time, well a few times actually, in order to engrain it into our memory so that we can sing it with even greater gusto next year, please God.

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

The Regina Caeli is an ancient latin hymn to Our Lady; it is one of the four seasonal Marian (Mary) antiphons recited in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) at the conclusion of the last of the hours to be prayed in common that day – Night Prayer (Compline). The Regina Caeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through to Pentecost Sunday. While the authorship of the Regina Caeli is unknown, the hymn has been traced back to the twelfth century. It is an Easter hymn that expresses the profound joy of Mary at the resurrection of her Son. The words Regina Coeli are best translated Queen in Heaven. It is an Easter title of honour and signifies that the Mother of Christ now already participates in the Easter glory of her son. Instead of the usual address for Mary, Ave (hail), the Laetare, rejoice, is used. This is an invitation to look to Mary as she lives now: the servant of the Lord on earth has become queen of heaven. In her exaltation, she has become a sign for all who are united with Christ through baptism. We too share in the Resurrected Life of Christ through our baptism and we shall reach its fulfilment in the Resurrected life of Heaven.

Veni Creator Spiritus

Veni Creator Spiritus. It is the great hymn of Pentecost and the great prayer of invocation for the Holy Spirit. You will hear it at the beginning of a conclave to elect a new pope. The Second Vatican Council (1962 -1965) began with this invocation. It has a place in the ordination of bishops, priests and deacons. It was sung just before the anointing and coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as it had been for every monarch since the beginning of the second millennium. Composed in the ninth century by Rhabanus Maurus (abbot and bishop) it gradually grew in popularity until it became the prayer that would be sung before every important event in the Church. It is the prayer of Pentecost – the prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Sprit.

Here is the traditional Latin plainchant version sung in one of its most natural settings – the Ordination of bishops in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

This wonderful hymn is more familiarly sung in its English version, Come Holy Ghost Creator Come. It is not a very good translation so hear is a more accurate translation of the original Latin provided for us by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the Pope, in his book “Come, Creator Spirit – Meditations on the Veni Creator.”

Come, Creator Spirit,
visit the minds of those who are yours;
fill with heavely grace
the hearts that you have made.

You who are named the Paraclete,
gift of God most high,
living fountain, fire, love
and anointing for the soul.

You are sevenfold in your gifts,
you are the finger of God’s right hand,
you, the Father’s solemn promise
putting words upon our lips.

Kindle a light in our senses,
pour love into our hearts,
infirmities of this body of ours
overcoming with strength secure.

The enemy drive from us away,
peace then give without delay;
with you as guide to lead the way
we avoid all cause of harm.

Grant we may know the Father through you,
and come to know the Son as well,
and may we always cling in faith
to you, the Spirit of them both.
Amen.

This is the prayer of Pentecost. It is the backdrop for Fr Raniero’s masterpiece on the theology of the Holy Spirit. This book is in my humble opinion the most inspiring treatment of the Holy Spirit I have ever read. Get it today – Come, Creator Spirit – Meditations on the Veni Ceator– by liturgical Press. It is available on Amazon.

The Novena is over, Pentecost is here, let us celebrate with joy this most important and joyful feast. As I pointed out in the Newsletter today:

“After Easter and Christmas, Pentecost is the most important feast in the Church’s year. In fact, St Eusebius of Caesarea, way back in the fourth century said that Pentecost was “the greatest feast of all” because if the Holy Spirit had not come we would not be celebrating any feasts. There would be no Church! That’s how important Pentecost is! To celebrate this wonderful feast there will be a special Holy Hour today from 5.30pm. There will be the renewal of baptismal promises, prayers of invocation for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and an opportunity for people to be prayed with individually and anointed with blest oil.  This will all take place in the context of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and conclude with Benediction.”

Happy Feast Day to all,

Fr Lawrence Jones.

The Novena continues…

Here is a delightful version of Veni Creator Spiritus by the Italian (Neopolitan) composer Niccolo Jommeli (1714-1774). This comes courtesy of Italian TV (Rai Uno) from the ‘theatre of St Charles of Naples’ after its restoration in 2008. The soprano is Maria Grazia Schiavo and the conductor is Riccardo Muti.

Coming soon – St Robert of Newminster Feast Day

The actual Feast Day is Monday 7th June. This marks the end of the 850th anniversary year of St Robert’s death (1159).

  • We are marking the occasion with a walk to the abbey grounds for Vespers (Evening Prayer) on Sunday 6th June. Everyone is invited to gather at St Robert’s church at 3.00pm for the walk to the abbey. There will be refreshments in the church hall when we return. I am glad to say that some parishioners from our sister parish of St Robert of Newminster, Fenham, Newcastle, will be joining us for the walk and Vespers. I will let the other Churches of Morpeth know about it as well.
    • On the actual Feast Day (Monday 7th June) there will be Mass at 6.00pm followed by a Family Ceilidh and pie and pea supper at the Riverside Lodge starting at 7.00pm. Tickets are £7.00 for adults and £4 for children and will be available after Mass this weekend and from Monday 24th May they will be on sale from the presbytery and the school. Don’t be disappointed get your tickets in good time.

    Fr Jim and myself look forward to joining you for these important parish celebrations.

    Yours,

    Fr Lawrence.

    Keep happy!

    This is dedicated to all the young folk of St Robert’s parish who are taking exams. Please, keep happy no matter what! Trust in the Lord and you will reach your full potential. You can do it! Don’t worry! Keep positive! Remember to say a prayer before each exam. Here’s something to cheer you up.

    It’s all yours Whoopi…

    Now, back to revision!

    You are in our prayers,
    Fr Jim and Fr Lawrence.
    (That’s not us on the picture by the way –
    we are happy priests!)

    World Communications Day

    It is a day dedicated to prayer for the work of communications professionals across the world. Today’s second collection supports the work of the Catholic Communications Network which supports the Bishops of England and Wales in promoting the Gospel in the media.

    On this World Communication Day, I am delighted that Pope Benedict is encouraging priests to get involved in “communication technology.”  The Pope’s Message for this year ties in with the Church’s “Year for Priests”, that runs until June 2010, and is entitled: The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word. Pope Benedict calls for priests to discover new digital possibilities to proclaim the Word of God and carry out their ministry.

    “Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a ‘soul’ to the fabric of communications that makes up the ‘Web’.”

    Pope Benedict XVI

    Thank you for your encouragement, Holy Father, I am very new to this but I am trying my best. You will be pleased to know that I even managed to post a video promoting your forthcoming visit to the United Kingdom.

    Fr Lawrence Jones

    A Special Collection and the Papal Visit

    Next Sunday (23 May 2010), there will be a second collection as you leave church for the Papal Visit. Prayer cards for the Visit will be distributed to all parishioners. This collection will be taken in all parishes in England, Wales and Scotland. These collections will be held to assist in meeting the costs of the Visit payable by the Church, which are currently estimated to be at least £7m. Over £3m has already been raised towards this total.

    Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said

    “I would urge everyone in the Catholic community to pray for this Visit and to support the collection for it as generously as they can. The Holy Father’s Visit is a wonderful opportunity for the gentle light of faith to be contemplated afresh by everyone. He will confirm the strong faith of our own community. But my prayer, too, is that the Visit will serve to kindle a new spiritual vitality, a questioning of the heart for many in our society who may have no religious affiliation but who are in some way seeking a deeper meaning and purpose to their lives.“

    The costs associated with the state aspects of the Visit will be paid by the government. The costs payable by the church consist mainly in the organising costs of three major public pastoral gatherings – in Scotland, London and the West Midlands.

    Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland on a four-day Papal visit from 16-19 September 2010.

    When Pope Benedict arrives in Scotland on Thursday 16th September, he will go firstly to Scotland where he will be received by Her Majesty The Queen, members of the Royal Family and people representing British society in the Palace of Holyrood House. Having met the Queen, the Pope will travel to Glasgow where he will celebrate an open-air Mass in the evening and then he will fly from Glasgow to London. The Holy Father will then be based in London for the remainder of the visit.

    On Friday 17th September, Pope Benedict is going to St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, where there will be three aspects to his visit. The first is that he begins the day praying with representatives of religious congregations – particularly those who have a charism for education and a history of education.

    He will then go and meet about 3,000 young people – schoolchildren, students – to celebrate Catholic education. From there he will then meet with religious leaders and people of religious faith. He will discuss with them religion and belief in our society.

    Later in the day, the Pope is scheduled to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak with him in front of the Anglican diocesan bishops and the Catholic diocesan bishops of England and Wales.

    He has then been invited, as part of the State visit, to address British society. Representatives of British society will be invited to Westminster Hall to hear the Pope’s address.

    He will finish off the day with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Christian leaders at Westminster Abbey to celebrate Evening Prayer.

    On Saturday 18th September, Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass in Westminster Cathedral where he will also, from there, greet the people of Wales.

    Later in the day he will visit a home for older people, giving the Pope an opportunity to go to those who cannot meet with him, and then be present at a Vigil of prayer which again will be in the open air in London. I have heard on the grapevine that the Vigil will be a celebration for Young People in Hyde Park.

    On Sunday 19th September the visit is focused very much on the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and the Pope will celebrate that beatification in the West Midlands.

    He will conclude the day by meeting with the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales in Oscott College before returning to Rome from Birmingham Airport.

    How will St Robert’s be taking part in this important and momentous event for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom? Well, there are a number of possibilities that we can explore. It may be easiest to arrange a coach to the Mass in Glasgow on the evening of Thursday 16th September or a coach to the Mass of Beatification on Sunday 19th September at Coventry Airport. Our Young People may wish to go to the Youth event on the evening on Saturday 18th September in Hyde Park.  I know that all the events are by ticket only and we don’t know how many will be allocated to our diocese. At the moment we will have to wait and see until more information is available.

    Click here for more information on the Papal Visit.

    Fr Lawence Jones

    The Novena to the Holy Spirit

    The Novena to the Holy Spirit begins today. Novena simply means Nine. It is a period of intercessory pray that lasts nine days. There are all sorts of Novena prayers available today but on this particular day we begin the most important novena of all because it is the first and original novena, the novena that gave birth to the Church. We are told in the Acts of the Apostles that immediately after Our Lord ascended to heaven the Apostles went back to the “upper room” and “with one heart all these joined constantly in prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” (Acts 1:14).

    For nine days they prayed and waited for the “promise of the Father”. Jesus had told them at His Ascension “not many days from now you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts1:5). Furthermore, Our Lord promised them that “you will recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you: and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:6).

    In the Novena to the Holy Spirit, the whole Church goes back to the upper room (the Cenacle) and “with one heart” we once again join Our Lady and the first Christian community in praying for the outpouring of the Spirit. We pray for “a new Pentecost” (Blessed Pope John XXIII) for the entire Church, for our parish, for our families and for our individual lives. Indeed, we pray for the Holy Spirit to “renew the face of the earth”.

    The Novena to the Holy Spirit is supposed to begin on the day after Ascension Thursday and end on the eve of Pentecost Sunday. The Bishop’s of England and Wales messed everything up, when a few years ago, they decided to move Ascension Thursday to the following Sunday. I will say nothing more about it! This means that there are only 6 days to the Novena. However, it is still possible to begin the Novena on the Friday before Ascension Sunday. By the time you read this however, it will be at least Ascension Sunday. So, if you have not already done so I encourage you to prepare for Pentecost by entering into this Novena at what ever stage you wish and on whatever day it happens to be. The amount of days aren’t so important. It is the sincerely of our prayer that matters.

    Here are some prayers to help you make the Novena:

    Prayer for St Robert’s Parish

    Come Holy Spirit, renew your wonders

    in this our day as by a new Pentecost.

    (Blessed Pope John XXIII)

    Father, pour out your Spirit

    upon our parish

    and grant us

    a new vision of your glory

    a new experience of your power,

    a new faithfulness to your Word, and

    a new consecration to your service,

    that your love may grow among us

    and your Kingdom come:

    through Christ Our Lord

    Amen.

    St Robert of Newminster. Pray for us.

    Come, Holy Ghost

    Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come
    From thy bright heavenly throne,
    Come, take possession of our souls,
    And make them all thine own.

    Thou who art called the Paraclete,
    Best gift of God above,
    The living spring, the living fire,
    Sweet unction and true love.

    Thou who art sev’nfold in thy grace,
    Finger of God’s right hand;
    His promise, teaching little ones
    To speak and understand.

    O guide our minds with thy blest light,
    With love our hearts inflame;
    And with thy strength, which ne’er decays,
    Confirm our mortal frame.

    Far from us drive our deadly foe;
    True peace unto us bring;
    And through all perils lead us safe
    Beneath thy sacred wing.

    Through thee may we the Father know,
    Through thee th’eternal Son,
    And thee the Spirit of them both,
    Thrice-blessed Three in One.

    All glory to the Father be,
    With his co-equal Son:
    The same to thee, great Paraclete,
    While endless ages run.

    Holy Spirit, Lord of Light

    Holy Spirit, Lord of light,
    From Thy clear celestial height
    Thy pure beaming radiance give.

    Come, Thou Father of the poor,
    Come with treasures which endure,
    Come, Thou Light of all that live.

    Thou, of all consolers best,
    Thou, the soul’s delightsome Guest,
    Dost refreshing peace bestow.

    Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
    Pleasant coolness in the heat,
    Solace in the midst of woe.

    Light immortal, Light divine,
    Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
    And our inmost being fill.

    If Thou take Thy grace away,
    Nothing pure in man will stay;
    All his good is turned to ill.

    Heal our wounds; our strength renew;
    On our dryness pour Thy dew;
    Wash the stains of guilt away.

    Bend the stubborn heart and will;
    Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
    Guide the steps that go astray.

    Thou, on those who evermore
    Thee confess and Thee adore,
    In Thy sevenfold gifts descend:

    Give them comfort when they die,
    Give them life with Thee on high;
    Give them joys that never end.

    Come, Holy Spirit

    Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

    V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
    R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

    Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.

    Amen.

    Here is some wonderful teaching from Pope Benedict XVI:

    “We pray that Pentecost may not only be an event of the past, at the very beginning of the Church, but that it may be today, indeed now… Let us pray that the Lord may bring about the outpouring of his Spirit now, and recreate his Church and the world…Let us remember that after the Ascension the Apostles did not begin – as might perhaps have been expected – to organise, to create the Church of the future. They waited for God to act. They waited for the Holy Spirit. They understood that the Church cannot be made, that she is not the product of our organization: the Church must be born of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Lord himself was conceived and born of the Holy Spirit so the Church must be conceived and born of the Holy Spirit. Only through this creative act of God can we enter into God’s activity, into the divine action, and cooperate with him…” (African Synod 2009)

    “Jesus’ entire mission aimed at giving the Spirit of God to men and women and baptising them in his regenerative ‘bath’. This was brought about with his glorification (cf. Jn 7:39), that is, through his death and Resurrection: then the Spirit of God was poured out in superabundance, like a cascade capable of purifying every heart, extinguishing the fire of evil and kindling the flame of divine love in the world… Pentecost [is] …the culmination of Jesus’ entire mission…  Today I would like to extend the invitation to all:  let us rediscover, dear brothers and sisters, the beauty of being baptised in the Holy Spirit; let us recover awareness of our Baptism and our Confirmation, ever timely sources of grace.” (Pentecost 2008)

    And, finally from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    “It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost” (1302)

    “It must be explained to the faithful that reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace” (1285).

    Don’t forget that we are having a special Holy Hour on Pentecost Sunday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm – Exposistion of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers of invocation for the Holy Spirit and Benediction.

    I hope you have a prayerful novena and a “Spirit filled” Pentecost.

    Fr Lawrence Jones

    First Communication

    Dear Parishioners,

    Welcome to St Robert’s Website, this is my first attempt at this type of technology. I am starting off very simply and slowly. You will have to be patient.

    If this is to work I will need the help of those of you who have IT skills. Please contact me at ljonesys@yahoo.co.uk. Also, I need the help of those of you involved in parish organisations so that you can all have a page or link on the website. I would be grateful if the following could send me a summary of what their group does and any information you would want to be put on the website. A photo would be good (if there are children on the photo we need the written permission of parents). A contact number or email for the group would also be helpful but the person concerned must consent to this.

    So, could these groups please send information:
    Choir
    Folk group
    Children’s Liturgy
    SVP
    CWL
    Catenians
    Rainbows
    Brownies
    Guides.

    God Bless,

    Fr Lawrence.