The Portal February 2018 - Page 13

THE P RTAL February 2018 occasion, for not only was the will to form a group cemented, but in attendance at the pub was also a well known character, Mike Forbester. Mike has a long history in providing traditional liturgical music either by himself or through his most excellent choir, the Rudgate Singers. Plans were John Konstantin Tee beginning to form in my head. “Mike and I had long associations with the oldest church in York, St Mary’s, Bishophill Junior. They in turn have a long tradition of welcoming those of other traditions. Could I dare ask the Vicar and PCC of an Anglican church to host official Catholic services? Certainly it lent itself to Catholic worship, being beautifully appointed by generations Richard Hawker of Anglo-Catholics. I was not without trepidation. “I began to start asking permissions. I wanted authorities both Catholic and Anglican to grant approval to an Ordinariate group using St Mary’s for both Mass and other services. With these speedily obtained we planned our first regular service of Evensong according to the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham. These were to Tony and Peta Hill occur every Friday and started in July 2017. “The very first service we didn’t want to advertise as Mike Forbester and I wanted a ‘dry run’ just to make sure we had everything in place and literally were singing off the same song sheet. From week two on we decided to advertise and the Sung Evensong Mike Forbester very quickly became a Solemn Evensong with smoke and sermon. “Numbers began to increase and presently there are approximately twenty faithful who have been in attendance at our services but up to ten on any given day. (There were fourteen on the evening The Portal attended). This has largely been done by a considerable Robert Smith amount of networking, particularly amongst the students of York University. We now have a Facebook page and are represented on the main Ordinariate webpage. “The Divine Office only has so much kerb appeal but our fledgling flock have become quite enamoured of it. That said, we then turned out attention to the celebration of Syra Cheeseman Page 13 Holy Mass. The Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham were good enough to supply us with our very own Order of Divine Worship Missal and Fr David Stafford came over to celebrate our first Mass on the 24 th of September 2017. This occasion went very smoothly considering myself, as Master of Ceremonies, and Duncan Scott had not previously officiated at an Ordinariate Use Mass. “Mike Forbester provided the accompaniment for our Missa Cantata and there were a goodly number in attendance. I think I must add at this point that our congregation is largely made up of regular Catholics, some Anglicans and those of no religion at all. Everyone agreed that the Mass was most beautiful and enjoyed the convivialities afterwards. The fact that this was the first ‘Catholic’ Mass in the oldest church in York probably since the Reformation, or at least since the days of Queen Mary, did not go unnoticed. It was quite emotional. “And so we continue. Solemn Evensong each Friday followed by communal fish and chips and a bottle of sherry. (A bottle of sherry! There was more than one bottle when we were there!) Planned monthly Masses are in place as we go from strength to strength. I have been slowly amassing our own kit as we do not want to impose on the graciousness of our hosts and if God should bless me to serve at the Altar again as priest, we would be able to offer a weekly Mass. “We have come a long way in just a few short months and at some point in the future we would most warmly welcome an event in the North on behalf of the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. I would like to thank all who have come together to make this Mission possible; rarely have I met with so many people of such goodwill. We are truly blessed. Oh, and by the way… we now have our own key!” This was a wonderful visit. It was one that we enjoyed. It was holy. It was devout. It was fun. We are grateful to the York Group for their welcome, and we promise to return for a celebration of mass.