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Monday, August 27, 2012

Annual Papa Stronsay Bonfire

 Saturday 25th August saw the long awaited annual Papa Stronsay bonfire and BBQ.  It had been planned for earlier in the year, but due to bad weather it had to be postponed.  Thanks be to God, the weather turned out fine on the evening of the 25th!  We were glad to welcome a good number of the Stronsay community to Papa Stronsay for the occasion.

Br. Seelos celebrated his 21st birthday on the 22nd August.  Therefore he was given the honour of lighting the fire.

Blessing the fire:

 Domine Deus, Pater omnipotens, lumen indeficiens, qui es conditur omnium luminum: novum humc ignem sanctifica, et praesta; ut ad te, qui es lumen indeficiens, puris mentibus, post hujus saeculi caliginem, pervenire valeamus.  Per Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

Lord God, Almighty Father, Maker of all light, and the light that never fails; hallow  this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this world we may come with pure hearts to Thee, our perpetual light; through Christ our Lord.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Public Profession Video

The Public Profession of Vows
(video of the ceremony)

The sermon of his Lordship is at 00:32:15
The public profession of vows begins at 00:58:15
Litany of Loreto at 00:48:38
 Tantum Ergo at  01:27:19
 Divine Praises sung in English at 01:30:54
 Adoremus at 01:32:45
Hymn Our Lady of Good Succour to Our Lady of Aberdeen at 01:34:34

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Public Religious Professions.

The Public Profession of Vows
of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

The long awaited day arrived on the 
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
22 August, 2012,
the day of
our individual incorporation into the 
canonically erected
Clerical Institute of Diocesan Right
under the title of the
Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

We were canonically erected by the Right Reverend
Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Here he is photographed in
Our Lady's Chapel, Stronsay,
during last night's public profession ceremony.
For this solemn occasion of
our union with the diocese and the Church
the episcopal throne was erected in the sanctuary.

Above the bishop is the Coat of Arms of the 
Diocese of Aberdeen
which can be seen in more detail  in the first image above.
May the monastic and missionary saints of our diocese
intercede for us.

In all, three Lessons from the Holy Scripture were chanted
followed by Tracts, 
then the Alleluia and Gospel of the Mass for 
the feast of the Most Holy Redeemer.

The Second Lesson.
Following the chant of the Gospel the Bishop preached. 
Following the sermon the Litany of Loreto
completed the preparation for the public religious professions.

First Fr Michael Mary made public profession
into the hands of the Bishop.
This act was one of Ecclesial Communion through the Bishop 
to the Universal Church.

The vows are made to God
but the superior makes them through the Bishop to God.

Fr. Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. 
makes his public perpetual profession
into the hands of the appointed superior. 

The superior of the new religious order
having made his public profession into the hands of the Bishop
is then empowered to receive the public religious professions
of the members of the Congregation.

Br. Yousef Marie, F.SS.R. 
makes his public perpetual profession
into the hands of the Rector Major.

Br. Magdala Maria, F.SS.R. 
makes public profession of the vows of religion.
The vow of Perseverance is attested with an oath.

Having made the oath of Perseverance
Br. Martin Mary, F.SS.R. 
kisses the Gospel.
 Having kissed the Gospel
Br. Nicodemus Mary, F.SS.R. 
is received into the Congregation
bound by his vows and oath
according to the 
Rules of St. Alphonsus
(which were approved by 
Pope Benedict XIV in 1749)
and the
Constitutions of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
(which were approved by 
the Holy See in 2011).

Br. Gerardo Maria, F.SS.R.
makes temporary public profession for three years.

 The public professions were followed by
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
 The opening prayer of St. Alphonsus
in his Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,
the antiphon to Our Lady
and the 
Prayer for the Pope
all followed.
 The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
wass given by
Dom Hugh,
our Bishop of Aberdeen.

With full hearts and voices
the Divine Praises 
were chanted.
Blessed be God!
Blessed be His Holy Name!
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bishop Guimarães, C.SS.R. in Campos

As part of the celebrations of tenth anniversary of the Episcopal consecration of Bishop Rifan, Bishop Fernando José Monteiro Guimarães, C.SS.R. visited the Apostolic Administration of St John Mary Vianney.  Bishop  Guimarães, C.SS.R.  is the bishop of Garanhuns in Brazil.  While on his visit he celebrated the Traditional Mass at the Church of the traditional Redemptoristines in Sao Fidelis.

Preparing for Mass

The prayers at the foot of the altar. These photos are taken from behind the Nuns' grill. 

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas
I will wash my hands among the innocent

 Holy Communion.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our Festive Thanksgiving.

Our Festive Day.

 Fr. Anthony Mary and Fr. Michael Mary
Feast of the Assumption, 2012.
Dear Friends and Families,
The words that spring immediately to my mind in writing a response to yesterday's Canonical Recognition of the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, are words that the priest prays every day at Mass, from Psalm 115:
"Quid retribuam Domino 
pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?" 
"What return shall I make to the Lord 
for all He hath given to me?"
This is the question that we ask when we realise that what we have received from Our Lord through His Church is far beyond what we merit; His Mercies can never be repaid. On one hand we cannot survive without these Mercies, on the other hand, we do not deserve them nor have the means of repaying them ever at all. Caught between the necessity of the having a canonical recognition and our own indigence and unworthiness of which we are very conscious, what can we do except repeat the prayer from the psalm and cast ourselves before Him while awaiting the moment of rescue from our plight. Only prayer can save us!

And praying, I said: O Lord God, destroy not thy people, and thy inheritance, which thou hast redeemed in thy greatness, whom thou hast brought out of Egypt with a strong hand.  Remember thy servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: look not on the stubbornness of this people, nor on their wickedness and sin: Lest perhaps the inhabitants of the land, out of which thou hast brought us, say: The Lord could not bring them into the land that he promised them, and he hated them: therefore he brought them out, that he might kill them in the wilderness, Who are thy people and thy inheritance, whom thou hast brought out by thy great strength, and in thy stretched out arm. (Deut. 9: 26-29) The application of this text to our history is appropriate; but we did not have to wander for forty years, and we did not die in the wilderness: in any case, in monastic life, the wilderness is our chosen place of abode.

We are profoundly grateful to the many friends who have supported us over these last years; thank you! We have been mightily supported by our families and friends; holy prelates, priests and nuns.

On a personal note, I thank my own parents and family: For over twenty years they took the neighbourhood, clerical and other brunt of my commitment to the old Mass; and they lived through the 'wilderness of doubt' of the last five years. It  has all turned out fine in the end! But thank you Dad and Mum for bearing things that would have hurt you deeply. In the end all has been part of God's permissive Will. It has led to the canonical establishment of a Congregation of priests and monks, officially recognised by the Church to continue permanently offering the old Mass and to serve souls. You taught me that it is a good thing to have something to put up with and to offer to Our Lord and Our Lady! Quite right!   

We are equally grateful to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, to Bishop Hugh of Aberdeen and Bishop Barry of Christchurch for their mercy and kindness towards us. The graces we needed flowed abundantly through them; they are our Fathers in God and each of them have had the right words and acts of solicitude for us. We come into Full Communion with the Church having a Pope who deeply cares for traditionalists and having been directed to two dioceses of choice by God's 'great strength and His stretched out arm'.

In fine, could we but rejoice? Of course not; and we do. Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis: Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary!   

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

The Most Small Congregation
"Out of the Wilderness".
Gathered together about Our Lady's Funeral Couch
Feast of the Assumption, 2012.
(Absent are: Br. Paul Mary, Br. Dominic Mary, Br. Xavier Maria all in Christchurch
and Br. Alfonso Maria in the Philippines)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Decree of Erection

Text of the above Document.

Decree of erection
Of a
Religious institute of diocesan right

The Papa Stronsay community known as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer was founded on 2nd August 1988 residing on the Isle of Sheppey in England.  In 1994 they moved to Joinville in France and from there in 1999 came to their present location on the Isle of Papa Stronsay within the archipelago of the Orkney Isles.

In 2008 in response to the Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum, of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, given Motu Proprio at St Peter’s on 7th July 2007, three priests of the community sought regularisation of their situation and a majority of the community signed a Formula of Adherence, which ended the schismatic state and brought them into full communion with the Catholic Church.

In September 2011, I as Bishop of Aberdeen and accompanied by Rev. Stuart P. Chalmers, Vicar General of the Diocese, made a pastoral visit to the community.  After further consultation with the Holy See it was agreed to begin the course of action leading to the canonical recognition of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Beginning on 23rd April 2012 a Canonical Visitation took place undertaken by myself as Bishop of Aberdeen and accompanied by Dom Benedict Hardy, O.S.B. Prior of the Abbey of Pluscarden; the results of which were duly reported to Cardinal William Levada President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.  Consequently, in accord with the letter dated 12th June 2012, Prot. N. 27/2006, from Mons Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and after consulting the Council of Priests of the diocese of Aberdeen:

I, Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B, by the grace of God Bishop of Aberdeen, decree that the community known as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, be erected as a Religious Institute of Diocesan right in accordance with c 579 of the Code of Canon Law 1983.  The Institute will be subject to all other applicable norms of the said code and governed by the statutes of the said community previously approved by the Holy See.

Given this day 15th August in the year of Our Lord 2012

Rt Rev. Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen

Prot No. 01/2012 L.S.
Rev. Deacon John J. Wire

Official Statement

Official Statement
from the
Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer

On this festive solemnity of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God body and soul into Heaven our spiritual joy and fraternal rejoicing is great indeed:
Beneath Her mantle and on this occasion of Her solemn feast, today, 15 August, 2012, our community, The Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, has been granted canonical recognition as a Clerical Institute of Diocesan Right by His Lordship the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B., Bishop of Aberdeen.

We invite you to rejoice with us on this solemn feast of Our Lady through Whose Perpetual Succour, we have received a great favour from Our Lord. 

We also announce the community’s public profession of vows that will take place in Our Lady’s Chapel (at the head of the pier) Stronsay, on 22 August, feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at 18.15 (6.15 p.m.). 

The profession will be celebrated by His Lordship, the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B., Bishop of Aberdeen. 

(Limited overnight accommodation is available. The ferry leaves Kirkwall at 16.00 and arrives in Stronsay at 18.05).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Around Her funeral couch.

Yesterday the meditation from St. Alphonsus was on 
the Death of Most Holy Mary.

By today the beautiful funeral couch of the Mother of God
had been erected with a pall overhanging Her figure.

Memoria mea in generationes saeculorum.
My memory is unto everlasting generations.

Beata es, Virgo Maria, 
quae omnium portasti Creatorem:
genuisti qui te fecit, 
et in aeternum permanes virgo.
Blessed art Thou, O Virgin Mary, 
Who didst bear the Creator of all things:
didst bring forth Him who made Thee,
and for ever remainest a virgin.

At the funeral couch of our Mother let us pray:
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tu es Sacerdos in Æternum!

Today Fr. Michael Mary celebrates 34 years of Holy Priesthood! What a great example of perseverance to us all. Please join us in thanking God for the many graces He has bestowed upon Father during these years!

Thank you Father for the many years you have given to the service of Holy Church as well as to us, your community - may our good God give you many more to come!

What Matilda won for her darling.

In preparation for the feast
The Assumption of Our Lady.

The holy death of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
How a mother prepared for the great feasts of Our Lady.

The Martyrdom of St. Thomas of Canterbury
29 December, 1170.

From his cradle was St Thomas à Becket taught 
to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
His mother, Matilda, used in her hallowed playfulness of heart, 
to put her boy, whilst he was yet a child, into a scale, 
and bestow his weight in food, clothing and money, on the poor 
that she might thereby win for her darling 
the prayers and protection of the blessed Mary.
She taught her son
devotion to the Blessed Virgin
that his life and acts would be protected by Her
Whom he fervently invoked and
held as his hope after Christ.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

"It is just a fact of life" - Bishop Hugh, O.S.B.

As a monk and a priest, I don't marry. This doesn't make me better or worse than married people. It is just a fact of life. Someone out there has been deprived of the privilege of having me as a husband; it just is not my role.

Rt. Rev. Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen

There are hundreds of married people in the pews every Sunday and they do not celebrate Mass or hear Sacramental confessions. That doesn't mean that God loves them more or less than He loves me. It is just a fact of life. It is not their role to be priests.

In the Church it is not possible for a priest to marry. This is a matter of Church law. It could conceivably change. In our society, it is not possible for two men or two women to marry. That is not discrimination. It is not just a human law which can be changed. It is a fact of life.

Someone swimming the English Channel.

Saying that everybody should have the right to marry is like saying that everybody should have the right to swim the Channel. The fact is that not everybody can do it, or should even try. It is simply not possible.

It seems to me that the government has looked at civil partnerships and decided that they are so similar in every way to civil marriages that we might as well simply change the name. You might think that is fair enough and there is no difference. The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes, it can legislate to say that everything with four legs is a table, even when it is a dog and not a horse, but that won't make it so.
A Wedding in the East.

People have understood the meaning of marriage for thousands of years. Crucially, it has three limits. It is limited by number - you can only marry one person at a time. It is limited by relationships, a man cannot marry his niece, for example. And it is limited by gender - only men and women can marry.

A Wedding in the West.

Now a combination of misplaced kindness, fashion and a commitment to equality are leading the government to propose removing one of those three pillars. Why not the other two? Why is it alright for a man to marry another man, but not alright for him to marry two women? If we really want equality, why does that equality not extend to nieces who genuinely, truly love their uncles? And, if you say that such things do not happen, that they are mere freaks of nature, extreme examples dreamed up for the sake of argument, I say you need to spend more time in the parish.

And do you really want your little boy being taught that when he grows up he can marry another boy if he wants?

Fifty years ago nobody would have believed we could seriously be discussing gay 'marriage.' Fifty years from now will we be discussing multi-marriages in the same way?

The God I try to serve does not condemn. He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery but, if she had asked him to conduct a wedding service with her lover, he would have refused. It would simply have been impossible.

As Bishop of Aberdeen, I know there are gay people amongst the community of the Church. I promise I will always respect and love them and uphold them in their relationship with the God who loves them. But I won't marry them. It just cannot be done.

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Bishop of Aberdeen

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A Foggy Feast

I personally really like it when it is foggy on Papa Stronsay.  There is a real feeling of peace and of monastic isolation.  Therefore I was not at all upset when I left my cell this morning to find that on the feast of Our Holy Father Saint Alphonsus, he had sent us some fog for the occasion!  While it was not so bad this morning, as I write this we are completely cut of visually even from the neighbouring island of Stronsay...I can barely even see the sea!  Here are some photos of our crossing to Stronsay this morning for sung Mass.

Making the crossing from Papa Stronsay to Stronsay for Mass.

The Stronsay village of Whitehall where our chapel is. 

 Arrived at the Stronsay pier. The Brothers ascend the pier steps.

Looking back towards Papa Stronsay, which risks being swallowed up by the mist. 

"The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?... 

...And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?" 1 Cor 10:16 

"In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:4-5

Papa Stronsay as it looks while I write this post.  The Fog has really come in. 

Standing almost on the water's edge you can only just make out the pier with our boat. 

And out towards nearby Stronsay...nothing.


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