Thursday, 11 January 2018

Restoration works in Saint Thomas' church, Lewisham

Following on from our post on the Feast of Saint Thomas Becket, we are pleased to include these two photographs taken before and after the major interior redecoration of the church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury in Lewisham (NSW), undertaken in collaboration with The Saint Bede Studio.  Detailed descriptions of the work being carried out, together with photographs, will be the subject of forthcoming posts on our liturgical architecture blog Where Heaven and Earth Meet.

Please click on the images for enlarged view.

BEFORE
(April 2017)
Catholic Church Lewisham
Copyright of the Saint Bede Studio


AFTER
(December 2017)
Catholic Church Lewisham
Copyright of Mulholland Restoration and Decorating.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Important Notice :
Commissions with the Studio for 2018

An important reminder to all those considering placing an order for vestments with the Studio.  Our schedule for 2018 now has fewer and fewer available places.  

Do not delay in making contact with us and finalising your arrangements.


Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com 

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Priestly Ordinations 2017 : 5

Figure 1.
Father Elson pictured with his bishop
after Ordination.
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, 2017 was no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Richard Elson of Oscott College (UK).  Father Elson was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul on 9th December by the Bishop of Clifton, the Right Rev'd Declan Lang.

Father Elson commissioned a set of festal vestments from the Studio in the Gothic Revival style.


The vestments were made from an English ecclesiastical brocade in a shade of ivory and ornamented with a braid in colours of red, burgundy and straw-gold of the Studio's own design. The vestments were lined in muted yellow taffeta.

Please pray for Father Elson and for all newly-ordained priests.

We are pleased to include in this post, photographs provided by Father Elson.  These and other photographs may be found at the Flickr website .

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Figure 2.
Father Elson receives the sacred vessels
during the Rite of Ordination.



Figure 3.
Father Elson's hands are anointed during the Rite of Ordination.



Figure 4.
Father Elson during the Canon of the Mass.


Figure 5.
Father Elson gave his first priestly blessings to
the Faithful following the Ordination Mass.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Papal Retrospective : Blessed Paul VI

Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul wearing The Four Evangelists mitre.

One of the admirable pieces of Liturgical art produced during the reign of Pope Paul VI was the well-known mitre shewn in the above photograph. This mitre was especially designed and made for Pope Paul by artisans in the Archdiocese of Milan. Ornamented with embroideries of the Four Evangelists, the mitre is also remarkable for its couched gold thread, running in parallel circles (you can see this in the photograph below). The highest workmanship is evident in this mitre and it is of excellent proportion.

In fact, there were several such mitres. One had silver ornament, the other gold. One was left in Australia after the Papal Visit of 1970: that particular mitre is shewn in the photograph below.


Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul in S' Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, November 1970.

After 1966, Pope Paul usually wore this mitre, such that it became identifiable with him. There was, however, an earlier iteration of this mitre, which was used by Pope Paul on his famous visit to New York in 1965. It is shewn below. The emblems of the Four Evangelists are less elaborately worked on the earlier version.


Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul during the Papal Visit to New York, 1965.

In 1965, Pope Paul introduced a Pastoral Staff for the celebration of the Papal Liturgies, which he used in the manner of a crozier.  This staff was designed by Italian sculptor Lello Scorzelli.  It was used for the first time at the closing of the Second Vatican Council, on 8th December 1965.  This staff is now well-known since it was used almost invariably by Saint John Paul II throughout his Pontificate and, for a short time, by Pope Benedict. It is frequently used by the present Bishop of Rome.

Looking at the three photographs above, something else is noticeable. Each of the Pastoral Staffs being used is different, although stylistically similar. Yet another staff is shewn in the photograph below, which was the one subsequently used by Pope John Paul II.


Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul pictured in 1978.

The Four Evangelists mitre had a predecessor which was used briefly by Pope Paul during the years 1965 -1967 and which is sometimes referred to as The Vatican Two mitre.  Some images of it are reproduced below.


Pope Paul VI
At the close of the Second Vatican Council, 1965.


Pope Paul VI
In S' Peter's, 1965.

It is likely that information exists somewhere as to the origins of the design of this mitre.  This much can be claimed: it certainly was intended as some sort of alternative to the triple tiara of Pope Paul VI, which he gave away as alms for the poor.  It has also been suggested that it may represent the triple-barred Cross often associated with the Papacy.  Such Crosses actually do exist in the Vatican (not just in the hands of a statue).  The decoration of this mitre features four lyrebirds around the crown section.


Pope Paul VI
Triple tiara of Pope Paul VI.

Something more may be written about this, which is subject to verification.  An author in the field of Ecclesiastical heraldry and protocol, Dr James-Charles Noonan claimed in an interview in 2005 that The Vatican Two mitre (which ceased being used in 1967) was bequeathed by Pope Paul to Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, who possesses it to this day.  *  Dr Noonan claimed that The Vatican Two mitre was the direct inspiration for the Coat of Arms of Pope Benedict XVI (shewn below).  If this is true, then it seems rather odd that of all the many mitres worn by Pope Benedict during his Pontificate the two he NEVER wore were The Four Evangelists mitre and The Vatican Two mitre.  We can only assume that it was the choice of the Pope not to do so.


Coat of Arms of Pope Benedict XVI.
We may be grateful that no attempt was made by
Pope Benedict to wear a mitre which resembled the one depicted on his Arms.


* If any reader might have further information about the mitre in question, the writer of this post would be very pleased to hear from him.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Theotokos

To all readers of this Blog, friends and customers of the Saint Bede Studio, my best wishes for good health and spiritual renewal on this Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God and throughout 2018. 

To all those customers who supported the Studio during the many difficulties of the year now past, please be assured of my gratitude and prayers.

Friday, 29 December 2017

On the Feast of Saint Thomas Becket

Figure 1.
Medallion figuring
Saint Thomas Becket.

Image : Mulholland Restoration
& Decorating.
Today is the Feast of the great English mediaeval bishop, Thomas Becket, who was martyred for his defence of the Church in 1170 within his own Cathedral of Canterbury by knights of King Henry II.

To commemorate this Feast, we wish to continue our description of restoration work on a church in Sydney (Australia) which is under the patronage of Saint Thomas.  The church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury (also known as Saint Thomas Becket's) was erected in 1887 in the Sydney suburb of Lewisham. Because of its proximity to the railway line which runs into the centre of Sydney from the North, the splendid Gothic Revival tower of the church is seen by thousands of people each day as they pass by in the city's trains.

Figure 2.
The splendid tower of Saint Thomas' seen through
the wiring and gantries of the railway.
Earlier this year, the Saint Bede Studio was approached to be a consultant on the restoration of the interior of this church.  Walking into Saint Thomas' for the first time on Easter Monday 2017, the impression was of an Old Lady of great dignity, who had escaped dramatic changes, but of greatly faded glory, cluttered by successive generations of alterations and accretions. It was a great challenge to devise a near-complete interior re-ornamentation within the constraints of available time.

The Studio's commission was to devise a colour scheme for the repainting of the church, to devise an ornamental scheme for the Chancel and its adjacent chapels and to advise on heritage restoration generally.  In this work, we received much practical support from the pastor, Father Samuel Lynch,  parish assistant Mr Stephen Smith and artisans Mulholland Restoration and Decorating of Melbourne.

Figure 3.
A photograph taken in Saint Thomas' before the
reinstatement of the pews.
This illustrates the newly-polished timber floors, the new
central aisle of tessellated pavement
and the new colour scheme for the walls of the building.

On our other blog Where Heaven and Earth Meet, we will be presenting a series of posts detailing the philosophy underpinning the Studio's work at Saint Thomas' as well as the stages of the buildings development and restoration.

For today, however, just a few photographs of the interior work, as an appetiser.


Figure 4.
Detail of the stencilwerk designed by the Studio
for the east wall of the chancel.

The photograph was taken before the completion
of the decoration.
Image : Mulholland Restoration and Decorating.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Priestly Ordinations 2017 : 4

The Saint Bede Studio

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Joseph Fessenden of the Diocese of Nashville (Tennessee USA).  Father Fessenden was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of the Incarnation on 23rd June by His Eminence Cardinal Rigali.

Father Fessenden commissioned a set of festal vestments from the Studio in the Gothic Revival style.

The vestments were made from an ecclesiastical brocade of silk and metallic threads in a shade of gold and ornamented with a braid of crimson and ivory.  The vestments were lined in burgundy taffeta.

Please pray for Father Fessenden and for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Ordination in the Nashville Cathedral.

Monday, 25 December 2017

A Blessed Christmas

To all friends, customers and readers of this Blog, sincere wishes for a Blessed Christmas.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low; the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain; and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Isaiah 40:4-5.

Michael Sternbeck
The Saint Bede Studio.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Festal Vestments


Festal vestments
The Studio recently completed this set of Festal vestments for a returning customer.  These distinctive vestments were made from a lovely silk damask of a very muted shade - platinum - and were lined in a deep red coloured taffeta.

The ornamental scheme of the chasuble was derived from vestments common in Italy in the fifteenth century and rendered in one of the braids designed by the Studio, named Saint George.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Priestly Ordinations 2017 : 3

Father Robert Whitney
Father Whitney with altar servers following his
First Holy Mass

Image: Ron Nicholl
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post, we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of Father Robert Whitney of the Archdiocese of Anchorage (Alaska USA).  Father Whitney was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Co-Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe on 23rd June by the Most Rev'd Paul Etienne, Archbishop of Anchorage.

Father Whitney commissioned a set of Marian vestments from the Studio in the Gothic Revival style.

The vestments were made from an ecclesiastical brocade in a shade of ivory and ornamented with a braid of blue and gold, especially designed and made for the Saint Bede Studio and based on the work of AWN Pugin.  The vestments were lined in blue taffeta.

Father Whitney
Father Whitney incensing the offerings during his
First Holy Mass.

Image: Ron Nicholl

We are pleased to include here some photographs of the First Holy Mass of Father Whitney in the Cathedral of the Holy Family, Anchorage, taken by Ron Nicholl.

Please pray for Father Whitney and for all newly-ordained priests.

Father Whitney
Father Whitney with fellow priests
of the 
Archdiocese of Anchorage.
Image: Ron Nicholl

Father Whitney
Father Whitney blessing altar servers
after his First Holy Mass.
Image: Ron Nicholl