Saturday, 18 November 2017

Festal Vestments

Gothic vestmentsRecently, the Studio completed a set of vestments for a priest celebrating the Jubilee of his ordination.  Our returning customer is from the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois.

These Jubilee vestments are made from a beautiful silk damask in the colours of ivory and straw-gold. The chasuble's orphrey is formed from a braid having a monogram of the Blessed Virgin upon it; outlining this braid is a narrow galloon.  All these braids are in colours of blue, white and gold upon a red base.

The vestments were lined in Royal Blue taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

E-mail :

Thursday, 2 November 2017

All Souls' Day 2017

Borromeon vestments
For the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, we are pleased to present this post about a set of Requiem Mass vestments, recently completed by the Studio for a young priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska (USA).

These vestments are made from a black ecclesiastical brocade and ornamented with narrow galloons and a brocade of black and straw colours, which depicts in its design the Crucifixion.  The Studio has made vestments similar to this previously.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Our customer kindly wrote this appreciation and reflection about the vestments, which are being used for the first time today.

Thank you for all the hard work you put into searching for the fabrics and adornments.  This vestment, in its dignity and grandeur, is a testimony to his Mercy and those experiencing it presently in the purifying state of Purgatory.
The very existence of the Holy Souls demonstrates the insurmountable mercy of our Saviour.  That He continually gives us these opportunities to turn towards him and grow closer to him, even after death, is a testimony of His Supreme Love for humanity.

My childhood pastor always wore black for all the ferial days during the month of November, and always celebrated Masses for the dead on those particular days. He had a deep devotion to the Holy Souls and so he made a point of instilling that devotion into his parishioners.  So, wearing black vestments was the normal thing and the idea/duty of praying for the Poor Souls was just a part of our parish culture, impressed upon me from an early age. He was my pastor for 21 years of my life. So in a real sense, this vestment is a testimony to the example that one priest can make on an individual’s spiritual life.

Enquiries :

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Priestly Ordinations 2017 : 2

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 Bradley Jantz of the Diocese of Birmingham (Alabama USA).  Father Jantz was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in Saint Paul's Cathedral, Birmingham (USA) on 24th June by the Most Rev'd Robert Baker.

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

The vestments were made from an English brocade in a lovely shade of ivory and ornamented with a braid of red, blue and gold, especially designed and made for the Saint Bede Studio.  The vestments were lined in red taffeta.

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

The Cathedral of Saint Paul, Birmingham USA.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Restoration of a Landmark Sydney Church : 1

Tower and northern transept
of Saint Thomas' church, Lewisham NSW.
Earlier this year, the Saint Bede Studio was approached to be a consultant on the restoration of the interior of a famous church in Sydney NSW.

The church of Saint Thomas of Canterbury (also known as Saint Thomas Becket's) was founded 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.

This is the first in a series of posts about the restoration of S' Thomas', to which the Saint Bede Studio has been pleased to contribute.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Father Adrian Fortescue and the 18th Century

Father Adrian Fortescue
"In the eighteenth century a desolating wave of bad taste passed over Europe.  It gave us Baroc churches, tawdry gilding, vulgarities of gaudy ornament instead of fine construction.  It passed over clothes and gave us our mean, tight modern garments.  And it passed, alas! over vestments too, and gave us skimped, flat vestments of bad colour, outlined in that most impossible material, gold braid, instead of the ample, stately forms which had lasted until then....For these curtailed shapes are not the historic ones which came down hardly modified for so many centuries. They are a quite modern example of Baroc taste...Skimped chasubles, gold braid and lace are not Roman; they are eighteenth century bad taste."

So wrote one of the most illustrious ecclesiastical scholars of the early twentieth century, the Rev'd Dr Adrian Fortescue. This is an extract from a lecture which he gave to the Altar Society of Westminster Cathedral in 1912. Dr Fortescue's name is better known for the ceremonial manual which he prepared in order to raise money for the building of his Parish church: The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, which has run into many editions, over almost one century.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Prayer for the Needs of the Church

Mosaic of Christ in Majesty, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome.

Almighty, Eternal God, by ever giving strength to our weakness, you enable the Church to flourish even amidst its trials, so that when it appears to men to be utterly cast down, then rather does it gloriously prevail. Whilst, then, it accepts affliction as a proving of its faith, let it persevere, by your grace, in triumphant loyalty.

Missal of Robert of Jumieges - 11th century

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Priestly Ordinations 2017 : 1

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 Andrew Bowden of the Venerable English College.  Father Bowden was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint George Church, Enfield (UK) on 15th July by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster.

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

The vestments were made from a muted gold damask 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.

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

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Terrible Threats of Nature

O God, to whose nod all Nature's elements give obedience
and to whom the earth owes its firm foundation,
we humbly entreat you,
that by your calming of Nature's menace, 

a dread threat may become 
a cause for the praise of your Power.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Adapted from two votive Collects in the Roman Missal.

The Saint Bede Studio sends prayers of support to anyone reading this column who has been affected by recent natural disasters in the Americas.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Feast of the Holy Cross

As the Church celebrates the Exaltation of the Holy Cross this week,  we are pleased to present this new set of red vestments.

The vestments, shewn in the adjacent image, were prepared for a young priest in the Archdiocese of New Orleans USA, a returning customer.

This vestment, in the Studio's Borromeon style, was made from a beautiful European silk damask being a replica of a Venetian design of the 16th century. It is lined in a bronze taffeta. The vestments are ornamented in the Roman manner with a TAU at the front and column at the back in colours of burgundy and gold.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

1997 Decision of the Ecclesia Dei Commission : UPDATED

Above are shewn decisions of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, given in 1997 in response to dubia posed by an Australian bishop.  The name of this bishop is withheld.  They concern, of course, the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum.  The letter of the Commission makes it quite clear that permissions extended to Benedictine Communities in France (namely Fontgombault and Le Barroux) by the same Commission, may be enjoyed by other Extraordinary Form Communities.  This letter was written ten years before the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

As far as this writer is concerned, the permissions of the Ecclesia Dei Commission in this 1997 letter have not been revoked.  Note well that they are permissions and not obligations.

The permissions of the Commission, shewn in the letter, may be summarised as follows:

1. At a Low Mass, the celebrant may read an approved translation into the vernacular of the Epistle and Gospel.

2(a) At a Solemn Mass, the celebrant and ministers may join with the schola in singing a plainchant Gloria and Credo, without the requirement of reading them together beforehand.

2(b) At any sung Mass, the entire congregation may join with the Celebrant in singing the Pater noster.

3. The additional prefaces, which were included in an appendix of the 1965 Missale Romanum and some editions of the 1962 Missale Romanum (often referred to as The Gallican Prefaces) may be used at any celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal.  Furthermore, prefaces from the 1970 Missale Romanum may also be included.

In addition to these Decisions, the Commission attached to the letter its permissions regarding the form of the Conventual Mass which may be celebrated by the Traditionalist Benedictines of France.  By this was intended that the form of celebration described may be celebrated elsewhere ( a translation is given below ) :

1. If the celebration of the Divine Office precedes Mass, the Prayers at the Foot of the altar may be omitted.

2. The rites accompanying the readings from scripture may be celebrated at the sedilia.

3. The readings may be proclaimed facing the people, whether in Latin or the vernacular and the celebrant is not required to read them or the Gradual chants separately.

4. Bidding Prayers may be offered after the Oremus, immediately preceding the Offertory.

5. The "Secret" prayer may be sung aloud.

6. The celebrant may sing the entire doxology Per ipsum, whilst elevating the Host over the chalice.

7. The Pater noster may be sung by all with the celebrant.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Recent Enquiries

Out of necessity, work at the Studio has been in a period of Recess.  This has had the greatest impact on our timely response to a large number of e-mail enquiries.

Each day, the Studio receives a significant number of messages about vestments and related matters. It is not possible for these to receive immediate attention.

Your Christian patience is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Saint Giles chasuble : reposted

Saint Bede StudioThe Saint Bede Studio recently completed this chasuble according to our Saint Giles design.  This simple and elegant chasuble, made from a cream coloured silk blend jacquard, is extremely lightweight and flows beautifully.

These vestments were donated to the National Shrine of Saint Jude in Chicago (USA) in thanksgiving for an important favour granted to the Saint Bede Studio through the intercession of Saint Jude Thaddeus.

The chasuble is ornamented with a braid of the Studio's design, in colours of red, burgundy and gold.  This design is directly based upon a Belgian early-20th century chasuble which appears on page 92 of Dom Roulin's well-known study Vestments and Vesture (1931). The image from Dom Roulin's book is reproduced below.

Saint Jude, Apostle of Hope, pray for us.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Friday, 28 July 2017

Rose Low Mass set

Recently, the Saint Bede Studio commissioned this set of Rose vestments for a Latin Mass Community in the Archdiocese of Sydney (Australia).

Rose-coloured vestments were never commonplace and they still are not. Many different colours have been deemed by the Church as acceptable as liturgical rose.  Some of these are a salmon shade; some a silvery-pink, some close to what we would call Bishop's purple or fuchsia; and some red with overtones of gold.

This particular set of vestments (see adjacent image), in the Studio's  Saint Giles style - is made from a quite different shade of rose. It is a colour between crimson and purple and made from dupion silk.  Unfortunately, photography fails to capture the subtle accents of this beautiful silk. To accentuate the colour of the vestment, the lining is made from a much lighter rose taffeta. The orphrey of this chasuble is formed from one of the Studio's Puginesque braids in colours of burgundy, red and ash-grey.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Ordinands for 2018

Commissions for the first half of 2018 are now being accepted.
Will you be ordained in 2018?

Please do not delay in making an enquiry.  

Places in our schedule are limited. NOW is the time to be in contact with the Studio.  

Enquiries :

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Night Prayer

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; 
and by thy great mercy defend us 
from all perils and dangers of this night; 
for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

This brief but lovely prayer is found in the 1559 version of The Book of Common Prayer, and had its antecedent in pre-Reformation English Catholic use, being the last prayer of the Office of Compline in the Sarum Use.

The redoubtable Father Hunwicke has an exposition of this prayer for us, which is most interesting.

Whatever the intention of the ancient author of this oration, we can now look at Cranmer's choice of the translation "lighten" in two ways :

"Shed your light upon our darkness"   or

"Lift the burden of our darkness".

In such an understanding, Darkness may refer to our sinfulness, or to our spiritual or intellectual blindness. It is certainly a prayer for those who wish to be at rights with God before sleep descends.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

For the Season "Per Annum" 2017 : 5

This is a chasuble in the Studio's Saint Martin style, being a contemporary interpretation of the mediaeval chasuble. It is a very ample vestment made from a simple silk in a darker shade of green. It is ornamented in the Roman style with a braid of the Studio's own design, but based on the work of AWN Pugin. It is fully lined in red taffeta.

Click on the adjacent image for an enlarged view.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

The Season "Per Annum" 2017 : 4

Green vestments
The Studio has completed this set of vestments in our Saint Giles style, being a more flowing and slightly more ample chasuble in the Gothic style.

These vestments are made from a beautiful brocade in two shades of green, one being very dark, the other an Emerald green. Their combination is very rich and distinctive. Ornamenting the vestments is the earliest of the Studio's Puginesque braids, a design of alternating quatrefoils in gold upon a red base. The lining is a brighter red.

The chasuble is shewn being worn with an apparelled amice.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Friday, 7 July 2017

Mediaeval Pontificals : 2

The above painting of Saint Nicholas of Myra was painted by the Florentine artist Pacino di Bonaguida, who worked at the beginning of the Fourteenth century (1302 to before 1340).

The website of the J Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles) tells us that twentieth-century scholars reconstructed Pacino da Bonaguida's career, based upon his only known signed painting: an altarpiece in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. Pacino spent his entire career in Florence, where, in addition to altarpieces, he painted miniatures and decorations for illuminated manuscripts. He is considered the inventor of miniaturism, a style distinguished by a clear organisation of the painting surface into multiple small-scale scenes.

This work, which is painted in an iconographic style, depicts Saint Nicholas as a bishop of the the early Fourteenth century. Visible in the painting are the bishop's chasuble, amice apparel, a liturgical book, gloves, ring, crosier and mitre.

The condition of the above reproduction of Pacino's painting being what it is, it is not possible to determine precisely the colour of the chasuble. Certainly its lining is black, so we are inclined to think this semi-conical chasuble is of black damask, figured with gold quatrefoils. The fabric may, however, be a very dark green. The ornament of the chasuble is quite interesting, since it is a very early example of a woven braid, or at least is depicted as such. We can tell this since at the intersection point of the TAU piece (which rests upon the chest) the designs can be seen quite clearly to be disappearing beneath the horizontal ornament. Were the entire orphrey embroidered, such an arrangement would be avoided. The woven braid itself consists of geometrical patterns, rather than religious figures, and these designs are presented in colours of red, black and gold on a neutral background.

This early example of the TAU ornament is interesting also since it is really in the shape of a Cross " t " rather than " T ". Unlike the presentation of the TAU in later centuries, this decoration has a very short horizontal band. Sitting around the neckline is an amice apparel which, although of a different design, is woven in similar colours to the chasuble orphrey.

The white Episcopal gloves being worn by Saint Nicholas appear to be embroidered with a coat of arms. In his right hand, the Saint is depicted holding a liturgical book, whether it be an Evangelarium or a Sacramentary is unable to be determined.

Upon his head, Saint Nicholas is shewn to be wearing a precious mitre in the early mediaeval style. It is of white linen or silk and is ornamented in the usual style with the circulus and titulus bands.  These are of embroidered geometric designs upon a gold background.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Orphrey Braids of the Saint Bede Studio

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio adds to its stable of orphrey braids.  Most of our braids are derived from precedents, either Gothic Revival or Mediaeval. They are never merely copies, but always have original touches to enhance the diversity of their use.

These unique braids are designed by the Studio and only used in conjunction with our vestments. They are not commercially available, nor available to any other vestment makers and are reserved under international copyright.

The braids shewn in the adjacent image are used for orphreys in both the Gothic and Roman * styles of vestments designed and made by the Studio.

Enquiries :

* The Studio's interpretation of the Roman style is represented by the Borromeon, Saint Martin and Saint Philip Neri chasubles.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

To What End Sacred Vestments?

Solemn Mass at the Abbey of 
Saint Madeleine, Le Barroux.
If we were to accept the notion that a priest is the "president of the christian assembly" then what he wears to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy would be merely an expression of his personality or tastes. The notion of presider is an entirely modern (and an execrable) concept. A priest, bishop or Pope celebrates the Sacred Mysteries. In the East, the term used is to serve.

Because the celebrant is least of all a "presider", what he wears should not essentially be about his own preferences and personality. A priest should ask of himself :

Is what I am wearing worthy of my ministry standing between God and man to offer the Holy Sacrifice?

Will what I am wearing draw those who look upon me during Mass into a closer appreciation of the Sacred Mysteries, in other words, will it raise their hearts and minds to God?

Or will it act as a distraction to the Faithful attending Mass?

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Mediaeval Pontificals

15th century painting of S' Peter Damian.

When looking at mediaeval depictions of bishops or popes vested for Mass, we find certain things in common with the Pontifical vestments of a 21st century Catholic bishop, but some significant differences. The most striking difference is the usual lack of an Episcopal dalmatic amongst the vestments of a modern bishop. Even when a dalmatic is worn, it is usually an affair so non-descript as to be hardly noticeable.

Before Pope Paul VI entered Saint Peter's Basilica to celebrate Mass solemnly in 1965, bishops or popes had - since the earliest centuries of the Church (certainly since the Constantinian period) - worn a dalmatic underneath the chasuble. *   Paul VI was the first to break this tradition, when he appeared in a flowing chasuble, with no dalmatic beneath. As a matter of fact, until the end of his Pontificate in 1978, typically he left aside the use of the dalmatic. His successors, John Paul I, S. John Paul II and Francis all likewise have left aside the dalmatic. Benedict XVI was a happy exception to this, adopting quite early on in his Pontificate the use of the dalmatic beneath the chasuble on all solemn occasions.

The pity of this is that the dalmatic worn with the chasuble symbolised the fullness of Holy Orders enjoyed by a bishop. A bishop is incompletely vested if he lacks the dalmatic. The claim that it is too burdensome to wear a dalmatic beneath the chasuble is, to say the least, pitiful.

In this post, we look at a painting which once formed part of altarpiece from Faenza in Italy of the early 15th century, which depicts Saint Peter Damian. The artist Peruccino - who was known as the Master of Saint Peter Damian - prepared this likeness from the effigy on the sarcophagus of the saint.

The saint is depicted wearing a style of vestments commonly known in 14th and 15th century Italy; namely : a flowing linen albe which is unadorned with either apparels or embroidery; a red semi-conical chasuble whose Tau ornament is formed from embroidered cameos of the saints and upon his head a precious mitre of white silk ornamented and embroidered with goldwork and precious stones.

We also see the Episcopal dalmatic (the tunic can also just be seen). It is immediately noticeable how elaborate the dalmatic is : not a plain affair of simple silk. It is made from a rich damask of deep green ornamented with gold embroidery and outlined with gold braid. One could be forgiven for observing that the dalmatic has a richer appearance than the chasuble itself. But certainly the dalmatic enriches the appearance of the wearer and is not intended to be invisible.

Imagine how dignified a modern bishop would look if he were to wear a dalmatic of such nobility beneath his chasuble? One can but hope.

* In addition, a bishop would also wear a tunic, being the vestment of the subdeacon, but this requirement for the celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite lapsed when the subdiaconate was abolished as a Major Order in 1973. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Altar Frontal : 2

In a previous post, we introduced why altar frontals or antependia are desirable to cloth altars, based on liturgical law, sacred symbolism and aesthetics. These are compelling reasons for the use of the frontal, but so frequently two objections are offered why the altar frontal is not used :

The altar is so beautiful, why would we cover it up?

It is too difficult to be changing frontals frequently.

The answers to the first objection may be found by re-reading our first post.  But in this article we wish to begin to discuss the second objection.

A splendidly designed and embroidered altar frontal
clothing the High Altar of Westminster Cathedral (UK).
The use of the original High altar for the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy
was reintroduced by the present Archbishop of Westminster,
shewn in the photograph offering Mass.

Firstly, some terminology. The words frontal and antependium presuppose that the covering is applied only to one face of the altar namely, the front of it. This is perfectly proper when considering an altar which is attached to a reredos, or very close to a wall and therefore not freestanding. An altar, however, is a three-dimensional structure and - if it is freestanding - it ought to be fully clothed, not just clothed on those sides which are generally visible. Consequently, we also find the term altar pall which describes a parament which covers all sides of the altar or, at the least, two of them, the front face and the back face.

A free-standing altar placed in a central position which can be viewed from all sides, requires coverings at the front and the back (we leave aside the question of the linen altar cloths) in order for the covering to fulfil its purpose. It is unseemly to cover the front and not the back of an altar, unless of course, one takes the view that the altar frontal is purely used for aesthetic effect.

Where possible, and for reasons of adequately expressing sacred symbolism, the altar pall or frontal ought to be changed in accordance with the colour of the Liturgical Day or Season. It is quite acceptable, however, to have a worthy form of altar pall which is changed hardly ever. It is when several frontals or palls are used and have to be changed that the second objection becomes more prominent.

At present, as in the past, very few altars are designed with any thought given to their being covered with a pall or frontal. This is a serious deficiency in the vision of designers, but it is hardly a new one. It is very important when designing altars that serious consideration is given as to how they will be clothed. If no arrangement, or a clumsy arrangement is made for clothing an altar with a pall, quite quickly this will be cited as the reason NOT to use an altar pall or frontal. "It's too much trouble".

We will pass over without comment those execrable and unbefitting creations which, being multi-sided instead of four-sided, arrogantly defy sacred Tradition and any form of altar covering.

To be continued ...

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Bidding Prayers

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium laid down the desire of the Fathers for the restoration of intercessions:

53. The “common prayer” or “prayer of the faithful” is to be restored after the gospel and homily, especially on Sundays and holidays of obligation. By this prayer - in which the people are to take part - intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.

This paragraph made reference to Saint Paul’s admonition at 1 Tim. 2:1-2. This paragraph is found – with only slight alterations – in the General Instructions on the Roman Missal.

Such intercessions are, therefore, of Apostolic origin, and were everywhere known by the time of Saint Augustine. The Solemn Orations of the Good Friday Afternoon Liturgy were the only survival of such intercessions in the Roman Missal for centuries. In the East, however, they were preserved in the unvarying Litanies, or Ektenia that are prayed throughout the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. From the East, such intercessions made their way during the first millennium into the various Rites in England and, centuries later, were incorporated into the Services of the Church of England, long after they had ceased being a usual feature of the Roman Rite.

Anciently, the intercessions formed part of non-Eucharistic prayer service (sometimes called a Synaxis). But when such services came to be usually celebrated immediately before the Eucharistic Liturgy, the intercessions gradually fell into disuse. This was because intercessions made during the Eucharistic Liturgy often repeated those found in the Synaxis. Such was the origin of the Roman Mass being described in two parts: the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful.

What is found in almost all the ancient examples of these intercessions are common intentions, which were summarised and made explicit by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

It was never envisaged by the Council - nor was it part of the ancient practice - that such intercessions vary on a daily basis, nor that there be any inclusion of extemporaneous prayer. It might easily be argued that the Council Fathers wished that these intercessions would become fixed in people’s consciousness, by being prayed week after week. Such is the practice with our Eastern brethren.

Upon this simple concept outlined by the Council Fathers, there have been many accretions over the last 50 years. Not uncommonly, we find intercessions anaemic in their theological content and not specifically Christian in their outlook. We commonly find the intercessions to be linked to the Propers of the Mass, and the lections of the Mass of the Day, as if “theme” were all-important. But this was never intended by the Council Fathers. Furthermore, a new and more noble translation of the Roman Missal for the English-speaking world has highlighted the often unsacral, even trite expression of these intercessions. But even the formulae found in the Roman Missal are so terse as easily to be described as bland.

Further posts in this small series will examine some forms of Intercession drawn-up immediately after the first liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Commission for Vestments in 2018

Commissions for the first half of 2018 are now being accepted.
Will you be ordained in 2018?

Please do not delay in making an enquiry.  

Places in our schedule are limited. Now is the time to be in contact with the Studio.  

Enquiries :

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Saint Andrew's Abbey-Church, Bruges (Belgium)

Photograph: Dirk Vde 2007
Please note: The above copyrighted image may not be reproduced in any circumstances.
The magnificent Benedictine Abbey-Church of Saint Andrew in Bruges, Belgium is completely intact and truly glorious.

The altar rests beneath a magnificent civory or ciborium, the vault of which is covered with golden mosaic tiles. The apse walls are treated with inlaid marblework and murals painted in the Beuronese school of sacred art. Equally magnificent is the Cosmatesque floor of the sanctuary.

The altar of Saint Joseph in the Abbey-Church.
Here is seen a further example of the Beuronese school of sacred art.
The altar itself, together with its bronze Crucifix and candlesticks, is a work of art,
beautifully detailed and admirably proportionate.

The charming photograph adjacent was taken in the Abbey Church of Saint Andrew in Bruges,
Belgium around 1958.  A Benedictine monk is pictured at the beginning of a Low Mass, attended by two servers.

Re-posted from our other Blog Where Heaven and Earth Meet.

Click on the images for an enlarged view. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Kiss of Peace

At a previous Synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict and other bishops posed a question about the Kiss of Peace or Pax in the celebration of the Ordinary Form of Mass according to the Roman Rite. Subsequently, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a decision of admirable Roman liturgical conservatism, rejecting a proposal that the Pax be observed at the Offertory, rather than before the reception of Holy Communion (as it has been since the time of Pope Saint Gregory the Great).

In a previous post about the revision of the Rites, we pondered if celebrants might consider that any ritual actions of the Extraordinary Form could be incorporated into their celebration of the New Mass in such a way as would not disturb the Faithful. One of these, it might be suggested, is the Pax.

The ritual actions for the Pax in the Extraordinary and Ordinary forms of the Roman Rite are quite different. The prayers - which are the same in both Old and New - are rearranged in the Ordinary form. One thing remains unchanged, however, and it is most significant. Domine Jesu Christi, qui dixisti apostolis tuis ... This prayer, which is the preface to the Pax, is not addressed to God the Father (as all the other prayers of the Mass are) (1)   but addressed directly to God the Son, who is present upon the altar before the very eyes of the celebrant.

All the more inappropriate, therefore, for the celebrant to say or sing this prayer looking around at the Congregation (we need not elaborate on various manifestations of the ars celebrandi of some priests). (2) The celebrant ought to have his eyes cast down upon the altar, looking at Him whom he is addressing. This injunction, however, will not be found in the rubrics of the Pauline Missal.

The Kissing of the Altar :
Karsh's photograph from the famous book by
Bishop Fulton Sheen : This is the Mass.
There is a regrettable ritual excision from the Pax as observed in the Pauline Missal. In Solemn Masses, according to the Extraordinary form, the celebrant recites quietly the prayer Domine Jesu Christi, qui dixisti apostolis tuis and then he kisses the corporal upon which rest the Sacred Host and the Chalice. The deacon (standing at his right), kisses the altar, but not the corporal. The celebrant then gives the Pax to the deacon. In some Mediaeval Western liturgies, the celebrant kissed not the corporal, but the Sacred Host itself, or the foot of the Chalice. These ritual gestures are of great significance and underline that the Pax is not a greeting per se, but a ritual transmission of the Peace which comes directly from our Saviour.

Would it be so objectionable if celebrants of Mass in the Ordinary Form were once again to kiss the corporal before giving the Faithful the Greeting of Peace? Would that ritual action not emphasise their words : The Peace of the Lord be with you always ? Would this be so objectionable? For some, probably. Others might not even notice. Still others might welcome the enrichment of an other-worldly ritual dimension in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Prudence in all things.

(1) With the exception of the Kyrie eleison, which is a litany.
(2) We had the misfortune to observe during the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Gallipoli Beach in Turkey on 25th April 2015, the Anglican minister "praying" the Lord's Prayer whilst looking from side to side to those gathered (whom he would have been unable to see because of the glare of lights). This is is the antithesis of Liturgical Prayer.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Vestments for Pentecost : 3

The Saint Bede Studio
As the Church celebrates the Great Feast of Pentecost, we are pleased to present posts about three new red vestments that have been completed for this Feast.

This third post is a Low Mass set, shewn in the adjacent image, prepared for a young priest in the Archdiocese of New York USA.

This vestment, in the Studio's Borromeon style, was made from a beautiful European silk damask being a replica of a Venetian design of the 16th century. It is lined in a bronze taffeta. The vestments are ornamented in the Roman manner with a TAU at the front and column at the back in colours of burgundy and gold.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Vestments for Pentecost : 2

As the Church celebrates the Great Feast of Pentecost, we are pleased to present posts about three new red vestments that have been completed for this Feast.

This second post is a Low Mass set, shewn in the adjacent image, prepared for a young priest in the Diocese of Steubenville (Ohio) USA.

This vestment, in the Studio's Saint Austin design, was made from a beautiful English ecclesiastical brocade and lined in blue taffeta. The vestments are ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design called Saint Chad (directly based on the work of AWN Pugin) in colours of red, blue and gold.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Vestments for Pentecost : 1

Saint Bede StudioAs the Church celebrates the Great Day of Pentecost, we are pleased to present posts about three new red vestments that have been completed for this Feast.

Our first post is a chasuble set, shewn in the adjacent image, prepared for a parish community in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (Texas USA), a returning customer.

This chasuble, in the Saint Bede Studio's Saint Giles design, was made from a beautiful silk damask of a distinctive shade of red and lined in a sand-grey taffeta. The vestments are ornamented with an orphrey braid of the Studio's own design (based on elements of the work of AWN Pugin) in colours of grey and burgundy upon red.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Friday, 19 May 2017

Gothic Revival Vestments

We are pleased to present these similar sets of red vestments prepared by the Saint Bede Studio for two priests from the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia) in the United States.

These sets of vestments are in the Studio's Saint Austin Gothic Revival style. They are made from an English ecclesiastical brocade in a deeper shade of red. Lined in a gold shade of taffeta, the vestments are ornamented with braids in red and gold, of the Studio's own design.

Please click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Papal Mass in Saint Peter's 1965

Adjacent is a rather rare photograph, taken in Saint Peter's during a Session of the Second Vatican Council.

Standing at the centre of the altar is Pope Paul VI and with him, concelebrating bishops. At the Opening of the Third and Fourth Sessions of the Council, which took place on 14th September, 1964 and 14th September, 1965 respectively, Pope Paul concelebrated Mass in the basilica with a select number of the Council Fathers.

This Mass, of course, is being celebrated according to those modifications of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite known colloquially as The Interim Missal. The Rite of concelebration, however, is quite similar to that which is found in the new Missal of 1969.

Nevertheless, the concelebrated Masses celebrated in Saint Peter's before the introduction of the new Missal differed very significantly from those after that date, as is illustrated by this photograph. Although the Basilica on this occasion was filled with bishops, archbishops and cardinals from all around the world, only a small number concelebrated with the Pope.

These concelebrants were standing at the altar during the Canon and Communion Rite. To facilitate this, a temporary enlargement of the altar of the Confession was made, together with platforms on which the concelebrants would stand.

It was of little importance that the concelebrants obscured the congregation's view of the principal celebrant, the Pope. The most important considerations, therefore, were that the concelebrants stood at the altar in close proximity to each other (and the principal celebrant) AND that they could clearly look upon the elements to be consecrated.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Suscipe Sancta Trinitas

One of the prayers which didn't survive the Missale Romanum final cut in 1970 was this one:
Accept, holy Trinity, this offering which we make to you in remembrance of the passion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honour of blessed Mary ever Virgin, of blessed John the Baptist, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of those whose relics rest here, and of all the Saints. To them may it bring honour, and to us salvation; and may they, whose memory we keep on earth, be pleased to intercede for us in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
This beautiful prayer, intended to be recited quietly after the washing of the hands during the Preparation of Gifts or Offertory, is a summary of the things a Catholic should keep in mind when praying the Mass. It reminds us firstly that all our worship is offered to the One God, who is a Trinity of Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Secondly, in reflecting the Anamnesis after the consecration, the prayer insists on the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery that is re-presented for us in sacramental form: His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. Finally, it asserts that a secondary end of the Mass is the honour of the Saints (that is, the victory of Christ in His members is being praised), and accordingly it begs their intercession for us on Earth.

One can only wonder at the mentality which saw fit to excise this prayer from the Mass. If there was one prayer that ought to have been retained at the Offertory, this was the one. After washing his hands and before inviting the people to prayer (Pray, brethren), the celebrant bowed before the altar and quietly prayed the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas.

If you are a priest reading this, you might consider praying this prayer at the Offertory when you offer the Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass. If you pray it according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum, (namely bowed and silently) no one in the pews will be disturbed by hearing a prayer recited which is not contained in the New Order of Mass.  Be daring.

How beautiful it would be if once again this prayer were recited at every Mass!  The Angels would rejoice.

The Latin:
Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus ob memoriam passionis, resurrectionis, et ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honorem beatae Mariae semper Virginis et beati Joannis Baptistae, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium Sanctorum: ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in caelis, quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Beuron School of Liturgical Art

Adjacent is a beautiful liturgical drawing from 1910  in the Beuronese style  Messe mit Wandlungskerze auf dem Altar. It was found at the Wikimedia Commons. Go here to read a little about the Beuron School of liturgical art.

This stylised depiction of a priest celebrating Low Mass is rich with the aesthetic ideals of the Liturgical Movement. The celebrant wears a flowing albe, ornamented with continuous decoration around its hem. Over this he is vested in a conical chasuble, decorated very simply. Not least of interest is the manner in which the altar cloth is decorated, with geometric embroideries and tassles of silk. 

One curiosity is the almost sleeveless surplice being worn by the altar server. Note the restrained gesture with which he lifts the celebrant's chasuble for the Elevation.

Would that this dignified aesthetic were more fully adopted for the celebration of Mass according to both usages of the Roman Rite.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Altar Frontal : 1

Reproduced from our other Blog Where Heaven and Earth Meet

The Altar of the Confession in Saint Peter's Basilica.
Pope Benedict is seen here offering Mass on Pentecost 2008.
This marvellously embroidered frontal in crimson red and gold 
frequently clothes this altar for Papal Masses.
Excepting perhaps for the altar canopy or civory, the most worthy, liturgical, notable and appropriate adornment of any altar is its altar frontal (antependium). More than any other adornment does the use of the antependium highlight the primacy of the altar. And yet, the antependium is the adornment most frequently lacking from our altars. The Rev'd J.B. O’Connell speaks of the symbolism of the antependium:

As the early linen clothing of the altar recalled our Lord’s burial shroud, so the precious fabric of the later frontal is to recall his royalty....The clothed altar with its beauty and changing colours is a symbol of the Mystical Body - the whole Christ, Christ united with all his saints - it translates this doctrine into the language of colour and form. In addition to its symbolical value, the frontal - with its sequence of colours and its changing form and decoration - lends variety and new beauty to the altar, and helps to mark the degrees of festivity in the Church’s liturgy. Because of its function as an adornment of the altar - although not its primary purpose, which is its symbolism - some liturgical writers maintain that its use is not obligatory, by custom, if the altar is itself made of precious material and highly decorative. But if the frontal is not used, not only is its symbolism disregarded, but the altar is without change of permanent adornment, degrees of festivity cannot be adequately expressed, nor can the liturgical changes of season or feast be fully indicated. 
J.B. O’Connell, Church Building and Furnishing: the Church’s Way, pp.188-89.

The use of the antependium has been a continual practice in the basilicas of Rome.
To this day, the Altar of the Confession in S’ Peter’s Basilica
is clothed with an antependium during the Papal Masses.
Shewn in this image is one of the elaborately-worked antependia used in Saint Peter's.
It may also be observed that many altars of no particular artistic merit, and especially altars which are simply supported on two or four pillars and lack a solid panel underneath the altar table, can be particularly enhanced by the use of an antependium. 

Until 1960, the Rubrics of the Roman Missal and the directives of the Ceremonial of Bishops required that altars, but specifically high altars be clothed with an antependium: it was not a matter of choice or dependent upon the beauty or otherwise of any given altar. Unhappily, however, the directives were largely ignored. Recognising this failure, the revised rubrics of the 1960 Missal omitted the sentence which required the use of an antependium, although maintaining that rubric which required the antependium to be changed according to the season or festival. Even after the requirement for an antependium had been relaxed by the revised rubrics of 1960, the American scholar of canon and liturgical law Father Frederick McManus (who was to become prominent amongst the liturgical reformers), advocated the use of antependia: 

The altar in Saint Peter's without an antependium.
The altar is of surprising plainness, indicating that it was
intended that the central altar of Christendom
would always be clothed for Mass.
The use of the frontal as the vestment of the altar remains proper and entirely is still very desirable as a worthy vestment for the altar...and as an effective indication of the liturgical celebration.
F.R. McManus, Handbook For the New Rubrics, Baltimore, 1961, pp. 202-03.

Sufficient has been quoted to demonstrate that even if the antependium is not required, its use is eminently suitable and desirable liturgically, important symbolically, and could not be recommended strongly enough. Very few altars are incapable of having antependia attached to them, even if some ingenuity in keeping them in place is required.

A wider view of the Altar of the Confession, decorated for Christmas.
The altar is manifestly enhanced by the magnificent antependium. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Affording Quality Vestments amidst Fiscal Constraint

Good-quality vestments, especially if they are handmade and use silk fabrics, are quite costly.  Indeed, they always have been.  Some years ago, on a website, was found a strategy for being able to afford a vestment which seems too expensive.  It may be useful for readers.  It goes something like this...

Father had his heart set on a particular set of vestments, but didn't have the money to purchase them. The Parish had many commitments and could not justify making such a purchase. But the Parish did buy them and then they were put on display in the Church, with this sign:

"These new vestments were recently purchased. When we have raised enough money to cover their cost, they will be used at the Altar. Until then, they are only for display."

It didn't take too long for the money to be raised for the vestments to be used for Mass and more besides; in fact, enough for another set to be purchased! The Parish loves the vestments and loves to see Father wearing them for Mass.

There is another facet of this story which many priests will be familiar with : the Faithful appreciate being asked to contribute to the beautification of their Parish church and its Sacred Liturgy. After all, it is the Faithful who look at the vestments worn by the priest. Is it not natural to wish to look at things of beauty?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Festal Dalmatic

Recently, the Saint Bede Studio has completed a dalmatic, shewn in the adjacent image, for a returning customer of the Diocese of Covington (Kentucky) USA. The dalmatic, ornamented in the Roman style, was made to match a chasuble previously made by the Studio.

The dalmatic was made from a lovely ecclesiastical brocade in colours of ivory and straw. It is lined in a lemon-coloured taffeta and ornamented with a narrow galloon (designed by the Studio) in colours of burgundy and gold.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Festal Vestments

During the Easter Octave, we are pleased to present these vestments which were made by the Saint Bede Studio for a priest-customer of the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia) USA.

Our customer, being quite tall, requested a very ample chasuble for Festal Days, but with a decorative scheme which made reference to the Blessed Virgin. These vestments were made from a very lightweight golden silk damask and lined in Royal Blue taffeta. The orphrey braid, of the Studio's own design, was enhanced with a galloon border in red, gold and blue.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Ad multos annos

The glory of the Day of Resurrection has an additional facet of joy this year, being the 90th birthday of our beloved Benedict XVI, formerly our Shepherd during the years 2005 - 2013.

The Church now is in troubled waters and we rely on the prayers of Pope Benedict, as we would look to a grandparent. May God grant him a clear mind and good health for the remainder of his earthly life.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Paschal Greetings 2017

To all readers of this blog and to customers and friends of the Saint Bede Studio, may many Graces be yours on the Day of our Lord's Resurrection.

In a world full of strife, violence, persecutions, hatred, abuse, etc. - all wrought by man - we look again to the optimistic Christian message that God has overcome Death and all the awfulness, frailties and disappointments of our earthly life and loves each and every poor sinner.

Christ is Risen !

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Passiontide 2017

The Saint Bede Studio recently completed a set of vestments for a young priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, USA.

These were vestments in the Saint Martin style: very ample.  The vestments were made from a purple ecclesiastical brocade and lined in a deep red shade of taffeta. They are ornamented with a narrow braid in colours of Royal Blue, red, gold and white. The distinctive arrangement of the braids is derived from the chasuble of Saint Thomas Becket at Sens Cathedral.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.