01 March 2010

EF at St Mary Magdalene's Bexhill

There will be a Mass celebrated by Fr Bruno Witchalls, on the fourth Sunday in
Lent, at 8.00am at St Mary Magdalene's Bexhill.

This is really good news, and something parishioners there have been requesting for a long time. If this could be the start of regular Latin Masses in Bexhill, wouldn't it be wonderful!

It would be marvellous if as many people could make it as possible. I know Mass numbers aren't supposed to matter any more, but I have the feeling that in certain quarters they still do.

The church hasn't moved, so luckily, the directions and map from August last year are still reliable, so click here for the full address, and directions, and even a link to google map .

And please, let everyone you know, know.


Anonymous said...

HOOOray - well done!

Sussex Catholic said...

This is indeed fantastic news. I am increasingly coming to the view that 8am is the way forward for the EF in A&B. Not only does it mean that willing priests are not prevented from fulfilling existing commitments but in so many parishes now the 8am OF Mass has all but disappeared. EF adherents are hardy souls more than happy to get up early and it suits the elderly and young families who are the staple of the EF and can plan their Sundays much better with an early Mass.

I hope and pray that this leads to a regular Sunday Mass in the east of the diocese. Please please can we have an 8am regular Sunday Mass in the centre or west? WG is the obvious choice but I am sure there are other places if that is not possible.

Annie said...

It's a start!

So even if you can't make OLOC at W Grinstead, how about an early fixture at Bexhill? I believe we're doing both, by the way lol!

Annie said...

Sussex Catholic, the 8 am slot is by far preferrable to the truly awful 3.00pm.

The trouble with getting any EF Masses, as it has always been, is finding priests willing to either say the EF or at least willing to allow their parishes to be used for an EF. A&B is a vast area to cover.

I think the momentum has to come from people in the parishes themselves, to ask and keep asking for the EF. The very modest 'successes' of the EF in the east (and there have only been three, 2 one-offs down and one pending) were due to, firstly, the availability of willing and able priests, and secondly, the agitation, if I might put it like that, of members of the relevant parishes (who may or may not be LMS members) with encouragement from me.
The real problem of course is that regular EF Masses are still considered almost anathema, and folk who want them an irrelevant annoyance.

Sussex Catholic said...

You are of course quite correct in everything that you say about the need for people to remind their pastors about the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and also that 3pm is indeed "truly awful". It belongs to the era of unpublicised Masses in railway hotels and cemetary chapels and is exactly the kind of situation which the latest clarification from Ecclesia Dei is meant to remedy. Does anyone know of a priest in the centre of the diocese who might be prepared to offer EF Mass at 8am each Sunday or at least allow it to be offered at his church if a celebrant could be found? I for one would be happy to direct my requests to such a pastor if he expressed an interest.

Annie said...

I've got my ear to the ground SC, and if I ever find one I'll let you know if you leave a not-for-publication message in the combox with your email :D

pelerin said...

Very pleased for you all in the east. I first read it as 8 pm but have to admit to disappointment at finding it is 8 am but quite understand the reasons why people may prefer this early time.

I am afraid I also have to disagree with Sussex Catholic that WG is the obvious choice in mid Sussex as it is only accessible to those with transport which rules out those of us who don't drive.

Does Sussex Catholic know about the once a month Sunday EFs (as well as every Friday) here in Brighton? Fr Ray Blake is now bi-ritual and details can be found on his blog.

Annie said...

Hello Pelerin :D

I know this Mass is a tad early, but it's at least on a Sunday! Only a one off at the moment, but keep praying, and who knows?

I think WG is obvious only because it's already got two EFs a month, that means there's already a toe in the door (I won't say 'precedent' because that might freak some people out, lol!). But you're right, it's a heck of a trek and isn't at all practical if you're reliant on anything other than a car. It can take us an hour to get there. Horsham/Haywards Heath would be really good.

Sussex Catholic said...


I completely agree with you that WG is impractical and unlikely for a number of reasons, its advantages are that, as stated above, there is already EF Mass being offered there and it is not too far south for those Catholics in Surrey and the Sussex borders not within range of Clapham Park. I am afraid Brighton is too far for such people particularly if the regular Mass were 8am. As Annie says Horsham would be good, it has good rail and bus links and is accessible to people from both Surrey and Sussex.

The bottom line is that in the light of SP and the PCED clarifications there really ought to be EF Masses being offered on Sunday mornings and not at the sort of eccentric times we have all had to get used to over the years. My feeling is that 8am is the most likely time that already busy A&B priests are likely to be able to accommodate.

Surrey Catholic said...

Re the Rosary for the Bishop statistics - they don't seem very impressive or complimentary - or am I missing something?

Martin said...

It may be a start, but be realistic. For those of us who work all week and have children to organise on a Sunday, 8 a.m. is for the truly heroic only. No one is ready to swap an existing NO Mass for the EF so the way forward is for 12/12.30 or 6/6.30 perhaps once or twice a month to start with.

Annie said...

Hello Martin! :D

Realistic? I wrote the book on realistic, lol!

Don't forget to factor in the travel time, we have a half hour drive to get there. When our kids were little, the midday mass clashed with their lunch, the 6.30 with bed time. The 8.00 with breakfast. We still can't get to an evening Mass on a Sunday...but being music lovers, I'd rather not do Sunday evening anyway.

So I agree.

What we actually need is a proper 9.30 or 10.30 slot in every parish.

8.00 is the least offensive time to those who are anti. I'm ready for a sprint, but those less well-disposed to the EF don't even want to get off the sofa. 8.00 is what we've got, I for one am profoundly grateful.

It's been an absolute slog to get this one Mass. Let's celebrate, and pray it's the first of many!

And please, if you're vaguely local, come! We could do with the support.

Annie said...


Rosary foir the Bishop is a US initiative, but they have our Bishops on their lists too now. No, the stats aren't great for our Diocese, but that doesn't mean people aren't praying for him...at least I hope they are!

MartinT said...

Annie, sorry to sound negative. 8 am regular on a Sunday is fantastic and better than the 5th Sunday of the month at 3 pm. 8 am Masses are also quiet affairs (no guitars) and better suited to the EF. The problem we face next door in Southwark is that you cannot replace an existing NO Mass and there is a great reluctance to provide extra Masses. I am though sure things will improve in time. There is by the way a regular Wednesday Mass in Tunbridge Wells -which shows what can be done in the most unlikely of settings. Any support would also be welcome.

Annie said...

S'alright, frustration seems to be the name of the game Martin, A&B isn't known as the dead c for nothing - not that this is a contest, lol, but 'reluctant' is about the mildest word you could use for opposition down here!

This Mass isn't a regular thing, it's been fought for long and hard - in the nicest possible way - and was a lovely extra. But I don't see why any Mass can't be replaced by the EF, although I admit the politics of the Ministry of the Backroom (aka sacristy) where some extraordinary ministers might have a bit of a hissy fit at not being on the rota because they aren't required may make things a tad uncomfortable for a bit.

Masses arranged have been due to the willingness of priests in the area to say them. But numbers slowly are growing, although being an impatient kind of person, hanging around is a bit of a pain.

Where is the Weds T/Wells Mass? I am more than happy to advertise :)

Martin said...

Annie, I have every sympathy having ground my teeth in pain for more than a decade. It has been very painful. The great hope is that the younger generation of priests is far more sympathetic and are slowly and steadily rediscovering the treasures of the EF. If you look at the quarterly listing under Southwark Kent Regular Masses there are Wednesday Masses at Ashford South and Tunbridge Wells. The latter is a new venture and if you are excellent blog can promote cross-border Masses as well, it would be much appreciated. Keep up the good work!

Annie said...

More than happy to plug any EFs that cross my path, and thank you for the kind words :)

Martin said...

Annie, thanks for the plug which is much appreciated. You (and any of your followers) are very welcome. You may also find that the EF retains its inherent dignity regardless of its setting. M

Annie said...

Well that's the great thing about the EF isn't it, it elevates and transforms the mundane and prosaic and reordered ;)