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.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

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 : stbede62@gmail.com




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.

Enquiriesstbede62@gmail.com