Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sunday Latin Masses at the Carmel of Lismore

When I was based in Hobart in the nineties, my then P.P., Fr Jarrett, had a monthly Traditional Latin Mass, at which I sang (I also began my serving of the old Mass there too); this is the same one that, mutatis mutandis has continued - despite all the ill-will of the crotchety establishment in this unhappy Archdiocese: I recall someone at St Mary's Cathedral even took time, stupidly, to preach against it, whereupon some Cathedral parishioners decided to desert their angry pastor and come along to the Mass of the ages at Sacred Heart, glad to learn of its existence! - albeit now at the church of St Canice, ever since his departure in 2001 to become Bishop of Lismore in N.S.W.

I learn that the good Bishop, a true pastor (free of the tired seventies liberal straitjacket) has been again helping fulfil the just aspirations of some of his flock: a monthly Traditional Mass has begun at the Carmelite Monastery at Goonellabah (a southern suburb of Lismore), indeed has been held there for some time now, and will become a Missa cantata come Pentecost; already, numbers are up to seventy, with three dedicated servers. (Grafton, seat of the local Anglican bishopric, also has a Latin Mass from time to time with up to a hundred devotees, but a shortage of available dedicated clergy has so far prevented it becoming a regular fixture; like me in Tasmania, some of the Graftonians drive for an hour and more to go to Lismore for the Traditional Mass instead.)

When in Lismore for His Lordship's episcopal consecration, I visited the Carmel, being edified of course by the holy enclosure so strictly observed: they are of one mind and heart with their southern sisters here at the Launceston Carmel, having avoided the slipshod banalities that have seduced even some Carmels (such as that of Adelaide, which observes neither enclosure nor silence, and - surprise, surprise - has no vocations: when will the liberals learn? probably at death!).  They remain firm in adhering to what is tried and true, the primitive charism of St Teresa and St John of the Cross, rejecting the novelties of a transient age.

Since I was there, the sanctuary has been paved with marble, and a fitting predella installed upon which the altar has been raised as is right.  Of course, aside from the monthly Latin Mass, the nuns have daily Mass at 7am, plus a parish Mass on Sundays for the convenience of local residents. I recall the former Bishop of Lismore customarily said the daily Mass there himself, and it seems that the nuns have cultivated similarly good relations with his successor! After all, a convent of cloistered religious, praying and sacrificing for the world in general and priests in particular, is such a powerful supernatural aid in the spiritual warfare that any Bishop would rejoice to have a Carmel intercede with the Divine Majesty for the sanctification of himself, his priests, his seminarians, and all his people.

If you seek for salvation - I am all serious - solicit the prayers of Carmelite nuns.  

Their prayers work.


Anonymous said...

I think the idea of a bishop making his daily Mass in a religious house like that is a great statement of sanctity, not to mention solidarity.

Rob A

Joshua said...


And I recall being told that he - the late Bp Satterthwaite - before driving up to the Carmel for to celebrate Mass, first made a holy hour of prayer in his Cathedral...

An excellent man, I was glad to meet him back in 2001.

Being shrewd as well as prayerful, he made the best possible decisions for his diocese: he invested in real estate, so that nowadays Lismore has plenty of funds to support its good works, and refused to set up a diocesan bureaucracy (the ruination of most dioceses), instead having only enough ICT and secretarial staff to deal with essentials. Bravo, and R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

"refused to set up a diocesan bureaucracy"

One could imagine this in an Eastern Troparion as a sort of victory over the Devil!

Rob A

Joshua said...


LatinMass Lismore said...

2016 and some things remain the same...The Carmelites Monastery is blessed with some new vocations and are still as prayerful and supportive of all things Catholic. The Missa Cantata is still said on the third Sunday of the month, thanks to the wonderful Sisters who do all the music now. The Bishop says the Mass at times and a wonderful young priest Father Nicolas Maurice says it at other times. Another young priest, Father Roland Agrisola also learnt to say the Latin Mass and would celebrate it there as well however he has been moved to a parish south of Lismore and for the present will not be able to say it I don't think.
The Lismore area is now faced with the reality that unless we find a priest we will not be able to have the Latin Mass more than once a month. Yes, the Bishop is still in residence but he has instructed that we must find our own priest - he cannot provide a priest to say the Mass. So we are trying to find a priest who will come to Lismore and minister to those who would like to celebrate the Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form.
Our numbers have declined due to not being able to advertise the Masses for many months so our community is small (there were never 70 people at a Mass by the way) but it is a constant one. If anyone knows of a priest who would like to relocate to beautiful northern New South Wales, please have him contact the Bishop or latinlismore@gmail.com. Many thanks