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Minster hosts first Mass celebrated by a Catholic bishop since Henry VIII’s reign

Bishop Drainey marked 50th anniversary of school with Mass at Beverley Minster in Yorkshire

By on Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Bishop Drainey at Beverley Minster, which was built in 1425, before the Reformation

Bishop Drainey at Beverley Minster, which was built in 1425, before the Reformation

The first Mass celebrated by a bishop since the reign of Henry VIII has taken place in Beverley Minster.

The Mass marked the 50th anniversary of a local Catholic primary school named after St John of Beverly.

Bishop Terence Drainey of Middlesbrough celebrated the Mass, which was attended by teachers, students and their families.

“It was a very great privilege to be able to celebrate Mass in a place which has been a focus of prayer and worship for hundreds of years,” he said. “St John of Beverley is a major figure in our Catholic and English cultural history. He is the second patron of our diocese as well as being the patron of the Roman Catholic school in Beverley whose anniversary we were celebrating.”

“The service was focused on the children,” the bishop said, adding: “I had spent the early part of the day in the school with the children and ate lunch with them. My sermon was totally focused on them. Some of them read at the Mass, served and brought up the gifts at the offertory. The present generation of the children at St John of Beverley Primary School were very much central to our celebrations.”

The Rev Jeremy Fletcher, vicar of Beverley Minster, said that the service was a “great day” for the church that has always been attended by people from across the region.

“People came here centuries ago because St John of Beverley is buried here,” he said. St John of Beverly founded the town by building a monastery there in the eighth century. He is said to have performed miracles during his lifetime and after death, in particular having the ability to grant victory in battle.

John of York, when retired from his bishopric, came to what was then known as Inderawuda and founded a monastery there, completed in 731, so that he could “finish his life in a manner pleasing to God”.

The fate of the original Saxon monastery is unknown; the only thing remaining is a stone chair standing in the sanctuary of the present building.

In the 10th century, John of Beverley was added to the calendar of northern saints and a community emerged around his cult. The Pope canonised him in 1037 as St John of Beverly, raising the profile of the Minster as a centre of pilgrimage and by 1377 Beverley was among the 12 largest towns in England.

Bishop Drainey intends to return to Beverley Minster during the Year of Faith as he leads a pilgrimage around the diocese. “Already the authorities at Beverley Minster have agreed to this and I am most grateful to them.”

The Minster was completed in its present form in 1425.

  • Fr Cook

    ‘First Bishop since Henry VIII’ – Oh please!!! Firstly, what about the reign of Mary and secondly, if the Holy Father can show the Archbishop of Canterbury a bit of respect why on earth can’t we do the same to Anglicans as a whole? Keeping the roof on Beverly Minster would come close to bankrupting the Diocese of Middlesborough and the Anglican vicar has had the good grace to invite one of our bishops and a whole load of our school kids in and welcome them with, apparently, open arms. So how about something more like ‘ First Catholic Bishop’ or what about simply saying ‘thank you Mr Fletcher’ instead of obliquley rubbishing his church and his bishops?

  • patrick finnegan

    Ihave to say the likes of topcliff and the pursuents of the 1580s would be Quiet at home with Bishop Draineys mass since it was reformed in 1970 and has continued to reform to this day the only complaint they would have is it has reformed to much.yours sincerily P Fnnegan

  • Padraig

    I was of the opinion that the Catholic Church does not recognise those who have separated themselves from  it and do not recognise the authority of Gods Vicar the Pope do not have ecclessial authority,and therefore do not merit the title of Bishop or Archbishop.Perhaps Fr Cook knows otherwise.

  • James Hughes

    Who the hell rattled your cage?

  • The Catholic Herald

    Apologies – we did not mean to be disrespectful in the headline. It reads ‘first Mass celebrated by a bishop’. The assumption was that Anglican bishops lead services, while Catholic ones celebrate Mass. Just to make things clearer, though, we have added ‘Catholic’ to the headline. 

  • Holly

    In reality Beverley Minster, along with all the other Churches built before the Reformation belongs to the Catholic Church. The Anglican bishops and vicars may be followers of Christ but  the outfits and titles are  just fancy dress . They can never be more than this unless they cross the Tiber. 

  • Ghengis

    Beverly Minster was stolen by the crown from the Catholic Church to begin with; now we have to grovel in gratitude for  the Anglicans finally allowing us back into something that was ours to begin with? please spare  me the PC nonsense.

  • Tristan

    Anglican Bishops both preside and celebrate. Whilst I understand you’re trying to gracious, it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth to this Anglican.

    (If I am to be honest, it is language like this which makes cradle-Anglicans think that Rome is peculiar, foreign and all the other such things. Some of the commentators above might be able to pat themselves on the back for defending orthodoxy against those wicked church-stealing, faux-prelates of the Establishment, but that is highly unlikely that such things will persuade an Anglican to convert. Just a tip.)

  • Dunstan Harding

     Yes, papists really are an ungrateful pack of traitors.