Liturgy & Religious Studies


When Fr. Alban went I took over the Liturgy and music in the chapel.   Fr. Alban and Cyril had turned hte chapel round which meant that there were boys facing the altar on three sides.  the organ went to the place under the roof where the old high altar had been.   Fr. Alban had composed a JH prayer book and with Fr Henry we invested in new hymn books – the do-it-yourself kind with a fine clip which held the separate sheets in place.  Even used twice  or three times a day – the pages rarely cell out and we had a wide range of  music in them.  I was determined to follow the guidelines of the guide for children’s liturgy and get all aspects of the celebration to reflect and fit the age group.

Fr. Alban,s JH prayer book had include psalms and some other prayers.  It was influenced by the current interest in the office in the Church, and I gradually came to discount the value of the psalms as prayers for children.  I developed the book under Fr. Henry putting all the ages into a single volume with the hymns which we had chose with the Kevin Mayhew select your own system. (The technology of this system was French and very good.  The clip was so strong that it was impossible for the boys to pull the leaves out of it and one needed special key to open it.  The weak part was the cover and only when got a white sheet laminated with plastic did we get one (third try) which could stand up to the use of the boys some 3 times a day for 200 days a year.  I wanted to have some texts of St. Paul which the boys would come to know by heart through repetition and so got them inserted into the evening prayer. Fr.Albans evening prayer had been very cut down. We re jigged the Morning Prayer including some of Jesus’ sayings as short passages.  We always had either the Bible stories of  David Kossoff      or stories of Christian figures, which were produced in pamphlet form.  These included both Catholic and Protestant Saints.    When it came to our Mass celebrations, we used the Columba press adaptation of  Sunday Masses for Children with their simplified versions and  dialogue and play versions.   We used these all the 12 years that I was in JH.  The daily Masses during the week were for a specific year and this always tied into their RE courses.  The RE syllabus was the Silver Burdett one which we thought better than the Veritas system.  Despite its Americanism it did fit our ages group and we adapted it somewhat.   We always had music in these Masses and developed Fr.Alban’s good practices in our conduct in the chapel.   Cyril managed the music when he was housemaster, but I slipped into the job when Henry came.   I had the advantage of having experience of a wide range of music especially the evangelical so I imported a lot of this to our celebrations.  We made use of the music of the new Catholic liturgy mostly in its folk direction, but latterly used the music which was being produced and published by the Thomas More Centre.  On Sundays we tended to use the conventional hymns, with overuse of simplified Common of the Mass, but we also came to use  Christopher  Walker with his responsories and alleluias for Children’s Masses.  There was always singing practice for the house before the Sunday Liturgy.  Cyril started them, David Lowe took on and then Miriam O-Callaghan and finally Paul Young who came to us from Gilling – he was an Anglican and co-co-operated well, though no one took a singing practice as well as Fr.Henry.   He would always be with us for the Masses and help with the singing – we rarely needed an organ.

We also introduced aspects of the RCIA.  At the beginning of the year, we had a formal entry of the first year at the first Thursday Mass  they gathered round the altar for a word of welcome and a prayer.  The monitors were blessed on the first night, and we had a ceremony of preparation for the confirmandi before their ceremony.   When the term was running into Holy Week we developed (wrote) a passion play which we acted round the lower part of the hose with moments of encounter with the different characters.  Henry had a passion for Masses outside on the altar which Fr. Peter had set up,    .  For this we chose the music which most would know and it was always a prayerful success.   The wind and brass group occasionally played the much for these affairs.  We had a visiting priest from Ethiopia who left us some embroidery which we fashioned into a lectern cloth.  This went to Gillling.  The statues in the JH chapel were in the old places by the first altar, but Fr. Edgar Miller who came in the final years of JH and resurrected the carpentry made two oak bases and installed the statues in the North wall of the chapel.  He also had the tabernacle recessed into the Eastern wall.   A Mexican Virgin and child was the gift of  a Badenoch family.