Consecration of the Vicar-Apostolic of Gibraltar 1899

THE NEW VICAR-APOSTOLIC OF GIBRALTAR. CONSECRATION AT HAVERSTOCK HILL.

All who were present on Monday last at the church of the Dominican Fathers, Haverstock Hill, on the occasion of the consecration of Bishop Bellord for the Vicariate of Gibraltar must have been impressed by the fitness of the noble edifice for so great a function. The open and spacious sanctuary, well raised above the level of the nave, presented an unrestricted view to all who thronged the enormous church. The beautiful oaken stalls, carved by Peters of Antwerp, were filled with long lines of white-robed friars, black-robed Benedictines, Augurtinians and Passionists, purple-robed Monsignori, and secular priests in their graceful lace-trimmed cottas, while moving about the altar were the officiating prelates and their numerous assistants in performance of their sacred rites and clothed in the symbolic grandeur of their sacred vestments. And through all the splendour of colour and moving forms a grand simplicity was manifest. Those who were present, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, – and not a few non-Catholics were in evidence, – must have been moved, too, by the supreme care and the many safeguards with which the Church in all the details of a sublime ritual surrounds the great act by which the apostolic commission is handed down to individuals in unbroken continuity as it was received from Christ.

The Bishop of Emmaus was the consecrator, and the Assistant-Bishops were Bishop Brindle, D.S.0 , and the Bishop of Southwark. These were attended by their chaplains, the Revv. Fathers Davies and T. Hogan for the Bishop of Emmaus : Fathers Reekes and Coote for the Bishop of Southwark ; Fathers Denny and C. Cox for the Bishop of Hermopolis ; and Fathers Amigo and Armstrong for the Bishop-Elect. The Cantors were the Revv. Fathers Pennington and Wyatt, and the masters of ceremonies Fathers G. Cox and Mgr. Dunn.

Occupying places in the stalls were the Very Revv. Father John Procter, O.P., Provincial ; Father Gabriel Whitacre, O.P., Prior ; the Right Rev. Mgri. Goddard, Moyes, Fenton and Connelly; the Very Revv, Dr. Johnstone, V.G., Provost Moore, Canons Keatinge, Pycke, Scannell and Fannan ; the Revv. Dr. Aidan Gasquet, O.S.B., Father Arthur, C.P. ; Deans Lucas, Reardon, Vere ; several army chaplains ; the Very Rev. P. r ., Kelly, O.S.A. ; the Dominican Fathers Thomas Laws, Reginald Buckler, Austin Rooke, Bernard Sears, Raphael Moss, and Gilbert Tigar ; while a large number of secular priests from several dioceses were in the body of the church.

The Apostolic Brief having been read, the Bishop-elect took the episcopal oath prescribed by Pius VI. for Bishops in the British Empire. Then followed the Examen, in which, response to questions of the Consecrator, the Bishop-elect made solemn profession of faith and fealty and devotion to his episcopal duties, promising to preserve humility and patience, and to be gentle and tender to the poor and to strangers, and to all who suffer want. The Mass begins, the Litanies of the Saints are chanted, the Book of the Gospels is laid open on the shoulders of the Elect in token that while he is appointed to rule over others he himself is subject to the law of the Gospel. A swift-winged moment swept by and the mighty and mysterious act has passed. The consecrating hands have been imposed and the simple word has been spoken ; ” Receive the Holy Ghost.” Almost unobserved, the great central act has been consummated. Then the Mass proceeded, interwoven with, the signs and ceremonies continued the kiss of peace and brotherhood was given, the new-made Bishop was enthroned and endowed with mitre, ring and crozier, while the praises of the Te Deum are resounding, with his new born powers he imparts his solemn benediction. A touch of human interest was there when the Bishop proceeding round the church made scarcely perceptible pause as he extended his hand to a Sister of Mercy who knelt in the foremost seat, and thus it came about that his sister was the first to kiss his hand and receive his happy blessing.

MGR. BELLORD’S CAREER.

The Right Rev. James Bellord, to give the title in full, Bishop of Milevis and Vicar-Apostolic of Gibraltar, was born In London in 1846, educated at St. Edmund’s College, Ware, an, ordained priest at Hammersmith on March 12, 1870, Like Mgr. Brindle, the new Auxiliary Bishop to Cardinal Vaughan, Mgr. Bellord has had a distinguished career as a military chaplain. He served with the troops in Bermuda in 1875-77, and, again in 1888-92, and also through the Zulu, the Boer, and the Egyptian campaigns. Upon him devolved the sad duty of performing the last rites over the body of the late Prince Imperial of France, who, it will be remembered, lost his life during the first mentioned war. The Bishop was present at the battle of Ulundi, at which the Zulus were finally subdued at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir, in Egypt, Father Bellord was severely wounded early in the action, but, despite his own sufferings, he courageously insisted on being carried round to give the consolations of religion to the wounded and dying. For the last few years he has been attached to the garrison at Colchester. Needless to tell, he has always been most popular both with the officers and men at all the stations at which he has served. In consequence of his appointment to Gibraltar the Bishop retires from the army after near thirty years’ service.

Father Bellord is the author of some devotional works, and, last year he published a remarkable book, Meditations on Christian Dogma, founded on St. Thomas Aquinas, to which the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster contributed a preface: and which has been most favourably received. Three of his sisters are nuns, two being Sisters of Notre Dame and the other a Sister of Mercy at the convent in Crispin-street, London,

LETTER FROM THE EMPRESS EUGENIE.

After the ceremonies luncheon was provided in the Priory. Bishop Patterson, in proposing the health of the new Bishop, referred to him in warm and felicitous terms, and said he had known him man and boy all his life, and had enjoyed as well the friendship of his parents. The toast was receive enthusiastically, and drunk with musical honours. Father Amigo, on behalf of the people of Gibraltar, promised the Bishop a hearty welcome, and Mgr. Goddard, in the course of some graceful reference to the relations of the Bishop, when be was chaplain to the forces in Zululand, with the unfortunate young Prince to whom he administered the last consolations of religion, read the following letter from the Empress :

Villa Cyrnos, Cap Martin.

Cher Monsignor Goddard,—J’ai communiqué à S.M. l’Imperatrice votre lettre du 17e l’informant de la nomination du Père Bellord, à l’Evêché de Gibraltar. Sa Majesté a appris avec plaisir cette nouvelle. Elle se réjouira toujours de ce qui pourra arriver d’heureux à ceux, de près ou de loin, se rattachent à la mémoire de son malheureux fils – et elle felicite le Père Bellord de son élévation a l’Episcopat.

Sa Majesté vous remercie de votre bon souvenir. Quoiqu’elle ne pas complêtement rétablie l’état de sa santé s’est amelioré.  Veuillez agreer, cher Monsignor, l’expression de mes sentiments respectueux et dévoués.

Franceschini Pistri

The Bishop, in his reply, thanked all who had been so kind to him, and whom he held in dear remembrance. The toast of Bishop Patterson was also drank.

In the afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Bellord held a reception at their house in Belsize Park Gardens, at which, besides the Bishops and the clergy who had assisted at the functions of the morning, the following ladies and gentlemen were present with many other friends of the family : Colonel Donovan, Major Tibbs, Major Ration, Dr. Ware, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Hallett, Mr. and Mrs. Le Brasseur, Mr. and Mrs. E. Hanley and Miss Hanley, the Hon. Mr. Parker and Lady Parker, Mr. and Mrs. E. O’Bryen, and Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Pursell.

The members of the Deanery of Colchester presented the Bishop with a handsome pectoral cross as a token of their regard. A gift highly valued for its givers and very beautiful in itself, was the episcopal ring, presented by his sisters, who, as has been said, are nuns. The exquisite Gothic mitre, which Was worn by the Bishop at the ceremony, and was much admired for its beauty, was the gift of his brother, Mr. E. J. Bellord.

The church at Haverstock Hill is full of interest to those who have watched the Catholic revival in England and the reintroduction of the religious orders into the country.

The Friars Preachers or Dominicans, commonly called Black Friars, came into England in 1221, and founded a house in Holborn, removed in 1286 to Ludgate. This was destroyed in 1538, and the Times Office is built on part of the site. Under Queen Mary they established another community in Great St. Bartholomew’s, Smithfield, in 1556, but this was destroyed by Queen Elizabeth in 1559. On the invitation of Cardinal Wise-man, in 1861, the Friars commenced a mission in Kentish Town, and in 1863 began a Priory on Haverstock Hill, which was completed in four years, and solemnly opened May 31, 1883 , It has a total length of 200ft., the nave of 6 bays being 140ft., and the choir 60ft. Fourteen chapels and the high altar are dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, each chapel in the aisles being 15ft. wide. The lady chapel on the right side of the choir, contains the altars of the Holy Rosary, St. Joseph and St. Dominic. The church is in the style of the 13th century, built of brick, with stone dressings. There are several good stained glass windows, especially in the choir, by Hardman and Co., Birmingham. The high altar (late decorated style) Put up and consecrated in December, 1889, cost £ 2,000. The Priory was built by the late Countess Tasker.

The above text was found on p.21,6th May 1899 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

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