Dale's new priest may bring back Latin mass
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
LATIN masses could make a return to Teesdale following the induction of a new Catholic parish priest for Barnard Castle and Gainford.
Fr Thomas Mason was formally inducted by episcopal vicar Fr Jeff Dodds following the retirement of Fr Ian Grieves.
Like his predecessor Fr Thomas is from the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established by Pope Benedict XVI to allow former Anglicans to join the Catholic Church.
Fr Thomas said: “I was born and raised in the church of England. My father, William, was a vicar. Part of the Church of England shares almost all of the beliefs of the Catholic Church and shares its practices.”
He added that the benefit of the Personal Ordinate is that it also allows for Church of England practices, such as choral evensong, to be brought into the Catholic Church.
Prior to joining the Catholic Church in 2011, Fr Thomas was registrar for Buckingham New University and spent the first three years of his training towards priesthood at Blackfriars, in Oxford.
He then spent the next three years at Oscott College, in Birmingham, the oldest seminary in England, and was ordained as a priest in 2018.
Fr Thomas went on to serve as a curate at Eastbourne before his appointment to Teesdale. The priest said: “[Before I arrived] people said how beautiful the countryside is here.
“Eastbourne is right on the edge of the South Downs so I have spent an awful lot of time up there walking and very much enjoyed the countryside there – here it is absolutely perfect in that regard.
“It is an incredibly beautiful part of the country.”
When not walking on his days off, Fr Mason also enjoys listening to classical music and reading non-fiction.
He said: “My greatest vice is buying books. I am a bit of an intellectual magpie – if I see something shiny, I get excited by it.”
Although currently residing at the flat at St Oswald’s Church, in Gainford, the priest will be moving to Barnard Castle when the house at St Mary’s Church has been renovated.
His appointment could also see the return of Latin Mass, which had previously been held in Barnard Castle by former parish priest Fr Wilfred Elkin.
Fr Mason said: “I probably will be starting one again. I know there was a tradition of that and there are people who prefer it
“I am able to say it and I have done in the past. If that is what people want, I am very happy to do it.”