Amplifiers were used throughout the ceremonies and the singing—particularly of the Lourdes hymn and "Faith of Our Fathers"—could be heard over a very wide area.
Applause broke out among the congregation at the end of Bishop Heenan's sermon.
"It is my first duly, after welcoming you all here today," said Mgr. Heenan, "to express the gratitude of the Catholics of Leeds diocese to the Corporation of Leeds City for allowing us to take possession of this ancient abbey this afternoon. Our gratitude is in no way diminished by the reflection that we are today guests and not hosts in the abbey grounds."
He thanked the Lord Abbot and his monks "for coming here today to celebrate Holy Mass and for thus giving us a token of the glory of past days.
"It is fitting that the sons of Mount St. Bernard's should come in pilgrimage to the ruins which were once called Mount St. Mary's. Fitting, because St. Bernard, the last of the Fathers of the Church, set the Mother of God high upon the mount of piety which he raised to the glory of God in the stones of his abbey churches and the inspired words of his prayers and writings.
" 'To Thee I come, before Thee I stand,' he said in his memorare. This thought can once more be voiced by his brethren.
"Today we are permitted a glimpse of English life in the 12th century.
"We are staging no pageant. There is no make-believe about our celebration. We have assisted today at Holy Mass which is alike in every detail to the Masses that Yorkshire priests and laity celebrated 800 years ago.
"What we have all done is precisely what all Englishmen did in every shire and town and hamlet in Eng
land when this country was Catholic and conscious of its dignity as the Dowry of Mary.
"But today all is changed. King Henry VIII—unlike King Henry 11 whose bounty enabled this abbey to survive—despoiled and dissolved this abbey. Thomas Cranmer, who had eagerly condoned the lust of his king and so quieted a conscience tormented by his own broken vows, was given Kirkstall as a reward. He enriched himself and made Yorkshire and England the poorer.
"The ruins we survey are a symbol of the spiritual ruin which inevitably overtook this land when the ancient Faith was abolished.
"That is why today we come as guests and not as hosts. A new religion was imported from abroad. Su by a grim paradox we who alone retain the Faith of old England arc thought of as alien and as strangers.
"Yet on Mount St. Mary's we take courage. 'Never was it known that any had recourse to Thee, implored Thy help or sought Thine intercession and was left unaided.' To Mary we turn to beg her to intercede for this country once devoted to her Son and His Church. • "To the average Yorkshireman the monks of Kirkstall call to mind sheep and wool and textiles. But these—as we know to our present cost—are perishable products.
"For us Kirkstall represents not sheep but a Lamb. The Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace whose Name is so little known and honoured in modern England.
"We pray God that the return of the monks to Kirkstall may forshadow a return of our beloved fellow-countrymen to a knowledge of the old Faith which lives on.
"May this Holy Mass and pilgrimage bring grace and blessing on us all and on all our friends and compatriots. 'Despise not my words, 0 Mother of the Word, but graciously hear and grant my prayer—Amen."