Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Seeing in the New Year


I think I can say I saw in this New Year in a fairly pious manner. On New year's Eve I attended the 6pm Mass at the Oratory and found myself serving it in the absence of anyone else to do so, and helped set up for the Mass to mark the New Year.

After supper with friends I went back to the Ortaory for a beautiful and meditative Vigil Mass for the Mew Year celebrated by the Provost Fr Daniel. This tradition was establishedin 2000 and has become part of the Oratory calendar. This concluded with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a time of prayer before it. At midnight, with an organ fanfare and the ringing of bells to introduce it, we had Solemn Benediction to consecrate and prepare ourselves for 2014 and whatever it may bring.

Afterwards we celebrated the turn of the year in a more secular way with wine and mince pies in the Parish Centre, wishing one another the best for the coming year.

This morning I was back at church for the 10am Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. This was, as it is always is, well attended and asign of the congregation's committment to the faith in the New Year. After that it was time for coffee with friends from church in a nearby cafe and then lunch with another friend, and a chance to talk about shared interests in the life of the Church and Oxford. Now there is time to relax and do some serious reading, sustained by copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.


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