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.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter in Oxford

I observed Holy Week and the Triduum in Oxford at the Oratory, and with the addition of Tenebrae on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and, although I could not get to Tenebrae that day, Vespers on Holy Saturday at Blackfriars. All the liturgies, as one would expect, were performed with the dignity and mood appropriate to the particular day. The Easter Vigil, celebrated by Bishop William, the auxiliary Bishop for this part of the archdiocese, had that excitement and tangible sense of the immediacy of Resurrection in the here and now that always makes it such a high point of the year.

On Easter Day I was at the 9.30 Mass at the Oratory to act as witness to the reception into the Church of a recently acquired German friend, Andreas Groeger, who works in Oxford. This was followed by the 11 Solemn Mass, and a celebratory drink with friends in the parish social centre. Late afternoon there was Solemn Vespers and Benediction at the Oratory, followed by more exchanging of Easter wishes with friends. After that there was dinner with Andreas, his mother.who had travelled over from Germany for the occasion, his sponsor and another German friend at an excellent Indian restaurant in the Cowley Road. All in all a day of celebration, renewal and new beginnings - which is very much what Easter is about.

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