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.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Received into full Communion

This morning I was at the Oxford Oratory to attend the reception into the Church and first communion of a student friend, James Turner, who is a student at Keble. Last academic year he was Sacristan at Pusey House, so he was following a well-charted route from Pusey to the Oratory.

He had chosen to make his profession of faith according to the older form, with its long, and comprehensive list of Catholic teaching. It makes it very clear to what you are committing yourself. This was followed by Mass in the Extrordinary Form at St Philip's altar.

He had the support of family and friends from college and the Oratory was well as clergy and laity from Pusey and St Thomas'. When I congratulated him afterwards I commented that he had chosen an auspicious day on which to be received.

Afterwards over a celebratory drink in the Royal Oak there was the chance to meet up and swap news with old friends, and meet new ones - including a reader of this blog.

After that I went off with my good freind Andrew Wagstaff, also a former Pusey Sacristan and my sponsor when I was received, for a leisurely lunch and a good session of putting the world to rights, and the exchange of what another friend termed 'human interest stories', i.e. gossip.

There are other accounts of the reception here from Fr Hunwicke's Liturgical Notes and here from The Noise of the Crusade, and I concur with their comments about what people like James are witnessing to by their choice - it is very positive.

I am also reminded of a comment made by a lady at the Oratory to James amd myself one day - she as a cradle Catholic thought our personal decisions, conciously to enter the Catholic Church was so exciting, and that it was so much more interesting having to make the choice and to study the faith rather than just acquire it by being born and raised a Catholic. Whilst none of us would do other than want to see children raised within the practice of the faith I can well appreciate the point she was making. It is in part the point of valuing that for which you have worked for or at; it is also the cocept of discovering the exitement of othodoxy.

Please keep James and all others preparing for reception either into established parish life or the Ordinariate in your prayers.

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