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 30 April 2011

Making liturgical history with the Ordinariate

Earlier this evening I attended the first Mass offered by the Oxford group of the Ordinariate at Pusey House. Following the reception of members in Holy Week this was the first independent liturgical celebration, and along with a number of other supporters I went along to support the group and to participate in the Mass.

The celebrant was Mgr Andrew Burnham, and this was the first opportunity to really enable one to see what the liturgical character of the Ordinariate may be. Whilst faithfully adhering to the Missal the Mass, rather as at the reception Mass the previous week at the Oratory, had more congregational hymns and also sung propers that drew upon the older traditions of the Church. If "patrimony" was what one was seeking to identify then yes, it was present - present as a particular, reverential, style that used good music to ornament the liturgical action.

In this Mgr Burnham, who used to teach liturgical studies, and his team of servers and musicians are to be congratulated in producing a fine liturgy that reflected the Anglican inheritance that the Ordinariate can bring to the established Catholic books.

It was slightly curious for several of us, old Pusey hands that we are, to be back in the church and able to communicate as part of the Universal as well as the local Church. As was said the stones of the building were doubtless happy to see us back. The congregation was welcomed by the Principal of Pusey House, who sat in choir for the Mass.

The Ordinariate group's Mass will be celebrated at Pusey House at 6.30 (doors open at 6.15) on Saturdays this term with the exception of Pentecost eve and in Eighth Week, when another venue will be used.

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