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, 5 November 2011

Requiem at the Oxford Oratory

Yesterday evening there was the annual Solemn Requiem for deceased Fathers and Brothers of the Oratory here at St Aloysius. Happily there are so far no deceased Oxford Oratorians, clerical or lay, to offer the Mass for, but was an opportunity to pray for recently deceased Oratorians worldwide and all past members of the Congregation.

The Mass was in the Extraordinary Form, and proved to be a profoundly prayerful occasion. There was all the sober dignity of the liturgical text, with its repeated pleas for Requiem aeternum, combined with the dignity of orderly celebration and the sombre grandeur of black vestments, violet hangings and unbleached candles.

Definitely what I want for my own funeral - and my executors have been told so.



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