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.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Immaculate Conception

We have been preparing for today's Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception here at the Oxford Oratory with the usual Novena in church - I have managed to attend most days, but not, alas, all - and had Solemn Vespers and Benediction yesterday evening. This evening there will be a Solemn Mass. Not only is the Oratory under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady but also the Archdiocese of Birmingham, so it has a double significance for us.

There is a useful account of the historical development of this dogma here.


The Immaculate Conception
by José Claudio Antolinez (1635-1675)

Image: Catholicism Pure and Simple blog

There is another version of this painting by Antolinez at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, and is quite breath-taking to see.

Deep night hath come down on this rough-spoken world
And the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled;
And the tempest-tossed Church - all her eyes are on thee,
They look to thy shining, Sweet Star of the Sea.

Fr Faber

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