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 May 2012

Doing Extraordinary things

I have attended two Extraordinary Form Masses in the last couple of days.

Last night the Oxford Oratory celebrated the feast of the English Martyrs with a Solemn High Mass according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. This was, as one would expect of the Oratory, a beautiful liturgy and well attended - considerably more people were present than the usual, good, congregation we are used to seeing on a weekday evening. In recent years this feast has become one on which it is normal for the Mass to be offered in this form at the Oratory - I assume on the basis that this was the Mass the Martyrs and their fellow Catholics knew at the time. This serves as an example of how the two strands in the Roman liturgy can be offered in a parish and appreciated by the people of God.

This afternoon I was asked to help serve at the Latin Mass Society's Pilgrimage Mass at Greyfriars in Oxford. The Pilgrimage was one on foot to Littlemore where they were to end the afternoon with Vespers and Benediction in Newman's chapel at the College.

The feast in the EF calendar was, very fittingly, that of St Pius V, about whom the celebrant, Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP spoke in his homily, and in which he drew attention to the obligations laid on all the succcessors to St Peter to defend the Church, and of our need and obligation as Catholics to pray for the Pope.

I was thurifer and think I managed to produce a fairly decent serving of smoke at the right times. The Scola Abellis provided the music for the Mass. The church at Greyfriars is, as I have observed previously, a handsome building which provides a fine setting for the liturgy, and it is always a pleasure to serve there.

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