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, 28 June 2012

Fr Hunwicke's Ordination

Yesterday evening I attended the Ordination to the priesthood in the Catholic Church of my good friend John Hunwicke from the Ordinariate. The service was held at the Oxford Oratory and the ordination itself conducted by Bishop William Kenney, who referred in his homily to Fr Hunwicke's many years of priestly experience.

In the crowded sanctuary there were diocesan and Ordinariate clergy, the Provost of the Oxford Oratory, the Prior of Blackfriars and Fr Aidan Nicols from the Dominicans, Fr Tim Finigan and two Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer from the Orkneys.

The congregation included an Orthodox priest, family and friends from Oxford, including Fr Hunwicke's former churchwardens from St Thomas', now both in the Ordinariate, members of the Ordinariate and old friends from his days at Lancing - one former pupil, living on the south coast and unable to attend himself had summoned his parents from Birmingham to represent him.

Afterwards as I knelt to receive his First Blessing in the courtyard it was a great joy to be able to congratulate Fr Hunwicke and to say that he was now where he should be in the wider unity of the Catholic priesthood. I think there was widespread sense of gratitude that this long-delayed ordination had now occurred.

The reception afterwards was in the garden of St Benet's Hall, and an opportunity to catch up with old friends and reflect upon the number of us who, either individually or through the Ordinariate, have entered into full peace and communion in recent years.

There will, I am sure, be pictures available soon of the evening, and I will link to them once they are available.

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