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 8 December 2012

Celebrating the Immaculate Conception at the Oxford Oratory

Our Lady conceived without sin is the patroness both of the Congregation of the Oratory and of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. It was therefore fitting and proper that the Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception was celebrated once again in style at the Oxford Oratory.

We prepared, as usual,  with a Novena and Benediction following the evening Mass at the Oratory from a week last Wednesday.

Last night on there was Solemn First Vespers sung by the Oratorians and the choir, followed once again by Benediction. This was the first occasion on which a very handsome Gothic style monstrance which is currently in the care of the Oxford Oratory was used on such an occasion here, and it was a fine addition to the ceremonial.


Image: Oxford Oratory

This morning there was a Solemn Mass at 10 which drew a good congregation. The celebrant and preacher was Bishop Paul Hendricks, an assisatnt in the Archdiocese of Southwark.
For the Mass Bishop Hendricks used the chalice presented to the parish by Blessed Pope Pius IX, who defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.

The following photographs from the Oratory website, show the Bishop entering the church in procession at the beginning of the Mass and at the reception afterwards. There is another reason for including them, and that is, well, I have to be honest, a type of vanity - by mischance I have got on to the right hand side of both photographs - but never mind that.


Image: Oxford Oratory


Image: Oxford Oratory

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