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.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Serving Mass at Carshalton

Yesterday afternoon I travelled with my friend David Forster up to Carshalton to serve a Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the church of Holy Cross. We did a similar trip in November, and, as I posted recently, a monthly Mass in this Form has now been arranged at the church.

The attendance was larger than last time, and the congregation had in some cases travelled a fair distance to get there. The celebrant was Canon Peter Newby, of St Mary Moorfields in London, and formerly Catholic Chaplain to Oxford University.

David and I, together with a parishioner from Holy Cross, made up the serving team, with me doing my fairly usual performance as thurifer. We hope to hold a servers training session before the Mass on February 10th as there are men interested in assisting. 

Matthew Schellhorn, the local LMS representitive, brought his schola, Cantus Magnus, who provided an excellent polyphonic setting for the Mass by Orlando Lassus - the acoustic worked very well in the church. 

Afterwards there was an opportunity to meet up with friends and acquaintances and make plans for the future. Over tea and biscuits the intriguing idea was expressed that for many seminarians of the early 1980s the television production of Brideshead Revisited in 1981-82 was important in giving them a vision of Catholicism before the liturgical and presentational changes occurred, and making them more aware of traditional thought and practice . Given the generational shift and the advent of Pope John Paul II in 1978 I can see there may be something in the argument. If such is the case then I am sure Evelyn Waugh would be pleased.

After that we had time for a visit to a nearby pub with a friend before driving back for supper in Oxford. Quite a long session, especially for David with the driving, but well worthwhile.


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