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, 7 January 2013

Showing US Seminarians round Newman's Oxford

Yesterday, for the third year running, I gave a tour of Newman's Oxford to seminarians from the St Paul's Seminary School of Divinity. The visit of twenty or so of them, led by their tutor, Fr Tom Margevicius, on a visit to London, Oxford and Birmingham to learn about Bl. John Henry and his thought has become an annual fixture, and is always a pleasant occasion at the beginning of a new year.
The tour is based around visiting Newman's two colleges,Trinity and Oriel, as well as his parish church of St Mary the Virgin. It is also an opportunity to saying something about Oxford life both in the early nineteenth century and today.

Despite the fading light of afternoon we managed to get round both colleges, their halls and chapels, including the Newman Oratory at Oriel. It also provides an opportunity to explain the thinking behind the Oxford Movement of 1833 and all it achieved.

After the tour we repaired to the Bear, which claims to date from 1242 as a hostelry, and boasts a unique collection of ties from institutions, clubs and societies for a pint and the opportunity to continue the discussion. I do not know if Newman frequented it at all - perhaps unlikely, but it is the Oriel pub.

The young men from St Paul are always good candidates for the priestly life and with a genuine willingness to learn about Newman and his life. I wish them and their colleagues well.

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