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, 14 December 2013

Fr Saward's Tenth Anniversary

Yesterday evening I was at SS Gregory and Augustine here in Oxford to act as thurifer at the Extraordinary Form Solemn High Mass celebrated for St Lucy's Day by Fr John Saward to mark the tenth anniversary of his Ordination as a Catholic priest. Although I am sure he would disclaim such publicity there is an online account of his academic career here.
Ready in the Sacristy was the best red set of vestments from Blackfriars - a splendid set heavily embroidered in gold, together with apparelled amices lent for the occasion. Fr Saward was assisted by a Deacon fom the Ordinariate and a Dominican Sub-Deacon, reflecting his teaching role at Blackfriars. This aspect was one that was highlighted by Fr Lawrence Lew O.P. in his homily, in which he paid tribute to Fr Saward's career as theologian, tutor and lecturer as well as parish priest and husband and father.

The Mass was well attended by parishioners and friends, and we heard of others who were unavoidably unable to be present. Afterwards in the Parish Hall there was mulled wine and wince pies and an opportunity to drink Fr John's health when a presentation was made to him in behalf of the parish by Mgr Vaughan Morgan, who assists in the celebrations of Mass at SS Gregory and Augustine.

Fr Saward has done a great deal to enhance the church through redecoration and improvements, and has been a leading local exponent of the use of the Extraordinary Form alongside the Novus Ordo, and this has all been combined with both his continuing academic work and also being a faithful parish priest.

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