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.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

May Procession at SS Gregory and Augustine

This afternoon, after the presentation at the Oratory to Fr Robert, I went up to north Oxford to the May Procession and Marian devotions at SS Gregory and Augustine. It is a couple of years at least since I managed to get to this event.

There was a good turn out of parishioners plus some occasional visitors such as myself, and, having raided the secondhand bookstall (which had some good bargains) and was there to raise funds for a new Marian frontal for the church, I went inside to await the beginning of the afternoon's events. 

The weather proved benign as we assembled for the procession from the church lawn. After a reading from Bl. John Nenry Newman on the significance of the May Devotion to Mary - the month of promise, of spring moving assuredly into summer, so too Our Lady is the sign of hope for mankind - we processed behind a statue of the Virgin out on to the pavement, along the Woodstock Road for several yards and up the steps into church. We then had prayers, the crowning of the image of Our Lady of Fatima, the recitation of the Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, and an act of consecration, plus most of the congregation going up to offer flowers to Our Lady at her altar. After that we had Benediction and the singing of the Regina Coeli. A considerable number of pious images were blessed for members of the congregation as well.

SG Gregory and Augustine is not a large church, so moving numbers of people in it in procession can be a bit awkward, but the rather pretty country style of the church, with plenty of delicate flowers in our bunches to offer to the true Queen of the May, and the innocent charm of this traditional devotion made this a very enjoyable as well as being a devout occasion.

Afterwards there was tea and plenty of home made cakes to consume, rounding off an enjoyable, and very English Catholic afternoon. Then off back to the Oratory to Vespers...

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