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, 10 November 2014

Remembrance Day at the Oxford Oratory

After attending the Act of Remembrance and the Two Minutes Silence at the War Memorial on St Giles in Oxford I went on to attend the Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass for the souls of those who have fallen in war. celebrated at the Oxford Oratory at 11.15 by the Right Rev. Bishop Robert Byrne, the former Provost, and now Bishop of Cunacestre.

The Oratory website has a fine selection of photographs, interspersed with the verses of the reccessional hymn, "O Valiant Hearts", which I have copied and added a few extra notes:

"O valiant hearts who to your glory came
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved."

The procession emerges from the sacristy:

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"Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war
As who had heard God’s message from afar;
All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave,
To save mankind—yourselves you scorned to save."

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Splendid you passed, the great surrender made;
Into the light that nevermore shall fade;
Deep your contentment in that blest abode,
Who wait the last clear trumpet call of God.

Arriving at the altar:

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"Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,
Rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill,
While in the frailty of our human clay,
Christ, our Redeemer, passed the self same way."

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"Still stands His Cross from that dread hour to this,
Like some bright star above the dark abyss;
Still, through the veil, the Victor’s pitying eyes
Look down to bless our lesser Calvaries."

Bishop Robert preacheson the importance of remembrance to individuals and families as well as to wider communities and to nations, and emphasised that thee Requiem placed all this in the context of the greatest act of Remembrance, the Mass.

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Bishop Robert flanked by the Deacon, Fr Nicholas Edmonds-Smith C.O. and Br Gregory Davies O.Praem. Fr Dominic Jacob was the Assistant.

The Offertory:

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The Incensation of the oblations:
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"These were His servants, in His steps they trod,
Following through death the martyred Son of God:
Victor, He rose; victorious too shall rise
They who have drunk His cup of sacrifice."

The elevation of the chalice:

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"O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead,
Whose cross has bought them and Whose staff has led,
In glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land
Commits her children to Thy gracious hand."

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The final blessing, before the National Anthem was sung:

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The Bishop returns to the sacristy:

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After Mass, Bishop Robert meets parishioners and old friends:

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Images:Hannah Chegwyn/Oxford Oratory website

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