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, 1 December 2014

Requiem at St Benet's Hall

Last Saturday morning I attended the High Mass of Requiem for deceased members of St Benet's Hall here in Oxford and at which Fr Edward Vandenbergh from the London Oratory was the celebrant.

Dr Joe Shaw, a former student at the Hall and a tutor there, has some good photographs and a report on his LMS Chairman blog, and which I have quoted and adapted, with a few additions of my own, as follows:


Dr Shaw says "Every Catholic institution should pray for those who once collaborated in its work and have go to their rewards. The Requiem Mass of the Extraordinary Form is a particularly beautiful and theologically rich expression of the Church's concern for the dead. This is the third annual Requiem I have organised there."


"St Benet's chapel is small; with just over 30 people present, it felt pretty crowded. We managed, all the same, to have a High Mass of Requiem there; one of the student monks studying at the Hall (which is the Benedictine house of studies in Oxford) was deacon."


"We can be confident that this is the first High Mass in the chapel since 1970. I wonder if they had High Mass there often in the old days; it would at least have been easier, with the Altar in the apse, and not sticking out into the nave, where the footpace (a temporary one brought in for the purpose) is in danger of impeding the passageway to the sacristy."


"Another first for this Mass in St Benet's was that the fire alarm did not go off. The precautions we took - turning off selected smoke detectors, keeping the sacristy door into the garden open, etc. - paid off."
This problem I recall from two years ago when I was serving as the thurifer - indeed it is painfully etched on my memory!


The Absolutions at the cataphalque. A smaller, symbolic, catafalque was used this year so as to leave more space for the Sacred Ministers. 
So, as Dr Shaw says, bells and smells, but, happily, not fire bells.

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