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, 2 February 2015

Candlemas at the Oxford Oratory

I was helping as a porter at the Oratory this lunchtime and so unable to attend the EF Low Mass at lunchtime, but earlier this evening did attend the main celebration of Candlemas, a Solemn Mass at 6 pm.

This was a splendid and beautiful conclusion to the Christmas season as well as a celebration of the specific themes of the day.

There was a sizeable congregation of all ages who processed around the church bearing our candles to Ellerton's "Hail to the Lord who to his Temple comes ", Newman's " The Angel lights of Christmas morn " and Prudentius' " Of the Father's love begotten" before the main liturgy.

The homily from Fr Jerome explored the meaning of Our Lady's Purification, drawing out the concept of returning the holy to the normal world, as in the purification of the chalice after Mass.

A lovely end to the extended period of Christmastide and, being now in the 'gesimas, Bl John Henry's hymn was, as ever, an apt reminder not only of the calendric proximity of Lent and Easter but also of the purpose and object of Our Lord's Incarnation.

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