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.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Solemn EF Masses for Epiphany

Yesterday evening I attended the Solemn High Mass in the Extrordinary Form for the Epiphany at the Oxford Oratory.

There had been a Low Mass for the feast at 12.15, but the main celebration was at 6pm. This was very well attended - those who love the EF, regular 6pm attenders and those who wish to keep Epiphany on the proper day, not the nearest Sunday. On the basis of a well-filled church I am tempted, once again, to ask who it is that says Mass in the Extraordinary Form and the celebration of Epiphany on the day traditionally assigned to it are not wanted.

This was a particularly beautiful liturgy, and the calm professionalism with which it was executed brought to my mind the phrase 'noble simplicity' to describe it. This was liturgy that was both elegant and eloquent.

The Choir did a fine job of singing the Mass by Palestrina and the Propers

We had the proclamation of the moveable feasts of the coming year in Latin as well as a sermon from the Provost, Fr Daniel, which linked this celebration into the whole cycle of redemption, of giving thanks for the gifts of this life and the call to spread that news to a world that needs to know it.

Alas there appeared to be no photographs being taken which I could share with readers.

A couple of miles away to the north at SS Gregory and Augustine there was also a Solemn High Mass in the EF celbrated by Fr Saward. The friends with whom I had supper afterwards who had been there said that there were again good numbers ,and that everything was done very well. The commented in particular on the quality of  music - in this case William Byrd - and on the serving.

It is heartening to think that there were two such Masses offered yesterday, and that they were so well supported. Those of us who live in or near Oxford are very lucky, and very grateful, for such provision.

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