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.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

The Easter Vigil

Not having obtained a ticket for the Easter Vigil at the Oxford Oratory I decided instead to participate in the livestream celebration from the FSSP Basilica of Notre-Dame at Fribourg in Switzerland. This was according to the pre-1955 norms, and came replete with the triple reed, folded chasubles, all the traditional prophetic readings and the re-vesture of the altar and clergy between the Vigil and the Mass.

This was the first time I have been able to follow fully this form of the liturgy, and it was a beautiful and striking occasion, providing much for spiritual reflection. It was celebrated with the quiet dignity and steady purpose that FSSP, like other traditionally minded communities, bring to public liturgy.

The one disappointment was, of course, not being actually present in that, or another, church. We have, most of us, accommodated to that for much of this past year, but only ultimately being able to participate by watching live, whilst valid, seems particularly frustrating at Easter. Let us hope and pray that next year we can indeed engage directly with the mysteries of the Triduum and Easter.

In the meantime this seems an appropriate point in the ecclesiastical year to express my gratitude to the Oratories in his country, to FSSP, to ICKSP and to the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem for their live-streaming over the past twelve months. It has been a great source of support and spiritual strength. A joyful Easter to them all.

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