Sunday, October 25, 2009
Oxford Pilgrimage 2009
For the fifth year, the LMS Oxford Pilgrimage in honour of the Catholic martyrs of Oxford took place. For the first time the celebrant was a Dominican, Fr Simon Gaine, the Prior of Blackfriars, where the Mass took place. The deacon and subdeacon, Fr Richard Conrad and Br Lawrence Lew, and the servers, were all also Dominicans, which is very pleasing. The ceremonies were performed extremely well, in what is a superb sanctuary for Solemn Mass.
The Mass was accompanied by the Schola Abelis, which included me. In another first, some of our members sang a polyphonic Ordinary. In recognition of the nature of the celebration, we thought William Byrd would be appropriate. There will soon be videos of the Mass, including the singing, on the Schola's blog.
The procession to the site of the martydoms of 1589, which is now marked by a plaque (blessed on the same occasion last year by an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese, William Kenny), was led by Fr Simon Leworthy FSSP, who also led Benediction after that.
Despite heavy rain in the morning and during lunch, Mass was attended by more than 60 people and the procession by more than 40. It did not, in fact, rain on the procession, a fact I attribute to a very kind Providence!
It was a busy day in Oxford. In the above picture we are passing a thinly attended anti-vivisection demonstration; matriculation ceremonies were also taking place, and we passed crowds of students wearing academic dress. In Broad Street we also passed a bizarre figure made of wood and straw (below, on the left); I imagine it is supposed either to represent Guy Fawkes or something to do with Halloween - it is hard to know which.
Into this maelstrom of different activities we gave an impressive witness to the Faith, singing the Great Litany, the Te Deum, and Faith of Our Fathers, among other things, and praying the Rosary, as we passed down the route followed by the martyrs, where our gallows was positioned, and then returned to Blackfriars.
More photos here.