Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pro-Life Witness, February 2009

We had the pro-life witness today as usual. Fr Saward unusually couldn't make it, but here we are:I was reminded of our witness when I saw protesters outside the Oxford laboratory where experiments are conducted on animals. The protesters appear every Thursday. They are videoed by the police, several of whom are present at all times. Animal rights protesters have made threats to University staff, and even blown up a University building (a sports pavilion, for some reason). They delayed the building of the laboratory by scaring off the contractors. When work resumed it took place behind enormous hoardings. I remember passing after some high winds had blown these down, and the builders were repairing them wearing masks.
Whatever sympathy I had with animal rights people evaporated long ago, in this context, and the same is true for people across the town and University.

The Pro-Life movement takes a very different approach, and we are frequently greeted in a friendly way by passers-by, though inevitably some are hostile. Abortion is naturally an emotive issue. What we are doing is not threatening or accusing, however, but simply witnessing to the tragedy of abortion, offering help to those who need it, and above all praying for its victims.

Please join us at the next witness:
3-4pm at St Anthony of Padua, Headley Way,
Saturday 28th March.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sung Mass in Milton Manor

On Saturday we had a splendid Sung Mass in Milton Manor, thanks to the kind hospitality of Mr & Mrs Mockler-Barrett, and the organisation of Miss Maureen Eyston and the local LMS representative, Dr David Joyce. The celebrant was Fr John Saward of SS Gregory & Augustine.

The chapel was consecrated by Bishop Challoner, and Fr Saward wore his vestments and used his altar cards and chalice: see the chalice in photograph below.

The Mass was accompanied by the Schola Abelis; they have more photographs and videos of some of the singing.
For more on the chapel see my post on historic Oxfordshire chapels on the New Liturgical Movement.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Faith and Fertility Conference, Oxford

From an email.

This is a quick reminder about the Fertility and Faith conference next Saturday at the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy (OX1 1RD). We hope you can make it. A distinctive view of fertility, sexuality and relationships set apart the very first Christian communities from pagan cultural norms, and continues to be one of the most discussed and controversial areas in Catholic ethics. This conference will explore some of the issues and provide ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Saturday 21st February

10am - 4pm

Speakers include Fr Tim Finigan, Anthony McCarthy and Ira Winter.

Stephen Barrie
Education Officer
The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics
38 Circus Road and 17 Beaumont Street
London NW8 9SE Oxford OX1 2NA

020 7266 7410 01865 610 212

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cardinal Pell: Vespers in Merton

From the Newman Society

On Thursday 5th March
His Eminence Cardinal George Pell
will celebrate Vespers in the Extraordinary Form
Merton College Chapel, 6pm.

Followed by a drinks reception to which all are invited.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chant Courses

I am involved in planning two important chant courses, which I can now announce.

Gregorian Chant is not easy--nothing worthwhile is easy. But it can be leant and here are some opportunities to learn it at a subsidised rate in an enjoyable setting.

First, a unique three-day course from St Catherine's Trust:


Friday 27th March (afternoon)
to Sunday 29th March (lunchtime),
at Ardingly College, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 6SQ.

It is open to men and boys over 16 with at least some experience of singing chant.

Prices: no extra fee for members of a family attending the Retreat.
For a single person: £50:
Special rates for groups from a particular schola.

Directed by Mr Nicholas Gale, Director of Music at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, and Head of Academic Music at the London Oratory School.

For more on Nick Gale see here; for more on the St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat see here (see here for a report on last year's). For an application form please email mailto://

Secondly, there will be a
Chant Training Day with
Phillip Duffy on
Saturday 23rd May
at SS Gregory & Augustine, Oxford

This will be his third visit, and it is not to be missed. Mr Duffy, long an associate of the late Dr Mary Berry, was Director of Music at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral for 30 years, but more importantly he understands chant inside out and is a really inspirational teacher. These training days are enormous fun and very helpful for people at a wide range of levels of experience. See the report of last year's event.

The day starts at 9.30 and ends with Mass; Mass starts at 3.30pm.

Last year we had special sessions for priests which were very much appreciated; assuming there is demand, we will do this again.

Fees: £20; HALF PRICE for students and FREE for clergy.

Email me to book a place: mailto://