Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Doing something positive
Quite a lot of the time I am able to devote to things connected with the Latin Mass Society is spent engaging with various kinds of debates - the Tablet letters page, blogging, Twitter, this year on the Position Papers. But most isn't. Most of it is spent arranging, promoting, and assisting at devotional events. Because that is the core business of the LMS.
On Saturday we had a small local pilgrimage to Littlemore. Oxford presents a host of devotional possibilities: the martyrs, the historic Catholic houses nearby, Newman. Bl Agnellus of Pisa is buried (so they say) under a shopping centre; nearly every ancient college has its saints and marytrs, and there are numerous sites of interest, such as the cellar of the Mitre pub where Mass was said in penal times. With Newman's beatification I felt that it was imperative to have an annual event in his honour, so last year, for the first time, and again last Saturday we had a Sung Mass in Greyfriars, in East Oxford (top), which is near, and replaced, the Catholic church which existed in Newman's day, and where he attended his first public Masses as a Catholic. This was St Ignatius', still standing, above, in St Clement's. (The Anglican church of St Clement, which gives its name to the area, and where Newman had been a curate, no longer exists.)
So from Greyfriars a dozen of us walked to St Ignatius', and from there retraced Newman's route (or something like it) from there up to the College, Littlemore, where Newman was received into the Church by Bl Dominic Barberi. On the way we passed St Stephen's House, the high Anglican seminary; we sang 'Faith of Our Fathers' as we passed...
We were led by Fr Simon Leworthy, who gave us the blessing at the end of the procession in the College garden, and officiated at Vespers.
It was great fun. We sang the Te Deum and the Litany of Loreto to the bemused citizens of East Oxford, and said the Rosary as we went up Rose Hill; we sang some Newman hymns, of course, as we approaced the College. There is no telling what, if any, effect this kind of thing has on others, as a witness to the Faith, but Bl. John Henry Newman certainly deserves to be honoured in this way, so we have done something positive, practical, and concrete for the Glory of God. It is good to get off Twitter for a bit and remember that there are ways to serve God which don't involve staring at a small screen, even if it makes sense to blog about them afterwards!