Friday, 27 May 2011

Vulneratus caritatis sum ego

Yesterday, Saint Philip's Day, the whole seminary travelled down to the Oratory in Birmingham to assist at High Mass to commemorate their holy Father, St Philip Neri.

Birmingham Oratory, decorated for St Philip's day, 2011

Father Rector preached on St Philip, particularly, how he can be used as a model for evangelisation today. He also highlighted the significance and importance of the Bishops' recent decision to restore the compulsory Friday penance of abstention from meat.

The Vision of St Philip, by Reni
There were many holy people around in the Church during the sixteenth century, and St Philip was perhaps as popular then as he is now. The 'Apostle of Rome' was a key figure in missionary activity to the 'down and outs' of Rome, as well as inspiring many in the work of the re-evanglisation of Europe after the Reformation. He was a man of extraordinary spirituality and love of God, which poured out through his personality; he is well-known for his jollity and vivacity! In fact, Father Mark mentioned the importance of this aspect of a priest's life, and, indeed, the life of all Christians, in spreading the Good News.

Back to yesterday. It was the first time in anybody's memory, that Oscotians had joined the Oratorians en masse. The Fathers had previously joined us for lunch at the seminary after the Papal visit, but it was a joy to celebrate the feast of their founder with them, in their beautiful church in Edgbaston. There have been many personal links between the two houses, and it was great to see our long relationship solemnised in this way.

Father Provost, Richard Duffield, gave us a brief tour, and showed us some of Blessed John Henry's items, including his writing desk, violin and original letters (as well as an original facsimile of Elgar's setting of his poem, The Dream of Gerontius), and we said prayers before his shrine. After Mass, which was accompanied by the music of Father Tomas Luis de Victoria, one of my favourites, whose quadricentenntial anniversary falls this year, we were treated with champagne and chocolates with the community in the Newman exhibition. It was great to see champagne corks being fired across a room filled with important artifacts and glass cabinets!

Even Pushkin, the Oratory cat, joined us.

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