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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Round the Oratory Church

Between my own Mass and the High Mass, I had some time to go around the Church and take some photographs. Here is the beautiful Lady Altar:

At the eastern end of the north aisle is a small chapel dedicated to St Philip Neri which recalls the chapel in the Chiesa Nuova in Rome where the Father's body is enshrined:

Last night and today the relics of St Philip were solemnly honoured:

Around the Church are a number of painted canvas hangings with scenes from the life of St Philip. They are now quite faded but the lighting in the Church has been arranged so that they can still be seen. One favourite for any alumnus of the English College in Rome is the scene of St Philip meeting the students. He used to say to them Salvete flores martyrum! ("Hail, flowers of the martyrs!")

The students would go to see St Philip to obtain his blessing before their return to England and, for many of them, death for the faith.

My visit to Birmingham was at the request of the Fathers who had kindly invited me to preach for the feast day. Here is the rather terrifying pulpit from which I spoke:

A couple of views from the sacristy; first the press where vestments were laid out for the priests who came to concelebrate:


And here is the press with the vestments laid out for the Celebrant, Deacon and Subdeacon.
Mass was celebrated according to the Novus Ordo. It represented a real example of the "hermeneutic of continuity" whereby the celebration of Mass with the scripture readings in the vernacular was visibly in continuity with the ancient Roman Rite. The music was absolutely glorious and at the end of Mass, a popular hymn to St Philip was sung with gusto.
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