Oratory School Requiem

Two requiem Masses in the diary today. This morning, at Erith, we celebrated our annual Requiem Mass for the deceased clergy of Bexley Deanery. This year we were at Our Lady of the Angels, Erith, a parish run by the Capuchin Franciscans. Following Mass was a meeting and lunch for the clergy in the newly built and most impressive parish Hall.

This evening, I was at the London Oratory for the annual Requiem Mass for the Oratory school in Reading, founded nearly 150 years ago by John Henry Newman. The school Chaplain, Mgr Anthony Conlon invited me to preach. One would normally be expected to concelebrate on such occasions but mercifully, Mgr Conlon is a traditionalist priest and the expectation was that I would assist in choir.

The Mass was in the Little Oratory which is a beautiful chapel. The school Choir sang the introit from Mozart's Requiem, and the plainchant Mass setting. After Mass, Newman's "Praise to the Holiest" was sung with great passion by everyone.

It was an opportunity to catch up with Dora Nash, who is the Head of RE at the school. Judging by the faith and devotion of the boys, she and the chaplain are doing a remarkable job with the active encouragement of the Headmaster. There is a good attendance at daily Mass and I spoke to at least four boys who were actively considering a vocation to the priesthood, and several recent "old boys" who are keeping their faith strong at university. The strong Catholic ethos at the school has contributed to the decision of several students and staff in recent years to seek reception into full communion with the Church. I was very pleased to be able to join Dora and Mgr Conlon with a minibus load of sixth-formers for a jovial meal afterwards.

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