TUESDAY DECEMBER 1 is the Commemoration of the Martyrs of Oxford University; hundreds of scholars and students of this University were killed under the Tudors for keeping alive the thousand-year-old Faith and worship of the Church of England. Many of them had had to flee to colleges abroad where they completed their training for the priesthood before returning to their native land ... and to martyrdom.
MASS AT S THOMAS'S 7.45 a.m. (LATIN)
SATURDAY DECEMBER 5 is the traditional date for S Birinus of Dorchester. He came from Rome around 635; converted and baptised the King of Wessex and set up his bishopric in Dorchester at a time when there were no bishops either in Winchester or Lincoln. In more recent days, when the Diocese of Oxford was in Catholic hands, and the see of Dorchester had been revived as merely a suffragan see of Oxford, the Bishop of Dorchester was allowed, just on S Birinus' day, to sing Pontifical High Mass in Dorchester Abbey with the full ceremonial of a diocesan bishop. On one memorable occasion in the 1940s the Pontiff gave his blessing at the end of Mass with such enthusiasm that his ring flew off his gloved hand and could only with difficulty be recovered from behind a radiator! Nowadays there is that sweet little RC church by the bridge with Fr John Osman (who took his own bit of the Patrimony with him across the Tiber some years ago) restoring both the fabric and the Old Mass, while the old Abbey is in the hands of a priestess.
IN S THOMAS'S THERE WILL BE MASS OF S BIRINUS, 7.45 a.m. (LATIN) and
VESPERS OF OUR LADY AND BENEDICTION AT 6.00.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 8, the Immaculate Conception of our Lady, was one of the Church of England's gifts to the rest of the Western Church. We borrowed it from the East in Saxon days; Norman bishops tried to ban it on the grounds that it wasn't observed in Rome; but we hung on to it and eventually Rome came round to our way of thinking. An early contribution of the Anglican Patrimony!
AT S THOMAS'S, MASS 7.45 a.m. - new Rite; 11.30 LATIN (the old Salve Sancta Parens Mass). Both Masses said.
(Solemn Mass at Pusey at 6.00 p.m..)
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 9 is the day of S John Diego Cuahtlatoatzin, whose name betrays his Aztec origins, and who had a most beautiful vision of our Lady. And so on the following SATURDAY we observe our Lady of Guadaloup, Patron of America.
MASS AT S THOMAS'S 12.30 (English)
THURSDAY DECEMBER 10, meanwhile, is the memorial of the Holy House. Mary's home at Nazareth is a symbol both of Incarnation and of the sanctity of simple family life. There is a shrine of the Holy House at Loretto in Italy, where the House is encased in baroque finery; there is our restored Anglican Holy House at Walsingham, where the architecture speaks of the joyfully optimistic Anglo-Catholicism of the 1930s; and there was a lost Holy House at Glastonbury, where the void reminds one of the void that lies at the heart of Protestantism, Liberalism, and Iconoclasm.
S THOMAS'S WEEKDAY MASSES ARE USUALLY
WED: FRI: 12.30
MON: TUES: THUR: SAT: 7.45 a.m.