Saturday, 9 October 2010
Just slightly surprised . . .
Today is Blessed John Henry Newman’s day – for the very first time – and of course at the Oratories it is kept as a Feast : my understanding being that in the general English Kalendar it is only a Memorial (and apparently only an Optional one at that).
I heard two Masses at the Oratory – the Extraordinary Form at 08:00 and a private Ordinary Form at 09:15; and was present during, although not attending, the 10:00 Ordinary Form, all at the Newman Altar : and in each case the number of worshippers appeared to be noticeably up on an ordinary Saturday. (Incidentally, there was also, of course, Veneration of a Relic of the Beatus at the end of Mass; a delightful addition to the liturgy.)
Wasn’t I surprised, then, when at the Cathedral – I was book-shopping next door, not visiting the Cathedral – I witnessed a vast hoard (including many priests) pouring out; and I was told by friends amongst the throng that the place had been packed . . . for the Archbishop’s Mass for Blessed John Henry Newman.
Given that Newman was an Oratorian – indeed, it was entirely due to him that the Oratory arrived in England in the first place – I have to say I found it odd that there was such a popular preference for Mass at the Cathedral, rather than at the Oratory . . . or am I just being silly, or naïve, or something ?
(Sorry about the quality of the photo; I had only my phone with me, and the light was not wonderful, hence the slightly blurred quality : but I think it is clear that the Feast at the Oratory was as splendid as things there always are.)