News Archive

Tuesday 9 July 2019

July Music

7 DOMINICA XIV PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00

Missa quarti toni Victoria
Cantate Domino Hassler
Da pacem Festa

14 DOMINICA XV PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00

Mass in four parts Byrd
Simile est regnum caelorum Guerrero
Tantum ergo (i) Victoria

21 DOMINICA XVI PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00

Missa brevis Palestrina
Cantate Domino Croce
Ego sum panis vivus Esquivel


Missa simile est regnum Victoria
Ave Maria Elgar
Diffusa est gratia Nanino

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Bl. John Henry Newman to be Canonised on 13 October


The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory are delighted to announce that Pope Francis will canonise Blessed John Henry Newman in St Peter’s Square on Sunday 13 October 2019 alongside 4 others. This will make Cardinal Newman the first English person who has lived since the 17th century officially recognised as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was ordained as a Church of England priest and soon became the leader of the Oxford Movement but converted to Catholicism in 1845. He founded the Oratory in England and was later made a cardinal. When he died at the age of 89, more than 15,000 people lined the streets of Birmingham for his funeral.

Cardinal Newman is widely considered to be one of the most significant figures of the 19th century.

The cause for his sainthood was opened in 1958 and he was declared Venerable by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1991 after his life of ‘heroic virtue’ was recognised. Pope Benedict XVI declared him Blessed in Cofton Park near Birmingham in September 2010, as part of his historic visit to Britain.

The canonisation was made possible by a second miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, consisting in the medically inexplicable healing of a pregnant woman with life-threatening complications due to her pregnancy. The cure took place in Chicago, USA, in May 2013. After an initial investigation carried out by the archdiocese of Chicago, it was submitted to the Holy See in 2018, and approved by Pope Francis on 13 February 2019.

During the ceremony for his beatification in 2010, Pope Benedict said that Newman “tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a ‘definite service’, committed uniquely to every single person.”

“The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called,” continued the Pope, “involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing ‘subjects of the day’. His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world.”

Fr Ignatius Harrison, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory which was founded by Newman in 1849, said that “Newman's lifelong success in bringing others to Christ shows us that the apostolate of Christian friendship achieves much more by attracting people to the Lord than by aggressive polemic. Newman's long and incremental spiritual pilgrimage shows us that God leads us to Himself step by step, in ways that He customises to our individual needs, and in His own good time.”

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said “This is a moment of great pride. On Friday it was the feast of the Sacred Heart and we held a mass for the priests of England and Wales. Foremost in our minds was the declaration of a saint who was a priest here. John Henry Newman is known for many great qualities, but we remember him particularly for the kindness and compassion of his ministry to the people of Birmingham. At his death they turned out in their thousands to salute a much loved priest on his funeral procession through the streets of Birmingham.”

The other blesseds to be canonised alongside Newman are Giuseppina Vannini, Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, Irmã Dulce Pontes and Marguerite Bays.

Information about Cardinal Newman including details of his life, of the miracle and the process of canonisation, links to his writings as well as photos and videos available to media, can be found at


Image © Mazur/

Saturday 1 June 2019

June Music

2 DOMINICA VII PASCHAE Solemn Mass 11:00

Mass X Plainsong
Perfice gressus meos Lassus
Tantum ergo Duruflé


Missa brevis in C (220) Mozart
Loquebantur variis linguis Palestrina
Factus est repente Festa


Missa octavi toni Lassus
Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas Palestrina
Ego sum panis vivus Palestrina

20 CORPUS CHRISTI Solemn Mass 18:00

Missa in simplicitate Langlais
Dulcis Christe Grancini
Pange lingua Charpentier

21 S ALOISII GONZAGA Solemn Mass 18:00

Missa O quam gloriosum Victoria
O quam gloriosum Victoria
Ave verum Guilmant

23 CORPUS CHRISTI Solemn Mass 18:00

Messa da cappella a qua?ttro voci (1641) Monteverdi
In te speravi Domine Lassus
O sacrum convivium Croce

28 SS CORDIS IESU Solemn Mass 18:00

Missa brevis in F (192) Mozart
Improperium expectavit Lassus
Gustate et videte Isaac

29 SS PETRI & PAULI Solemn Mass 11:00

Missa brevis Palestrina
Quem dicunt homines? Marenzio
Doctor egregie Palestrina

30 SS PETRI & PAULI Solemn Mass 11:00

Missa “Puisque j’ay perdu” Lassus
Illumina oculos meos Lassus
Ave verum Mozart

Saturday 1 June 2019

Bishop Michael Campbell's St Philip's Day Sermon

The Martyrology entry for the feast of St. Philip Neri reads as follows:

The Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest: devoting his care to rescuing young men from evil, he founded the Oratory at Rome, where they might perform spiritual reading, music, and works of charity; he shone with love for his neighbour with Gospel simplicity and a joyful spirit, with the utmost zeal, and with the burning fervour of his service to God.

Not a bad summary of one’s life!

The thought of St. Philip Neri always cheers me up, and inevitably brings a smile to my face. I think the reason for this is the realisation that is how we ought to be, and perhaps often aren’t — joyful in the Lord, in the awareness that he is near, so there is no need to be unduly worried or preoccupied, despite what is happening in the world around us, or for that matter the Church.

The feast of St. Philip Neri underscores in a powerful way how almighty God can take a human being with all that person’s quirks and foibles, strengths and weaknesses and, as in St. Philip’s case, make him a real and lasting instrument of his grace. It also reassures us of God’s great love for us, notwithstanding our weaknesses and shortcomings. In the words of the Lord to Saint Paul: “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Cor 12:9) Echoing the first letter of Saint John, St. Augustine says that we can only love because we have been first loved. Our capacity to love God and others is a gift of God, an act of pure grace.

The familiar symbol of the vine and the branches, and the necessary fruitfulness which comes from unity with Christ, is the gospel chosen for today’s feast, with its clear application to the life and ministry of Philip Neri. Philip bore much fruit in his day with those he gathered around him, and through his inspiration the family of the Oratory which he founded continues to bear that fruit of which Christ speaks. Like every saint, Philip Neri was of his time and place, but with God’s grace he made the most of the opportunities which came his way.

Here lies a lesson for us who are the Church of today: let’s be joyful and accepting of the times, the moment of history, in which God has placed us. I am reminded of a sentence from St. Paul in this regard: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2Cor. 10:5). The wonderful tradition of the Oratory, going back directly to St. Philip himself, of excellence in music and great reverence for the sacred liturgy, embodies that Spirit of wisdom prayed for in our first reading. We take what is finest and best in human culture and higher aspiration and offer them to God in Christ. What the philosophers named the transcendentals, “the good, the true and the beautiful” become part of our liturgical worship to the supreme, triune God.

Congratulations to the Oratorian family on their patronal feast. May the charism of St. Philip continue to flourish among them, especially in that simplicity of life, joyfulness of spirit, and love of God and neighbour, so precious to St. Philip Neri. Amen!

Friday 10 May 2019

Holy Week Photos




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Photography by Hannah Chegwyn