It was a great joy to welcome the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham to celebrate and preach at the Pontifical Solemn Mass for the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. His Grace was able to greet many parishioners after Mass. Here are some photographs of the ceremonies:
The Archbishop is received at the back of church with a crucifix and holy water:
At the archiepiscopal throne:
Putting on incense before the Gospel:
The singing of the Gospel:
The Archbishop preaches:
Our Lady conceived without sin is the Patroness of the Congregation of the Oratory and of the Archdiocese of Birmingham:
It was on 8th December 2009 that Archbishop Bernard was enthroned as Archbishop of Birmingham. We wish him "ad multos annos"!
Incense is put on at the Offertory:
The gifts are incensed:
The Archbishop is incensed:
The elevation of the Host:
The Our Father:
The "Ecce Agnus Dei":
His Grace gives his blessing:
The Procession at the end of Mass:
On Saturday and Sunday Bishop William Kenney came to make the canonical visitation of our parish. This happens every six years or so, and last time Bishop Kenney performed the visitation here the weather then was ice and snow that blocked the roads and stopped people coming to Mass. History repeated itself, and we woke on Sunday morning to see Oxford shrouded in white.
The Bishop was still able to visit the sick, our scouts, a first Holy Communion class, a Saturday morning talk, and the Companions of the Order of Malta Shower Project, as well as to preach at all Masses.
The Oratorian habit makes an excellent target against the snow:
Nevertheless, the Fathers and Brothers can be adept at throwing snowballs:
They can also make igloos:
Our prayerful congratulations go to Fr Mario Aviles, Procurator General of the Oratorian Confederation, whom the Holy Father has appointed to be the auxiliary Bishop of Brownsville, Texas.
Father Aviles was born in Mexico on 16th September 1969. He joined the Congregation of the Oratory in Mexico City in 1986 and in 1988 he moved to the Pharr Oratory in Texas. He was ordained a priest on 21st July 1998.
Since 2000, Fr Mario has been a member of the Permanent Deputation of the Oratorian Confederation. He was elected Procurator at the 2012 Congresso.
The Diocese of Brownsville comprises 4, 296 square miles. It has a total population of 1,350,158 people of which 1,147,634 or 85 percent, are Catholic. The current bishop of Brownsville is Bishop Daniel E. Flores.
Here is Fr Mario together with Fr Visitor and the Permanent Deputation at the 2012 Congresso in Rome:
Bishop Robert Byrne, Cong. Orat. came yesterday to confirm in the Extraordinary Form. Another ten candidates received the sacrament: eight children and two adults.