Having served at SS Gregory & Augustine in north Oxford, and also sung there, both in the extraordinary form and the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, I am sorry that I missed last Sunday’s Mass as served by a friend. The priest in charge, Fr John Saward, has been instrumental in the restoration of his church, particularly by the installation of new paintings by James Gillick. Fr Saward has been one of the many priests in the Oxford area who are happy to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass using the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
It is clear from the Catholic Herald that Fr John Saward’s restoration of the church is being well noticed.
It is interesting to note, and it is surely no coincidence, that the three parishes in the Oxford area engaged in the beautification of their churches are all committed to the Benedictine mission of liturgical restoration and have weekly celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass. What a wonderful sign of the vitality of Catholic life in our diocese and deaneries that, instead of dismantling sacred beauty and closing down churches, we are enriching and restoring them! The long weary years of Iconoclasm in the Byzantine Church in the eighth and ninth centuries were followed by what the liturgy of that Church calls the “Triumph of Orthodoxy”. Please God, that is what we are witnessing in a small way in these three parishes. In the words of St Edmund Campion’s “Brag”: “The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.” – Fr John Saward, interview, NLM.
I hope and pray that the Irish Church will follow.