Sunday 1 November 2009

Oxford & Beyond

A good and very varied weekend, with rather too much driving (almost like being a flying bishop once more). It began with a ninety mile sprint to Oxford. The extra ten miles were after being warned on the Traffic channel of a collision on the road north of Newbury.

The reason for the trip to Oxford was a very happy event; the celebration of the first 125 years of Pusey House.

Pusey Librarians have always been a convivial band here are two who happily live up to this reputation: left, Fr William Davage, Priest Librarian and Custodian of the Library, and right, Fr Barry Orford, Priest Librarian and Archivist.

On Friday evening there was a dinner for friends and supporters of Pusey House. The Principal himself, Fr Jonathan Baker, presided with customary wit and elegance throughout what must have been an exhausting weekend. Here he is seen just half-way through the celebrations, during the reception after the Festival Mass on Saturday, with High Mass for All Saints and a Solemn Requiem for All Souls still to come.
Present at the dinner and at the Festival Mass on Saturday were many old friends. There were trad bishops: +Keith Richborough (rt.) was on good form, as was his brother of Ebbsfleet , seen here (as the Tatler might have said) in animated conversation with the Preacher at the Anniversary Mass, Fr Robin Ward, Principal of St Stephen's House.

Other former Seminarians of St Stephen's House (besides, that is, Fr Davage, Fr Orford, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Preacher and the Principal of Pusey House himself) included (right) the Blogger Blogged, Fr Hunwicke who, warned of my approach, almost managed to hide his glass.

At the glorious Festival Mass, the preacher excelled himself. In the peroration of his sermon, Fr Robin Ward looked forward to a time when Pusey House might be operating in a rather wider field than the present narrow confines of the Church of England. We all left with a sense that the history of the Puseum had barely begun - there are great things still to come.

Jane came up on the train (delayed, of course) and after the Mass and more Pusey hospitality we took off for East Anglia.

There yet another SSH Alumnus, Fr Jeremy Dowding, Diane his wife and son Tom welcomed us to Thorpe-le-Soken.... about as far as you can get from Fr Jeremy's homeland of Wales without falling off the edge of the map. We concelebrated and I preached for All Saints, we enjoyed a great luncheon, and the faithful Barnesmobile brought us back to Lymington without incident, completing a four hundred mile round trip. Just one more weekend which I shall think about when people say "Don't you find retirement terribly boring?". Boring it is not. Tiring, maybe, but boring, never.

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