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Corpus Christi Procession in Oxford

Friday, June 19, 2009
At the centre of the priest's life is the celebration of the Eucharist. It is fitting then that Godzdogz begins its observance of the Year of the Priest with this account of Oxford's annual Corpus Christi procession.

The Sanctissimum enthroned in Blackfriars

For the last ten years, the north Oxford deanery has held a Corpus Christi Procession that begins in the Oxford Oratory (St Aloysius) and makes its way through the centre of Oxford to the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy. En route, the procession stops in Blackfriars priory church, where the friars greet the Blessed Sacrament by singing the sequence 'Lauda Sion', written by St Thomas Aquinas. A sermon is then preached before the procession continues on its way.

This year's procession had a significant Dominican involvement. fr Richard Ounsworth OP preached the sermon, in which he likened the Eucharist to a mother breast-feeding, and thus giving her very life to her child. So it is when Mother Church gives us the Bread of Life. He also recalled Christ's Passion, which the Mass recalls, and said we should consider ourselves blessed, if, when we processed with the Lord through the city, we might even be mocked and so share in Christ's sufferings.

The procession walked past the Ashmolean Museum and down Cornmarket, one of Oxford's busiest shopping thoroughfares. On either side of the Blessed Sacrament were the deacon, fr David Rocks OP, and the acolyte, fr Robert Gay OP. The Blessed Sacrament was carried from the Oratory to Blackfriars by Fr Robert Byrne, Cong. Orat., Provost of the Oratory, and then from Blackfriars to the Chaplaincy by fr Benjamin Earl OP. fr Benjamin also gave Benediction at the close of the Procession which took place in the Chaplaincy's main hall.

Below are photos from the procession:

An Oratorian and Dominicans

Fr Dominic Jacob, Cong. Orat., with some Dominicans who had gathered in the Oratory church for the start of the procession. Behind the friars is Sr Louise OP who made her final profession in March and who has recently joined the sisters' community in Oxford.

Blessed Sacrament in the Oratory

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar of St Aloysius' church

Listening to the Sermon in Blackfriars

The priory church is packed for the Corpus Christi sermon

A sermon in Blackfriars

fr Richard Ounsworth OP preaching the sermon

Incensing the Blessed Sacrament in Blackfriars

fr Benjamin Earl OP incenses the Blessed Sacrament in Blackfriars priory church

Procession from Blackfriars church

The procession leaves the choir

Procession on St John's Street

The Procession goes past the Sackler Library on St John's Street

Oxford Corpus Christi Procession 2009

The canopy over the Blessed Sacrament is carried by four students of the University

Corpus Christi Procession on Cornmarket

The procession in Cornmarket, passing some of Oxford's oldest landmarks

The Blessed Sacrament in the Chaplaincy

fr Benjamin Earl OP, assisted by his Dominican brothers, incenses the Blessed Sacrament at its final station in the Chaplaincy

Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Fr Benjamin blesses the people with the Most Holy Eucharist

Salve in the Chaplaincy

The procession ends in the Chaplaincy building with the singing of the 'Salve Regina'

Lawrence Lew OP


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