The Provost of the Oratory, Fr Robert Byrne, Cong. Orat., carried the Blessed Sacrament down St Giles', and he was assisted by a deacon, Br David Rocks OP, and an acolyte in a tunicle, Br Robert Gay OP. As the procession entered the Dominican priory church, a Schola (including yours truly) sang the beautiful Sequence hymn written by St Thomas Aquinas OP, the 'Lauda Sion'. Fr Richard Ounsworth OP then preached a 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 represents, and said we should consider ourselves blessed, if, when we processed with the Lord through the unbelieving crowds of the city, we might be mocked and so share in Christ's sufferings.
The Blessed Sacrament was then carried by Fr Benjamin Earl OP to the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy building. This year, the Procession traversed the busiest streets of Oxford, going past the famed Ashmolean Museum, and down Cornmarket, which is Oxford's main shopping thoroughfare. As the Procession walked this route it prayed the Rosary, the Litany of Loreto, and sang hymns accompanied by a brass band. In the Chaplaincy, Fr Benjamin gave us the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which ended what remains a highlight in Oxford's liturgical year.
This must be one of the finest Eucharistic Processions in England, and it bears witness to the vitality of the Church in Oxford.
Below are photos from this year's procession:
An Oratorian father talking to the Dominican friars and a Dominican sister in the Oratory church. NLM readers may recognise Fr Vincenzo Nuara OP, who came to Oxford especially for the procession. Fr Vincenzo is founder of Giovani e Tradizione (Youth and Tradition) and the Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum (Priestly Friends of Summorum Pontificum).
The Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the Altar of St Aloysius' church.
Fr Richard Ounsworth OP preaches to a packed Blackfriars church in Oxford.
The Blessed Sacrament is enthroned on the High Altar in the Dominican priory church of the Holy Spirit.
The Sanctissimum is honoured with incense.
The canopy is held by Oxford students in sub-fusc, which is the academic wear of students of Oxford University.
The Blessed Sacrament Procession passed in front of the Taylorian Institute and the Randolph Hotel in Oxford.
The Lord is carried down Cornmarket, past two of the oldest buildings in Oxford - the Saxon tower of St Michael's, and the timber-framed New Inn building.
A pause on the way to the Oxford University Chaplaincy.
Fr Benjamin Earl OP, assisted by his Dominican brothers, incenses the Blessed Sacrament at its final Altar in the Chaplaincy.
Fr Benjamin blesses the faithful with the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Procession ends in the Chaplaincy building with the singing of the 'Salve Regina'.
Over the next few days, more photos of the Procession will be added to my photo set on Flickr.