Sunday, July 09, 2006

Why go all the way to Oxford? The CIEL Conference

For those entertaining the idea of coming to the upcoming CIEL conference in Oxford, I'd like to give you a bit more about the conference and why you should go. After all, out of all the liturgical conferences you could go to, and a few in the USA no less, why go all the way to England?

First off, there is something to be said for going to a conference in a storied location like Oxford University, what-with its history and its architecture. Moreover, in Oxford you also find great Catholic venues like the Oxford Oratory, Stratford Caldecott's G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture, and shall we forget the wonderful Catholic new and used book shops, like St. Philip's Books, that you might find the time to browse if you are so inclined?

Further, associated with the ethos and history of Oxford is Newman's former Anglican parish of St. Mary the Virgin -- of his Tractarian, Oxford Movement Days. Tolkien fans could explore this connection -- he taught at Oxford after all -- not to mention fans of "mere Christian", C.S. Lewis.

That's quite a lot of Catholic and historical interest without having even gotten to the CIEL Conference itself! And of course, that is the primary thing. Besides being the first major CIEL colloquium in English, you will get to hear powerful young speakers like Alcuin Reid, Fr. Uwe-Michael Lang, not to mention Eamon Duffy, Abbe Claude Barthe and others whose work have been so important for both the reform of the reform and the classical liturgical movement. Moreover, you will get to worship in the beauty of holiness in both the Holy Mass as well as Lauds and Vespers throughout the four days.

Further, there is the fact of our Holy Father's support for the work of CIEL and the understanding of its importance for the broader Church. Its support amongst various Cardinals in Rome like Hoyos, Medina-Estevez, Stickler and so forth also speaks volumes.

Surrounded by the mists of the Catholic portion of the history and personas of Oxford, as well as the beauty of the setting in which you will worship and in which you will hear the papers and visit with the guests, not to mention the quality of the speakers, together makes this a conference experience you aren't likely to forget.

If I might tickle your imagination for a moment, here are pictures of the locations in which the papers will be delivered, the Sheldonian Theatre and the University Examination Rooms:

The Sheldonian Theatre

The University Examination School

For those who are thinking of coming, I'd like to encourage you to take the plunge and register.

If you are a member of the clergy or a seminarian, keep in mind as well that you can apply for a clergy grant to reduce the conference fees by up to 50%.

Also, please remember that the full "residential delegates" package (the fee we are speaking of) includes full room and board at Oxford University during the time of the conference. So these will not be additional expenses you must incur.

Finally, a tip: if you fly back on Sunday rather than Saturday, you can save over $1000 in the price of your flight.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, or, better yet, email me.

And as a final note, some of you may have noticed the new total which I updated sometime this week in my own Oxford fundraising initiative (look to the upper right column). I am inching ever closer to the goal of attending this conference through the charity and beneficence of so many people who come to the NLM each and every day, as well as to those who wish to help CIEL grow in North America. However, time grows short so do keep it up. If you've been thinking of making a donation to CIEL Canada, now is the time! Thanks again to those who have!

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