Monday, May 25, 2020

Newman Society of Oxford Celebrates First EF Mass in Decades

NLM congratulates the Newman Society for this auspicious event. We wish them well and encourage our readers to consider supporting their good initiatives.

On February20th, the Newman Society, the Oxford University Catholic Society, celebrated a sung votive Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Extraordinary Form at Campion Hall. The Mass, held at the Jesuit Hall of the University by kind permission of the Master, Fr Nicholas Austen SJ, was the first Missa Cantata to take place at the Hall for several decades, and was attended by over fifty students of the University, members of the Jesuit community, including Chaplain Fr Nick King SJ, and many friends of the Society.

The celebrant was Fr Joseph Hamilton, a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Chaplain of the Order of Malta, and Doctoral Student in theology at the University; the sermon was preached by Fr Joseph Simmons SJ. The Mass was preceded by a brief talk by Fr Matthew Dunch SJ on the history of the splendid Grade II listed chapel, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the 1930s.

The Society, founded in 1878, which represents one of the oldest continuously extant bodies in Catholic Oxford, and carries the name of Saint John Henry by his own permission, must be one of the oldest Catholic student societies in the world. With its principal focus on catechetical talks exploring the breadth of the dogmatic and practical aspects of the Faith, the choice of the Extraordinary Form for their termly Mass was part of the Society’s efforts to form young Catholics fit for 21st Century Christian life, with thorough appreciation of the Sacred Traditions handed down to them.

The Mass was beautifully accompanied by Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices and Palestrina’s setting of Veni Creator Spiritus, under the masterful leadership of Dominic Bevan, with Tom Neal as the organist. The Society are grateful to the Hall Sacristan for allowing use of the house vestments, with the crest of the Hall clearly visible on the chasuble, further representing the warm welcome the Society’s members received from the Jesuit community.

As the pandemic continues, the Society has moved its events online, with all welcome to join their talks on Thursday evenings at An appeal has been launched to support the Society during this time of lost revenue, more information is available at

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