Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment: Thomasery

What a week! On Monday, Blessed Thomas Belton, and his Companions, martyred at Oxford under Elizabeth Tudor. On Friday next, S Thomas More, totius Angliae Cancellarius. How edifying that some people still hate him enough to write books and to produce TV series vilifying him. A true Note of Sanctity!

And today is the Feast of the Translation of S Thomas (Becket) the Martyr. He was the Titular Patron of my last Anglican job, the little church near the Oxford Railway Station, the first in England to restore the use of Mass vestments. Because S Thomas’s main Festival is tucked away in the chilly days of the Christmas Octave, my predecessors used to have great celebrations on and around his July Festival. Oodles of Masses … multiple Confession times … distinguished visiting preachers thoughout the Octave …

The most magnificent days were in the 1930s, when S Thomas’s was still a slum parish. War and redevelopment later dispersed the old working class congregation, eliminated the brewery, the pubs, the brothels … now, rebuilt, its property prices …. Then, the incumbent was Dr Trevor Jalland, whose Bampton Lectures before the Univerity forced literate Anglicans to think seriously about the papacy.

They brought him back to S Thomas’s for burial; the Requiem was sung by Prebendary Michael Moreton. He disquieted the ‘establishment’ congregation by using the Roman Canon, explaining later in his gravelly voice, that “Jalland was a Patristics Scholar and I was determined that he should have a Patristic Eucharistic Prayer”. Those, of course, were the times when Anglican bishops were striving throughout their dioceses to put down that vilest of all vile phenomena, the Tridentine Mass!

Makes you think …

S Leo I, on whom Jalland was an expert, would have approved.I should have said, did approve .

Congregations do remember their clergy. In Jalland’s case, what the parish Oral Tradition recalled was an incident one Good Friday morning at the Mass of the Presanctified. A server was out of position … in a nannosecond of irritation Jalland, er, knocked him down …

Fathers: when we demit our cures and people remark that we shall “be remembered”, I’ve a terrible feeling that it is for things like this that we shall be most remembered.

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