The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

Bicester Advertiser, 7th June 1918.


            The country around Bicester is very beautiful smiling meadows, often aglow of golden buttercups, rich and very varied hedge-rows; bird-life withal its manifold music is much in evidence. These things, attractive throughout this season, stir to a greater activity the chords of the Christian heart which takes part in the annual celebration at the Priory of the Festival of Corpus Christi. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Beauty in all its forms speaks to the depths of the heart of the sheerest pagan. But its real meaning is found only in the understanding that all things are the handiwork of a Personal Creator. They elevate the spirit of man. If his ‘garments’ are so beautiful, what His Person? And what is to be the response of man? Surely to give back in His service, voluntarily and generously, whatever He has put at our disposal – things: Yes; and so spectators saw alters [sic] arrayed with bright candles, pure linen clothes, bouquets of flowers, etc. But most of all the raising of the faculations of the free human spirit. The fevour [sic] witnessed at the service, with its  procession, was a indication of that. The children of the Church supplement the individual’s prayer by a corporate external act. It is a natural sentiment. Not primarily an act of profession of faith before fellow-men; it may be that, but a homage to God made in common.

            Father Cuthbert, O.S.F.C., M.A. (Principal of St. Anselm’s House, Oxford) preaching from the text “Thou didst nourish Thy people with the food of angels,” spoke of the Blessed Sacrament as the spiritual food of our souls. In Heaven the angels and the Blessed are spiritually fed with the vision of God in whom is their life and their joy of life. To us upon this earth, the wisdom of God is beyond us; we are too weak spiritually and our souls are too clogged with the things of earth; we are too much bound in the shadows of sin; to be capable of Communion with our Divine Lord in His Heavenly Glory. Nevertheless, our Lord is present with us sacramentally and He remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament to strengthen our faith and to increase our love. As in Heaven the angels and saints are fed spiritually by their vision of Him, so we too if we receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament with a living faith and are fed spiritually and grow in the understanding and the love of God and thus attain to eternal life. There was a time when throughout the whole of England the Blessed Sacrament was worshipped and loved and was the centre of the nation’s life. May the day come when it is so again.

            Father Parker, O.S.B., M.A. (Master of St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford) carried the Most Blessed Sacrament assisted by the Rev. L. van der Kallen (Wroxton) and the Rev. E. Commolly (Oxford), Father Permasse conducted the ceremonies. Mr. Walker and Mr. Bard led the hymn singing. Little girls dressed in white strewed flowers along the path-ways. Boys from the Franciscan College, Buckingham carried the canopy. Other Benedictines and ladies and gentlemen from Oxford and from other places followed.

            The Mother Prioress and the nuns deserve our sympathy for the occurrence of a contre-ramps. The beautiful altar erected in the grounds – a labour of love – caught fire and all its decorations were destroyed.[i]


[i] Bicester Advertiser, 7th June 1918.