Thursday, 21 February 2008

The Birmingham Oratory's St. Valentine

Last week I write a very strident post pointing out that the former commemoration of St. Valentine has been abolished, and that he never was the patron of lovers! It has been replaced by the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. However as a consolation there is another St. Valentine who is a martyr, whose relics are kept in the Birmingham Oratory Church under the altar of St. Athanasius.

John Henry Newman was given the relics from the catacombs of this St. Valentine (there were indeed a fair number!) by Blessed Pius IX as a gift for the founding of the English Oratory. Seeing there was no feast for it, Pius decided that it should be kept on Newman's birthday. This has turned out to be divine providence, for now the cause is up for Newman's beatification, and for us it is a second celebration of him. We have a Missa Cantata for St. Valentine (looks like I'm on my own again for the chant), and afterwards we have a musical oratory. I shall tell you more about the musical oratory tomorrow!

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