Durham University is a place where many people who failed to get a place at Oxford or Cambridge often study. Catholic life at Durham is somewhat more restricted than at those other two universities however: whereas Oxford and Cambridge have houses of religious, Durham has two Catholic parish priests one of whom is also university chaplain. It always struck me as a pity that no Catholic religious congregation of men had made a foundation at Durham. I`m sure an Oratory would do well there as it has at St Aloysius at Oxford.
About five to eight years ago I celebrated a couple of Masses for university students in the castle chapel in the Extraordinary Form. One in particular lives on in the memory as a student choir not only sang a Byrd setting of the Ordinary but also of the Propers as well. Even I thought, that while it was interesting to hear this done, it was a bit too much. Attempts by that group of students to get permission for a regular Mass, by which they hoped for once a term, were refused by the bishop of the time.
Since Summorum Pontificum a group in the university has been trying to get a Mass organised. This has taken a long time but this Wednesday night, the chaplain has invited a priest from the diocese of Hallam to celebrate an EF Mass. At this point I don`t know if it is to be a Low or Sung Mass. I would like to be there but I have my monthly Mass at Morpeth that night.
Having a priest from Hallam to say the Mass reminds me of how it was sometimes the rule before the Motu Proprio that a bishop would not let a Mass in the EF be said by a priest from outside the diocese. Presumably such rules can no longer apply.
I hope the Mass is well-attended. I`m sure Durham would be fertile ground for the EF if it is allowed to get under way. I hope that this will become a regular feature of university life as it is, after all, part of the Catholic mainstream now. I`m still praying we get a bishop who sees it that way!
UPDATE: The Mass will be at St Cuthbert`s church at 7pm (NOT 7.30 as advertised on the local LMS bulletin)