Some of our devoted parishioners have been working hard to polish up these candlesticks ready to use for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at More House.
The ducks are rather unusual, and have a mixed history in Christian iconography. On the one hand, Pope Gregory IX thought that the duck was an icon of lust, and the duck can also symbolize the vice of gossip. Sometimes ducks have been carved onto the doors of church to remind those entering to do so quietly.
A more positive interpretation of the duck is as a symbol of baptism. The duck can live both in water and in the air, and so reminds us of how we are baptized into the Holy Spirit.
Here is a fourth-century duck from the floor of a church at Soli, in northern Cyprus:
This charming pair of ducks is in the Byzantine church of the Multiplication (of the loaves and fishes) in Galilee:
This mosaic duck is found on the floor of the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna:
And here is a tranquil duck from a fifteenth-century Italian Book of Hours:
There is also a duck connection with the University of York, since the duck features on the crest of the arms of the Barons Deramore, former owners of Heslington Hall. Here is an example of the arms, on a fire screen in the refectory at the Oratory, together with the family motto, Non est sine pulvere palma - "There is no prize without dust":
Many congratulations to Chris Bond, who has successfully swum all the way to France, and is now officially a cross-Channel swimmer. What an achievement!
Don't forget to sponsor him in aid of the Oratory - you still can here.
Fr Richard was joined by the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, at a blessing for the Young Christian Climate Network, as they set off on the next stage of their relay walk from Cornwall to Glasgow for the COP26 meeting.
They were blessed using the words of St Clare of Assisi to St Agnes:
"What you hold, may you always hold. What you do, may you always do and never abandon. But with swift pace, light step, and unswerving feet, so that even your steps stir up no dust, go forward securely, joyfully, swiftly, on the path of prudent happiness."
Chris Bond, who is swimming the English Channel, in aid of the Oratory and its new heating system, is at the time of writing about to take the plunge. He writes,
"Swim Is ON! Start approx 0200 hrs tomorrow and throughout the day. Weather looking almost perfect so thank you for your prayers already. I’ve got someone to tell me when it’s about 12.40pm and I can sing Salve Regina with you all from the water!"
Don't forget that you can sponsor Chris by clicking here.
Please click here for a list of the Mass intentions for the week beginning Saturday, 25th September.
"When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England."
Pope Leo XIII
"Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the birds of the air, and they shall tell thee. Speak to the earth, and it shall answer thee: and the fishes of the sea shall tell. Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord hath made all these things?" Job 12:7-9
It was a pleasure to welcome yesterday to the Shrine of St Margaret Clitherow the Union of Catholic Mothers and their friends from St Aelred's parish, together with the parish priest, our Dean, Fr William Serplus.
All four Evangelists appear around our High Altar. So, how do we know that this one is St Matthew? The corners of his chair show his characteristic symbol from the Book of Ezekiel: the winged man, reminding us that Matthew stresses Our Lord's humanity in the Incarnation.