06 November 2007

St. Aloysius Church

Also known as the Oxford Oratory.

For the first 100 or so years of its existence, St Aloysius was served by the Jesuit Fathers, successors of those who had kept the Catholic faith alive in Oxford during the long years of persecution. After the Jesuits left in 1981, priests of the Archdiocese of Birmingham looked after the parish until 1990, when Cardinal Newman's dream was at last fulfilled and the parish was entrusted to the Fathers of the Oratory, two of whom moved from Birmingham to take over the church. Numbers in the community soon increased, and in 1993, the Oxford Oratory was formally established as an independent house.

Joseph Shaw writes:

In its early days St Aloysius was so successful in attracting converts that it was attacked by a cartoon, depicting Jesuits fishing for mortar-boarded and coronetted souls in a pond. The caption read: ‘Members of the Romish Church are requested not to trespass in Protestant waters and on no account to tamper with the Gold Fish’. Particular scandal was caused by the conversion of the Marquis of Bute, who had been an undergraduate at Christ Church and was later a generous benefactor to St Aloysius. The Jesuits left St Aloysius in the 1980s, though not before destroying its impressive collection of relics, historical vestments and so on. Since 1990 it has been served by a new community of Oratorians, founded from the Birmingham Oratory.

Mass in the extraordinary form is celebrated every Sunday at 8 a.m., and confessions are heard daily.