The English Dominicans are experiencing renewal and along the lines of the reform of the reform. They have young vocations, and its centered at Blackfriars in Oxford. Check out their cool blog here, and some great photos from the election of their new provincial and their Holy Week and Easter celebrations.

I especially liked seeing the pictures of the austere and beautiful church in Oxford. When I was in Oxford (a city full of beautiful churches) Blackfriars’ chapel was one of my favorites. I raised a few eyebrows at my college: low church Evangelical Wycliffe Hall by attending Simon Tugwell O.P.s excellent lectures on medieval spirituality. I’d always stop to pray in the chapel afterward.
Looking back on my pilgrimage, it’s interesting to see how often, and how early I would stop to pray in Catholic Churches. Even though I was an Anglican and at first a low church Anglican, there was always something different and something special about praying in Catholic Churches. I realize now it was the real presence. Then I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I was attracted.

  • Adam

    The catholic orders are so numerous as to make my head spin. Have you noted the ancient benedictine monastery in Scotland?Adam

  • William

    Your journey reflects in many ways my own journey to Rome. When I look back it is amazing to me that even in the times when I didn’t even know what I was looking for so many catholic churches and shrines feature as small ‘prompts’ to nudge me along the way.Whenever I felt the need for a real strong prayer time it was a catholic church I chose.Truly God is so loving and merciful.

  • Kevin

    I’m a lay theology student with Blackfriars Oxford, Father. They have an excellent setup here. I will now look for Fr. Tugwell’s Medieval Spirituality lectures.

  • David Palmer

    Hi,I’ve just written a post on the “how to” of Catholic Evangelism… mentioned you as a possible Apologetics resource, hope this is ok. Would appreciate it if you could look at my post and add your comments ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I really do not like the austerity at all. No problem in relation to the people but not in relation to Church ornament. I wonder whether the presence of visual austerity is somehow related to the intellectual mind. Faith fed by devotion produces beautiful visual art. Faith fed by intellectual enquiry produces beautiful written literature. Given that the Dominicans have a tradition of intellectual strength maybe that is why their Chapels lack the visual beauty one normally associates with Catholic places of worship. Am I generalising too much here?As regards the new batch of Dominicans from Oxford. Have to say (from experience) we are seeing a great revival here. I just wish they would get rid of the “lets talk really slowly and hesitatingly as it sound so much more considered and profound even if I’m just asking for the butter dish” tic. It is a little off putting and has a tendency to melt the neural networks of the listeners. :}Benfan

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    the austerity? This is a picture taken during Good Friday.Click over to the website, and you’ll see there is considerable splendor on Easter Day–fine vestments etc. However, they are Dominicans, and this calls for a certain austerity anyway.