The Birmingham Oratory

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I have never been inside The Birmingham Oratory during my time in Birmingham. This is surprising given that I am a Catholic and visited several churches around the West Midlands. Therefore I was very pleased that one of my photographic friends Kevin Maslin had arranged with Brother Zechariah of the Oratory to hold a photographic meeting there. It was under the Brumtograpahy meeting group. I will have a separate post on that in later weeks.

It was a cold rainy day when we arrived at the Oratory and there were 10 enthusiastic photographers all ready to go. The Cloisters outside the Church were interesting to photograph and immediately you could sense St Cardinal Newman’s presence in the statues around the outside of the church. When I got my first glimpse of the interior it was with excitement and awe. The church is in an Italian style and the light streams accentuate the high domed ceiling and the numerous side alters.

There was a christening taking place so whilst that was taking place, I took the opportunity to visit the Cardinal Newman museum. There were relics and momentoes of his time in Birmingham. His chalice and Cardinal’s hat. I did have the pleasure of visiting Univeristy College Dublin Newman House, located at 85–86 St. Stephen’s Green a few years ago and it was interesting to link these to his activity in Birmingham. I found some of the exhibits really fascinating including a wig of his hair, following his illness with Cholera. The picture depicting him talking in the centre of Birmingham caught my attention and I loved it that he could hold an audience with his wit as an orator. His glasses and various letters were on display. It is a very personal and engaging museum.

We also toured the vestry where the priests get ready before mass. The Cardinal Newman chapel was bright and colourful.

The oratory is beautiful and I took so many pictures using a full repertoire of cameras. Wide and telephoto lenses. I included my lens ball as well in the pictures.

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John Garghan
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The Oratory used to be my parish church and I was married there, guests at the wedding who are not Catholic were very impressed, I went up a notch with the inlaws