Sunday, 28 April 2013

Brompton Oratory

Two weeks ago on a sunny and quiet Sunday morning in London I found myself walking through Kensington. After a stroll through Hyde Park I went along Exhibition road. Visiting the V&A Museum was an option but it was still only 9:30 in the morning and queuing in order to enter a normal museum seemed a bit odd.

Next door is a fairly well-known church, the Brompton Oratory. Well-known because it is the second biggest Roman Catholic church in London.
Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Elgar got married here (not to each other of course lol), the organ is quite famous if you are interested in such things...

I quickly decided that I wanted to have a look inside as I had never been so off I went...and found myself in the last 5 minutes of a proper mass - in LATIN!
I was fascinated...didn´t understand a word...and stayed.
Stayed for the whole 10am Catholic Sunday mass. Picked up one of their useful leaflets and followed all the printed in red instructions about when to sit down or stand up. Looked at the dressed up and very multicultural congregation. At the homeless man kneeling down and praying. At the kids in their sunday dresses playing hide and seek. Tried to listen to the completely tongue-tied and un-entertaining priest. Looked at the architecture and felt extremely bold and reckless.

I was baptised as a Protestant but left church some years ago now. I´m not really believing in a God. I can get really really angry and engaged in certain religious discussions. I have never read anything in the bible.
A friend once was surprised that I could enter a church and didn´t burst into flames straightaway...old heretic me, hehe.
Nevertheless the buildings and the agglomeration of rituals fascinates me a lot.
Doesn´t touch me in the slighest but fascinates me like a theatre performance or military parade can do.

So here I sat, in a Catholic mass that included hardly any music (suited me - I dislike organ music) and no songs ( strange, isn´t it?!?).
Certainly one of the moments when I surprised myself most in recent times. It didn´t convert me, Hell no!, but it was an interesting experience. Been there, done that - London just has so much to offer as long as you keep your eyes and ears open and observe all the opportunities that come your way.
Hindu temple next!


  1. I've got a question to the leaflets:
    Do they have them only for the Latin Masses or also for the 'normal' ones?

  2. the one I picked up was for the "normal" one...not sure if they provide different ones for the Latin Mass as well.