Pusey House, Oxford
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Pusey House is a religious institution located in St Giles', Oxford, immediately to the south of Pusey Street. It is firmly rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England. Known as a "House of Piety and Learning", it is associated with, but is not part of, the University of Oxford.
Pusey House was opened in 1884 in part as a memorial to Edward Bouverie Pusey, Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, a canon of Christ Church Cathedral and for 40 years, a leading figure in the Oxford Movement, a movement of the mid-19th century which sought to bring the Church of England to a deeper understanding of its witness as part of the universal Catholic Church. It was also intended to continue the work of Pusey in "restoring the Church of England's Catholic life and witness". It was established with a fund of £50,000 to provide a building for Pusey's library, purchase it and create an endowment so that two or more clergy could take charge of it and promote religious life in the university. The first principal was Charles Gore; Vincent Stuckey Coles was principal from 1897 to 1910. Pusey House celebrated its 125th anniversary of foundation on 31 October 2009, with a Solemn High Mass at which the preacher was Fr Robin Ward, Principal of St Stephen's House. Since 1981 part of the former Pusey House site has been acquired by St Cross College.
Pusey House is known not only for its liturgy with full solemn ceremonial, but also for its active social character, with a strong student community, both undergraduate and graduate, which complements the religious life of the house in typical Oxford fashion.[clarification needed]
The architect of the chapel was Temple Moore, with further additions inside, including a baldacchino, by Ninian Comper. Some of Comper's original vestments remain in use and others have been commissioned using his original designs. The chapel remains a place of worship where the offices are chanted and the Mass offered every day; either quietly in the stillness of an early weekday morning or with music and full ceremonial on Sundays.
This is a theological and historical library of 80,000 volumes which includes Pusey's library and a large collection of other theological and historical volumes. Pusey's own books, bought after his death, originally formed the heart of Pusey House Library. Since then, by gift and purchase, the library has grown into an important collection that is widely recognised[who?] as the leading specialist library not only in Oxford but in the United Kingdom, particularly for Patristics, church history, liturgy, doctrine, monasticism and Catholic organisations. In addition to its primary source material and books on the Anglo-Catholic Movement (Tractarian and Oxford Movements), in recent times the library has become a library of record and resource centre for the Church of England, holding General Synod papers, runs of church newspapers and directories and other relevant material and publications as well as the theses written for Lambeth degrees and diplomas. The large majority of books are on open-access shelves. The library also subscribes to a large number of periodicals and journals.
The clergy of the house are formally designated as "Priest-Librarians".
Worship in the Chapel of the Resurrection is in accordance with the Catholic tradition in the Church of England and is open to all, especially to members of the university. Alongside its reputation for dignified and traditional liturgy, Pusey House is also recognised for its musical tradition, most visible at the Solemn Mass on Sundays and solemnities. The choir's extensive repertoire ranges from the earliest church music and Gregorian chant, through the polyphony of Byrd and extending to 19th and 20th century composers such as Vierne and Stanford. Pusey House commissioned a new Mass-setting for its 125th anniversary celebrations from the composer Alexander Campkin. The current Master of the Music is George de Voil; the Organist and Assistant Master of the Music is Maks Adach.
Services and observances
- Solemn High Mass every Sunday and on major festivals during full term with the Ordinary of the Mass sung by the choir
- Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, daily during full term
- Solemn Evensong and Benediction on holy days
- Compline and Benediction each Wednesday evening during full term
- Low Mass daily during full term, with a BCP celebration on Saturdays
- Traditional devotions including Stations of the Cross in Lent and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
- Holy Week retreat at Ascot Priory in Berkshire.
Teaching and pastoral care
- Counsel and instruction in the Catholic faith
- Preparation for the sacraments
- Sacramental confession
- Formation of vocations to the sacred priesthood
- Visiting preachers and academics
- Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
- Residential reading week at the Abbey of Bec in Normandy
The Friends of Pusey House organisation exists to provide additional support for its work and witness, both in England and abroad, by their prayers and by informing others about Pusey House.
- Alden's Oxford Guide, Oxford: Alden & Co., 1958; p. 101
- Henry Parry Liddon described its purpose thus: "A home of sacred learning and rallying-point for Christian faith ... It will form a centre of moral and intellectual and spiritual enthusiasm, in which all that is solid in inquiry and learning, and all that is lofty and aspiring in moral effort shall find encouragement under the consecrating shadow of a great name."--quoted in Alden (1958)
- The most significant archive of original material