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Requiem Mass for J.R.R. Tolkien recalls 50th anniversary of his death

Image of JRR Tolkien postage stamp with image of book The Fellowship of the Ring

Olga Popova | Altered by Aleteia

Philip Kosloski - published on 09/01/23

The Birmingham Oratory offered a special Requiem Mass for Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien, recalling his death on September 2, 1973.

Author J.R.R. Tolkien was most well-known for his Lord of the Rings fantasy novel, but he was also a devout Catholic and had a strong connection to the Birmingham Oratory in England.

After the Tolkien family was received into the Catholic Church in 1900, J.R.R. Tolkien’s mother became close to Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan, a priest at the Birmingham Oratory. When Tolkien’s mother died from diabetes in 1904, she made certain that her two boys would be entrusted to the care of Fr. Morgan, who officially became Tolkien’s legal guardian.

Tolkien attended Mass for many years at the Birmingham Oratory and was even an altar boy at the church.

50th Anniversary of Tolkien’s death

In honor of this special connection, the Birmingham Oratory celebrated a Requiem Mass on September 2, 2023, which was the 50th anniversary of Tolkien’s death.

On the same weekend, author Holly Ordway held an official launch of her new book, Tolkien’s Faith: A Spiritual Biography, published by the Word on Fire Institute.

For the past several years there has been talk about a possible canonization process for J.R.R. Tolkien, officially declaring him a saint in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

Very little progress has been made in that direction, and it seems at the present moment that the process will not be initiated by the local diocese.

Regardless, Tolkien’s Catholic faith continues to inspire many people throughout the world and there are even accounts of conversions to the Christian faith through his world of Middle-Earth.

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