Thursday, December 01, 2005

Former resident gives talk at Newman House

This Bar Lunch (13/11/05) was accompanied by a speaker with whom many of us were already acquainted. One of last year's residents, and a former parliamentary intern, Angela Cheyne is now the Development and Campaigns Coordinator of the charity organisation Caritas. She returned to demonstrate the purpose of Caritas, detail its current projects and also provide people with the opportunity to become involved in its work.

The basic premise operating behind the organisation's motivations was demonstrated with a handful of straws. Every person in the audience was invited to choose one. As could be predicted, some people had the misfortune to draw the short straw. If you were lucky enough to get a long one, you were 'rewarded' with a Mars Bar. Those with the short straws were given a small piece of string, an object which was universally deemed to be useless. It was by this means that Ms. Cheyne demonstrated the injustices of the social support systems that exist in this country. Because of their misfortune in being born to an underprivileged background, some people are denied the support that they need to deal with certain difficulties. Angela proceeded to outline the various ways in which Caritas is attempting to alleviate specific social problems. Currently they are dealing with the issues of child poverty, mental illness and care of the elderly. One of the primary functions of the organisation is to unite the projects of various existing charities in order to maximise the effectiveness of their campaigns.

The Presentation effectively raised our awareness of the fact that although much is made of the very appalling condition of humanity in the developing world, even in our own society people are struggling to attain an adequate standard of life. It seemed to me that Caritas is not only essential in its administrative role of co-ordinating different Catholic charity organisations, but it is also a symbol of the desire to attain justice for all humanity, and to enable every human being to be free from oppression.

More information on Caritas can be found on their website:

Harriet Cooper

Monday, November 28, 2005

Joanna Bogle talks about Pope Benedict at Newman House Sunday lunch

On the Feast of Christ the King we welcomed Joanna Bogle as guest speaker at our Sunday lunch. Joanna is a renowned Catholic author who has published a number of works of Catholic interest. (She also happens to be "Auntie Joanna" to our own Gregory Nash, but that's just by-the by!) Joanna's latest book will shortly be published - a biography of our Holy Father Pope Benedict. This was the subject of her talk on 20 November. And what a talk it was! With her usual wit and candour, Joanna introduced us to the life of Joseph Ratzinger, now gloriously reigning as Pope Benedict XVI. She taught us much about his early life, the theological influences which have fashioned him and the events which led up to his election on 19 April this year.

Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

The Chapel crucifix adorned for the Solemity of Christ the King - thanks to Vito Conte for his artistic efforts! Posted by Picasa

Group Photo of some of the Cambridge daytrippers

Sorry for the delay in posting - here is another photo of some of the group who made their way to Cambridge - the rest were errrr....... shopping or something! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Newman House goes to Cambridge

On Saturday November 5th, a group of around 20 people went on a day-trip to Cambridge. This was a great also the opportunity to see the sites and visit Fisher House, Cambridge University Catholic Chaplaincy.

Practical details were planned following the typical Newman House style. Meeting at 9.10 at the NH reception, arrival in Cambridge just before lunch. Nice and early… not bad for a Saturday morning! One might think that after our adventure at the Cathedral last week, we now do not fear anything (except maybe Stefan’s sporadic Mongolian chanting).

It was a chilly day, but windy rather than rainy. The group arrived in Cambridge in one piece, and gathered in a huddle around the Senior Chaplain Fr Peter Wilson. After a short visit to the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, the group walked to the centre of the town, where most of the historic buildings are located. At that point, Fr Brian had explained some of the important elements of the history and the past and present traditions of the magnificent Cambridge University, one of the oldest academic institutions in Europe (author’s note: just as a reference, the University of Bologna (Italy) was founded in 1088, more than one century before Cambridge).

Mass was scheduled for 13.05 at Fisher House. Our Senior Chaplain Fr Peter Wilson presided over the celebration. Fr Brian concelebrated. After having been restored by the holy banquet, the group was invited for lunch in the Fisher House library. A light buffet was available (after giving a small contribution to hire a plate – cross-subsidisation always seems to work well) and was followed by tea, mini-chocolate-muffins and other cakes.

The afternoon included a visit to the King's College Chapel and choir, and some free time was set aside for compulsive shopping, for those who needed it, or for visiting other colleges. The Newman House bunch got back to London safely, just in time for the Bonfire Night.

Maria Mercedes

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Newman House in the snow - Christmas 2003 Posted by Picasa

Late Night Holiness

Photo of part of the group outside Westminster Cathedral for the Quarant'Ore. Time: 3am!!!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Quarant'ore at Westminster Cathedral

After a long day and a rather wild Hallowe’en Party, those of us who gathered in the foyer of Newman House at 2am this morning were beginning to wonder whether a long walk followed by an hour of silence was really a good idea. However our doubts were soon cast aside. First the numbers of people gathered to take part in the Quarant’ore at Westminster Cathedral was inspiring, especially as many of these were people who live outside Newman House and so had made an even bigger effort to take part. We set off on the trek to the Cathedral with Fr. Peter striding out at the front, and after an hour’s refreshing walk (which had the added perk of seeing some top London sights by moonlight), we arrived at the Cathedral. The atmosphere inside was beautiful - the dark vault of the Cathedral made it feel like we were still outside in the night and all our focus was drawn to the sanctuary where the monstrance was illuminated by many candles. We spent a beautiful hour in adoration and I for one was surprised how quickly it passed despite the early hour. It was wonderful to see so many people at the Cathedral and some of them were obviously there for a lot longer than us - as evidenced by their blankets! We left the Cathedral feeling renewed and refreshed. With our spiritual side well fed it was now time to nourish our bodies so we trekked back to Newman House and were greeted by the aroma of bacon drifting down Gower Street. Our mini-pilgrimage ended with that symbol of Englishness - a cooked breakfast :) At 6.30am we were finally able to go back to bed… Thank goodness for the extra hour we get tonight…


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Freaky Friday...and spiritual Saturday (?)

This end of this week suddenly becomes busy! In less than 12 hours, we have on offer a party, and then a chance to spend some time in prayer as a community (to make up for the party...).

Friday (28th October) night is Hallowe'en Party night, and it's a fancy dress do, so do come looking as scary as possible for a traditional Hallowe'en, with the promise of a pumpkin competition. No, I don't know what this involves either, but sign up downstairs if this sounds like your cup of tea.

Then later that night (on Saturday morning) we are taking part in the Quarant'ore vigil at Westminster Cathedral, spending an hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We will be leaving Newman House at 2 am, and our slot at the Cathedral is between 3 and 4 am. We should be back around 5 am, and I gather that there is going to be a sumptuous breakfast laid on for those who took part (no gatecrashers please...). Again, sign up downstairs.

See you around.