A cardinal, a bishop, countless priests and hundreds and hundreds of students - not the image which normally springs to most peoples’ minds when they imagine a university chaplaincy. But London is a big place, with huge numbers of Catholic students from all corners of the globe, a sizeable number of whom filled Westminster Cathedral on Sunday 19th November for the 2006 Academic Mass.
We were honoured to welcome Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, to celebrate Mass – himself an alumnus of the Institute of Education in London. Cardinal Arinze gave an inspiring homily with the message that by living a life inspired by our faith, we can become holy and fulfil our roles as Catholics in academic life, which he delivered with his customary wit and eloquence.
After Mass, the Cardinal took time to speak to students, and visited Newman House, the Central Catholic Chaplaincy, which celebrates its 40th anniversary since foundation this year. Fr Peter Wilson, Senior University Chaplain in the Diocese of Westminster said ‘It was wonderful that the Cardinal joined us for this celebration today, particularly since he is an alumnus of one of the institutions to which our chaplains minister.’