Monday, April 30, 2007

(Famous) Thought for the week from Cardinal Newman

Yesterday was Good Shepherd Sunday, and the annual "Vocations Sunday". This is an oft-quoted thought about vocation from Cardinal Newman

God has created me to do him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission; I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

An annual event at Newman House

Russell could no longer stand Chris looking like this

So he took matters into his own hands.

Like a lamb to the slaughter!

While the crowds bayed for a more thorough job!
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Confirmation Mass with Bishop John Arnold

(Russell has posted Vito's photos of the Confirmation Mass on Flicker. To see all of them go to

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Confirmation 2007 Part 2

Prayer for the Gifts of the Spirit

"Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit"

Be strong and faithful!

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Confirmation 2007 Part 1

Bishop John enjoying the Rite of Sprinkling

The Homily: Do something significant for Christ

The confirmands renewing their baptismal promises

The Laying on of hands
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Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Easter Vigil Part 4

John incensing Fr Brian, Fr Peter and Fr Casimir

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us: therefore let us celebrate the Feast!

Tom: received into full communion

The candle by the Tabernacle is lit: Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
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The Easter Vigil Part 3

Ingrid is clothed in the white garment: You have put on Christ!
Four other young people were also received into full communion with the Catholic Church:

Edward is received

Kristian is confirmed

Alice: Peace be with you!
Picture of Tom in the next post
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The Easter Vigil Part 2

Delali Sefe reading one of the Old Testament prophecies

At the blessing of the Font, which was masterfully constructed for us by Russell
Ingrid is baptised (and yes, the water was warm!)
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
There was a loud burst of spontaneous applause as she emerged reborn from the waters of baptism.

The congregation being sprinkled after renewing their baptismal promises
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The Easter Vigil at Newman House Part 1

The congregation waiting for the blessing of the fire

The Easter fire is blessed

Marking the Paschal Candle

Chris sings the Exsultet
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Friday, April 13, 2007

Faith & Politics: Catholic Parliamentary Interns

Since 2004, Newman House has been a partner in the Catholic Parliamentary Internship scheme. Three interns spend a year working with a Christian MP, undertake a course of studies at Heythrop College. They make visits to the constituencies, to various government and EU departments and agencies, and usually pay a visit to the Vatican. Another part of their package is that they live as part of the student community at Newman House. There are two further interns who are based in Brussels.

The London interns for 2007-8 will be John Shinkwin, William Blair and Dominic Berner. We asked them to share their thoughts on being awarded their places on the scheme.

Dom Berner: “It is a very exciting prospect spending 10 months in such an eclectic and communal environment! At the same time, I am anticipating a significant challenge in helping my MP, which I’m sure, will be stimulating. I hope to learn a great deal from those I will be living with and those I will be working with in Westminster. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity, which, I’m sure will be a healthy mix of politics, spirituality and friendship!”

Will Blair: “I've always had a great interest in politics, and when I heard about the CPI scheme it sounded absolutely perfect for me - not just because of the close involvement in British Parliamentary politics (which sounds amazing!) but also the spiritual context of the programme which, I hope, will provide me with a greater means of understanding and discovering what I want to do with my life in the future - not an easy question! After 3 years at Oxford I feel I've still got a fair way to go in answering it, and I'm absolutely thrilled to have something as exciting as this scheme lined up for me in September.”

John Shinkwin: “Working in Parliament, studying ethics at Heythrop and living at Newman House seem to form a rather splendid combination. I am very excited about working for an MP, and look forward to the energetic life of the Westminster jungle, mixed with study of the theoretical basis of social action. I'm also looking forward to living and working alongside Will and Dom, and am glad that we three interns will be rooted in such an obviously vibrant community of fellow Catholics.”

The scheme is run by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for Catholic graduates, and you can find out more information about it here:

More pictures from the Tutoring programme

Here are two more pictures taken during the visit to Newman House and UCL of the children who have been visited by our tutors during the year.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Meditation from Cardinal Newman

We, too, though we are not witnesses of Christ's actual resurrection, are so spiritually. By a heart awake from the dead, and by affections set on heaven, we can as truly and without figure witness that Christ liveth, as they did. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. Truth bears witness by itself to its Divine Author. He who obeys God conscientiously, and lives holily, forces all about him to believe and tremble before the unseen power of Christ. To the world indeed at large he witnesses not; for few can see him near enough to be moved by his manner of living. But to his neighbours he manifests the Truth in proportion to their knowledge of him; and some of them, through God's blessing, catch the holy flame, cherish it, and in their turn transmit it. And thus in a dark world Truth still makes way in spite of the darkness, passing from hand to hand. And thus it keeps its station in high places, acknowledged as the creed of nations, the multitude of which are ignorant, the while, on what it rests, how it came there, how it keeps its ground; and despising it, think it easy to dislodge it. But "the Lord reigneth." He is risen from the dead, "His throne is established of old; He is from everlasting. The floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. His testimonies are very sure; holiness becometh His house forever.

Surrexit Christus! Alleluia!

Easter Joy to all!

We had a magnificent celebration of the Easter Vigil. Pictures will be up in a week or so. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make the celebration such a joyous, magnificent occasion - especially Chris and all the musicians, and all who laboured all day to make the Chapel sparkle.
Please pray for Ingrid, who was baptised, and for Kristian, Alice, Ed and Tom who were received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Solemn Celebration
of the Lord's Passion

The greatest day of infamy in human history. The only truly just man, the one human being who has been fully human, fully alive, is condemned by humanity to ignominious death, despised and rejected. This day the Cross is held before humanity like a mirror: goodness and truth have come to you, and this is how you respond. This is you, unadorned, without your fig-leaves. The Cross reveals humanity to itself.

But more importantly, the Cross reveals God to us. “God is such that he identifies himself with man, right down into this abyss and he judges him by saving him. In the abyss of human denial is revealed the still more nexhaustible abyss of the divine love”. (Jospeh Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity). Because of this revelation of divine love, we can dare to call today “Good” Friday.

St Mark tells us that Jesus was crucified around noon, and died around 3pm:
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour. Mark 15:25, 33.
It is for this reason the Liturgy begins at 3pm. We might appropriately spend the 3 hours during which Jesus suffered in quiet prayer individually.

Today’s Liturgy is stark, dramatic and powerful. In complete silence the priest and servers enter. The priest then prostrates himself, while all kneel: we abase ourselves because humanity has abased the Lord; we fall to our knees in recognition of what humanity has done.

After we rise, the priest immediately says the Opening Prayer and we listen to the Scriptures.

The Passion is narrated as it was done on Palm Sunday, today the Passion according to St John. Again the congregation gives voice to the crowds who rejected the Lord. Each one of us rejects the Lord in some way; each one of us fails to be fully human, fully honest, fully just. No human being is an innocent bystander in the rejection of the Son of Man. Once again we kneel when we reach the moment of the Lord’s death.

After the homily we offer the Solemn Prayers of Good Friday: for the Church, the Pope, the faithful, those engaged in public affairs, catechumens, the needs of the faithful, unity, the Jewish people, those who reject Christ. These intentions are called the Great Intercessions, and we kneel after each.

Then the Cross is brought in, preceded by incense, and elevated three times. After each elevation we kneel. We kneel three times because the Lord was mocked three times: in the high priest's courtyard, in Pilate's house, and on Mt. Calvary. The Cross we use contains a relic of the True Cross, and we come up to kiss and venerate the instrument of our redemption. The priest first takes off his shoes, like Moses before God, which we might all do as well.

Meanwhile the choir sing the Improperia (the Reproaches) of Christ, in which Our Lord reminds of us all He has done for us and our ingratitude towards Him: “O my people! What have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!” The verses sing of our salvation history and the great things God has done for us. But despite all that, the Cross stands before us: “O my people! What have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!”

After all have venerated the Cross, it is placed on a stand, where we might spend some time in prayer at any time throughout the rest of the day, and we all sing “When I survey the wondrous Cross”.

The priest then goes to the Altar of Repose to fetch the Blessed Sacrament. We receive Holy Communion, receiving Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Following the Prayer after Communion, all depart in silence.

Holy is God!
Holy and Strong!
Holy and Immortal one – Have mercy on us!