Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The "Mummies" Unite!

Just as it seemed as though the year were winding down, the End of Year Party now only a feint memory, and several weekends of farewells and departures, there arose that almost unheard-of mystery: a new idea – in June!

Why not gather together the elder contingent (note the present author’s discretion – he did not write ‘old’) of ladies, and hold something just for them? The threshold was set at the quarter century, and only those who had lived for long enough were entitled to attend the elite synaxis.

And so it was that on Friday last the sitting room was turned into an all-female parlour for a culinary extravaganza.

The teasing of the men had begun during the afternoon, with one of the ladies dancing past some of them, a little glint in her eye, singing ‘If I only had a womb.’ Oh yes, madam, enjoy it while it lasts.

Meanwhile, the remnant of younger woman sat downstairs wondering what all the excitement was up above.

(Aerobics for the Elderly)

The feast began with Colon’s Nachos, Fernandes’ Pineapple in Grated Chocolate, Piquer Sebastia's Chicken, Sandford’s Fish Stew, and Iannino’s Tiramisu. Much laughter and excitement was encouraged by the strength of Prele’s Punch (and boy, did it punch!), and a wonderful time had by all.

(Don’t they look happy? They’ve hidden their walking frames behind the sofa).

There were rumours of games being played, including the dreaded Twister. Someone had very helpfully provided a guide to hip replacements, just in case.

All was well until it was noticed that some complete cad had placed notices at the entrance to the room.

What kind of scamp, what terrible bounder, could do such a thing? The multitude of Marples set to work and, in no time at all, apprehended the culprit, bang-to-rights, and had him surrounded.

Clearly, the heat is beginning to get to some people…

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Jubilee Pilgrimage to Lourdes

An eclectic mix of students from three universities, their mothers, and friends met at Stansted airport in the early hours of the morning for the flight to Pau (Pyrenees) and onward to Lourdes. Sisters Cecily and Mary were among them as their chaplains.

The three and a half days at Lourdes were deeply grace-filled as the students plunged enthusiastically into the many and varied prayer experiences that is so unique to Lourdes – the International Mass, the Blessing of the sick, the Candle – light rosary procession, the Jubilee Way, Confession, the Baths and the Way of the Cross, the late night masses and adoration at the grotto, not forgetting responding to the many requests to light candles there. The atmosphere at Lourdes somehow just lends itself to faith and liturgy – so charged is the sanctuary with peace, prayer and gentle kindliness. The sick on stretchers and wheelchairs and the disabled who were cared for with such tenderness is such a touching sight – the hallmark of Lourdes. Niddi and Sr Mary made a short visit to the hospital and were awed by the generosity of 50 young people from the Cloyne Diocese who accompanied them.

But it was not all prayer and no fun – the last afternoon was an excursion through the Pyrenees to the picturesque snow-capped mountain of Gavarnie. The more energetic students trekked up the slopes to the snow-filled cirque, where they took a tumble, had a snow fight and brought down a huge ball of frozen snow to prove their achievement.

The entire pilgrimage was truly graced by Mary our Blessed Mother who gifted us with so much joy and a deep sense of connecting with her Son.

What students say about their experience at Lourdes:
"In Lourdes you can get the best treatment ever for all kinds of struggles. I felt that I am much closer to God there and I came back as a completely different person full of confidence and optimism which has been given by the grace of Our Lady."
Riyad Nicolas – Royal Academy of Music

“Our Blessed mother is everywhere as she is in Lourdes but there in Lourdes together with the thousands of pilgrims, one can feel her presence in a tangible way. Through the various celebration of the liturgy, one’s soul is raised to a level beyond the ordinary. Truly it was an experience that will go with me for the rest of my life.”
Sebastian Koladiyil – University of Westminster

“I had a truly wonderful time in Lourdes and was humbled by the large crowds paying homage to God and honouring our Lady of Lourdes. I've been touched in the very essence of my spirit by the Care, Love and Sharing that emanates from Lourdes. I hope and pray that the inspiration of what I have experienced will guide me through this passage of my life here on earth. Thank you and the community borne out of our meeting together for being a part of this wonderful experience.”
Suzanne Salami – University of Westminster

Generally speaking, the pilgrimage experience was a prayer and fun-filled experience which I will never hesitate to make again should it come up next year. I use this opportunity to urge university Catholic students residing in London, their friends and non-Catholics to take up this opportunity to experience the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the love of God her son and His power at Lourdes. On a personal note, the experience of Lourdes left me with this calmness of the spirit that after wandering about for so many years now, I have come home to my maker who will forgive all my sins and shoulder my problems. I AM FINALLY AT PEACE WITH GOD!
Ndidi Ogunna – Brunel University

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Last Party.

Last Friday Newman House held its End of Year Party. We were treated to a delightful meal prepared and served by some of the residents. A starter of pâté, french bread and caviar was followed by a tender piece of rump steak with bearnaise sauce, pommes frites and green beans then to finish a sweet strawberry pavlova. Well done chefs! The bar was also open and was did good business. Gideon was our resident DJ and played great tracks throughout the night - there was much dancing and a lot of fun moves on the floor. Check out the Newman House facebook group to view more photos. Thank you to all the Senior students and other helpers who made the event possible.