Monday, December 14, 2009

Pro ecclesia et Pontifice

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It is our great pleasure to offer hearty congratulations to Michael Slater, long-time member of staff at Newman House, who has been awarded the medal Pro Ecclesiaet Pontifice by the Holy Father. He was given the medal in a surprise presentation by H.E Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.
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Michael was awarded the medal for his indefatigable work for the Catholic Association for the Performng Arts (formerly the Catholic Stage Guild), and the Westminster Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Meditation for Advent from Cardinal Newman

Found at the website promoting the Cause of Newman's Canonisation
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In this passage from an 1838 sermon Newman explains that Christian worship should prepare us on earth for meeting Christ our Judge. Only prayer, the sacraments, and profession of the whole mystery of faith can make us ready for that radically new life that awaits us in heaven:
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Men sometimes ask, Why need they profess religion? Why need they go to church? Why need they observe certain rites and ceremonies? Why need they watch, pray, fast, and meditate? Why is it not enough to be just, honest, sober, benevolent, and otherwise virtuous? Is not this the true and real worship of God? Is not activity in mind and conduct the most acceptable way of approaching Him? How can they please Him by submitting to certain religious forms, and taking part in certain religious acts? Or if they must do so, why may they not choose their own? Why must they come to church for them? Why must they be partakers in what the Church calls Sacraments?
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I answer, they must do so, first of all and especially, because God tells them so to do. But besides this, I observe that we see this plain reason why, that they are one day to change their state of being. They are not to be here for ever. Direct intercourse with God on their part now, prayer and the like, may be necessary to their meeting Him suitably hereafter: and direct intercourse on His part with them, or what we call sacramental communion, may be necessary in some incomprehensible way, even for preparing their very nature to bear the sight of Him.
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Let us then take this view of religious service; it is “going out to meet the Bridegroom,” [see Matt. 25: 6] who, if not seen “in His beauty,” [Isaiah 33: 17] will appear in consuming fire. Besides its other momentous reasons, it is a preparation for an awful event, which shall one day be. What it would be to meet Christ at once without preparation, we may learn from what happened even to the Apostles when His glory was suddenly manifested to them. St. Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” [Luke 5: 8] And St. John, “when he saw Him, fell at His feet as dead.” [Rev. 1: 17]
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This being the case, it is certainly most merciful in God to vouchsafe to us the means of preparation, and such means as He has actually appointed. When Moses came down from the Mount, and the people were dazzled at his countenance, he put a veil over it. That veil is so far removed in the Gospel, that we are in a state of preparation for its being altogether removed. We are with Moses in the Mount so far, that we have a sight of God; we are with the people beneath it so far, that Christ does not visibly show Himself. He has put a veil on, and He sits among us silently and secretly. When we approach Him, we know it only by faith; and when He manifests Himself to us, it is without our being able to realize to ourselves that manifestation.
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Such then is the spirit in which we should come to all His ordinances, considering them as anticipations and first-fruits of that sight of Him which one day must be. When we kneel down in prayer in private, let us think to ourselves, Thus shall I one day kneel down before His very footstool, in this flesh and this blood of mine; and He will be seated over against me, in flesh and blood also, though divine. I come, with the thought of that awful hour before me, I come to confess my sin to Him now, that He may pardon it then, and I say, “O Lord, Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, in the hour of death and in the day of judgment, deliver us, O Lord!”
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Again, when we come to church, then let us say:—The day will be when I shall see Christ surrounded by His Holy Angels. I shall be brought into that blessed company, in which all will be pure, all bright. I come then to learn to endure the sight of the Holy One and His Servants; to nerve myself for a vision which is fearful before it is ecstatic, and which they only enjoy whom it does not consume.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Chaplaincy Pilgrimage to Walsingham


Friday 27th - Sunday 29th November
Cost: £50

This week

Click on the links for more information.

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TUESDAY

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Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: 6-9pm

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Here I am, Lord – 7.30pm

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Please note: regrettably, the NewLaw session

planned for today has been cancelled.

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Taizé Prayer 8-9pm

(music practice 7.30pm)

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Benediction 9pm

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WEDNESDAY

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Visit to Kilburn High Road Mosque – depart 2pm

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Tea with the Chaplains – 3.30pm

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Catholic Education Seminar:

The Catholic Teacher: What we are, how we teach – 5.30pm

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OASIS: The Story of God’s People

Characters in the Scriptures – 7.30pm

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THURSDAY

Shema: Exploring God’s Word:

Judith & Esther – The women who saved Israel – 8pm

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SATURDAY

Day Retreat at Nazareth House in Hammersmith

10.30-5pm

Monday, November 02, 2009

This week

MONDAY

UCL CathSoc: John Smeaton, Director of SPUC- 6.30pm

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TUESDAY

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - 6-9pm

Here I am, Lord – 7.30pm: Sr Cathy Jones RA

Benediction 9pm

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WEDNESDAY

Tea with the Chaplains – 3.30pm

OASIS: Are you saved? – 7.30pm

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THURSDAY

Shema: Exploring God’s Word - 8pm

David- Forgiving Ourselves

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FRIDAY

Choir Practice – 6.15

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Sacred Made Real

Archbishop Vincent Nichols reflects on the meaning of three Spanish works of art at this exhibtion at the National Gallery.


The Sacred Made Real from Catholic Westminster on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

OASIS

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Our formation series known as Oasis has now swung into existence for this term. Please click the link below to see the full programme.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

This week - from 26th October

MONDAY
UCL CathSoc: Aramaic Workshop - 7.30pm
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TUESDAY
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 6-9pm
CathDocs – 7.30pm
Benediction – 9pm
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WEDNESDAY
Tea with the Chaplains – 3.30pm
OASIS: Water of Life – 7.30pm
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THURSDAY
Shema: Exploring God’s Word – 8pm
Ruth - Love crosses boundaries
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FRIDAY
Choir Practice - 6.15pm

Monday, October 19, 2009

This Week

MONDAY
UCL CathSoc: What is healing? 6.30pm
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TUESDAY
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - 6-9pm
Here I am, Lord - 7.30pm
NewLaw - 7.30pm
Benediction - 9pm
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WEDNESDAY
Visit to Great Portland St Synagogue 2pm
OASIS: Getting Started 7.30pm
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THURSDAY
Shema: Exploring God’s Word
Moses - God's call is too great - 8pm
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FRIDAY
Choir Practice - 6.15pm
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For photos of recent events please check out our Facebook Page

Saturday, September 26, 2009

And so it begins...

Whilst many postgraduate students started work several weeks ago (and some only managed to snatch a holiday at some point), the deluge of Undergraduates is descending this weekend on most of the colleges in London. Our prayers are with them as the year begins.

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A date for your diary:
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Sunday 11th OCTOBERzz
Freshers' Mass at Newman House
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10.30pm
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with Archbishop Vincent Nichols.



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We look forward very much to welcoming the Archbishop on his first visit to Newman House and to the Chaplaincy community since his installation.
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Photo: Marcin Mazur

CJC

Friday, September 11, 2009

Westminster Record

This month's Westminster Record carried a profile of Newman House on the back page.

Click here to read it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fr Edward Houghton RIP

From the Vicar General of the Diocese:
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"It is with a profound sense of shock and sadness that we announce that Fr Ed Houghton was fatally injured in a road accident in North Yorkshire yesterday, Friday 21st August. He was forty years of age and had been a priest for just over one year. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with Fr Ed's immediate family - his sisters and brother, at this time. We remember also the parish communities at Chiswick where he was Assistant Priest, and the Cathedral where he served his year as a Deacon."
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Fr Edward Houghton at his Ordination to the Priesthood

at the hands of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O' Connor on Saturday 31st May 2008.

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Fr Ed was born in Preston and prior to studying for the priesthood worked as an English and Religious Education teacher at St Charles Sixth Form College in Ladbroke Grove. He had been a resident at Newman House when he was a student. Our prayers are with his family and all who mourn him. May he rest in peace.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Pilgrimage to Taize

Sr Mary gives an account of the recent pilgrimage to Taizé.
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Sr Mary Kenefick and five students from LSE and a professional member of staff from Goldsmiths College made a pilgrimage to Taizé from 20-29 June 2009. As an English student group we were delighted to meet students from Keele and Warwick Universities. Later in the week, the UK contingent of thirty were joined by a group of eight parishioners from St Mary’s Church, Cadogan St, accompanied by their priest Fr Georgios Ntakgas.
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It could be called a spiritual holiday in sunny central Burgundy, France, given the prayer environment of this unique ecumenical community of monks founded by Brother Roger. The sun gave of its best for 7 days while on Friday we were reminded of God’s presence for five hours through thunder and intense rain reviving the earth, grass and flowers.
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Daily life at Taizé includes Catholic Mass at 7.30am, followed by Morning Prayer with the Eucharist followed by breakfast round 9am. There is a bible teaching/reflection at 10am for one hour. Midday prayer, lasting half an hour, takes place at 12.30pm followed by lunch. One is free for an hour and then either or discussions or workshops are available in groups. These were excellent because one got to know and share faith with Christians from around the world. In my case it was with Christians from Sweden, Norway, Spain and Great Britain. Their difference brought enrichment into our lives and some long lasting significant friendships have been forged.
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It was astounding how quickly we build community and significant relationships within a few days. Evening Prayer was preceded by dinner. Central to all the prayer times was an 8 minute silent period and, of course, the Taizé chants. The silence was respected and reached profound depths at times.
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There is a necessary element of penance, with regard to food at Taizé. It was sufficient and healthy. Taizé is a homely place and this is expressed through the inclusion of everyone in prayer, reflection and building community through household tasks.
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I was delighted to locate Brother Roger’s grave at the entrance to the old, local and first chapel of the community just outside the campus. Many people prayed here and I left some vocation literature there. The Taizé community bases its ecumenical living style on that lived by the early Christians in the first two centuries, loving and sharing Eucharist. They are influenced by the teachings of St Ignatius of Antioch and St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, their neighbourhood.
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The spirit of Brother Roger lives on and this was affirmed by people who had made pilgrimages there during his lifetime. We were told one amusing story by one of the brothers. “When brother Roger lived he was old, not only in years, yes, but also in his mind. When he began to tell a story, which he often did, you knew after the first four words what the next ten minutes would be like!”
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This pilgrimage has been a defining moment in the prayer life of the students. While there, two volunteered to work in the kitchen cooking the dinners and two others made a silent retreat for 3 days. The discussions groups played a big part in broadening their faith and knowledge of it and the universal element of the Catholic and Christian Churches. They certainly discovered a new meaning and vitality for their life.
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There is a great opportunity at Taizé for volunteer work; in fact I would say they depend greatly on volunteers and I met some from all points of the compass.
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I would like to end with a quote from Brother Alois, current prior: “Yes, God is present in every person, whether they are believers or not. From its very first page, the Bible describes in a beautiful and poetic way the gift that God makes of his breath of life to every human being.”

Friday, July 03, 2009

Newman Miracle Authenticated


The Holy Father this morning approved a decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, authenticating a miraculous cure attributed to the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman. This means that his beatification will take place relatively soon, although no announcement has yet been made as to whether the beatification will take place in Rome or in England, or as to who will preside at the celebration.
Comments from Archbishop Vincent Nichols here
More on the cure here, and more news when we have it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A message for Vocations' Sunday

Charles Randall (resident at Newman Hosue 2000-1) tells the story of his conversation with God, and offers some good advice to anyone in the process of discerning their vocation.
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Sharing my vocation story is becoming quite a feature of my life at the moment! Earlier in the week I was asked to share with a group of young offenders why I have decided to put myself forward for the Catholic priesthood, and now I have been given the opportunity to write a short piece for the Newman House blog. At present, I am working as a chaplaincy volunteer at a young offenders institute, having left my career behind at Christmastime in order to put myself forward as a postulant with a religious order in September. It is my hope here to help someone else who might be asking themselves whether or not God is calling them to the priesthood or religious life.
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In my own experience, it was the persistence of the idea of priesthood in my own thoughts which not only encouraged me to explore how I might become a priest, but ultimately presented me with a choice: Live indefinitely with this persistent idea (which at first I was able to suppress and then evade, but which gradually became near to all-consuming), or put the idea to the test. Some priests I have spoken to wanted to be priests from an early age. I didn't. When I first saw that I might be called to the priesthood, I was not pleased about it. I think I said out loud “I'll do anything, BUT THAT.” Almost ten years later, I now embrace the priesthood as my vocation if that is God's will.
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If you feel called to the priesthood or religious life, it may be that the thought of embracing that calling repels you, or fills you with anxiety, resignation or apprehension, or with deep peace or great joy. Certainly in my own case I had to wait until my own feelings tended towards the latter end of that spectrum before I put the vocation to the test! Testing a vocation with no accompanying spiritual consolation whatsoever would be a senseless exercise. Likewise by no means is it necessary to feel absolute certainty before putting your head above the parapet. Doing something about a vocation will involve an investment of time, energy and prayer.
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My case may be extreme, but it took me nine years before I finally felt the time was ripe for me to tell my family what I hoped to do, and then my parish priest. My family, friends and colleagues have all supported and affirmed me on my path without exception, although I recognize that by the time I was ready to share my news with them, I could have come through rejection had I met with it; I would not have had the emotional resources to deal with it earlier along the way. For this reason I would advocate caution in who you share your thoughts with in the early stages of discernment of a priestly or religious vocation. Whilst all vocations will ultimately and rightly be about God, you, and others, in the early stages of discernment, it will be right for you and God to share with each other first. Then it will be right for you to receive guidance and support from people whose vocation it transpires is to help you on your journey!
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I would encourage you, if you think you may have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, when you are ready, to seek out guidance. When I shared my thoughts with my parish priest, he advised me to make a retreat, and to seek out a spiritual director. I do not know if this is the standard procedure, but it has been right for me. I went to my parish priest to share my thoughts, in confidence, because I trusted him to advise me as to the best way forward. Find someone who you trust, whether a priest, religious, or prayerful lay person, whom you know could advise you pastorally and practically as to your vocation and the next steps. My parish priest had someone in mind to be my spiritual director, to prepare me and guide me during my discernment, to help me deepen my prayer life, and to suggest retreats, pilgrimages and 'come and see weekends' with religious orders and at seminaries.
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In a practical sense, having not yet entered formal training for the priesthood, I am at the beginning of my journey. Though my personal discernment began a while ago, now the Church will be discerning with me. I now hope the road leads to priesthood, but even then ordination will be yet another beginning, in the same sense that a marriage celebration is a beginning: a moment especially graced, but with a prelude of courtship and a lifetime of living to follow. Sacramental mile-stones such as ordination or marriage are special springboards, to be looked forward to with great joy, but they are not 'the moment when my life will really get off the ground.' What I am inviting you to consider is that, whether God is calling you to priesthood, the religious or married life, or to lay single-hood, your vocation journey has begun. In fact, you are right in the thick of it now!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Exam Time! Prayer before exams

The library of Newman House is the main hub of activity at the moment - all deathly silent but highly productive. Some residents are walking about with that fierce look of concentration that can only mean one thing: exams!


To help support our students in this time, we have three spiritual gifts to offer


1. A Votive Mass of our Lady Seat of Wisdom, on Monday 11th May at 5.30pm.




The intentions of all those writing exams will be offered, in union with the prayers of our special patron, our Lady Seat of Wisdom.


2. An exams intentions diary in the Chapel

anyone is free to write down their names and the exams for which they want prayer support on any particular day. These will be prayed for at each Mass during the week.


3. A prayer to help along the way. This is the wonderful prayer of St Thomas Aquinas.



Ante Studium.

Creator of all things,

True source of light and wisdom,
Origin of all beings,

Graciously let a ray of your light

Penetrate into the darkness

Of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness

In which I have been born,

An obscurity of sin and ignorance.


Give me a keen understanding,

A retentive memory,

And the ability to grasp things

Correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent

Of being exact in my explanations

And the ability to express myself

With thoroughness and charm.
Point out the beginning,

Direct the progress,

And help the completion.

I ask this through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.





Best wishes to all who are studying for exams!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The 11th Archbishop of Westminster

The Holy Father has appointed the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, to succeed H.E. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as the eleventh Metropolitan Archbishop of Westminster.



Vincent Nichols was born in Crosby, Liverpool, on 8 November 1945. He studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome from 1963 to 1970, gaining licences in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University. He was ordained priest in Rome on 21 December 1969 for the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
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He then studied an MA degree in theology at Manchester University between 1970 and 1971. In 1971 he was appointed assistant priest in St Mary’s Parish, Wigan and chaplain to the Sixth Form College and St Peter’s High School. In 1974 he studied at Loyola University in Chicago and was awarded an M.Ed. In 1975 he was appointed to St Anne’s parish in Toxteth, Liverpool with particular responsibility for education.
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In January 1980 he was appointed director of the Upholland Northern Institute, where he was responsible for the in-service training of the clergy, pastoral and religious education courses. He was also a member of Archbishop’s Council with responsibility for pastoral formation and development in the diocese.
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In January 1984, he was appointed general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference in England & Wales. From 1989 to 1996 he was moderator of the Steering Committee of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland.
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Mgr Vincent Nichols was appointed auxiliary bishop to Westminster, with responsibility for North London, on 24 January 1992.
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In 1994 he became a member of the Finance Advisory Committee of the National Catholic Fund of the Bishops’ Conference. In 1995 he became a member of the Bishops’ Conference Committee for the Roman Colleges and in 1996 he was appointed Episcopal Liaison of the Bishops’ Conference for the National Conference of Diocesan Financial Secretaries. He has also been a member of the Joint Commission of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences and the Conference of European Churches (Protestant); vice president of the Bible Society and a member of the board of the Christian Academy for European Development at Louvain.
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In 1998 Bishop Nichols was appointed chair of the Bishops’ Conference department for Catholic Education and Formation and also chair of the Catholic Education Service. He represented the European bishops at the November 1998 Synod of Bishops from Oceania and appointed by the Holy See to the Synod of Bishops for Europe in September 1999 as a special secretary.
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In 2000, Bishop Nichols was appointed Archbishop of Birmingham.
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In 2001 Archbishop Nichols was appointed chair of the management board of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
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In 2005, he provided the commentary for the worldwide BBC coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the Installation of Pope Benedict XVI.
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In 2008 he was appointed President of the Commission for Schools, Universities and Catechesis of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE)
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He has written two books to date: 'Promise of Future Glory', and ‘Missioners’ published in the United Kingdom.
Our prayers are with him as he prepares to take up his new mission.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Sacred Triduum at Newman House





Holy Thursday
Mass of the Lord’s Supper
7.30pm
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Good Friday
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
3pm

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Holy Saturday
The Easter Vigil
8pm
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Easter Sunday
Mass
10.30am ONLY.
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If you would like to join the choir for any of these celebrations please contact chris@universitycatholic.net

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cardinal reflects on his nine years in Westminster


In a Pastoral Letter for the fifth Sunday of Lent, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has reflected on his nine years as Archbishop of Westminster.
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The Pastoral Letter, the last he will deliver to parishes in the Diocese of Westminster as Archbishop of Westminster, was read out at the 216 parishes in the diocese over the weekend of 28– 29 March 2009.
Source: RCDOW



Monday, March 30, 2009

What Lent means to me

This occasional series of reflections written by residents and Alumni continues with this piece by Irma Kurniawan.

To me, Lent is a time to make the right choices and live them with courage and faith.
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Whenever I am faced with a dilemma, God does not spoon-feed me with the right decision to make, but He will give me all the collateral tools to be able to listen to my conscience and make a choice that will bring me closer to Him. And Lent is precisely the time to use these tools. It is the time to stop whenever I see myself doing things that do not glorify God, to seek help and advice from fellow Christians or Church authorities, and most important of all, to sit before God and pray, asking for hope.
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Lent, for me, is the time to make the right choices that will allow me in what I do, to glorify God, and live those choices. To me, it’s like a time to make some serious resolutions. I'm not referring to single resolutions such as waking up at 6.30am everyday, or doing more exercises. While these are good and real examples of how one might manifest their fundamental decisions into practical routines (and one should always aim to do this), I am referring to more holistic resolutions in shaping my daily life to place myself, my thoughts, my actions, and my desires before God, in order to worship and please Him. Of course in reality, this becomes manifested in making decisions in small things such as finishing that one last task that I have to do today rather than procrastinate.
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And most of all, Lent is the time to ask for His compassion and love, and strength to live out those resolutions.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Raising Lazarus


At first glance it might seem strange to look around the chapel today and then to hear this Gospel reading. We have covered the Crosses and images, and begin to commemorate what is traditionally known as ‘Passiontide’, yet we have this long passage describing the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
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We are still in the cycle of baptismal Gospels, the third Scrutiny of the Elect takes place, and the journey towards Baptism is nearing its culmination.
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In the Gospel today, we see that the Lord does not go to Lazarus immediately after his death. He is making a point: Lazarus is left long enough in the tomb so that when Jesus acts in this extraordinary way, it will be all the more powerful. No-one will be able to say ‘Very clever, but he wasn’t really dead.’ Jesus satisfies the Rabbinical authorities, fulfilling what the law demanded - but transforms its meaning.
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We have an incidence of what scholars call an ‘I am’ sayings in this Gospel. ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ Again, this is an extraordinary claim. Even in first century Judaism it was fairly commonplace for people to talk of the resurrection of the dead (with the well-known exception of the Sadducees), but for Jesus to identify his own person, his own being, with this concept is startling.
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We might expect Jesus to lay his hands upon Lazarus, anoint him, maybe. He does nothing of the sort. Last week we saw how he took the earth (adama) and applies it to the man’s eyes in order to ‘complete’ the creation of the man born blind. Today we are looking to the creation narrative once again. God said ‘let there be…’, and so there was. Jesus said ‘Lazarus, here! Come out.’ Jesus himself is enough to raise Lazarus from the dead, because he is the very Word spoken by the Father.
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Jesus acts in extraordinary ways, with extraordinary deeds: in doing so, he raises our expectation of what is ‘ordinary’. It is a matter of course for us to say during the Creed ‘We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.’ This is not just a metaphor for heaven. It is something more complete, more challenging, more transforming than simply ‘going to another place.’
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The raising of Lazarus takes place before the glorification of Jesus. To the eyes of those observing this event, it is Lazarus, as he was, who is raised. To the eyes of those who see from our side of the Paschal Mystery, it tells of a different hope: the body will be transformed. This is the promise of Baptism, because we are washed in the living water that flows from the side of the risen Christ.
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And so onwards, towards Jerusalem.
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CJC

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Events for the week 15 to 22 March

All events take place in Newman House unless otherwise stated
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Tuesday, 17 March
  • 6.00 pm - 9.00 pm - Eucharistic Adoration followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
  • 7.oo pm - CathDocs

Dr Catherine Jackman will talk about her personal experience of working as a health professional on the Arundel and Brighton diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes

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Wednesday, 18 March

  • 3.00 pm - a visit to Westminster Cathedral

Meet at the Cathedral

Please contact Sr Mary

  • 2.00 pm - at King's Strand Campus, Room: 332 (S3.32)

Unreasonable atheists or Unthinking theists: is there an alternative?

Session 4: Morality, Conscience and Free Will

  • 3.30 pm - Tea with Chaplains
  • 7.30 pm - OASIS:

"Principles of Moral Theology" by Fr Tim Finigan

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Thursday, 19 March

  • 8.00 pm -

"The Old Testament through New Eyes" - Studying the Bible

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Friday, 20 March

  • 6.00 pm - Stations of the Cross

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Sunday, 22 March

  • 10.30 am - Holy Mass followed by Bar Lunch
  • 7.30 pm - Holy Mass

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lent with St Benedict


Br Cedd Mannion OSB reflects upon the teaching of St Benedict on the keeping of Lent.
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Lent is an important time for all Christians. This is perhaps especially true for monks, as St Benedict dedicates a whole chapter of his Rule for Monasteries to the keeping of Lent (click here to read). Chapter 49 suggests that during Lent the whole community should try to ‘keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times.’ This might suggest three aspects of Lent which Benedict sees as crucial.
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Firstly, the emphasis in ‘washing away … the negligences of other times’ is not upon making life difficult through some unbelievably penitential practice, but upon trying to be honest with ourselves; trying to identify those areas of our lives which – if we are honest – often get in the way, and prevent us being fully alive to ourselves, to our neighbours and to God. For Benedict, this principally meant things like ‘indulging evil habits’ and ‘scurrility’, and he suggests that we take on some measure of fasting, for example, to learn self-control and to create some space for God.
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Secondly, in ‘keeping our manner of life most pure’, we try to draw closer to God – the one thing necessary – and invite him to take up the space we have found. The two most important methods suggested by St Benedict for this are prayer and lectio divina, when we speak to God of our needs, and allow him to speak to us. This ‘purity of heart’ is an important monastic (and Christian) goal.
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Finally, Benedict does not offer his advice to individual monks, but to ‘the whole community’, and this is important. If Lent is to draw us closer to God, it will be something that we undertake together. It is important, then, that we pray for the fruitfulness not only of our own Lent, but also that of the whole community to which we belong, so that (as Benedict says) we may all ‘look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.’ (RB49:7)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

from Ashes to Resurrection


Lenten preparation has taken on a whole new meaning for me this year. We were still in the midst of “Ordinary Time” when the Palms and Palm Crosses from Palm Sunday last year were gathered, roasted and ground to produce the Ashes.
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The burnt palm leaves, ground by David into ash.

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The Ashes epitomise what Lent means to me. Genesis reminds us that “For dust we are, and unto dust we shall return.” Job, in his final answer, retracts all that he said, and “in dust and ashes I repent”. His actions speak of conversion, an integral process of our Catholic faith.
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My own conversion took place over 6 years ago when I decided to become a Catholic and join the RCIA group. I was eventually baptised at the Easter Vigil 2003. Looking back on the 6 years that have passed since, I feel proud that I have come a long way in terms of spiritual growth. However, I do acknowledge that the journey is far from over. Conversion is an ongoing process in our Christian lives, and it certainly did not end for me the moment I was baptised.
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During this season, as the end-of-term fatigue sets in for many of us, we are taken out of our comfort zone and challenged to lead a life of simplicity through the penitential practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. We are called to follow the narrow path that leads to life, and not the broad way that leads to destruction. It will be tough, but let us not lose sight of our ultimate aim – the Paschal Vigil, where as we renew or, in the case of some, recite for the first time our baptismal promises; the old, sinful individuals in us die, and we experience a new birth.
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Finally, do pray for those preparing for the Easter Sacraments. As mentioned I have been on that part of the journey before, prayers from friends, family and fellow Catholics were invaluable indeed.

David Vera

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Second Sunday of Lent: The Transfiguration

When Jesus was baptised by John the Spirit descended upon him and we hear the words: ‘this is my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on him.’ On that day the heavens opened, and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove. Today he gathers Peter, James and John with him. As far as they understand, they are going off to be alone with him, for some peace, for some prayer. They got more than they were expecting!
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What would my reaction have been if I were on the mountain with Jesus? How would I respond when ‘he was transfigured; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light’? I would probably respond with a mixture of awe, fear and confusion,
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The presence of Moses and Elijah is wonderful, however, and Peter wants to capture it: ‘I will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’. Peter has missed the point—this is not a moment to linger. Symbolising the whole of the Law and the Prophets, their appearance underlines the importance of this event, that Jesus is central to God’s plan for creation, everything leads to him, and what he must do cannot be delayed for long.
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The disciples are given a glimpse of who Jesus really is: the power of God shining forth in his very body, a foretaste of the power that will raise him from the dead. His nature is being revealed in a way that is striking and sublime.
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We have in many ways forgotten how to speak about ‘nature’, about ‘being’. We have to some extent replaced it with talk of something being ‘in my genes’. To be technical for a moment, we tend to replace metaphysics with biology, among other things—partly because we can analyse them, and even control them. The Transfiguration reminds us to look more deeply. It is not Jesus’ genes that are revealed to Peter, James and John; not merely his psyche laid before them. His very essence, he is the Son of God, Light-from-Light: they are given a glimpse of eternity.
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This tells us something about how God works: he acts in the nature of things, creating, sustaining and renewing. He has raised Christ from the dead, and so we do not fall on our faces, overcome with fear: we know what the power of God can do and if we trust him, fix our gaze on the risen Christ and leave behind all the things that keep us from him, we will be transfigured and free—and Christ will be known. There will be no need for anyone to start building tents.
CJC

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Events for the week of 1 to 8 March

All events take place in Newman House unless otherwise stated

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Tuesday, 3 March
  • 5.30 pm - SOAS, Faber Building, room F403

"Called to make a change - a Peruvian experience among the poor"

  • 6.00 pm - 9.00 pm - Eucharistic Adoration followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

***

Wednesday, 4 March

  • 3.00 pm (sharp) - a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral

To include a free tour and Evensong at 4 pm.

Meet st St. Paul's

Please contact Sr Mary to register

  • 3.30 pm - Tea with Chaplains
  • 7.30 pm - OASIS

"Dante and the Mediaval World" by Dr Brian Horne

Click here to let us know if you are coming.

***

Thursday, 5 March

  • 8.00 pm -

"The Old Testament through New Eyes" - Studying the Bible

***

Friday, 6 March

  • 6.00 pm - Stations of the Cross

***

Saturday, 7 March

  • 10.30 am - 4.30 pm; venue: Nazareth House, Hammersmith Road, W6 8DB

"Listen to Him" (Mk9: 2-10)

A one-day retreat organised by the Sister Chaplains.

Bring your lunch, and a donation of £2 to cover costs.

E-mail Sr Mary to register.

***

Sunday, 8 March

  • 10.30 am - Holy Mass
  • 12.00 noon - Newman House Dining Room

International Banquet

All proceeds will be given to

the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development

  • 7.30 pm - Holy Mass

Monday, March 02, 2009

Congratulations, Monsignor




Fr Jeremy Fairhead, Senior Chaplain from 1998-2002, has been named a Chaplain to His Holiness. Monsignor Fairhead, who was Chaplain to Oxford University until 2007, now works in the Roman Curia, at the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People, with a specific brief for International Students.
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(For those of you interested in such things, it entitles him to wear the purple-trimmed. black cassock with purple sash)
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Many congratulations, Monsignor, and our prayers are with you.
...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

First Sunday of Lent



Jesus’ journey into the wilderness is a striking call to action. There are always those who would like to portray it as a flight from the world, but this would empty it of its value. The act of retreat, of taking yourself to one side in order to be with God, requires a certain courage. Being alone with God is to be aware that you are completely known and loved; God’s understanding of me is greater than my own, and he calls me into prayer.

Jesus withdraws in order to prepare himself for his ministry; it is a period of consolidation, and of growth. When the devil tempts him and offers him an opportunity to demonstrate his power, Jesus shows that this type of power does not tell the truth about who he is.

When the Lord calls us into prayer, into retreat, into devotion, he is not asking us to move into a hidden realm where everything conforms to some ideal in our heads. He is calling us to rest with Him, to acknowledge our own weakness and vulnerability, and to trust Him. To trust is to be vulnerable, and is very difficult.

To trust is to accept that I don’t have all the answers, that I do not create the reality around me, that I do not create myself, or merely ‘brand’ some kind of identity into existence. It is to accept that in all things the human being is totally dependent upon God’s power and love.

This is the power than can transform me. It is the power that lifts me out of all pretence, out of all play-acting, and lets me see who I am. God will lift the veil from my eyes and invite me to see the whole of creation with his own perspective, which has a breadth I cannot imagine.

When I trust in this power, my action will be changed. I will be different. There will be a new unity of word and action: authenticity. I will be a new sign to the world, a sign of one whose words speak only of truth and of love.

At some point, even my understanding of ‘I’ will share in this transformation, and I will discover that I am only a witness. That is the decisive moment: it is the moment when the power of God is shown forth in me.
CJC

Friday, February 27, 2009

Journey through Lent I

During this season of Lent, some of the Alumni and Residents of Newman House will be contributing their reflections on the season. Thanks to David Bennet for this first offering.
For me, Isaiah 61 is a good description of lent. It is about the Spirit of the Lord bringing good tidings to the afflicted and proclaiming liberty to captives. Lent is a preparation for the joy of Easter, a preparation that turns my gaze beyond myself, towards others and especially towards God. It is about a deepening of love which can only take place in a surpassing of myself, which is achieved concretely through fasting and giving alms. Allowing more time for prayer seems to be the source and term for both giving and receiving, preparing a space in my heart for the Kingdom of Heaven, celebrated at Easter. The passage in Isaiah goes on to say that the Spirit of the Lord will give a garland instead of ashes, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit, that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. I came across this passage on Ash Wednesday and thought it really put what we were doing into perspective. Finally, Isaiah says these people shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. As a community we go through lent, allowing all former devastations to be rebuilt, celebrating this strengthened communion with the Risen Lord at Easter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Approaching Lent

As we approach the season of Lent, it is important to remember that this season, whilst involving penance, fasting and almsgiving, has its origin and meaning in the preparation for baptism. ‘Lent’ means ‘Spring’; it is a reference to our new birth in Christ, and has the happy effect of drawing our eyes towards the grandeur of creation as nature begins to awaken from its winter hibernation. This ‘new Springtime’, this new life is our annual refreshment in Christ. It is an opportunity to take stock of how closely we follow the Lord, and maybe to ask ourselves some tough questions. What do I put in the way of following Christ? How do I make it difficult for myself to know the Lord, and how do I make it difficult for others to meet him?

Take a moment to look at these difficulties, and prune with care: It does no good to cut off living branches! If the branch is dead, you probably know it already, and are having to carry the extra weight. If it is dead let it go, rise up, and let us be on our way. With fasting and penance, the tools we have for pruning, there can be a tendency toward misery. This misses the point entirely – Lent should make us lighter, more attractive disciples.

One part of every person’s life that always needs to be nourished is prayer. As our lives race forward, always pushing us on to the next event, the next job, the next person, meditation and reflection can be squeezed out all too easily. Whatever you give up for Lent, whatever penance you undertake, do not forget the importance of ‘wasting time with God’.

Please remember to pray for our Catechumens, as they prepare to be joined with the Lord in Baptism.
CJC

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Taize Prayer


Taize Prayer was held at Newman House last Tuesday. We were honoured to have received generous help from the musicians from King's Cross Methodist Church. It was a tremendous opporunity for students to get away from their busy university lives and immerse themselves in a prayerful atmosphere. The 45-minute prayer consisted of singing, Psalm and Gospel readins, meditative silence, and general intercessions. Taize prayer provides people with a deeper sense of contemplation by repeating the Scripture over and over again. The response from the participants was good and we hope we will get that chance to organise such events again in the very near future.
Janet Tse

Newman House Cardinals

The Newman House Cricket Team, the Cardinals, now have their own website, where you can see reviews of recent matches, profiles of all the players, and more. Pay them a visit!

http://web.me.com/nhcardinals

Events for the week of 22 February to 1 March

All events take place in Newman House unless otherwise stated
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Wednesday, 25 February
  • 12.30 pm - Holy Mass with the Imposition of Ashes
  • 5.30 pm - Sung Pontifical Mass with the Imposition of Ashes
  • 9.00 pm - Holy Mass with the Imposition of Ashes

  • 3.30 pm - Tea with Chaplains
***
Thursday, 26 February
  • 7.30 pm - Here I am, Lord
Fr John Edwards: "The Evangelical Counsels"
***
Sunday, 1 March
  • 10.30 am - Holy Mass followed by Coffee and Lunch
  • 7.30 pm - Holy Mass

Listen to Him: A Day Retreat

The Sister Chaplains are organising a one day retreat for Lent.

Location : Nazarerth House, Hammersmith Road, W6 8DB

Click here for contacts and to ask for more information.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Mass at Newman House
12.30pm
5.30pm (Celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes)
9pm

Ash Wednesday Mass around the Colleges:
Institute of Education, room 944, 1.15pm
London Metropolitan University (City Campus), Calcutta House Room GSG 20, 1pm
LSE (Chaplaincy K51), 1.15pm
University of Notre Dame, 5.15pm
University of Westminster (Cavendish Campus), room CLG 08, 1.10pm

NB: Unfortunately, it has been necessary to CANCEL the Mass scheduled at Guildhall.





For more information about the keeping of Lent, click here.





Website Relaunched


The Chaplaincy website has been completely redesigned, and is now live! Pay a visit and tell us what you think. There are all new galleries, a constantly updated events calendar, and much much more.
Click here to register and receive regular updates.
Special thanks must go to Russell Hearn and Kathryn Arblaster who have (and continue to) spent many hours of labour on it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Carnival

This year Newman House once again hosted a mid-term Carnival party. Dave Jones tells us more...



The Newman House Event team had spent the whole afternoon preparing for the celebration of Carnevale! Colourful drapes hung from the ceiling along with Chinese lanterns and glittering masquerade-style masks covered the walls of the Bar and Breakfast room. Party-goers brought home-made sweet desserts and candy to feed the masses and sangria flowed a-plenty! Resident DJ Cool Breeze, set the tone with music from the Caribbean, Mauritius and Latin America, mixed in with popular favourites to get everyone on the dance-floor; Tasha and I were even able to strut our salsa moves in full costume! In fact one of the wonderful things about this year’s Carnevale was the very fact that the dancing just didn’t stop! We all partied well into the early hours, even after having to turn down the volume due to music licensing!!! (Apologies Father Peter!)
Variety in costume was also amazing! From Roman togas to Superheroes to fancy face-painted people! The evening was a huge success and a real reflection of the wonderful multi-cultural atmosphere of the community here at Newman House. Thanks to all involved. Roll on next year’s party!!



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Year of St Paul Celebrations


Since the beginning of the Year of St Paul, his icon has been hanging close to the Altar at Newman House. Various events have been held to help students deepen their awareness and appreciation of the great Apostle to the Gentiles.

Last year the UCL Cathsoc had as an invited guest Sister from South London. In a very lively session, punctuated with the singing of verses from the chorus "If God is for us, who can be against" she explored the theology of St Paul for today.

Last week our chaplain at Imperial College and at More House, Fr Geoff Wheaton SJ, led the OASIS session, looking at St Paul in art. Fr Geoff's phenomenal knowledge of his subject, and his passion for it, was evident. A most enlightening evening.
...
Plenary Indulgence



On the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul, Sunday 25th January, the whole community joined in celebrating this great event in the life of the Church at the Sunday Mass. Then about 30 gathered in the Chapel at 1.30pm for a Celebration of the Word, with opportunities for confession. The group then walked down to Westminster Cathedral, (all of them? Not quite - Fr Peter and Fr Brian were seen to wave to the group as their car passed them on the way to the Cathedral!!) to visit the Chapel of St Paul in order to obtain the Plenary Indulgence specially attached to this pilgrimage. A prayer to St Paul was said in the chapel, as well as a prayer for the Pope's intentions. The day ended with attendance at Vespers in the Cathedral - and coffee at Cafe Nero afterwards for some! But by then most had realised that their whole day had been spent in holy activities, so they really ought to do some study and they shot home!






St Paul the Apostle - Pray for us!!!