Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wedding Bells!

2010 was a year of Newman House romances blossoming into Newman House weddings! Congratulations to all the following couples who were married this summer.

First up were Jamie Lenane and Kate Madden, who first met at Newman House, and were married on 24 July in Gibraltar Cathedral. (Kate's parents also met at Newman House!)

Andy Cooke and Harri Cooper also met when they both lived at Newman House. They were married on 31 July at Holy Trinity Church in Otford, Kent.

Next up were Gregory Nash and Eloisa Carr-Jones, also having met at Newman House, who were married at Sacred Heart Church, Bournemouth, on 14 August.

Adam Fudakowski and Katie Tween did not meet at Newman House, but Adam used to come to Mass here and introduced Katie to the House. He also happened to introduce Fr Mark Barret OSB to Newman House, so it was a nice touch that Fr Mark conducted the marriage. Adam and Katie were married at St Casimir's Church in Koscielisko, Poland, on 28 August.

Keith Stanfield lived at Newman House for quite a few years, and started up the Newman House Cardinals cricket team, amongst other memorable exploits. He met Ashley at the RAM where they were students together, and has been bringing her to Newman House ever since. They were married in the London Oratory on September 1st.

Congratulations to all of you!
May you live to see your children’s children.
And, after a happy old age,
be granted fullness of life with the saints
in the kingdom of heaven.

The Holy Father Visits Part 2

Hyde Park Vigil

Those who were in the choir at Hyde Park managed to get a very different view of proceedings! These are some of Ethel's photos.

There was of course a massive wave of enthusiasm when the Holy Father arrived. Lots of cheering and flag waving and shouts of support. But when the Holy Father addressed us there was a silent attentiveness. Then the Blessed Sacrament arrived and the Catholic instinct kicked in: no-one had to say anything, no announcement had to be made - the crowd of 80 000+ just quietly and reverently sank to its knees. Here, close to the place where so many Catholics were martyred (Tyburn, near Hyde Park Corner), the Successor of Peter was leading the Catholic faithful in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It was an incredible moment!

Beatification Mass in Birmingham
There was not much opportunity for sleep on Saturday night, as we had to set off for Birmingham at 1.30am! We grumbled a bit, but put up with it. When the day was over, someone said how grumpy they had been the night before, but how well worth it it all was. So true.

On our arrival we were stopped by a BBC Midlands Radio roving reporter, who interviewed a few of us. Keith and Ashley Stanfield were recently married, with Keith's by now legendary proposal to Ashley in the Sistine Chapel, Ashley told listeners the circle was complete because Keith had brought her to a Papal Mass just after their honeymoon!

The group found a spot - with a very good view, nice and close to the stage, and settled in. Some tried to catch up on some sleep in the many hours of waiting at Cofton Park. It rained a bit, which did not make things any better, but rain was certainly NOT going to dampen enthusiasm!!!

Having arrived so early, we got glimpses of the sanctuary podium in different hues. This is a lovely sequence of photos showing the progress from dark to light:

As at Hyde Park there was a wave of warmth and enthusiasm for the Holy Father when he arrived:

Part of every Beatification ceremony is the unveiling of the portrait of the new Blessed. At Cofton Park the unveiling was of an electronic image - certainly a novel approach!

Fr Peter and Fr Joe concelebrated the Mass. But pride of place has to go to our sacristan at Newman House, Marcin Lubowiecki, (second from right in the group photo below) who received Holy Communion from the Holy Father himself. You can see the moment on the big screen in the photo below.

Finally the Holy Father departed, and we got ready to set off back home.

Goodbye Holy Father! Thank you for visiting us! Please come again soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Holy Father Visits

We had an absolutely marvellous time, along with the rest of the country, with the visit of Pope Benedict to the UK from 16-19 September 2010. Jesus asked Peter to feed his lock and confirm his brothers in the faith. How real was our experience of Pope Benedict fulfilling that Petrine ministry as he visited our country! As someone said as we returned from Hyde Park "Did not our hearts burn within us!" (Cf Luke 24:32)

We had special reason to rejoice, of course, because the Holy Father beatified our patron, John Henry Newman, as the high point of his visit.

First of all, we decked out Newman House in festive papal bunting, and hung portraits of the Holy Father and Cardinal Newman in our windows.

(Do click on the pics to make them bigger so you get a better idea! Poor old Newman House is looking rather shabby and delapidated it has to be admitted!)

Nicola Paine made an exquisite banner for us, depicting the coat of arms of Cardinal Newman. Our former senior student, Sean Larcom (who returned home to Australia the day after the Papal Visit), carried it in the Procession of Banners at the Hyde Park Vigil. That's him hob-nobbing with the bishops on the stage!

To give us a bit of a group identity, and help us easily to spot our own group in the massive crowd, we all wore quasi-Cardinal's hats with red tassles!

Hyde Park Vigil

So we set off from Newman House as a rather nice big group, led by the Papal flag. We were sure no-one else would have had the same idea heheheh. We got some interesting looks, but no negative vibes from people in the streets of Bloomsbury.

I spot a Chaplain, but where are the students?

Now, this is one of those Newman House peculiarities. This picture has Matthew in it, but it's actually a picture of Peregrine Pen-Gwyn. Peregrine "belongs" to Chris Castell, and seems to go EVERYWHERE. He has a life of his own. He has been to Hong Kong to visit Magdalene, he has been to student parties, to the theatre, on pilgrimage to Walsingham, he goes to Mass from time to time. He even has his own Facebook page!!!!! Go on, look him up! He also attended the Papal events in London.

Finally arrived at Hyde Park, we were able to stake out some territory, settle down, have a picnic, meet up with old and new friends ... and wait.

Some of our people were in the choir, and got a different view of proceedings. They also had to do huge amounts of work rehearsing. A few of them in the pic below. Hint: they are students, so they are the younger ones ;)