Sunday, January 30, 2011

Life at Newman House: a resident's perspective

In the first part of a blog series we look at life at the chaplincy by introducing a regular face at Newman House.

Where are you from, and what do you study?

My name is Robert. I am Irish. I moved from Ireland to London to take a postgraduate in archaeology at University College London.

How did you hear about Newman House?
I came across the university Chaplaincy website. When I applied I knew no one here, and had never visited so I was not sure what to expect. As an undergraduate, I had already lived both in and off-campus. They were good experiences but I knew I wanted to try something a bit different.

How is living in the Catholic Chaplaincy different compared to other student residences?
Life here is unpredictable but at the same time it is very lively. Everyday presents something new and unexpected. The range of people here is so much greater than what I have previously experienced; so that creates a tremendous atmosphere, which I value. Everyone has a role and I find that allows Newman House to be formative in a special way.

What was your favourite part of living here?
I have only lived through one term in Newman House but still I wouldn’t even know where to start answering this question. There is a genuine community so every experience is shared and that includes visitors as well as the residents. That would easily be my favourite part.

Any advice to students coming to London?
Throw yourself into the countless opportunities available at the chaplaincy! The range of societies, the social outreach or the great talks. There is so much happening and so many places to fill. If you have any energy left after that, don’t forget to take some timeout at the Cardinals Arm’s the Newman House bar!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Architecture students beginning a Christian New Year

Christian Catholic Architecture Students (CCAS) held their first event of the term at lunchtime last Thursday. The architecture students led by Sr Margarida Londral fmvd offered a prayer for the new term and read words from the day's Gospel which was Mark 7:12. Reflection and discussion by all who attended followed, along with drinks and snacks.

Christian Catholic Architecture Students is a newly formed group, jointly run at the Architectural Association School of Architecture on Bedford Square and Newman House. It aims to offer a place for Christianity to architecture students, staff and all those who are interested.

Christian Catholic Architecture Students's next event is on Thursday 3rd of February, 1pm -2pm at the School of Architecture (room to be confirmed). This meeting will draw on the words of the pioneering master of modern architecture Ludwig Mies van der Rohe “less is more”. This idea will be viewn against Christ’s call to “Come, follow me” Matthew 4:19.

For more information contact

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Social Outreach: Open House

What were your New Year's resolutions?

Broken them yet?

Why not make some new ones?

An important part of the Christian vocation is service. There are a couple of projects with which you can get involved...


St Patrick's Church in Soho runs a regular drop-in centre for people who are homeless, currently operating out of St Anne's Anglican Church. Helpers are needed on Thursday afternoons, from any time between 5.30-9pm. Even if you only have half an hour, this is a really valuable means of service.

When Andrew, one of this year's Catholic Parliamentary Interns, went to help out, he blogged about the experience.

Contact Sr Mary for more information - MdotKenefickatlondonmetdotacdotuk

Generation of Love

Valentines Day is coming up soon and to celebrate, the Hounslow Youth Team have organised a Catholic Youth event. They invite you to the Generation of Love on Saturday 12th February, starting at 2pm at St. Michael & St. Martin's Catholic Church, 94 Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, TW3 3EH.

This day/evening event includes:

•A talk by Emmett & Lucy Dooley (formerly of Pure in Heart) who will be helping us to explore the theme of LOVE as young Catholic singles, couples and 'discerners' of religious life.

•Interactive games, workshops, faith sharing, and lots of God-loving during Adoration, Confession and a Youth Mass while TW3 lead live praise and worship!

•The evening turns hot after a sit down dinner with their very own rendition of 'Blind Date - RC stylee!', and then it's time to do your thang on a jam-packed dance floor where our DJ'll be playing the hottest freshest and cleanest club tunes til 1am.

A full breakdown of the day can be viewed on

Dress Code: Dress to impress... without showing flesh!!!

Cost: Suggested donation of £5 on thie night - but if that is too much, then you're welcome to give whatever you can! It's gonna be a wicked night!

For more info, email


Invite your friends via facebook

Monday, January 24, 2011

This Week

In addition to the CathSoc tonight, and NewLaw tomorrow, there's more....

Tuesday: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 6-9pm

Wednesday: Oasis - Exploring Ordinary Time, 7.30pm

Thursday: Shema - Freedom to Be, 8pm

Coming Up: The Gift of a Life, Sunday at 12.15pm
An Encounter with the Self - first of four sessions, Sunday at 6pm

A Jesuit & a Doctor, and the story of his two vocations.

One of the most popular student groups that is centred at Newman House is Newlaw. This is a group of student concerned in the rule of law and catholic ethics. Their events attract both law students and others. NewLaw next event At Newman House is on Tuesday the 25th of January.

This is a talk "A Jesuit and a Doctor, and the story of his vocations" by Fr Bart Beckers.

This should be an interesting evening, it starting at 7.30pm. As always all our very welcome to attend.

For NewLaw's schdule for 2011 click here
NewLaw can also be followed on facebook

Sunday, January 23, 2011

From modest beginnings....

A moving piece by Jerome Santamaria, now in Seminary for the Archdiocese of Melbourne,

I lived at Newman House during the 2004-5 academic year. A while ago, I wrote a short piece for the blog setting out some of the things that I learned or had confirmed during my time at NH. I recently returned for a one week stay and was once again struck by how small things can make a big difference and by how much NH has to offer.

A friend and I had organised to meet at Mass at NH one Sunday. However, when we arrived, we realised that it must still be term holidays so Mass was not on. While we tried to work out what to do (which involved me texting my sister to check Mass times on the net), another couple of students arrived. They obviously were after the same thing as us, but did not know anyone. I recognised the look in their eyes: indecision as to whether to risk admitting one's desires to another.

As I noted in my earlier piece, using one's own vulnerabilities as a way of helping others usually works. What I have since discovered is that the gentlest way of helping is to ask for help. This puts the other person in the position of strength, giving them the freedom to admit their own need or not. So, we asked them whether they knew if Mass was on. Like us, they didn't. And in this, they discovered they were like us. And a conversation could begin.

From these modest beginnings, something magnificent happened. On the way to Mass, I chatted to one of the students, who turned out to be absolutely fascinating. We swapped details after Mass so we could catch up again. When we did, more of this student's story became apparent: how difficult life in London could be when you did not know anyone, how big a young student's personal struggles could be, and how courageous it was to entrust such feelings to a relative stranger. My immediate response was to think how unfair it was that this person had turned to the one person who was leaving in London in a week. My next response was to realise how stupid this first response was. Just because the need had been expressed to me did not mean that I was the one who could meet it. That's the whole point of being part of a community, part of the Body of Christ: we all have different roles and so we need to be aware not only of our role, but of the role of others, too.

So, I turned to the community in London I knew best: NH. I told my new friend about what NH had to offer - the wonderful chaplains, the fabulous residents, the plentiful opportunities to meet others. Was this a risk? What if NH was not how I remembered it? What if this student in seeking help was rejected? That would make the plight even worse. Did I even think of these things? No, because I had no doubt that NH would rise to task. And sure enough, when my friend courageously asked NH for help, NH opened its arms. I could have cried I was so proud. It was one of the absolute highlights of my trip.

So, again, I would remind everyone: never forget to offer. Just because we are students and always feel like our job is to ingest, never forget that the little we have may be just what another needs. Even if that little is just 30 minutes to have coffee. Second, never underestimate just how much we have to offer. Through NH and the Church, we have access to a whole world; and a safe one at that, because it is founded on Spirit and Truth. And finally: thank you, NH residents, for once again incarnating God's love in the world.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria

Everyone will be aware of the outrage that took place in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year's Day, when a bomb blast outside St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church killed 23 people and wounded dozens of others.

We have a group of Coptic Orthodox students who regularly meet at Newman House on a Thursday evening. We are pleased to be able to provide this facility to our brothers and sisters. Their pastor is Bishop Angaelos, who joins them from time to time.
On 9 January special memorial services were held for those killed in Alexandria, and these were joined in union of prayer by thousands of others, including here at Newman House. Fr Peter sent a message of condolence and communion to Bishop Angaelos and has received this gracious reply:

Your Eminences, Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, Your Excellencies, dear friends, sisters and brothers,

Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

I take this opportunity to wish you the blessings of this New Year and peace, good health and success in all that you do.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies for the lateness of this reply to your appreciated sentiments and support over these last weeks and for my inability to respond individually to each and every message. As you can imagine, this painful attack on innocent church-goers in Alexandria on 1 January has drawn reactions from so many that we have been flooded with emails and messages of support, condolence, and above all, prayers, from hundreds of friends and partners. This show of support and solidarity has been an immense support to me personally, as well as to our Church and community here in the United Kingdom, in Egypt and throughout the world.

I am also very thankful to those who not only attended our Memorial Service with us on Sunday 9 January, but also those who, unable to attend due to their own services, pledged to pray with us at the same time, expressing the ultimate act of unity and solidarity. At that time we had all of our parishes across Europe accompanied in prayer by hundreds of the parishes and congregations of our ecumenical friends and partners across the United Kingdom.

Although I am sure that the Church will most certainly recover from this attack by God’s grace and the power and resilience that He provides for His children, we pray that matters in Egypt are dealt with with a wisdom and foresight that allows for a peaceful life for every person, and that Christians and Muslims alike can freely practice their faith without fear of personal or corporate attack.

Personally, and on behalf of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and our Church and community here in the United Kingdom, I offer my sincere thanks to you and pray that God sends His peace into every heart,

I leave you in the love and care of our gracious Lord.

+Bishop Angaelos
General Bishop
Coptic Orthodox Church
United Kingdom

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Summer Volunteering Opportunity

A message from Oleh Behen of the Ukrainian Catholic University

Here at the Ukrainian Catholic University we are preparing to host our 17th Annual English Summer School, where East meets West in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in Western Ukraine.

We would like to invite you and your students to consider dedicating the month of July 2011 to help rebuild the Church in Eastern Europe by teaching English in Ukraine. Each year we welcome college students, campus ministers and other volunteers from the United States and Western Europe to teach at the school, which provides a summer immersion experience to supplement our students’ language study during the academic term.

Our school provides a unique opportunity for cross-cultural exchange. Volunteers experience the Eastern Christian spirituality of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, including participation in Divine Liturgy and other prayer services, meeting and talking with Eastern Catholic priests and seminarians, religious, and laity, and learning about the witness of the Underground Church during the Communist oppression. (I promise you will agree with Pope Benedict XVI that “The Ukrainian Catholic Church is a cause of joy and hope.”) An initial teacher-orientation program helps prepare volunteers for their work, as well as provides an opportunity to experience life in the city of Lviv, the historic and cultural center of Western Ukraine.

There is no charge for the program. Volunteers are responsible for travel costs and then the university covers all the costs of meals and lodging in Ukraine.

As students (and campus ministers!) return to campus, they begin to seriously consider their summer plans. We invite you to support our ministry by helping to get the word out about this wonderful opportunity. And it’s never too soon to plan for next year. More information at:

Thank you for your help! May you have a blessed semester!

In Christ,

Oleh Behen
Catholic University

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Former Newman House Chaplain to be Archbishop's Secretary

We extend warm congratulations to Fr John O'Leary, who has been appointed as Private Secretary to Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

Fr John was a full-time University Chaplain, with particular responsibility for UCL and the LSE, and lived at Newman House from 2000-2002. He will be remembered by many former students from that recent era, and we send him our best wishes in his new post.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The missionary Vocation of every Christian

The missionary Vocation of every Christian

Often we can assume the work of missionaries is one for Holy Orders in faraway lands, distant from the responsibilities of our own lives. However nothing could be further from the truth. Fr Kevin Dring is a priest coming to speak at Newman House next Monday (17th January). He has given much of his vocation to the Latin American church, particularly in a number diocese in Peru. An engaging speaker, he will talk on the courage of listening to our own missionary vocation, that of every Christian.

Organised by UCL Cathsoc the talk will start at 7pm on Monday 17th January at Newman House, Gower Street 111.

There will be refreshments for all as usual!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Have you thought of applying for the Catholic Parliamentary & Public Policy Internships?

Young Catholics making a difference in the public square

Are you interested in politics? Are you considering a career where you can put your faith into action? You should consider applying for the Catholic Parliamentary and Public Policy Internships!

Now in its eighth year, this scheme will provide seven recently graduated Catholics with an intensive experience of political and social action in a spiritual context.

Three interns will be placed with Christian MPs and there are two further public affairs internships – at Archbishop's House, Westminster and a joint internship with CAFOD and CARITAS Social Action Network .

An intern will also be recruited to work with Christian MEPs in Brussels in a parallel scheme to be run by the office of the European Catholic Bishops’ Conferences based in Brussels (COMECE).

London-based interns join part-time MA students for one evening a week during the autumn and spring terms at Heythrop College, University of London for modules on Catholic Social Teaching and Foundations of Christian Ethics. (Equivalent studies for the Brussels based interns).

Interns are selected on the basis of ability and potential to gain most benefit from this unique experience. Financial support is provided which will fund accommodation, living and travel costs for the duration of the internship.

Find out more and read what the current interns have to say here

And read the Catholic Parliamentary Internship blog here

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome back to all students and visitors to Newman House!

Most of the students have returned to Newman House after the Christmas break and it's nearly all full again - a welcome change to the quietness over Christmas!

Mass began again on Sunday, please feel welcome to attend Mass in our chapel. On Sunday, you can come along on Sundays at 10:30am followed by refreshments or at 7:30pm, and on weekdays Mass is at 5.30pm.

The popular bible group "Shema-Exploring God's word" returns to Newman House on Thursday evening at 8pm on the 13th of January with the topic "Where do I belong?"
Join the Shema facebook group

Please keep an eye on our calendar for information on the regular university chaplaincy events.

We look forward to seeing you at Newman House soon.