Sunday, October 30, 2011

"the Eucharist is like a beating heart giving life to the mystical Body of the Church”

The above image may be familiar to many of you: the Holy Father holding aloft the Blessed Sacrament during the Hyde Park Prayer Vigil last year. I was among the pilgrims present that evening, and no sound has ever stunned me quite like the total and utter silence of all those many tens of thousands of people, shoulder to shoulder at the end of a beautiful day in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.

Pope Benedict’s predecessor taught that through adoration, “the Christian mysteriously contributes to the radical transformation of the world and to the sowing of the Gospel. Anyone who prays to the Saviour draws the whole world with him and raises it to God. Those who stand before the Lord are therefore fulfilling an eminent service. They are presenting to Christ all those who do not know him or are far from him; they keep watch in his presence on their behalf.” (Blessed John Paul II, 1996)

We are fortunate at Newman House to have the Blessed Sacrament permanently reserved, but even more fortunate to have adoration every Tuesday evening. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again.

The Sacrament is exposed from 6pm until 9pm, and while individuals can of course come and go as they see fit, residents and non-residents alike are invited to commit to specific time slots, so that constant prayer before the host is maintained. The three hours include evening prayer, the rosary, the reading of the Gospel and benediction; there is also talk of including different forms of prayer and worship, as well as of a longer period of adoration, stretching through the night.

There is a sign-up sheet on the notice board near Chris’s office, which can also be found outside of the chapel on a Sunday morning; alternatively, if you’d like to talk to Paula Muldoon who organises adoration here to discuss signing up, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, new ideas or maybe trying adoration for the first time, contact her at:

(NB: For this week only, due to masses for All Saints’ Day, adoration will last from 1830 to 2045, beginning with evening prayer but without the rosary, Gospel readings and benediction. Go sign up now!)

Title quote: Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 26th June 2011
Picture credit: Mazur /
Blessed John Paul quote: “Letter” (26th June 1996), quoted Adoratio 2011 ( )

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Now, November

As millions of paper poppies once more begin appearing on our streets, we this week mark All Souls' Day, and throughout the month of November we will pray for those we have known and loved who have gone before us. On Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, we will pause to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who have fallen in the service of their countrymen and in defence of freedom. We pray also for those who get caught in the crossfire of war and conflict, and ultimately we pray for peace in our world. These commemorations, held in ever shorter and colder days, could easily leave us feeling sombre, but our prayers for the faithful departed should be made not with a sense of loss, but with a sense of hope.

"Each one of us cherishes the memory of someone… who has helped us to grow in the faith and has made us feel the goodness and closeness of God… Let us remember that… in the tombs, only the mortal remains of our loved ones rest, while awaiting the final resurrection. Their souls -- as Scripture says -- already 'are in the hand of God.' Hence, the most appropriate and effective way to honour them is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity." (Pope Benedict XVI, 2009)

This coming week at Newman House:
Sunday 30th October
     1800- Identity and Love: How can my self-esteem grow? (part 2)
     2030- All Hallows' Eve Party (fancy dress!)
Monday 31st October
     1800- UCL CathSoc: Catholic Ghost Walk
Tuesday 1st November
     1230, 1730, 2100: Masses All Saints’ Day (Holy Day of Obligation)
     1800-2030: Adoration (TBC)
Wednesday 2nd November
     1230, 1730: Masses for All Souls’ Day (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed)
     1300: Mass @London Met, City Campus
Thursday 3rd November
     2000- Shema: Exploring God's Word- Listening to Our Hearts

Coming soon: images and reflections from the student pilgrimage to Aylesford Priory!

Picture credit: hazelsheard, "milan cathedral candles 1" (

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Newman House Houses, and the week to come

Last Sunday evening, a motley crew of us met (with varying understandings of the meeting time- mea culpa) to go for our first house meal, and had a grand old time in Zizzis. The House system at Newman is a great way of mixing people in new ways, and throughout the course of the year, there are meals, socials and sports days organised along those lines. So residents, if you haven’t already, find out which house you are in, and let’s see if we can’t get a little inter-house rivalry going!

Bourne House
Named for Francis, Cardinal Bourne; 4th Archbishop of Westminster 1903-35
Head of House: Magdalene Wong

 Heenan House
Named for John Carmel, Cardinal Heenan; 8th Archbishop of Westminster 1963-75
Head of House: Ellen Kitetere

Manning House
Named for Henry Edward, Cardinal Manning; 2nd Archbishop of Westminster 1865-92
Head of House: John Wye

Wiseman House
Named for Nicholas, Cardinal Wiseman; 1st Archbishop of Westminster 1850-65
Head of House: Louisa Lim

This coming week at Newman House:

Sunday 23
rd October
     1400-1700- Newman House Sports Day
     1800- Identity and Love: How can my self-esteem grow? (part 1)
Monday 24th October
     1900- UCL CathSoc: ‘Stuff of the Saints’
Tuesday 25th October
     1800-2100- Adoration
     2000-2200- Identity and Love Sharing and Reflection Group
Wednesday 26th October
     1930- OASIS
Thursday 27th October
     1730- @SOAS: Faith and Doubts- Why do you believe in God or not?
     2000- Shema: Exploring God's Word- Reaching Out
Saturday 29th October
     South Eastern Region Student Pilgrimage to Aylesford, with Most Rev Vincent Nichols

Picture credits:
Bourne: Idle Speculations, “The Cardinal, the Prime Minister and the Catholic Relief Act 1926”, 18th April 2009 (
Heenan: Solomon, I Have Surpassed Thee: A Blog from Westminster Cathedral, “Cardinal Heenan” 20th December 2007 (
Manning: Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman, “Cardinal Manning—1870”, (
Wiseman: Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman, “Cardinal Wiseman—1861”, (

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Moving swiftly on

Last Sunday with the Papal Nuncio (to Great Britain of course, 10 points to those who spotted my previous mistake) was great fun. Everyone was very excited beforehand, with Fr Peter swooshing (three cheers for the return of that word) around with great authority in his cassock- prior to announcing that His Excellency was stuck in horrendous traffic due to a large protest, and so mass went ahead without him. The music was especially fine, with three of Blessed John Henry's own hymns, and when the Nuncio arrived just before the final blessing, he was greeted by Elgar's Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, before delivering a stirring homily.

 After mass, he blessed the new Littlemore cafeteria, named of course for the place of Blessed John Henry's conversion...

...before cutting an aptly (and courageously) decorated cake...

...and then consorting with some Newman House ruffians!

It was a grand day, and one which will no doubt stay with us. Fr Peter observed shortly before mass that he was standing in for the Nuncio, who stands in for the Pope: we might now have to bow a little as we pass him in the corridors!

(Thanks to Adam Paciorek for the photos)

Last night (Friday), the bar downstairs had its offical reopening, so do remember to head down there.

This coming week at Newman House:

Sunday 16th October
     1330- Called by Name: A Culture of Vocations (Introductory session)
     1800- Identity and Love: Discovering our hidden treasure
Monday 17th October
     1900- UCL CathSoc: World Youth Alliance
Tuesday 18th October
     2000-2200- Identity and Love Sharing and Reflection Group
Wednesday 19th October
     1300- @London Met. North Campus Mass
     1930- NewLaw: Katie Fudakowski- My First Year at the Bar
     1930- OASIS
Thursday 20th October
     1730- @SOAS: Why and How is Christianity booming in China?
     2000- Shema: Exploring God's Word- Loved in my strengths and weaknesses

Two last things to bear in mind:
  • Paula Muldoon is coordinator for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday evenings; all are of course welcome for as little or as much time as they please, but she is rightly keen to ensure that there are constantly people there, so contact her if you would like to sign up for a time slot.
  • Contact Sr Mary if you would like to find out about volunteering at St Patrick's Church, Soho, where there is a drop-in centre for the homeless 1730-2100 Thursday evenings.
See you all in the morning, bright and early for mass!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pilgrimage to Aylesford

Saturday 29th October

A wonderful way to start off the academic year, meeting and praying with students at universities in the south of England!
Rosary Procession in the Rosary Walk of the Shrine

12 noon
Mass with Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Picnic Lunch (bring your own picnic)

Fr Christopher Jamison OSB 
reflections on Vocation

Adoration and Benediction

Travel to and from Central London, only £10
Bring a Picnic Lunch

Book your place at Newman House Reception (

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A new year begun

The new academic year has well and truly begun here at Newman House, and everyone is now settled in and working hard. The experience has been odd for those of us new to the house, as we've already had to say goodbye to some of last year's stragglers, including Chris, the great thespian, and Tamara, whose sendoff party in the garden was great fun. A large group of us sought out Ronnie Scott's jazz club a few nights ago, and the live band was fantastic. It was suggested that we might properly organise another outing, and dress up to the nines- take the whole enterprise that much more seriously!

While the builders continue their mysterious but admirable work upstairs, the cafeteria area is constantly abuzz at really any time, and will itself be blessed by the Papal Nuncio after the Freshers' Mass. Talking of which (and in all honesty, getting to the point):

His Excellency Archbishop Antonio Mennini, Papal Nuncio to the United Kingdom, will be joining us for the Freshers' Mass here at Newman House at 10:30am tomorrow- all are most welcome!

If anyone would like to include anything on here, be it news, announcements or general insights, do let me know. I'm Daniel, one of the Parliamentary Interns, and if the red hair doesn't give me away, Chris Castell will.