Thursday, 21 September 2006

Fr Cantalamessa speaks to the priests of Westminster

'Inservice training' seems to be the theme of the week. Having listened yesterday to the theologian, Fr John Saward, today it was the turn of Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household, who spoke to the priests of Westminster at our Pastoral Centre in London Colney. His theme was a commentary on the Veni Creator Spiritus.

A large concelebrated Mass followed in a specially erected marquee. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was the chief celebrant - not only as our Ordinary but also because on 28 October he celebrates his Golden Priestly Jubilee. An excellent buffet lunch followed and, because of the fine weather at the moment, we sat in the gardens of the Centre, which was formerly a rather grand Anglican convent.

It was good to meet brother priests and it was especially impressive to see our bumper crop of seminarians. In case you haven't heard, here is the report from the diocesan website:

The September start of the 2006 academic year has seen 14 new students start training for the priesthood at Allen Hall, the Diocese of Westminster’s seminary in Chelsea, London. This is the largest intake for six years and brings the total number of students being trained as priests at Allen Hall to 37.

Eight of the new seminarians are students for the Diocese of
Westminster. The other new arrivals include those training for the Diocese of Lancaster and the Order of St. Augustine. Out of the total number of 37 students now at Allen Hall, 18 have been selected for the Diocese of Westminster and are expected to serve as priests in some of its 216 parishes.

The new seminarians for the Diocese of Westminster studying at Allen Hall, who range from 24 to 52 years of age, come from a variety of backgrounds, including IT, teaching and school chaplaincy. Five are from the UK, one is from Zimbabwe, one from the USA and one from Poland.

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