Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Newman Society

Last night I spoke to the Oxford University Newman Society on the subject of 'The Oxford Cardinals - from Robert Pullen to George Pell.' As far as I know, 27 Cardinals have connections with the University - some famous (like Wolsey, Manning and Newman), others less so (like the anti-pope Alexander V or William Theodore Heard, who rowed in the 1907 Boat Race). It was a highly enjoyable occasion, preceded by a meal at the Chaplaincy prepared by the members and followed by some lively discussion over port. Among the 20 or so who attended were three Dominicans, including blogger Br Lawrence Lew. Since the talk was quite late, I enjoyed some Jesuit hospitality at Campion Hall.

It brought back many memories since I was President of the Society back in Hilary Term 1996 - indeed, I was surprised to see my term's committee photo hanging on the wall in the room where I gave the talk. Looking at the youthful faces, I counted three students who are now priests. And judging from the people I met yesterday, there will probably be a significant crop of vocations over the coming years.

A visit to Oxford provided an opportunity to visit some old haunts - including the HQ of Family Publications, the Oratory Church of St Aloysius and my alma mater, Exeter College. A message on the door reported the tragic events of Monday which have been (I later discovered) reported in the papers. Two 'freshers' (first years) died within a few hours of each other: Sundeep Watts and Harcourt ("Olly") Tucker. The first died of of meningitis, while the other suffered a heart attack during a game of hockey. Oxford colleges are small communities and Exeter only has about 300 undergraduates, so the death of two promising undergraduates after just 7 weeks of University must be a terrible shock. May they rest in peace.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting description Fr...a different world to the one i live in..but we're all Catholics..

1:31 pm  

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