Saturday, March 31, 2007

Lenten Day

Today we had great fun in the parish as we welcomed the Missionaries of Charity and some of the children from their catechism class. The Mother Theresa nuns take a fourth vow of whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor. They lead tough lives in solidarity with the people they serve.
I was very impressed by the knowledge of the children who came with the sisters to the parish today. They knew well their bible stories and the basic elements of the faith. One lad wanted to know what transubstantiation means. As I spent time with the children I recalled that Mother Theresa is supposed to have said something about encountering real poverty in the developed world. These were not street children such as you might meet in Calcutta, or Rio, or Manila but their poverty was of a different order. When I spoke to them about loving our parents one of them confided that there were ten brothers and sisters at home - but no mum. Once again I learnt to appreciate the wonderful work of the Sisters who week after week bring faith and hope and joy and love into the lives of these little ones.

Today the programme was quite simple. We began with a discussion on the Passion of Jesus, the we had a period of Adoration while Confessions were heard. Before lunch we prayed the Rosary. After lunch there was time to run off sugar and 'E-numbers' before Stations of the Cross. Then we watched a cartoon about one of the Commandments. It was a great joy to welcome the children to the parish.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Eternal Word Television Network

Readers of this Blog will know that at the beginning of Lent I was tied up filming a series of meditations for EWTN, the Global Catholic Network. The five meditations, each one lasting half an hour, will be broadcast during Holy Week as EWTN's Holy Week Retreat. According to the schedule the daily meditation will be broadcast three times every day: at 2.30am; at 2.30pm and at 8.30pm. They are available on the Hotbird satellite and also on Sky Television*.
These are general spiritual conferences reflecting on Holy Week themes. For anyone interested specifically in something on priesthood and priestly vocations, I suppose the Maundy Thursday mediation will be most appropriate. Please pray that this little contribution to the apostolate of the Eternal Word Television Network will do good to some of the people who watch it. I am praying for two things: that at least one person be inspired to go back to Confession, and that for at least one young man something I say may lead him a step further along the road to priesthood.

* Eurobird 28.5' East (Digital) Frequency 11390 MHz Polarity Vertical. SKY Digital EPG#0147

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Friends with Christ Retreat

Have you made a retreat yet this year? If not it's not too late to sign up for the Friends with Christ Retreat that will take place in London from 27th - 29th April. It is for young men aged between 16 & 25. Itwill be led by Fr Richard Aladics who, along with Fr Julian Greene, developed the format of the Friends with Christ Retreats.
It is not a Vocations Retreat. Rather its purpose is to help us discern the foundation of our lives, namely friendship with Christ. Over the weekend the participants are led through the process of what it means to be a Christian: openness to Christ, overcoming the barriers to a relationship with him, what Christ gives to the relationship, what we can in turn to build the relationship.

To book a place please contact us at Southwark Vocations. There is no charge for the retreat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lenten Penance Service

This evening I went over to the Sacred Heart Parish in Battersea to hear confessions during their annual Penance Service. I hadn't been to the Church before and was very impressed. The parish is run by the Salesians and the large number of young adults present is testimony to the commitment of Salesians to including young people in the life of the Church. Fr Chris, the parish priest, had prepared a prayerful service which included a good selection of readings and hymns. There were about ten priests hearing confessions and they were kept busy throughout.
One of the good things about these services is that they can often be an encouragement to people who have been away from the Sacrament for many years. It is important for us priests to explain the Lenten Duties to the faithful, but it is even more important to find ways of helping them fulfil those duties!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Changing Clocks

Yesterday Mass attendance in the parish was down considerably. Having been about 1,200 for the last few weeks we were just under a thousand this weekend. There are two reasons for this. The first is that for many independent schools in the parish holidays have now started. Although our parish school is outstanding and full, and although we now have an independent school with a Catholic ethos in the parish, nevertheless the local non-Catholic private schools still have about 25% Catholic pupils. So when those long holidays begin lots of our families head off in pursuit of more congenial weather.
The other reason for the decline in numbers was that the clocks changed this weekend and we all lost an hour in bed. Many parents therefore decided to leave their fractious toddlers at home when they came to Mass. Next Sunday I reckone we'll have good numbers again. I always think that Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday testify to an innate need we human beings have for sacramentals. People always flock to Church on the days when there's something to take home.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Wonderful Group

I got back from Dublin last night having spent the best part of the day at the meeting of the St Joseph's Young Priests Society, which took place in St Patrick's College - a teacher training college established by the Vincentians. We began proceedings with a concelebrated Mass. I was a bit worried when the principal celebrant started making the Sign of the Cross in Irish, but fortunately for me most of the prayers were in English. Later we had introductions from Marie, the President of the Society, and an address by the Dublin regional president (I'm not sure of the exact titles). He spoke about the origins of the society and also about the importance of the Mass. It was a heartfelt talk and I think it is good for us as priests to hear how much the Mass means to ordinary lay men and women.

Afterwards there were questions and comments before lunch. One of the concerns of the Society is that its membership is now advancing a bit in years and I was asked from the floor about a possible name change to make its work more obvious. I don't think the Society needs to change. The men and women present were wonderful people, radiating joy for the faith and for the priesthood. I'm sure if they had an honest talk with their children and grandchildren they will encourage them perhaps to set up new groups and certainly to join their prayer apostolate. But the best response on this was given by a young man from the Pure in Heart community in Dublin. He said simply, "You are doing what you can do and therefore what you should be doing". I liked his comment because it would be sad if the members of the Society felt they had somehow gone wrong or that they had to change. They haven't. They are doing what they can, labouring in the Lord's vineyard and helping in the formation of nearly eight hundred priests throughout the world.

A very agreeable lunch was laid on affording me the opportunity to meet some of the Irish Vocations Directors. In Ireland plans are afoot to celebrate a 'Year of Priesthood' which I'm sure will provide a great boost to morale. After lunch I gave a presentation on promoting vocations. I spoke of the need to open up new 'fishing grounds' and the importance of the New Evangelisation so I was particularly pleased that my talk was followed by representatives of two New Movements, Pure in Heart and Youth 2000. They both do great work in Ireland. Because I found myself on the podium most of the day I wasn't able to take many photographs so I'm grateful to the delegates who sent me the ones on this post.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The St Joseph's Young Priest Society

Tomorrow afternoon I catch a flight to Dublin in order to speak on Saturday at the AGM of the St Joseph's Young Priest Society. The Society was founded in 1895 by Olivia Mary Taaffe, a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to the missionary activity of the Church. The Society she founded continues to flourish today, promoting, fostering and sustaining vocations to the priesthood under the patronage of St Joseph. In 1994, when her biography was written, the Society had nearly 100,000 members and raised nearly one million pounds to help finance the education of seminarians at home and abroad.

There won't be much time to sample the delights of Dublin's 'fair city - where the girls are so pretty!' because I have to fly back on Saturday afternoon in order to be here for Sunday. Still I'm looking forward to the trip and staying overnight with Fr Ronnie, an old priest friend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Catching up on paperwork

Last week with one thing and another I was out of the parish a fair bit and inevitably a lot of paperwork has built up. Fortunately we have an excellent secretary in the parish who deals with everyday things like accounts and register searches as well as answering the telephone and responding to enquiries. Without her we would grind to a halt! Nevertheless a great deal of stuff comes that I need to read and check through and so I spent a good part of today catching up on paperwork.
This is part of the stewardship which is entailed in a vocation to diocesan priesthood. Unlike a religious, a secular or diocesan priest lives in the saeculum, the world, he does not withdraw from it. Administration and stewardship are entailed in the vocation. I get nervous of those who have a 'consecrated hands' view of priesthood - the idea that a priest's consecration means that temporal work is somehow beneath his dignity. As one seminary Rector put it, "Where's that in the Bible?" Our Lord worked for the years of his hidden life. He, the great High Priest, dedicated the best part of his life to manual labour. We shouldn't be surprised, therefore, if diocesan priesthood sometimes requires of us that we roll up our sleeves in order to get done whatever needs to be done.
That, of course, is a digression because there was no manual labour to be done today. Instead I had the rather more pleasant task of going through the papers of the six men who are applying for the priesthood in Southwark this year. Please keep them in your prayers.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Gospel of Life

Re-reading Evangelium Vitae for the talk at St Patrick's today was very rewarding. The Pope offers some stimulating insights into the nature of society and human freedom. He strongly encourages us all to be involved in the task of promoting a culture of life. He also has some very simple, moving words which he addresses to women who have undergone an abortion. I am tempted to lift them from the document and publish them in our parish newsletter.

As usual it was good to meet the students at the Evangelisation School. Two of them are applying for the priesthood this year and a third is still discerning his vocation. Over lunch there was a great discussion among the girls about which saint to take as an intercessor to find a husband. St Anne seemed to be the front-runner...

Friends with Christ Retreat

Fr Richard Aladics and Fr Julian Greene have developed a new form of retreat for young people based on the principles of the New Evangelisation called for by Pope John Paul II, the great Apostle of Youth. These retreats are for small numbers of young people and have proved extremely popular wherever they have been held. I've invited Fr Richard to organise a retreat for young people with whom I have contact and he has kindly agreed. Therefore there will be a Friends With Christ retreat in London from 27th - 29th April. It is for young men aged between 16 & 25. For more information please contact me at Southwark Vocations.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


In the Areopagus - Students from SPES in action
With some twelve hundred people at Mass today, two baptisms and easily some twenty or so confessions, I'm beginning to worry about what I'm supposed to be doing tomorrow...

SPES, the St Patrick's Evangelisation School, have invited me back to give them some more classes on Moral Theology. This time we will be looking at the important encyclical Evangelium Vitae. As Cardinal Ratzinger the present Pope delivered a fascinating lecture inspired by the encyclical examining theories of social contract and tracing them back to the influences of the Enlightenment. I had hoped that I'd have time to prepare something based on that lecture. It's very profound but would need a lot of unpacking and there simply hasn't been time to do it justice recently. Instead I think we'll stick to examining some of the issues in moral theology that led to the encyclical before looking in detail at its contents.

I have a special, if somewhat odd interest in Evangelium Vitae. When I was a student in Rome I had a lot of contact with the Council for the Family and we all knew that an encyclical on moral theology was in preparation. In my last few months I was asked if I would be willing to help prepare the English translation. Apparently the Vatican was keen that it be in British rather than American English. I had to be willing to take an oath of secrecy. Of course I was up for it but the document took rather longer to draft than was expected and so my services were never required - which is just as well since after seven years in Rome I think I'd pretty well lost the ability to distinguish between the two versions of English in anything more subtle than spelling!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Christ the King

On Thursday Declan and I had a great day at Christ the King College in Lewisham. We had been invited to take part in the Careers Fayre that the College hosts every year for its students. The idea of the Fayre is to get them to start thinking about their future and to open up possibilities so to have a stall promoting Catholic priesthood seemed a good idea.

We arrived at 8.00am having left the parish after the 6.45am Mass and immediately began setting up the stall. We had to leave it unmanned for the first hour because I'd accepted the offer of a slot to do a presentation on priesthood. It took place in a small classroom near the new Chaplainy block. This is a purpose built block with two rooms for the chaplains, a large common room and a very elegant Chapel with the Blessed Sacrament reserved. I was very impressed at the excellent facilities and also at the dedication of Fr Eddie and Javier who welcomed us from the chaplaincy team.

There were about ten of us present for the presentation. We showed the video 'Fishers of Men' first and followed that with a discussion on Christian vocation in general. It gave them a lot to reflect on and a lot of the comments afterwards were about how it made them think differently about the ministry of a priest. I was pleased to leave Javier a copy of the DVD for future use.

After the presentation we went back to the 'bear pit' to man the stall. By then all the other stalls were set up and we were competing with everything from the Army to medical schools. It was great. Javier and Fr Eddie had already told us that many of the young people have a poor understanding of the faith and that some, although nominally Catholic, had started attending Pentecostal communities - a fact we quickly verified for ourselves. It didn't take long to work out our strategy: we decided to go for a variation on 'speed-dating'. We reckoned that we had to grab the attention of as many youngsters as possible and that we then had thirty seconds to get them to think again about the faith and how they practise it. Our "speed-evangelisation" worked really well and was great fun. We probably spoke to practically every young person who came into the hall - atheist or agnostic, goth or punk, Methodist or Moslem.

There were, of course, plenty of committed Catholics too and we enjoyed hearing about all the activities of the chaplaincy and of their various parishes. The icing on the cake was to meet one or two who were indeed thinking of priesthood! Another big bonus was the attitude of the other exhibitors. A surprising number came up to us and commented on how nice it was to have us there. One stall came over wanting to know more about the Mysteries of Light, and we had another question about Novenas!

We finished the day exhausted but thoroughly exhilarated.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hello Honolulu!

No, I'm not off on holiday! In fact I doubt that I'll ever visit Hawaii (just like most of my parishioners) but I notice from Sitemeter (slowly juddering back in to life) that we've had a couple of distant visitors today. So Hello Honolulu and Welcome Iraq!

My trip to Canterbury went really well. I am very impressed by the work that Fr Peter is doing down there. He has been Chaplain for nearly ten years and this year he notched up his sixty-fifth convert. Amongst those he's recently received into the Church is the Captain of the American Football Team - now there has to be some street cred there! I was glad to meet him at the talk although we had to agree to differ on the relative merits of American Football and Rugby.

I stayed overnight at the chaplaincy so that I could call in on Southwark Catholic Youth Services this morning. I'd like to work more with John Toryusen and his team. What makes it hard is simpy the distance between London and Whitstable.

I drove back via East Grinstead where I attended the Day of Recollection for priests at Wickenden Manor. There were about fifteen of us there. I had to leave a bit early in the afternoon in order to get back to the parish in time to pick up some vestments for a Mass at St Ethelreda's, Ely Place this evening. It was a Requiem Mass for Peter Bearcroft, a wonderful, holy and charming old man who was always a great friend and supporter when I was in Maidstone. He was greatly involved in both ecumenical and inter-faith activities and it was good to see many non-Catholics also present at the Mass. Bishop John Hine presided and Fr Michael Seed preached. I enjoyed meeting many of my former parishioners at the reception afterwards.

Tomorrow I'll say the 6.45am Mass before heading off to Downham to give a presentation at a Careers' Fayre in the Christ the King Sixth Form College. We have to set up the display at 8.00am and then give the first presentation at 9.15. It's the first time we've done something on this scale and I hope it will be worthwhile.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Seekers' Meeting

On Friday this week we have our monthly Seekers' Meeting. We meet in the presbytery in Balham at 7pm and there's a meal afterwards. Please let me know if you are coming as I need to sort out the catering. You can send me an email by clicking this link.


Today I am driving down to Canterbury in order to give a talk this evening at the Catholic Chaplaincy. I'll be taking down a box of Vocations News to distribute to the deanery. I'm also going to call in on the Apple Store on the way to look into possibilities for my new Vocations Office - I'm quite keen to move away from the Microsoft hegemony and I know lots of Apple converts so it seems a good idea to check it out at least. I'm lucky because this week we have an American youth worker staying with us who's an expert on matters technical.

Fr Peter Geldard runs an excellent set up at the Chaplaincy. I spoke there last year, during final exams, and we had a full house. One of those present at that talk is now a Southwark seminarian. One of Fr Peter's converts is also a Southwark Seeker. I'm grateful for the invitation to speak again, this time earlier in the year so that there will be more time for follow-up with anyone who may be considering priesthood.

I'm going to stay overnight and in the morning plan to pay a flying visit to the Southwark Youth Services which is nearby in Whitstable. John and his team are busy planning the trip to next year's World Youth Day. One of the projects they are organising to raise money has certainly caught the imagination of some of the clergy: sponsored golf!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Despite a couple of emails Sitemeter hasn't yet sorted the problem with the meter on this Blog that suddently expired on Wednesday. I've gone for an obvious solution: a new meter. When Sitemeter died we were averaging about 85 visitors a day. Instead of starting the new meter at 0, I've added a conservative 400 visits for the five days it was out of action and started it at just over 14,000. I thinks that's reasonable. I've left the old meter on the Blog just in case it ever gets fixed.

Marriage Preparation Day

The Class of March '07

On Saturday we had our termly Marriage Preparation Day here in the parish. Couples find it hard to commit themselves to a series of evening classes so we tend to do everything in one go on a saturday. It's not ideal - but it works.
It is in fact quite a tough day for those who sign up. In the morning we cover marriage as a vocation and as a Christian sacrament. Then, still before lunch, there is a presentation on life issues: sex outside marriage, contraception, pre-natal tests, the theology of the body and so forth. These can be tough messages for people hearing them for the first time but we try and do it in a way that makes sense. I wouldn't be satisfied with people knowing the teaching of the Church - I want them to know why she teaches those things. In that way they are given a chance to internalise Christian teaching and so begin to live it. Over the years we've seen wonderful conversions of life thanks to these marriage preparation courses.
I was reminded of the importance of what we do today after the first Mass. I'd heard that one of our parishioners, a mother of four, is expecting her fifth child in September and I was looking for a chance to congratulate her. When I did so she started crying - because she's over forty the doctors think she should terminate the pregnancy. She has been offered a termination four times and has now, sensibly, refused further tests. In our marriage preparation course we describe many of these tests as 'seek and destroy missions'.
After lunch Joanna Bogle helped lighten things with one of her very amusing, but nonetheless hard-hitting, talks on the joys and challenges of married life. Someone asked afterwards if they could book her to cheer them up if ever they feel low in their marriage! Joanna came straight to us from Gatwick having just arrived back from a conference on marriage and the family in Rome.
Joanna was followed by a talk from Nicole Parker (nee Syed) on Natural Family Planning. Nicole gives an excellent presentation on female fertility and I know that she has helped many of our couples in this area, including quite a few who had been trying to conceive for some time. She has also been very helpful to couples who would not have been able to spot the signs of hormonal abnormalities that may otherwise have led to miscarriage. Nicole always speaks at our marriage daysbut this time she was joined by James, her husband, who then spoke about how fertility awareness and natural family planning had helped them grow together as a couple.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

RIP? It can't be true...

Who said "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about"? For a Blogger the worst possible disaster is not having any readers. So imagine my shock at seeing the site meter register that we've had no readers at all since yesterday afternoon - and it's now today... night! Since we've been hitting an average of 85 a day recently what's put everyone off? Is it just that posting has been a bit slow over the last few days as I've caught up on other tasks?
So I decided to test Sitemeter by logging on via a different route. That way it should register at least one visitor even if it chose to ignore my own visit.
But that didn't work either. Sitemeterwise this Blog appears to be deceased. Dead. No more. Cut off from the life-blood of regular visitors... Except that we know it's alive and still thriving.
So I'm left wondering what has happened. What unusual activity has there been? Well yesterday, following a link from the Hermeneutic of Continuity I checked to see whether or not we were blocked in China - we've had visitors from China in the past (and even an enquirer!). The screen did something odd, it blinked but then came back the welcome message that we are not blocked by the Great Firewall of China. However since then... Sitemeter registers us as defunct. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Wonersh Retreat

Frs Paul and James with the assembled retreatants

Since coming back to the parish I've been rather swept away with catching up on things so I've not yet posted on the excellent retreat we had at Wonersh last weekend. This was the third joint Vocations Retreat between Southwark and Arundel and Brighton dioceses that we have held at the seminary.

There were twelve participants, as it happpens six from each diocese. In fact I was only expecting five from Southwark but we had an extra one turn up in time for dinner on the first night. We had a great welcome from both the staff and the students. After dinner some of the students laid on drinks and nibbles in the Upper Common Room and the Rector came in to welcome us. He then stayed to mingle and get to meet everyone present.

The serious part of the retreat started later when we joined the students for their nightly Holy Hour. I was invited to preach a meditation before the Blessed Sacrament and at the end to preside at Compline and Benediction. We ended, in accordance with the college's custom, by singing the Ave Regina Caelorum at the Lady Chapel. After that most people retired for an early night.

On Saturday the Rector, Mgr Jeremy Garratt, presided at the morning Mass and preached a very appropriate Lenten homily, even managing to quote Bruce Springsteen although admitting that his acquaintance with that particular artist's ouvre is somewhat limited.

Fr Paul Turner, my opposite number in Arundel and Brighton, gave a couple of talks over the weekend. The first was about the nature of diocesan priesthood and the second was on discernment. They were both first rate, inspiring talks that gave us all a lot to think about. Fr James Clark, from the Southwark Vocations Team, spoke on Confession both from the point of view of the penitent and of the confessor. Again, a great talk. I gave the meditations which took place each morning and afternoon. There was also a get-together on Saturday led expertly by Kurt, one of the first year students.

A lot of the time was spent simply talking to those who had come on the retreat. Visiting the seminary, having an opportunity to meet the seminarians, and having the space to pray, are all great opportunities in the process of vocations discernment. Judging from the emails I've received, the weekend had a big effect on those who attended.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Poor Clares

An Irish reader recently drew my attention to the Poor Clares in Galway. Irish Radio recently interviewed three of their young sisters. You can hear the interview by clicking here. Be warned: it's an Irish news item so you have to listen to some unpleasant stuff first. Also, don't adjust your set - if there seems to be bits you can't catch it's because some of the news is in Irish!
The Poor Clares in Galway have their own website. The interview with the three sisters examines closely the dynamics of their vocations, and gives much food for thought and inspiration to anyone discerning their vocation. The Galway Poor Clares maintain strict enclosure, yet remain a vibrant community, with many young sisters and lots more interested (45 young people turned up to a recent vocations day they ran). They're based in the centre of Galway City, next to the Cathedral, on a piece of land called 'Nun's Island'! They are the praying heart of the city, and many Galwegians regularly call in with an intention that needs prayer.

Friday, March 02, 2007

St Andrew's - The Tour Continues

Last night my blogging activity was interrupted by a call from a local nursing home to request the Last Rites for a lady who was dying. It is always a great grace to be able to attend a soul in its final hours here upon earth. There is something awesome in the words of the Apostolic Pardon: "By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen". Please pray for the repose of her soul.

The Parish Church

On Thursday morning I celebrated Holy Mass in the parish Church. It is a lovely little Church with a great marble sanctuary, presumably in bright contrast with the dour interiors of the local presbyterian meeting places.

Jamie, Johnny, Lisa, Stefano & Tom

After Mass we went for breakfast at a popular cafe near the old Cathedral. It was full, not surprisingly when we saw the menu: the food was incredibly cheap and delicious to boot! I'd heard of Tai Chi, but was surprised by the taste of Chai Tea which Lisa ordered. With its strong cinnamon flavour it is very similar to the Spanish leche preparada althougn served hot rather than chilled.

Memento mori...

Originally the three main streets of St Andrew's focused on one point: the Cathedral. A magnificent and imposing edifice at the pinnacle of the town and looking out over the sea. It's importance for the whole of Scotland underscored by the fact that until the Reformation it had been the repository of the relics of St Andrew. Now all that's left are the ruins. The stones of the great walls of the Cathedral were used to build houses on a new street that would run perpendicular to the original three in the Reformers' attempt to deny the meaning and purpose of the town itself: a sort of Reformation damnatio memoriae.

Cardinal Beaton was hung from the middle window

I had to get a taxi to the station at 11.00am, so we walked back to the chaplaincy via the old Bishop's palace. The last Catholic bishop of St Andrew's was the famous Cardinal Beaton. Click on his name to get the wikepedia article on this unfortunate cleric who was hung from the window of his own home.
St Andrew's is clearly a great university with a thriving Catholic Society. Certainly one to be considered by anyone thinking of completing a university degree before appyling for the priesthood. I'd like to acknowledge my thanks to the students both for the invitation and also for their great hospitality.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

St Andrew's

Yesterday I celebrated the 6.45am Mass and then got things together for my trip to St. Andrew's. Before leaving I had a telephone call from the husband of our parish youth minister to say that their first child had just been born. In this parish we get lots of experience of babies being born but I'd yet to hear of one coming on his due date so, since their house was on the way to the station, I called in to check for myself!

Here's the proud father with Benedict. He'll either be a stickler for punctuality or never on time again!

I flew from Gatwick to Edinburgh coincidentallymeeting a friend as we boarded. From Edinburgh I took the train to Leuchars where I was met by Jamie, the president of the Catholic Society and Chris, from Boston, who kindly gave me a lift into town in his car.

The chaplain of the catholic Society is also the parish priest. He was away attending the deanery Lenten Station Mass so I was asked to celebrate the Wednesday evening 7.30pm Mass in the chaplaincy. It was good to see the chapel, which can take fifty people, pretty well full. There were people from the parish there but I'd say that the majority of those present were students.

After Mass we had the meeting of the Canmore Society. The topic for the talk was: "Where have all the vocations gone and what can we do to get them back?" After the talk there were questions and then the chance for a quick cup of tea before we retired to a local watering house for something more refreshing.