Blessed John Henry’s gifts to the English (and Welsh!) Church
There are quite a lot of reasons for enjoying a visit to the Catholic chaplaincy at Cardiff University, but the best one has to be the warmness of the hospitality and the kindnesses of Fr Sebastian, Fr Alexander, and Brother Ambrose; and of the nuns. Then there is the Gastronomic Dimension: I was invited by my friend Dr David Woolf, Senior Fellow, to the Pelican Club Dinner on Saturday night. The Brethren had somehow caught a pig, so we ate it. Such crisp …
Nearby, a fellow guest was Fr Ignatius, Provost of Birmingham, a friend who was a friend when I needed friends. Also among the guests (Oratorians are very practical ecumenists) Canon Brendan Clover, Provost of the Society of our Lady and S Nicolas of Lancing. It was good to hear how things are in that very dear Collegiate Church, ‘Woodard’s Folly’, which pierces the clouds above the South Downs. I gather I survive in the College’s Oral Tradition as having said Mass in Latin every morning. I wish it were true!
Sunday lunch afforded the prospect of delicious pork … and the company of the undergraduates of the Hall which the Oratory runs, gowned and seated at a formal meal. I spoke for a minute or two after lunch; they actually listened to the sad old gent who had popped up in their midst! And, later, that rich and beautiful Oratorian speciality, Solemn (old rite) Vespers; followed by Choral Mass: fine music (Mass for Four Voices by Tallis; In salutari tuo by Heinrich Isaac). And Praise to the Holiest to finish the day, and to initiate the following day with its Newman celebrations in union with the Cardiff Ordinariate Group.
Sadly, I had to leave after breakfast on Monday, but, happily, the Oratorian hens had laid very generously, so there was an egg to go with … what was it … ah, yes: the bacon!
Why doesn’t everyone go to Cardiff University?