On Thursday May 10th, Canon John O’Toole from the Bishops’ Conference and I headed off to St Mary’s College, Oscott. There was the surprise at Birmingham Station of being met by Archbishop Bernard Longley, who whisked us off for coffee and saw us onto the connecting train.
John and I were just in time for the Mass of the Ascension in Oscott’s impressive chapel, famous for its association with Blessed Henry Newman, who preached from its pulpit on July 7th 1852 what became known as the ‘Second Spring’ sermon, becoming part of the mythology of the Catholic Revival in England at that time.
We were warmly welcomed at Oscott (a striking building, as you can see!) and joined them for their evening meal which was a bit special in honour of the Ascension! The following morning John and I gave sessions on ecumenism and Catholic Jewish relations to the 6th year students – a great bunch, all of whom will be ordained soon. I must say I was impressed by their openness to what I had to say and was left with great hopes for the future. The Rector has invited us back! It’s good that we now have our toes in the doors of both Wonersh and Oscott seminaries. (Sr. Margarett Shepherd, NDS, London, UK)