Oxford Catholic Chaplaincy Latest News
Click here for a message from the Chaplains - August 2
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Current students, you can sign up as a ‘godparent’ - even if you have been one before. Don’t worry if you don’t have a ‘co-parent’; we'll sort it out. Complete the form here.
If you are coming up to Oxford next academic year, sign up as a ‘godchild’ here.
The Chaplaincy will be closed from Monday, 8th August to Saturday, 27th August.
The last Mass before closure will be at 5.45pm on Sunday the 7th. The first Mass after reopening will be at 11am on Sunday the 28th.
The next and last Student Mass and breakfast before the break will be on Wednesday, 3rd August at 8am.
12.15pm Public Mass Mon-Sat
Sunday Masses at 11am and 5.45pm (9pm Mass resumes in Michaelmas)
Confessions on Saturday 11.30am-12pm and Sunday 10.15am-10.45am. Please contact Fr Matthew or Fr William directly if you would like an appointment outside of those times.
The Narthex door code will be changed at the end of next week. If you would like the vac code to use the Chapel, Library or Strange Room, please contact a Chaplain or the Chaplaincy manager so that we can keep a list of those with access while the Chaplaincy is closed.
The Library and Strange Room will be available for use when not used by the summer school (estimated end date: 13 Aug)
The Chaplains - Fr Matthew, Alvea and Fr William
Going to Lourdes with the Oxford and Cambridge pilgrimage was an incredible experience. I think I’ve (mostly) grown out of the expectation that Mary will appear to me personally, so I wasn’t disappointed when I didn’t see her, or any miraculous recoveries.
However, what I did see was something even more wonderful.
I saw people who had travelled from all corners of the earth, and who were incredibly unwell, sometimes close to death, radiant with joy as they flocked to the churches for Mass. The very place where their suffering is given redemptive meaning. I saw people with terrible deformities who were in excruciating pain, but who were completely at peace as they consciously offered up their suffering.
Pilgrims can now emulate Bernadette’s gestures by receiving the gestes de l’eau: three servings of the water from Lourdes in the hands. The pilgrim washes her hands with the first serving, washes her face with the second, then drinks of it, all before a statue of Our Lady. A woman may therefore wash her hands with husband and children, or with friends. They may pray together and face one another throughout.
I think that one of the main graces for me in the week was getting to know my fellow pilgrims, and learning from them about how to embody two virtues associated with Bernadette: humility, and a strong recognition of one’s duty. We took part in the Rosary procession and the Eucharistic Procession as a group, and this was a beautiful experience. On a side note here, if you are like me and struggle to keep up with praying the Rosary sometimes, Lourdes is a place where Mary can help a lot with this- I know she helped me!
Time is transcended and Heaven touches earth. The week of the Oxford-Cambridge Universities Lourdes Pilgrimage 2022 was one endless day, structured by a succession of extraordinary events — ordinary occurrences in this magnificent Marian shrine.
There is a theology of sport. You can look it up! And it’s worth thinking about. In Christian writings you will find the theme of play as a starting point. Play is an activity of pure gratuity, with no productive value, no end beyond itself but the pleasure it gives. Technically it is autotelic. It can be linked to the pure gratuity of God’s creative act in bringing all things into being. Play is an experience of freedom and abandonment.
During our visit, there were numerous services a day that allowed one to be flexible and attend as many as one pleased. Usually, I started the day off with Lauds at 8:30am, though on the last day (after having time to recuperate from Hilary Term), I attended the first service of the day, Vigils at 5:30am. It was so relaxing to listen to the hymns sung by the nuns and it really helped set the prayerful mood for the day. Ending the day with Compline was wonderful and I found praying as a group blissful.
Here in a Catholic Chaplaincy, it’s not only a matter of sharing ideas and perspectives with others. It is also a matter of supporting one another as you journey together in faith.
Your knowledge and understanding does not need to be perfect to play a valuable part in the conversation. Your every statement and claim do not need to be understood as the last word on the matter, your definitive judgment for all time. Inevitably, some of your views will alter and grow; some might grow stronger, some might quietly disappear, whilst others will shift a bit. And, believe me, this applies whether you are in your teens or in your nineties.
What is special about the latest convocation is that it comes with an invitation to us all to reflect on our experience of the Church as a community of people who are journeying in faith through life.
Pope Francis has said that the process of consultation in the Church should be a characterised by ‘a dynamism of mutual listening, carried out at all levels of the Church’. He has also said that people shouldn’t be afraid of saying what they think – there needs to be bold, and respectful, speaking.
The Universal Synod begins in our families, parishes, schools, chaplaincies and communities. Pope Francis is providing a series of questions from which we may select any to which we may want to reply. Discernment is founded on prayer and is an offering of our thoughts as a contribution to a universal conversation. There is no question of winning an argument but of recognising God’s will.
We hope that what’s proposed will reassure those of you who are keen to minimise the risk of infection and encourage others that we hope to be as free of restrictions as we responsibly can be. We will review our protocols regularly in the light of Government and University guidelines. Don’t hesitate to pass on feedback!