A Vision Statement for the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy
We welcome students, academics and all those who may find the Chaplaincy a support on their journey of faith. We want to help all who come here to encounter Christ, to find a home in the Church of our times, and to engage positively, generously and intelligently with our faith and with our world.
Sense of Community
We want the Chaplaincy to be a place where hospitality is important, where people can enjoy one another’s company. It should be an environment where there is a sense of common purpose and shared projects. Special interest groups are supported by and support the life of the whole community. It is a place where people can grow in openness to others and learn respect for companions who may be on faith journeys different from their own
We want to help people find a prayer style that nourishes their relationship with God, Father, Son and Spirit. The way of finding God, appropriate to each individual, should allow them to grow in faith and to grow in humanity. We believe it is important to promote forms of spirituality that support a culture of discernment. We make use in particular of the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Spiritual Exercises.
In matters of faith we want to help people towards a deep understanding of the Catholic Christian tradition, which both appreciates biblical, doctrinal and catechetical texts and engages honestly with the intellectual and personal challenges they can sometimes present. We believe that the intelligent appropriation of Christianity is vital for the good of the Church and the world, but that this is a process, undertaken in faith, which can last a lifetime.
Action and Global Concern
We want the Chaplaincy to be a place which fosters informed and intelligent reflection on the Christian call to service of the poor and marginalised and which offers opportunity for encounter with the ‘other’ Oxford and its issues of asylum, poverty and homelessness.
We want our liturgy to be joyful, accessible, respectful of people and their needs, and reverent. It should open space for the mysterious encounter with Christ at the heart of the worshipping community. We want our preaching to be Gospel based and of a good standard. We want any music (of whatever genre) to be of good quality and to encourage active participation. We want to include education in elements of the ancient tradition, while focusing on a liturgy that is both modern and of a recognisable integrity and authenticity.
The Chaplaincy Team
We want to be available for pastoral care, offering informed and practical help where appropriate. We want to engage with the wider life of the University, religious and secular, and in the life of the other Catholic communities in Oxford.
The Chaplaincy engages with University life but is not a part of the University. It can offer a space for a different sort of witness and a different way of understanding the academic project in the light of the Jewish and Christian Wisdom tradition. We should like the Chaplaincy to develop as another forum where Catholic intellectual life becomes visible in Oxford. A place for dialogue and friendship among Christians as well as between Christianity, secular culture and other faith traditions.