Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

St Edmund's College Chapel Centenary

On Friday 13 November, Cardinal Vincent joined the community at St Edmund's College Cambridge at Solemn Vespers to open the centenary celebrations of the college's chapel, which is unique among contemporary Cambridge college chapels in being the only Catholic foundation.

The foundation of the chapel took place during the Great War, prompting the Cardinal to ask in his homily: 'In those days of death and darkness, how many received within this sacred space the light needed to keep hope alive?' 

He said that, on this evening of the opening of the centenary, 'we unite our prayers to, and are encouraged by, the prayers of everyone who over the decades has made holy these walls'.

Reflecting on the significance of the chapel in the lives of all who have passed through it, 'there has been no shortage of students seeking inspirational light amid their intellectual darkness, and the endurance which the completion of a dissertation or doctoral thesis demands'. He noted too that many 'discovered this chapel to be a refuge of strengthening tranquility when they were troubled or distressed'.

Of the college's patron saint, the Cardinal said that he was sure that 'everyone who passes through the chapel doors, whether or not they realise it, benefits from the friendship and guidance of the one after whom this college is named'.

He continued to say that in St Edmund, 'we find a genuinely Catholic approach to learning' in which 'we set out on an adventure to explore, as best we can, the full wonder of the universe. We delight in truth, wherever it is found'.

The Cardinal further explained that St Edmund teaches us to integrate our intellectual endeavours and our prayer'. He also noted that St Edmund teaches us lessons in living, as he lived for others: 'He did not limit the fruits of his learnings to a closed circle of elites, but gladly dedicated it to the good of all.'

He went on to say about St Edmund that 'his prayerful learning made fruitful his preaching. His eloquent words illuminate minds, enflame hearts. But of course his manner of living most beautifully, gives effective testimony to the Gospel'.

The full text of the Cardinal's homily can be read here.

Photos: James Appleton

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