The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated the annual Freshers’ Mass at Newman House, the Catholic Chaplaincy to the London Universities, on Sunday 13th October.
He told the students: “Today in this Mass we celebrate the memory of Blessed John Henry Newman and… it is right that we look to him as a guide and inspiration in this great project of learning.”
In his homily, the Archbishop spoke about Newman’s commitment to university education and challenged the students to think outside of their degree fields and to challenge each other across disciplines this year to prevent a ‘fragmentation’ of learning where students become so specialised in one field that they cannot see the links to other disciplines, something Newman worried about when he taught.
He discussed Newman’s life and commitment to Catholic education in Ireland and England and explained what help the students’ faith could be to their studies this year:
“Give yourself some rest, some peace and some time for prayer, time simply to be with the Lord…..Your Catholic faith is the good soil on which you can confidently stand...build your lives on this soil and they will be well built.”
The Mass was concelebrated by the newly appointed Senior University Chaplain, Father Stephen Wang, and other chaplains to mark the opening on the academic year. During the Mass, there was a commissioning of the chaplains for the year ahead in which they affirmed their commitment to Catholic teaching and education at university.
Archbishop Nichols’ homily is available at: http://rcdow.org.uk/archbishop/homilies/