On Thursday 6 September more than 40 Diocese of Westminster seminarians came together for their annual gathering, which took place at St Anne’s Home, Stoke Newington, and at SPEC, the diocesan youth retreat centre in Hertfordshire.
St Anne’s is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and there the seminarians were joined by the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and took part in a Mass which he celebrated in the chapel.
The seminarians were keen to talk to the residents, who include a number of retired clergy, to find out about their experiences and any advice they had about parish life, particularly those who were heading to their first parishes!
The group also stayed to have lunch with the retired priests who took the opportunity to thank the Sisters and praise the warmth and quality of assistance they received, with one priest saying he had never laughed as much as he had at St Anne’s.
The seminarians then travelled on to SPEC, in London Colney. Spec is the Diocese of Westminster’s residential retreat centre for children and young people in parishes and schools of the diocese. Whilst there they were given a talk by the Director of SPEC, Jon Rogers, about the history and future of the centre. Afterwards they tried out a few of the activities which young people on retreat would take part in, including Archery and Ultimate Frisbee.
Fr Richard Nesbitt, the Vocations Director for the Diocese, said: "It has been a day of real joy, hope and celebration for us all and I know that the seminarians will now return to their different seminaries with fresh heart for the journey ahead. Please keep them and all the priests of our diocese, young and old, in your prayers and also those men whom God is calling to follow in their footsteps."