Easter Term 2015 - Number 7
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Dear <<First Name>>,

The end of another academic year has come, and the conclusion of a very busy time for the Chaplaincy in Durham. Although it is a time for farewells, it is also a time for welcoming new members of the Chaplaincy's alumni community.

News of the Term

In a term of stressful exams it is important to have a solid spiritual grounding; and the familiar round of Chaplaincy events has provided that: the weekly Sunday Student Mass, Breakfasts (following Lauds - Morning Prayer), and CathSoc Nights (meal, talk, discussion and prayer after Wednesday evening Mass).
We have continued to draw on the expertise of Dominican Friars across the country, and this term welcomed fr. Robert Gay OP from Blackfriars, Oxford, to talk to us about questions about the beginning and end of life. There's a version of his talk on-line at
Weekly meetings of the Lectio Divina group and participation in the Durham University Taizé Prayer Group in the Normal Chapel of University also provided much needed spiritual relief from this pressured time. After exams we held a peaceful 24-hour Prayer Vigil in front of the Blessed Sacrament, punctuated by the Divine Office and devotions.
The undoubted highlight of the term, however, was our retreat to Lindisfarne. Organised in collaboration with the Durham University Ecumenical Christian Council (DUECC) and other Christian Chaplains and Societies, 55 people from various backgrounds spent an enriching weekend on Holy Island, getting to know each others' traditions and exploring the theme of Creation from various scriptural perspectives. We even got creative ourselves with the art materials!
But amidst all this fraternity and joy it was also a time for peaceful and quiet reflection after the exertions of exams.
Alongside the spiritual and intellectual events at the Chaplaincy, there is also plenty going on to build up the Catholic community here. Students gather for refreshments after Mass each Sunday; and we had the usual favourites of a Pub Quiz and Film Night.
Easter Term also saw the celebrated CathSoc Ball, and then for the last Saturday of term we held a most enjoyable Garden Party with Barbecue following a Mass of Thanksgiving for the blessings of the year.

It was a pleasure to welcome back a number of alumni for the Garden Party, and we hope this will continue to be a regular way that past and present students can come together as a community. If you have your 2016 diary already, why not pencil in next year's garden party? It is provisionally planned for Saturday 18 June 2016.

Three Generations of CathSoc
L to R: Thomas Kingsley Jones & Elena Cahill (President & VP, 2013-2014), fr. Ben (Chaplain),
Dominic Goodall & Anna Handy (President & VP, 2015-2016), fr. David (Assistant Chaplain),
Michael Wee & Erin Scott (President & VP, 2014-2015)

News from Alumni

fr. Bruno Clifton OP (St Chad's, 1996-1996) was our visiting preacher earlier this term, but his adventures continued with a 68-mile ulta-marathon over the hills and trails of the Lake District on 27 June; sadly not completed because of injury but a valiant effort! This was a sponsored event as part of the Dominican Friars' drive to raise £1 million for the training of younger friars - you can still support fr. Bruno by donating at
Durham alumnus James McMillan received a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours list. Sir James studied composition at Durham in the 1980s as member of the Graduate Society (now Ustinov College) and has become one of Britain's foremost composers. He received a CBE in 2004 and an honorary DMus at Durham in 2007; he also has a long friendship with the Dominican Order from his time as an undergraduate in the Dominican chaplaincy at Edinburgh to being Director of Music at the Dominican-run church of St Columba, Glasgow. Read more at
We are always delighted to welcome alumni back to Durham, but it was a special joy to welcome Catherine Creedon and Michael McDonough (both Collingwood, 2006-2009) shortly after Easter as they celebrated their marriage at St Cuthbert's. It was a welcome surprise too for current CathSoc President Dominic Goodall, who had been taught by Catherine at school! Then shortly after the end of term Lucy Abbott (Castle 2002-2006, Ustinov 2007-2008 and St Chad's 2011-2014) married Andrew Redfern here at St Cuthbert's. Many congratulations to them all!
Alumna Theodora Hawksley - who studied Theology in Durham in the mid-naughties - hit the headlines in April. The news had just emerged that 45 women had entered religious life in England and Wales - a record for recent decades. Theodora, who had begun her formation with the Congregation of Jesus in January this year, was invited to appear on the BBC, ITV and even in Cosmopolitan Magazine!
Please keep Theodora and all students and alumni discerning their vocation in your prayers.

Pass it on...

It is good to share our news with you, but there are still lots of Catholic alumni of Durham we're not in touch with. Please do share this e-mail from your time in Durham - perhaps by sharing on Facebook or tweeting on Twitter using the buttons at the bottom of the message - and encourage others to sign up at

Above all, please do keep the work of the Chaplaincy at Durham in your prayers. 

With every good wish in Christ,

fr. Benjamin Earl OP

Dominic Goodall
CathSoc President 2015-2016

Copyright © 2015 Durham University Catholic Chaplaincy, All rights reserved.

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