Michaelmas Term 2015 - Number 8
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Dear <<First Name>>,
Michaelmas Term at Durham is the longest at eleven weeks including "freshers' week"; it finished this year only a week before Christmas. It has been an exhausting but exhilarating time at the Chaplaincy, celebrating new friendships and exploring the Catholic faith in a new setting, before throwing us all headlong into the joyful celebrations of Christ's birth.

News of the Term

As always, before Michaelmas Term formally begins there is the scrum of Freshers' Fair... although in fact this year we were represented at no fewer than four fairs: the Catholic Society was present at the Durham Students' Union Societies' Fair in Durham (pictured - with President Dominic Goodall and Collingwood Rep Simon Edwards) and at Stockton; and Chaplaincy across the University was represented at the Staff "Induction and Well-Being" Fair, and at the new students' "Community Fair". It was all fairly exhausting!
Vice-President Anna Handy gave CathSoc a new image on posters for gathering new students... "I can't draw human beings", she said: so the Chaplains were portrayed variously as bears and cats in Dominican habits!
As always, St Cuthbert's Church has been packed for the Student Mass each Sunday evening (and a good number of students present at the Parish Mass in the morning too). Visiting preachers this term have included Mgr Keith Newton (pictured), Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (for Anglicans wanting to become Catholics as a group, while retaining some of their own traditions) and Fr Wulstan Peterburs OSB (Castle 1986-1989 and 1991-1994) of Ampleforth Abbey.
Some sort of social gathering always follows Sunday Mass, whether simple refreshments, buffets or more formal dinners; it was especially pleasing to see the Chaplaincy packed for our open dinner after the first Sunday Mass of term.

We joined together with other Christian societies and chaplaincies the following week to go in procession (pictured) to Durham Cathedral, lit only by candles: a beautiful and moving sight.
November saw our now-regular retreat to the Augustinian Sisters at Boarbank Hall, Cumbria, where Sr Margaret Atkins OSA spoke about Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Care of Creation, Laudato si'
Closer to home, the Chaplaincy was the host for a Day Retreat organised by the Dominican Youth Movement and fr. Nicholas Crowe OP (St Dominic's Priory, London) on Christian Discipleship, as we reflected on St John's message that "There is no fear in love" (1 John 4:18). We welcomed back recent graduates as well as students from the Catholic University Chaplaincies at Newcastle and Edinburgh (pictured).
Wednesday evenings continue as the main mid-week focus of activities for the Chaplaincy. We have visited St John's and St Aidan's for Mass, and have had a wide range talks and topics of discussion, including World War I and its effect on the Church (with Prof. Michael Snape, Ramsey Professor of Anglican Studies, though he is a Catholic himself); Prayer through the ages; and a packed talk on Catholics and sex!
This newsletter can only ever be a taster of the full programme of events going on in the Chaplaincy. There is also a plethora of events of interest to Catholics organised by various parts of the University - perhaps the highlight this term was the conference organised by the Centre for Catholic Studies to celebrate the 175th anniversary of The Tablet.

Comings and Goings

2016 is a double Jubilee for us at the Chaplaincy in Durham. Pope Francis has announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy, of course. But 2016 will also see, on 22 December, the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Order of Preachers - the Dominicans - by Pope Honorius III; so we celebrate too the Jubilee of the Order of Preachers. After eight centuries, the Order remains young and vibrant - perhaps partly because working in and around Universities has always been a vital part of its mission. Please keep the Order, and especially the friars in Durham, in your prayers this year.
fr. Ben (Chaplain) and fr. David (Assistant Chaplain) were joined in the Dominican Community over the summer by fr. Tony Rattigan OP, now Catholic Chaplain to HMP Durham. On the Sunday during prisons week fr. Tony preached at the Student Mass. A number of students, as well as members of the Parish Community at St Cuthbert's are involved in various ways with support of prisoners and their families, especially through the work of local charity NEPACS.

Future events

We very much value the continuing support of alumni as part of the Chaplaincy community in Durham. You are always welcome to drop by, but we especially invite alumni to the annual Mass of Thanksgiving and Garden Party. This takes place on the last Saturday in Easter Term, 18 June 2016; the Mass starts at 12:15pm and is followed by a celebratory barbecue lunch and drinks. Do drop us a line at if you are able to come.
Younger graduates (aged up to 35) may be also be interested in joining some of our students and Dominican Friars for the Dominican Youth Movement's trip to World Youth Day in Krakow, 22 July - 1 August 2016. This is a massive gathering of Catholic young people and an opportunity for you to deepen your faith together with fellow young Catholics from around the world, united with Pope Francis, who will celebrate the closing Mass: over two million people are expected!

Details about the trip are available at the pilgrimage's facebook event page.

News from Alumni

Andrew Coy (St John's, 2012-2015 - and our Organ Scholar) has begun his formation for the priesthood at the Venerable English College, Rome (pictured) - where former chaplain Fr Tony Currer is also to be found. "Despite the glories of Rome," Andrew writes, "I do miss Durham, and the Chaplaincy remains very much in my thoughts and prayers." Please keep Andrew in your prayers, too!
Do you have any news to share? Let us know at

Pass it on...

In this Christmas season, please continue to keep the work of the Chaplaincy in Durham in your prayers, that the incarnate Christ may be made present to all in the University, and his message of mercy preached.

Do help us to spread the word too... there are many Catholic alumni out there whom we're not yet in touch with, and you can help us reach them by sharing this e-mail with those from your time in Durham. You can share on Facebook or tweet on Twitter using the buttons at the bottom of the message.

We wish you and all who are dear to you a very happy and holy Christmas; and may the coming New Year 2016 bring you many blessings.

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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