Easter/Summer 2016 - Number 10
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Dear <<First Name>>,
Durham terms are times of frenetic activity, and so these newsletters to our alumni often get pushed back into the vacations. This summer vacation has been a time of much activity and change, pushing this newsletter even further back... but we have not forgotten our alumni community and want to keep you up-to-date with all that has been going on.

Comings and Goings

We announced in the previous newsletter that fr. Ben is to be appointed Procurator General of the Order of Preachers - the Canon Lawyer for the central government of the Dominican Friars - from the Autumn of this year.
It was with sadness that we learned shortly after the last newsletter that we were also to lose fr. David Goodill (Assistant Chaplain). Following the Dominican Friars' Provincial Chapter in April, fr. David was appointed Vice-Regent of Blackfriars in Oxford; and a few weeks later was elected as Prior of the Dominican Community there. We congratulate him on his new roles, thank him for his service in Durham, and keep him in our prayers.
There was further sad news from the Provincial Chapter which emerged shortly after the end of the Easter Term: that in order to strengthen communal life elsewhere the Dominican Community is to be withdrawn from Durham, and responsibility for the Chaplaincy here handed back to the clergy of the Diocese. For more information about this decision see:
Following the withdrawal of the Dominican Friars, Bishop Séamus has appointed Fr Andrew Downie as Catholic Chaplain to Durham University. Fr Andrew is a native of Sunderland; he studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and later qualified as a solicitor. He trained for the priesthood at the Venerable English College, Rome, where he gained a Licence in Fundamental Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Ordained priest in 2002, Fr Andrew is currently parish priest of St Patrick’s and St Pius X, Consett, having served in the past as Vocations Director for the diocese and Chaplain at the Universities of Newcastle and Northumberland.
Fr Andrew has a special interest in the teaching of Vatican II, and in the encounter of faith with contemporary culture. He is no stranger to Durham University, as he is studying for a PhD part-time in the Department of Theology and Religion.

We look forward to welcoming Fr Andrew to Durham when he takes over from fr. Ben on 5 September.

News of the Term

While most students are focused on examinations during Easter Term, the Chaplaincy remains  busy... and not only because we are a popular destination for students deep in revision!

Our Sunday Mass is as always the centre of our life as a Christian community, and it is a particular delight when we are able to celebrate with our Diocesan Bishop. Bishop Séamus Cunningham joined us to celebrate Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption, during which he celebrated the sacraments of initiation for two of our students.

Emma Bonnard (Van Mildert - and CathSoc Secretary - above right) was baptised, and then she and Anneli Aliaga (Hild Bede - below right) were confirmed.

Emma and Anneli then joined the chaplaincy community in receiving Holy Communion.

Please keep Emma and Anneli in your prayers; and for all those whom Christ calls to explore the Catholic Faith during their University years.

The Catholic Society's regular Wednesday "CathSoc Nights" have provided an opportunity to come together for Mass, prayer and fraternity and to explore aspects of our faith. In Easter term we have looked at various different expressions of spirituality from lectio divina (prayerful reading of the scriptures) and Benedictine spirituality with Fr Philip Rosario OSB (Oblate Master at Ampleforth Abbey) to charismatic prayer. 
Opportunities to grow in faith and fraternity continued once exams were over. Our Easter Term retreat is an ecumenical weekend on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne with nearly fifty members of various Christian chaplaincies and societies in the University. The tides were in our favour this year, so we were able to walk - barefoot, of course - across the sands (and not a little slime!) before spending time praying, enjoying Christian fraternity and looking together at the topic of "Living Mercy".
Our ecumenical friends were also in evidence at the annual CathSoc Ball, which was celebrated in the stunning setting of Ushaw College (right - image courtesy of Durham University). As well as being a very enjoyable evening, we were able to keep in touch with this very important site for Catholic heritage in the North East. 
We closed the academic year with our annual Mass of Thanksgiving followed by Barbecue and Garden Party - it was great to welcome back to Durham many of our alumni. You are very much part of the Chaplaincy community here!
A scrapbook was presented to fr. Ben with images and thoughts from his time as Chaplain in Durham. Contributions of memories and photos came from alumni and students both near and far.

(Right: fr. Ben with Presidents and Vice-Presidents of CathSoc past and present)

The term and the academic year end with celebrations of what has been achieved, but also sad farewells all round.

We bid farewell to graduating students - and this year also departing chaplains - but welcome them to our network of Chaplaincy alumni!

(Left: 2015-2016 CathSoc President, Dominic Goodall after his graduation, with fr. Ben)

Graduations did not mark the end of Chaplaincy activity this summer: dozens of students, alumni and friends of the Chaplaincy made the trip to World Youth Day in Krakow, many with the Dominican Youth Movement (DYM), others with various Dioceses. Traffic delays, stifling heat, hunger, thirst, rain and mud certainly made for a penitential experience; but also a time when friendships were made and faith renewed in communion with Pope Francis and millions of young people from across the globe. It is great to be a Catholic!
Though fr. Ben had hoped to be present in Krakow with the DYM, in the end he had to go to Bologna for the General Chapter of the Dominican Friars. But that did not mean he had to miss out on meeting Pope Francis! In the audience the Pope granted to the Chapter, fr. Ben was was able to remind him of his link with Durham: the Holy Father's motto miserando atque eligendo ("having mercy [on Matthew the tax collector] and choosing [him]") is taken from the commentary on St Matthew's gospel by St Bede, whose remains lie in Durham Cathedral.

News from alumni

The summer especially is the season for marriages... congratulations to Andrew Hutchinson (Ustinov 2013-2014) and Irene Arphutharaj (Ustinov 2013-2014 and 2015-) who were married in Dubai earlier this month (pictured left).

Congratulations in anticipation to Lucia Scaglione (St Cuthbert's Society 2014-2015) who marries her fiancé Giovanni Paganelli in Modena in September.

Good wishes to Michael Wee (St Mary's, 2012-2015) and Elisabeth Waelkens (Trevs 2013-2014) who have announced their engagement.

Please keep all our students and alumni in your prayers, especially those taking new steps in their Christian vocation.

Do you have any news to share? Let us know at

Pass it on...

If you know any Catholic alumni who aren't getting this newsletter, do pass it on and encourage them to sign up on our website, You can also share this newsletter on Facebook or tweet on Twitter using the buttons at the bottom of the message.
Wishing you every blessing in Christ,

fr. Benjamin Earl OP

Giulia Gilmore
CathSoc President 2016-2017

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