Friday, June 30, 2006

Not your ordinary Vocations Promotion

I don't know about other dioceses but in Southwark vocations promotion is definitely fun. My aim is that before anyone starts at a seminary they should already know and be friends with the other Southwark students who will start with them. To that end we organise events with a healthy human dimension as well as a spiritual one. A couple of Bank Holidays ago some of us hit on the idea of meeting together in the parish for Holy Mass, heading off somewhere for lunch and then going for a post-prandial walk. We ended up at the Barley Mow - opposite the spot where the last duel in England took place. It's a somewhat bizarre story: the first duellist fired and missed. The second attempted to shoot but his gun mis-fired and so, in the best tradition of British chivalry, his opponent said something like, "Jolly bad luck, old chap. Here, try mine". And was promptly shot with his own gun!
Over lunch I reminded them of the last verse of Belloc's Song of the Pelagian Heresy:

Now the faith is old and the devil is bold
Exceedingly bold indeed
and the masses of doubt that are floating about
would smother a mortal creed
but we who sit in a sturdy youth and still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
which always shall prevail!

The post-prandial walk took in the Royal Airforce War Memorial, Runnymede, the momument recalling the Magna Carta and the President Kennedy Memorial - before another glass of strong ale back at the Barley Mow.

This little escapade led to a more adventurous trip some weeks later when seven of us flew to Spain for a walking trip in the Pyrenees. We got cheap flights to Zaragoza where we hired a car and stayed just outside the Ordesa National Park. It was a great week and helped some of our Seekers see how daily Mass and prayer can easily be combined with an active schedule.

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