Last night I treated the Nottingham Seminarians at Allen Hall to a meal out.
From left to right, Daniel Palmer (4th year), James Noakes (1st year), Fr Philip, Kevin Athide (5th year), and Deacon Kevin Gradwell. (Jonathan Whitby-Smith (2nd year) was away visiting family and sadly could not join us.)
During my Sabbatical the students have welcomed me to Allen Hall for the celebration of Holy Mass and a meal on a number of occasions.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols was among the nineteen bishops to receive a scarlet
biretta from Pope Francis making him a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. This is
an historic event as it is the first time that two Archbishops of Westminster
are alive and both are members of the college of cardinals. Archbishop-Emeritus
Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor was the first Archbishop of Westminster to live
long enough to retire in office and now that he has passed his eightieth
birthday and is no longer able to vote in conclave, the way is clear for
Archbishop Nichols to receive this honour.
the consistory in the Vatican Basilica of St Peter in Rome this morning,
Cardinal Nichols received a ring and the distinctive scarlet biretta from the
hands of Pope Francis and is now entitled to wear the scarlet robes of his rank
and use a new coat of arms, like the one below.
His titular Church in Rome is Sanctissimi Redemptoris et Sancti Alfonsi in Exquiliis (The Most Holy Redeemer and St Alphonsus)
with three shepherds visiting the new-born Christ-child in the stable at Bethlehem,
as the Wise Men arrive to pay homage to the infant King of the Jews.
As well as these visitors from the East, we welcomed Fr Simon Gillespie, assistant priest at St Thomas More, Knighton, (somewhere to the West) to celebrate Mass this weekend.
We are continuing to explore the implications of Bishop Malcolm's consultation '"You are Living Stones" and we shall be seeing more of Fr Simon and also Fr Michael Moore, parish priest at St Thomas More over the coming weeks in Oadby.
Today is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, or Theotokos in Greek. This ancient title of the Blessed Virgin goes back to the early Councils of the Church where the teaching was established that Mary was truly Mother of God and not merely Mother of Christ, as some Christians were proposing. It is not some play on words, but by our belief that Mary is Mother of God we confirm our belief at the same time that Jesus Christ is God. This feast reminds us that our Saviour is truly human and truly divine.
Last Sunday afternoon the Children's Liturgy Group performed their Christmas Nativity, retelling the story of the birth of Jesus before an audience of their parents and a group of other parishioners. Afterwards they were rewarded with an early Christmas present while refreshments were available in the parish room.