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Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Cardinal presides at Mass for Ushaw Bicentenary
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¬†Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor presided at a Mass at Ushaw College on Sunday, to celebrate the college's 200th anniversary. The Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales presided at the 12 noon Mass, which was also concelebrated by 18 bishops, two abbots and around 40 priests, several of whom had taught at the college or had studied for the priesthood there. The Cardinal finished the service with a letter and blessing from the Pope, via his Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Local dignitaries and guests from the William Allen Association in Douai, France ≠ the site of the original college before it moved to England in the 1790s ≠ were among almost 250 guests who attended the Mass and lunch afterwards in the College refectory. Acting President of Ushaw College, Fr Philip Gillespie said: "We were absolutely delighted with the day. It was a grand occasion and showed the college at its best and most vibrant; it's not a museum. What I liked most was the balance between the formality of marking a great occasion and the informality of good hospitality and friends gathered round a table. "It was an immense amount of work by the staff and students, the kitchens, and the hospitality arm of the College. As well as almost 250 coming for lunch on Sunday, we had 30 or 40 guests staying for the weekend and they were unanimous in the praise for the welcome and hospitality they experienced." Ushaw College is the seminary in the North of England for the formation of Catholic priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers. Founded in Douai, in the North East of France, in 1568, it has occupied its present site, four miles west of Durham City, since 1808. After the celebration lunch, members of the William Allen Association, which is dedicated to maintaining Douai's English connections, presented a framed photograph of one of the stones from the original college at Douai that has recently been unearthed by archaeologists. Marie Delecambre, one of the contingent of six from Douai, who were staying at Ushaw over the weekend, made a speech on behalf of the association, in which she explained that the strong religious sentiment in Douai is a fruit of the rich heritage of links with English Catholicism. Four former presidents of Ushaw College returned to the College for the celebration: Monsignor Peter Walton (Ushaw president 1984-91); Monsignor ichard Atherton (91-96); Fr Jim O'Keefe (96-03) and Right Reverend Terence Patrick Drainey, now Bishop of Middlesbrough, (03-07). Bishop Drainey also preached the homily during the Mass. Fr John Marsland ≠ who is about to take over as President of Ushaw College in September ≠ formally welcomed the guests at lunch. Organisers have prepared a wide variety of events to take place from April to July 2008 to mark the college's bicentenary, and the next event is an organ recital on Friday, May 30, at 7.30pm, featuring Emma Gibbins. Based in London until now, Emma has recently been appointed Organist at Saint George's, Belfast. She will be playing music by Bach, Couperin, Bruhns, Franck and Messiaen, as well Tim Harrison's recent composition "Christe qui Lux es et Dies". A free exhibition on the college's origins, history, people and artefacts will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2 to 5pm, until Sunday, July 13. There will be a fun weekend on June 14 and 15, with jousting, falconry, jesters, a hog roast and medieval music, and a medieval banquet on the evening of June 14. A Flower Festival runs from June 12 to 15, and a series of concerts which began in April, continues with concerts on May 30 and June 4. A book telling the history of the college, and illustrated by dozens of new photos is also on sale, priced £25.
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