Praises for Osterley

 On the eve of the closure of Campion House, Osterley, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus has paid tribute to all students and staff who passed through the college since 1911. Writing from Rome, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ made special mention of the pre-seminary training for priests that had taken place at Osterley and which he described as "very successful". "The fact that, with such a relatively small staff, it was possible to set more than 1400 students on their way to priestly ordination undoubtedly indicates the presence of an extraordinary gift of God's grace to the Church", he wrote. Fr Kolvenbach called the college's early Jesuit directors, Fr Edmund Lester SJ and Fr Clement Tigar SJ, "men of vision and leadership (who) rightly deserve our praise and admiration". But he also paid tribute to those who have been involved in other ministries at Osterley over the years: fostering the unity of priests, directing retreats and providing hospitality for refugees. "I am happy to thank you wholeheartedly for your dedication and excellent work during the past years," he wrote. "And I join you in praising the Lord for all his blessings and in praying with full confidence that the seeds which have been planted continue to bear great fruit." A Mass of Thanksgiving takes place at Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday, to mark the closure of Campion House College, at which hundreds of past students, including many Jesuits, are expected to concelebrate with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Provincial of the British Jesuits, Fr David Smolira SJ, and bishops and priests from all over England and Wales. The Mass starts at 11am. The British Jesuits decided last year to close Osterley in the summer of 2004. The programme for the training of lay-people in the Church, developed at Campion House, will be continued in other locations, while the Jesuit Refugee Service has moved from Osterley to new premises in central London. Source: Jesuit Communications Office

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