Category Archives: newsletter

Quiz question

Who is the first person since Jesus to have Cambridge and Oxford colleges named after him?

In 1973 one of the colleges in Cambridge changed its named from “University College” to “Wolfson College”. There was already a Wolfson College in Oxford, also named after Sir Isaac Wolfson, founder of the incredibly generous Wolfson Foundation. It was observed with humour at the time that Sir Isaac was the first person since Jesus to have colleges named after him in both universities. Indeed, both have a Jesus College and a Trinity College, Cambridge has Christ’s College and Oxford has Christchurch.

However, there is one particular aspect of our faith in Our Lord that also has colleges named after it in both – and that is Corpus Christi. In Cambridge, Corpus Christi College was established way back in 1352 by the Guild of Corpus Christi. “The other place” followed a little later in 1517, when Corpus Christi Oxford was founded by the Bishop of Winchester.

The fact that both of our ancient universities have such colleges reminds us how ancient is this feast in honour of the Holy Eucharist. It seems to have started in the early 1200s and was established for the whole church over the next century. By the time the Colleges were founded it was an extremely important Feast in the Church’s Year, and many institutions were dedicated to Corpus Christi. Sadly only some 30 years after the Oxford College was founded the Church of England abolished the feast, though it has been revived in many Anglican churches.

So in celebrating this feast in honour of the Body and Blood of Christ, we are joining millions across the world and down through the centuries. Let us use the day to renew and joyfully deepen our own faith in what our First Holy Communion programme calls “God’s Greatest Gift”.

Fr Matthew

I arise today

St Patrick was active as a missionary in Ireland in the second half of the fifth century. Tradition credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older, but definitely much older is the prayer usually known as “St Patrick’s Breastplate” or “The Deer’s Cry”. Modern scholars believe it to date from at least the eighth century, possibly much older, and therefore maybe going back to Patrick himself as tradition says. We know it from various translations and hymns, and on this Trinity Sunday here is an abridged version of this beautiful prayer.

I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to see before me,
God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to secure me –
against snares of devils,
against temptations and vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me
ill, afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd…
Christ, be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Fr Matthew

Holy Spirit memory

Pope Francis writes about a particular role of the Holy Spirit – to remind us…

“The Holy Spirit reminds us; he reminds us of all that Jesus said. He is the living memory of the Church, and when he reminds us, he helps us understand the words of the Lord.

This remembrance in the Spirit and by virtue of the Spirit . . . is an essential aspect of Christ’s presence within us and within his Church. The Spirit of truth and charity reminds us of all that Christ said and helps us enter ever more fully into the meaning of his words. We all have this experience: one moment, in any situation, there is an idea and then another connects with a passage from Scripture. . . . It is the Spirit who leads us to take this path: the path of the living memory of the Church. And he asks us for a response: the more generous our response, the more Jesus’ words become life within us, becoming attitudes, choices, actions, testimony. In essence the Spirit reminds us of the commandment of love and calls us to live it.

A Christian without memory is not a true Christian but only halfway there: a man or woman, a prisoner of the moment, who doesn’t know how to treasure his or her history, doesn’t know how to read it and live it as salvation history. With the help of the Holy Spirit, however, we are able to interpret interior inspirations and life events in light of Jesus’ words. And thus within us grows the knowledge of memory, knowledge of the heart, which is a gift of the Spirit. May the Holy Spirit rekindle the Christian memory within all of us! And there, that day with the apostles, was Our Lady of Memory, who from the beginning meditated on all those things in her heart. Mary, our Mother, was there. May she help us on this path of memory.”

from Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Francis