Thursday, 24 November 2011

Caritas Reception and Allen Hall

Yesterday lunchtime the other interns got a chance to see one of the many things Dom and Marie have been working on. As we squeezed our way into Caritas’ (very well attended) Parliamentary Reception, held in the House of Commons, we were greeted by MP’s, Peers and people working for various charitable organisations that come under the Caritas Social Action Network umbrella.

The reception was a chance for all supporters of Caritas to mingle and exchange ideas and experiences, as well as hear the Archbishop of Westminster speak. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols highlighted the need to “foster the common good” that existed between those in attendance and the work that they do, echoing advice given by the Holy Father on his visit to the UK last year.

The Archbishop went on to praise the work of member organisations of the Caritas network in helping those who are marginalised in society. He alluded to the current economic and social challenges that include; the effects of cutbacks, the repercussions of the summer riots, and the growing pressure upon families and young people.

Later the same day, we met each other at Allen Hall in Chelsea and joined Mgr Mark O’Toole and the seminarians in the chapel for Adoration. We were given a brief history of the seminary, which has been in existence in some form for over three hundred years, before being split up amongst those who live at Allen Hall for dinner. This enabled/ forced us to talk to the seminarians and priests, all of whom seemed delighted to have guests (if only for the wine this had prompted the Rector to buy).

Allen Hall Seminary, Chelsea
All of the interns appreciated a good home cooked meal with pumpkin pie for dessert to acknowledge the American tradition of Thanksgiving, being celebrated today. After dinner we were taken on a tour by Mark, one of the seminarians at Allen Hall. On the tour, Mark referred to what seemed like the majority of the rooms as, “the least used room in the building,” which left us slightly puzzled as to where the seminarians spend their time. Nonetheless, we left well fed and well informed having had a lovely evening with interesting people.

No comments: