The Nottingham University Catholic community disperses before the national lock-down

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On Friday 20th March, the Catholic community at the University of Nottingham met for a final time before the University went down for Easter. In such uncertain times and with developments happening round the clock, it was a much needed time of prayer, peace and hope. Appropriately, the day coincided with the beginning of the Novena ahead of England’s re-dedication as the dowry of Our Lady, and so we gathered in the front room of Newman House (our student accommodation) to begin the nine day prayer journey, poignantly reminded that though despite being physically apart in the coming days, we always remain united in prayer. Following immediately afterwards we prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary together before the image of Our Lady of Walsingham. As we had been blessed with pleasant weather, Fr Jonathan suggested that we might like to journey with Our Lord along the Stations of The Cross outside in the garden. Taking our small plaques with us, we each took turns at holding them up so as to let the rest of the group pray before the images, led each time by Fr Jonathan. Afterwards there was a short time of fellowship (with appropriate social distancing) before we said our goodbyes, each taking our Novena booklet so as to continue our journey towards the re-dedication.

As the situation regarding coronavirus develops, many of us continue to be anxious and ask ourselves how long it will last. At a time where we are asked to be physically apart, the Church continues to share the Good News and hope through the technology available, with live streaming of Adoration and Holy Mass from Bishop’s House as well as the Cathedral and other churches across the diocese. We too at the University Chaplaincy continue to promote prayer and online fellowship via our website, Facebook page and with our weekly digital bulletins and reflections. These may be uncertain times, but Mother Church continues to be a beacon of hope in that uncertainty. Though we do not know when, what we do know is that this time will pass, and until then we can take great comfort in the knowledge that we are joined in prayer and forever under the watchful protection of Our loving Father. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

Chris Howitt,
Lay Chaplain, University of Nottingham

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