Monday, March 28, 2011

To Wonersh... St John's seminary, accompanying Dr Pia Matthews, who teaches there. The Surrey countryside entrancing in the spring: daffodils, trees with a profusion of pink and white blossom like bridesmaids' dresses.

Impressed by the young men at the seminary: cheerful, welcoming, friendly. An easy, relaxed atmosphere at lunch, strong male voices saying Grace, the room filled with lively talk during the meal, staff, students and visitors all together. The seminary has a quietly busy, purposeful air. The grounds are attractive, and students all have specific jobs both outdoors and indoors to keep the whole place running smoothly. Judging by the notice-boards, they have plenty of other things to keep them busy too - sports, guest speakers,all sorts of activities, involvement with Catholic groups and organisations.
In the main entrance hall, there is a statue of Our Lady where they gather to pray. Peeked into the chapel, but there was a group practising for Mass.

An outsider coming in to see what a Catholic seminary is like would have to note the normality, openess, and warmth of welcome, the sense of doing something positive, the genuine atmosphere of a community getting along together - a rare and delightful thing - and the general cheerfulness. I am sure that lots of seminarians have bleak days. But the general impression of Wonersh was one of good cheer.

We need more men prepared to say "Yes" if they sense that "the Lord is here and he is calling for you..."

1 comment:

Mater mari said...

I have never visited Wonersh but am aware that there are some outstanding priests teaching there: Fathers Finnegan, Finigan and Dingley come instantly to mind. What is more, they all attended (I believe) the same Surrey school. No coincidence, methinks.