Saturday, July 30, 2011

A large sunny room... the big hall adjoining St George's Cathedral, Southwark. The last time I was in this hall was a few weeks ago,for celebrations following the ordination of a number of priests for the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Today I returned 3rd year Maryvale exams! We sat two papers, on Redemption and on Fundamental Moral Theology. All beautifully organised, in very traditional style, tables set wide apart, names and examination code-numbers on neat cards. A nun led us in prayer, distributed the papers, announced the timing, gave us the word to begin. Turning over the pale blue sheet to stare at the questions was less frightening that I found it when I took my first set of Maryvale exams a couple of years ago.

Afterwards, three of us lunched agreeably together nearby, en route to Waterloo station...we agreed no post-mortems, and stuck to this rule: we talked about Maryvale, swapped news and views, discussed the state of the Church, Britain,Western society generally, and was good to relax and talk and laugh and ponder lots of things together in good company. In late afternoon sunshine we shook hands and looked forward to our next gathering at Maryvale in October.

Several members of our year-group have already disappeared, one to study full-time for the priesthood, another to study to become a deacon, two to go into politics, several more to...well, who knows? It feels a bit worrying to be part of a diminishing group like this. But I am hugely looking forward to the start of the new Maryvale term and the next stage towards my Degree - assuming that, gulp, I've passed my exams and am eligible...

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