During his visit to Britain, Pope Benedict will spend Friday morning at St Mary's University College, Twickenham. He will be praying with Religious, speaking to school children among other events.
St Mary's was the College at which my father trained to be a teacher after he was demobbed in 1948. He always spoke very warmly of his time there and of the education that he received from the Vincentians, especially in "Divinity". I once saw some of the notes that he was given as a young student: they were impressive. In those days, all the students went to daily Mass, there was a silent retreat each year, and the football team played a friendly match against the Arsenal. In 2006, the college was granted degree awarding powers by the Privy Council and became St Mary's University College, Twickenham.
Just this month, Benedict XVI House was set up to serve as home for a residential community:
The basic idea is for a small group of staff and students to live together, pursuing a communal life of prayer, study, and service. Many of the details are still to be decided, but we'll certainly have community meals, and daily lauds and vespers. Plans are also afoot for regular rosary, film nights, 'theology on tap', speakers, barbecues, cake mornings, pilgrimages, processions... Above all, we hope to practise the corporal works of mercy.You can see pictures of the Oratory of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. I wish this new initiative every success and hope that it becomes a fruitful addition to the life of St Mary's College.