After a restful half-term break, I arrived back at college conscious of how little time is left before Christmas. Exams are only around the corner, so the pace is picking up.
At Oscott, a wide variety of assessment methods are employed. Aside from the usual written exams, we also have oral exams, which serve as an opportunity to verbally communicate those things which we have been taught. For my Christian Spiritual Tradition course, neither method is used. Instead, my task is to produce a portfolio exploring how Church buildings reflect the needs of the communities that built them and how each reflects something of the time in which it was built. I am starting with the Romans and finishing by looking at my own parish church in Knotty Ash.
We recently held our First Year Concert which takes place at the beginning of the year, serving as an opportunity for new seminarians to show off their talents. After the concert finishes, the Rector formally welcomes them into the community and acknowledges them as Oscotians. This tradition has been going for at least 100 years and rumour has it that Saint John Henry Newman might have attended back in the day.
On Monday evenings, after the house talk, the community breaks into Pastoral Groups. There are six of these groups, which meet for social time and prayer. Once a month, on a Sunday, each group helps at a parish in Birmingham. My parish this year is in the Northfield area of the city. Northfield recently saw its two parish communities merged into one. To bring everyone together, a special mission programme is taking place in the week running up to Christ the King Sunday. Our house group has been busy planning some of the events that will take place each day in the week. The mission will end with an International Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
Finally, our college charity, Oscott Action for Justice and Peace, is supporting Across, an organisation that helps people with additional needs to get to Lourdes. We’ve been busy fund-raising for them by holding a virtual bike race from Oscott to Lourdes, an incredible 798 miles! We’ve been taking shifts using exercise bikes to cycle the equivalent distance. If you would like to support our efforts, please use the following link to donate on our Just Giving page: justgiving.com/fundraising/cyclingseminarians