Do not be misled by the name of this column – I left Oscott around 10 weeks ago and have been spending the lockdown period in Knotty Ash. The college community had been holding onto the prospect of returning to Oscott for the last week of June in order to celebrate the annual diaconate ordinations. This will no longer be the case, sadly. Instead, we have been informed that Oscott will reopen at the beginning of the next academic year. This is the right decision and will make returning in the autumn all the more joyful.
In the last few weeks of May, I had my oral exams (via Zoom) and also submitted all of my work, so the seminary year is slowly drawing to a close. On top of all that, the end of May brought the news that Archbishop Bernard Longley has appointed Father Giles Goward as the 24th Rector of Oscott College. Fr Giles is, at present, our pastoral director. His appointment as rector, needless to say, comes at a strange time so if you could spare a prayer for him, I’m sure he would be very grateful.
In the period following the Feast of the Ascension, we held a Novena to the Holy Spirit at Saint Margaret Mary, streamed live on YouTube. Alongside the prayers that accompanied the Novena, we included a pre-recorded reflection each evening from a different person associated with the parish. These reflections included contributions from Father Joe Bibby, pastoral associate Jo Wallace, and Sister Bridget Folkard. Father Ian McParland and I enjoyed putting this Novena together and you can access it, if you wish, by going to the parish YouTube channel for St Margaret Mary Liverpool.
One thing I must say is that live streaming is extremely temperamental. You can plan everything perfectly and then because of a poor signal, it can all go wrong. However, I must say equally that people in the parish have been so kind and supportive, even when it does buffer!
As the lockdown begins to ease, I feel as though ‘normality’ may slowly be returning. Yet let’s not forget all the people who have been fighting the virus and pray that they will be given strength. As for me, I can see that a ‘Letter from Oscott’ will in reality be a ‘Letter from Knotty Ash’ for a few months more; nevertheless, Knotty Ash is a good place to be, with some wonderful people. Let’s keep praying that the Holy Spirit of Pentecost will inspire us all during this time, so that we may be all the more open to loving God and loving one another.