News and updates

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

A few announcements:

Br Guy Consolmagno is the new director of the Vatican Observatory. Congratulations, Br Guy! Here’s a recent radio interview where he speaks about science and faith.

Fr Dominic Robinson and Fr Trieu Nguyen of Farm Street Church, together with parishioners Marie Wilson and Sandra McNally, are walking on the Ignatian Camino this week to raise funds for the anti-trafficking Bakhita House Project. You can follow their adventures here.

Finally, next week I’m starting my second BA in Theology at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. Project SJ is a slow-brewing sort of thing, so it might not make much of a perceptible difference in the posting rhythm! But it does mean I can conduct fewer interviews over the next couple of years, especially as I’ll have paid and academic work to do in vacations. I think it’s a very good step for the project’s long-term future, though, and look forward to seeing how things develop.

Rome, Syria and an update

Statue of Ignatius at Chiesa di S. Ignazio, Rome. This one is a model for the statue at St. Peter's Basilica

Statue of Ignatius at Chiesa di S. Ignazio, Rome. This one is a model for the statue at St. Peter’s.

I spent the last week on holiday in Rome – terrific place, didn’t want to leave – and came back with all kinds of exciting leads for Project SJ and for my eventual academic study. Highlights of the week included visiting St. Ignatius’ rooms at the community house of the Jesuit mother church, the Gesù; attending the Angelus blessing in St. Peter’s Square and seeing the Pope, although from some distance; going to Mass every day (not an option in my parish and, as I’m cantor, it was quite relaxing simply to attend for once!); and seeing all kinds of fascinating representations of St. Ignatius, which I photographed where possible. I was especially fortunate that the Gesù itself, which was closed for renovation when I arrived, re-opened before I left. So I could go and pay my respects to Ignatius and to Francis Xavier as well. I’m looking forward to going back, especially as I have an exciting potential interview in the works.

I came home to find that my review of John A. Weafer’s sociological study of the Irish priesthood, Thirty-Three Good Men, is in this week’s Tablet (sorry, paywall). While I have my issues with the methodology of the study, it is an extremely interesting read and I recommend it to anyone who wants an insight into the interior world of the priesthood.

Finally, I want to flag up a very interesting event: an upcoming talk by Fr Ziad Hilal SJ on the current situation in Syria. Fr Hilal is Director of the St Saviour Centre at Homs, where Fr Francis van der Lugt SJ lived until his murder last year. The talk will take place at Farm Street Church Hall at 6:30 PM on Wednesday 1 July 2015. Entrance is free with a small donation requested for refreshments. For more information, please contact Fr Dominic Robinson SJ: dominicrobinson[AT]rcdow.org.uk.