MONGST hundreds of
seminarists flocking daily to Rome's Gregorian University, and indistinguishable from them, is a young Anglican student from Lichfield College. In cassock and fascia he sits among seminarists from the Catholic world to follow Latin lectures by Jesuit professors on Scripture, Dogma, and the Fathers.
Twenty-three-year-old Michael John Rear from Doncaster is a slim smiling youth who would not look out of place in any sixth form. He does not seem to feel out of place in Rome, either. He lives in the Rosminian studentate beside the church of St. John before the Latin Gate, where he shares the community life. wanders about Rome in his spare time visiting churches and shrines. and keeps abreast of conciliar affairs by attending American Press Conferences.
Michael's six months' stay at Rome was supported by the Anglican "Central Advisory Committee for the Ministry", with the full consent of the Bishop of Sheffield. It was arranged at Rome by Fr. Charles Boyer, S.J., of "Unitas". He will return to England for ordination to the Anglican diaconate next Easter with an unrivalled experience of Catholicism in practice.
It is unlikely that Michael Rear will be the last Anglican to join in the life of a Catholic seminary. He states that his primary aim is ecumenical, and hopes that "Roman and Anglican bishops will soon arrange mutual exchanges of seminarians, and also increase the
contact between Catholic and Protestant universities" as practical ,steps to unity.
Asked for impressions, Mr. Rear calls these his "discoveries" to date: "Our common ground of spirituality and personal faith in Christ: a greater appreciation of the riches of the Anglican Church which we can share with Catholics: a realisation that the dogmas of the Roman Church, including Papal Infallibility, are not so unreasonable when rightly understood, and the charity and sincerity of the Roman Church— no attempts to convert, no suggestions that Anglicans lack grace, or that Rome is perfect, but frank admission of the permanent need for reform." He finds himself "completely accepted" into the life of the seminary.
The 93-year-old church of St. Agnes, Huyton, in Lancashire, is being demolished. The last Mass has been said by the parish priest, Fr. John Gavin. The altars and furnishings have been removed, and an Monday last the demolition men began their work.
The reason is to make room for a new and more spacious edifice to nieet the local needs.
Designed by the younger Pugin and built in stone, the 200-seater was more than adequate for the scattered Catholic families around the hamlet of Huyton in 1870. Now there are more than three thousand Catholics in the parish.
Since World War I the total Catholic population of the urban district has risen to 27.000 and four new parishes have sprung up.
The old St. Agnes will now be replaced by a larger church in modern idiom to the design of Mr. L. A. G. Pritchard. The site is a confined one, making demolition of the existing building necessary. To be completed in 18 months, the new church will cost £80,000.
Since Fr. Gavin took over the parish just over four years ago he has built a primary school costing £65,875 and is now completing the last phase of a secondary modern school costing £100,000. This latter will attract a /5 per cent grant from the Ministry of Education.
After 15 years as parish priest in the small parish of Buntingford, Herta, Fr, J. J. O'Brien has retired and is going to live at Chester. )-II went to Huntington], where the church (St. Richard's) was built by Mgr. Robert Hugh Benson and completed in 1914. from the Army, in which he had been a Regular Chaplain since the First World War. Buntingford is a parish in which the Archbishop of Westminster's country house, Hare Street House, is situated: this, as is well known, was also left to the Archdiocese by the late Robert Hugh Benson.
To mark the good wishes of his parishioners on his retirement, Fr. O'Brien has been presented with a cheque for £100, an album of photographs of the church, and other gifts. There are only some 200 parishioners in the very scattered parish.
Fr, B. Westbrook, who is now teaching at St. Edmund's College, Ware. is succeeding Fr. O'Brien as parish priest.
An appeal to help today's students by advising them on suitable careers open to them was made to all members of the Association of Past Studeets of St. Joseph's College, Mark Cross (the Old Crossians' Association) at last week's annual meeting at the Irish Club, London.
Unity Discussion at Colchester Technical College on November 16. at 3 p.m.. will be addressed by Fr. Michael Hollings.
Cresswellian Drama Group, attached to St. Mary's Church, will present "The Tender Trap" at St. Mary's Hall, Cresswen Road, Blackheath, S. London, on November 9 and 16 at 8 p.m.