S part of an all-out effort
to contact every student who has left a Catholic college to go into further education, a conference is being held today, tomorrow and on Sunday in London.
At Southwell House, Hampstead, students, Catholic members of staff and priests in contact with students will be welcomed by an association, formed three years ago to find "lost" young Catholics.
A spokesman for the Association of Specialised College Catholics said: "Universities have chaplains: the Church is present there. But in the vast spread of specialised colleges—there are about 875 of them—Catholics disappear year after year and are lost to view. They may turn to their parishes, but there is plenty of evidence that they do not.
"So a combined operation has been running over the last few weeks. The schools inform Fr. Tucker, chaplain of Birmingham University, of all Catholics going to university. Until this year the form read: 'Do not give the names of those who are going to colleges other than universities. .
"Dr. Kevin McDonnell, chairman of the National Council for the Lay Apostolate, made the first breakthrough when he suggested to Fr. Tucker that if the word 'not' were omitted, heads of schools could give new and revolutionary information on the same form. Names have been flooding in, and some 400 are now available."
Miss Lynne Wolfe, the national secretary of the association, said: "We have been working in the dark. Our only hope has been that a Catholic member of staff would feel committed enough to Christ to look out for, and help fellow-Catholics.