AGROUP of English Catholics. recently visited Southern Holland to meet Dutch clergy and laity and to see something of the country's newest conception in priest training. This is at the College of Theology and Pastoral Work at Heerlen, near the Castle of Stein,
The group comprised members of the Newman Association Liturgy Committee and families of the Catholic Peoples Week. The theme of the week was "Communicating in a Changing World."
Oliver Pratt, a member of the National Council of the Lay Apostolate, speaking of the Church in relation to the divided world. said: The present perplexities are not signs of a dying Church but of the growing pains of one coming to life."
Mr. Pratt. who is one of the three Catholic members of the "ONE" National Committee for Christian Renewal, also discussed the way in which God lives and works through mankind in the human situation.
Fr. C. Beurskins. S.M.A., one of the local parish priests, attended throughout the week, bringing many groups of his parishioners. Most of these spoke and understood English, and joined in the group discussions arising from the talks.
Fr. Laurence Bright, O.P., led the first Eucharistic Celebration, which was taken as a basis for discussion to be built upon for later celebrations. Fr. Bright was also involved in a scriptural interpretation later in the week.
Fr. Harry llaas, student chaplain at Heerlen, invited the English group to the college, where he showed them round one of the settings for Holland's newest conception in priest training.
There are four such colleges in the Netherlands. The Heerlen College was started in 1966, fed from four seminaries-the diocesan one and those of the Sacred Heart Fathers. the Redemptorists and the Society for African Missions. Gradually it has evolved into a teaching and training centre with most of the staff resident. and the stu
dents sharing flats and apartments in the surrounding districts.
The six-year course includes a final two years' practical work as well as degrees, but all the students are not prospective priests-in fact a few girls have been accepted at the college. Mature students and those with other qualifications are accepted.
Back at the mission house at Stein. slides were shown by Fr. Haas demonstrating active participation in the liturgy by drama, mime and dancing.
Music in the liturgy ranged during the week from taped classical music to the "popular" type such as "Lord of the Dance" and "We shall overcome." A group of Dutch Carmelite teaching nuns with their guitarist. contributed folk music