OVER 750 PRIESTS ORDAIN ED
Some forty years ago Father Edmund Lester conceived the idea, a novel one at that date, of "saving late vocations", that is, of helping to the priesthood young men between the ages of eighteen and forty who seemed suitable, but who could not be immediately accepted in a seminary or religious novitiate because they did not know Latin, or because there were gaps in their education. In 1919 he set aside an old Victorian mansion called Thornbury Lodge as a house of studies for late vocations, and received nine young men who had been serving in the first World War. The name was changed to Campion House. Others soon followed. and the stable and coach-house of the mansion were converted into a dormitory called Bethlehem. As the number of applicants increased, extra accommodation had to be improvised according as funds allowed, and we have been improvising ever since, to keep pace 'with the growing demand. Up to date 771 of those who started at Osterley have reached the priesthood, 393 among the pastoral clergy and 378 in the religious orders, including the foreign missionary orders.
Evidently what was started as an emergency experiment after the first World War has now come to supply an important and permanent need in`the organization of the Church. At present we have 140 students in residence in our widely scattered improvised buildings. It would seem therefore that the time has come to stop improvising, and to erect a permanent building designed for its special purpose. The paramount need is a permanent chapel where 140 students can pray in reason• able comfort, and where the sacred liturgy can be performed with dignity and decorum. Already a noble chapel has been designed by Mr. L. H. Shattock, F.R.I.B.A.. K.S.G. the architect to Westminster Cathedral, and when Blessed Edmund Campion is canonized. together with his thirty-nine fellow martyrs, it will be dedicated to him. A permanent college too is needed, containing dormitories. class-rooms. common rooms and library, with the other things necessary for accortsmodating 140 residential students during a two-year course in English. Latin. Greek. French European History and elocution. We already have an adequate refectory and kitchen. thanks to the unfailing generosity of Catholics throughout the Commonwealth. Ireland. and the U.S.A. and of some non-Catholics as well.
A scheme for raising £250,000 has been launched and already £4,000 has come in. If you would like to contribute to this fund, you will he helping the whole Church. because Campion House prepares students for all dioceses and all religious orders and for the foreign missions. You will be helping posterity too. because. although late vocations will always be in a minority in the Church. the need for more and more priests is becoming greater each year.
DON'T SEND MORE THAN E1.01:10: OTHERWISE WE MIGHt BECOME TOO RICH. AND A WEALTHY CLERGY IS A DANGER TO THE COUNTRY. AS rt WAS IN ENGI AND JUST BEFORE THE REFORMATION. DONT SEND LESS CHAN El. BECAUSE, WHAT WITH POUNDAGE. POSTAGE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT. IT BECOMES UNECONOMIC TO DESPATCH HALE-A, CROWN BY POST. HALF-CROWNS ARE INDEED VALUABLE, BUT PLEASE SAVE THEM UP nu. YOU HAVE EIGHT. AND THEN SEND IHEM ALL TOGETHER, AND IF POSSIBLE BETWEEN NOW AND EASTER. 19b1