Abbey linked with chaplaincy
IN THE north, my Abbey of Ampleforth has had a fairly close relationship with York University from its inception in 1963-4. On this last July 9, in virtue of his abbatial years of assistance (as I understand from the professor who initiated and presented), Cardinal Basil Hume has been given an honorary degree there.
Let me quote from the presentation speech of Professor Barrie Dobson: "Abbot Hume found time to take several exceptionally fertile initiatives to strengthen the links between the Ampleforth community and the City, churches and the University of York. A personal friend of Dr Donald Coggan, then Archbishop of York, as well as of many of the Minster clergy, he founded the now famous Abbot's Group for wide-ranging ecumenical discussion here in Yorkshire. Abbot Hume was also a prominent figure in the foundation of the York Catholic Chaplaincy, a Chaplaincy to which several of the graduates sitting here this morning and on previous degree days in the past have owed more than I could readily say."
That Chaplaincy, on the edge of the Heslington campus, is More House, ever open, with its own chapel that reserves the sacrament. The first two
11•11• 1 I 1z n ar were Ampleforth monks (followed by a Dominican from the Newcastle Priory; where Cardinal Hume's family worshipped). They brought the brethren into the University to ring the changes at Sunday Masses and preaching events, to help with philosophy studies and the like, to stiffen discussion groups and activities, and to drop in as a family presence when anyway in York perhaps for trains.
So the monks came to know both staff and students, as friends; professors were called out to the moors to lecture Ampleforth school societies, and monks returned the compliment in their kind. Such occasions as the annual quartet of Heslington Lectures (the most memorable lecturers being Professor R. W. Southern on Church History, Archbishop Michael Ramsey on spirituality; and Dr Jurgen Moltmann on Hope theology from Germany) brought an involvement between monks with their attendant keener pupils and the lecture ambience, both star and students.
In turn, the University was glad of the presence of a monastery and Catholic school not 25 miles away. Professor Dobson had this to say: "Under Cardinal Hume and his successor as Abbot, Dom Ambrose Griffiths, Ampleforth Abbey and its Grange have opened their hospitable doors to several generations of York students of many different denominations. Whether members of this University have made the journey to Ampleforth for reasons of faith, distress or historical interest, they have certainly never been turned empty away. In asking you to confer (this) degree, this University is also wishing to express its thanks and apprecation to the Ampleforth community as a whole."
1-11 411111" • I 551.
much benefited from the liaison, both monks and staff and boys. One of the areas of mutual ground, strange to tell, was the old ruins such as Rievaulx Abbey or the now lively church of Selby Abbey (founded 1069, celebrated 1969); these became from time to time mutual pilgrim centres for York and Ampleforth alike. Our only sorrow, as Abbot Basil Hume often reminded Eric James (the University's founder, Lord James of Rusholm), has been that there was no theology department in the initial scheme, and none has been envisaged even to this day.