Tag Archives: catholic society

UEL Cathsoc Movie Night – 24 January 2014

24 Jan

UEL Cathsoc Movie Night - 24 January 2014

The first movie night of the new year was held at Antonisia and John’s house in Essex. The film showing was the first episode of the five-part dramatisation of The Bible which broadcast on Channel 5 at the end of 2013. Don’t miss the next instalments! Stay tuned here and on Facebook for details of upcoming movie nights, for parts 2 to 5!


More than words… Joanna Bogle speaks on the media – Catholic responsibilities and possibilities

3 Feb

Today, the UEL Catholic Society was fortunate enough to have the well known Catholic speaker Joanna Bogle visit for a post-Mass talk. Joanna is a journalist and author who has written widely on a whole range of issues relevant to the Church, Catholicism and modern life.

Cathsoc attendees enjoy some refreshments prior to Joanna's talk

Cathsoc attendees enjoy some refreshments prior to Joanna’s talk

She was speaking to the society today about the power of words and the changing world of the media since the days that she qualified as a journalist. She touched on the importance of how we use words and the power of the media as well as our responsibilities as Catholics to ‘do something’ when we believe in a cause. This was actually the key theme of her talk; that it isn’t good enough to think ‘someone like Joanna will speak out so I don’t have to’; if we want real change and to see the world become less secular and more Godly, then we need to do something about it. Write to your MP, write articles, get involved in public speaking – but don’t just sit there internalising your thoughts and feelings.

The group settle down for Joanna's talk

The group settle down for Joanna’s talk

The example which she used for much of her talk was the very topical debate around gay marriage. The bill on allowing gay marriage in the UK is being considered by Parliament later this month and the Catholic teaching on the matter is clear; marriage should be a holy and sacred thing between a man and a woman. Joanna is already doing a lot to spread the word on this; meeting with MPs and writing in various places, including her own excellent blog, about the reasoning behind the Catholic position.

Joanna in full flow during her talk

Joanna in full flow during her talk

It is notable that just today, the BBC has carried a story about a building rebellion within the Conservative party on the issue of gay marriage. The Catholic church is doing its part to inform the public of the issues and what should certainly be said is that the full ramifications of this change in the law do not appear to have been thought through in sufficient detail. It is however an interesting and vitally important debate and one that will doubtless continue no matter what the outcome of this month’s Parliamentary vote.


Two group shots taken following Joanna's inspirational talk

Two group shots taken following Joanna’s inspirational talk

A final word on today is a thank you to Father Thomas who presided over a beautiful mass prior to Joanna’s talk. I am sure everyone in attendance used this time to draw close to God. God’s blessings to you in Nigeria, Father – enjoy the next week.

Walking in a winter wonderland – Cathsoc Retreat picture special!

20 Jan

Wow, what a weekend! For those of you that didn’t make it, this weekend was the first ever Cathsoc retreat! It was a fantastic three days for those that attended, at St Antony’s Church in Forest Gate, the new base for Father Thomas and the other Brothers of St John. It was made even more beautiful and memorable by the fact that the whole stay was punctuated by falls of snow, covering the church and gardens in a wonderful white blanket.

We’ll now run through the whole weekend and put in a selection of pictures at each point we possibly can.

The weekend started on Friday evening with a dinner of soup, bread and cheese followed by Movie Night. The movie this week was Of Gods and Men, a French-language film set in the mountains of Algeria in 1996. Particularly relevant this week as several hostages including British people were killed by terrorists in the same country, the film follows a group of devout monks whose community live in fear of a group of Islamic extremist terrorists who are roaming the countryside killing anyone who doesn’t fit in with their particular view of the Koran. Obviously, this also puts the lives of the Catholic monks in danger. This excellent film, based on a true story, was really moving and made all of us reflect on how we might react in a life-threatening situation, in a Godly way.

The next morning, for the hardy among us, saw early morning prayers with the brothers (ok, Antonisia and I didn’t make it for that!), followed by breakfast at 8am. This was followed at 8.30am by a session with Brother John Soosai who gave us an introduction to the Bible and then a Lectio Divina. The Lectio Divina on this day was focused on Mark 2: 13-17, when Jesus meets Levi on the road and then is criticised by the Pharisees for eating with ‘tax collectors and sinners’. We had several interesting debates on this, looking at the history and prejudices of the time, as well as the deeper meanings of why Jesus came to Earth (as he says, to help the sinners).

A busy morning continued with Mass in the church led by Father Thomas. Here is a selection of pictures from the service.

Following mass, we had our first spiritual conference at 11.30am. This was taken by Father Thomas and was on the subject of hope and faith. We talked particularly about God’s promises to us and our deepest hope which is for eternal life and to see the face of God. We had some great debate, followed at 12.45 by midday prayers with the brothers in the chapel. This was a nice, short reflective time.

Lunch was at 1pm, and was a hearty meal of fish and chips! This went down very well and a good time was had by all. We then had a short period of free time afterwards, during which we played giant Jenga in the chapel room. This was great fun and a good way to get to know those who we didn’t know so well before.

Then, it was off to West Ham Memorial Park, a beautiful park run and maintained by the City of London Corporation. This park is just a few minutes walk from the church, and the covering of snow on the ground gave the whole place a serene and peaceful feeling. We were there, of course, for a Rosary Walk – another first for the UEL Cathsoc. This was a very prayerful and beautiful walk, in which we said the Rosary over a period of an hour as we walked around the park. At each decade we stopped and were given a short talk by either Father Thomas or Brother John Soosai. As the pictures show, this was one of the high points of the weekend.

On our return, we warmed up with some afternoon tea (and cake!) before 5pm Vespers:

This was followed by a spiritual conference with Father Benedict, this time focused around hope and the role of Mary. Again, this was an important time of learning, which gave us the opportunity to talk to Father Benedict about various questions and reflections on the issue of hope. Next was dinner and then at 9pm an hour of Adoration during which we also had some acoustic guitar music played sensitively and wonderfully by Brother Mairesean. The period of Adoration was beautiful, quiet, reflective and a real time of God sharing his presence with us after a busy day of activities. We then went to bed in silent reflection.

Sunday morning brought more snow! (and this continued most of the day). The day began again with breakfast before we headed upstairs for a spiritual conference with Brother Mairesean. This was again on the subject of hope, which was the theme of the weekend, and we looked here at various issues related to human hope and divine hope, and the difference between the two.

A Lectio Divina followed this, with Brother John Soosai, and we looked here at the gospel reading for the day, which was the passage in John’s gospel, where Jesus turned water into wine at Cana. Some of the observations we made as a group were the fact that Jesus referred to Mary as ‘woman’ rather than ‘mother’ and that it was interesting that this was the first sign of his real mission on Earth. At 11.30am, the main event of the day arrived, of course, with the main Sunday Mass service. Of course, the weather had an impact on the number of people attending but it was still a lovely service.

All that remained for the retreat now was lunch, but we finished the day off in style with a great roast chicken dinner and DELICIOUS dessert. By the way, a MASSIVE thank you to Wendy, the brothers’ cook, who throughout the weekend made sure that we were all well fed. This was followed by coffee and chocolates! Following this, we bade each other farewell and headed off into the snow… I think I speak for everyone attending, though, when I say it was a fantastic three days and something that Cathsoc should definitely look at replicating or doing again in a different way (for instance, Father Thomas spoke about maybe having a retreat for men, and another retreat for women). I’m sure that any ideas will be gratefully received, either via comments here or by emailing Father Thomas.

So, to finish, I think I once again speak for everyone when I also say a big thank you to Father Thomas and the brothers for their super hospitality. What a great idea and what a great weekend! And thanks to all the rest of our Cathsoc-ers who made the weekend the success it was. Here are just a few more pictures to round off this post…

And alright then, some lovely ‘snow’ pictures (mostly), including the church’s very own resident fox!

Happy new year 2013! And don’t miss the Cathsoc Retreat

10 Jan
Happy new year to all Cathsoc-ers! We won’t be back at the UEL mass until Sunday 27 January, but good news – before that there is the opportunity to grow further in Christ together, by attending a Student Retreat at Father Thomas’s residence at the St Antony of Padua RC Church in Forest Gate. This sounds like it will be a really great weekend where we can all grow together in the Lord. Details below; let Father Thomas know if you are going to come…
  • Student Retreat, 18th-20th January
  • Friday evening to Sunday lunch (full participation in retreat expected)
  • £££ Donation to be discussed (VERY CHEAP!) Residential + Food Included… money will not be an obstacle to your participation, we will overlook money if need be!
  • Full Address:

St Antony of Padua RC Church,
56, St Antony’s Road,
Forest Gate
London E7 9QB


‘We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires.
The Church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties… We must become mature in this adult faith…’
Pope Benedict XVI

This short two-day retreat at Saint Antony’s will be as follows:

Friday, 18th January:
7.00pm: Dinner
Spiritual Conference
followed by Movie Night

Saturday, 19th January:
Spiritual Conference
10.00am: Holy Mass
Quiet time
Rosary Walk
Spiritual Conference
followed by Adoration

Sunday, 20th January:
Spiritual Conference
Lectio Divina
11.30am: Sunday Mass

Talk this Sunday – 28 October – Fiorella Nash

25 Oct

Well, Cathsoc friends, this weekend we  see the latest of the Sunday talks, this time from Mrs Fiorella Nash, who will be giving a talk about Maternal Health in the Developing World” after the 12noon Sunday Mass.

Fiorella Nash is a research officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). She holds a BA in English Literature and an M.Phil from Cambridge University in medieval and renaissance literature. 

Prior to working for SPUC, Fiorella was the public affairs assistant to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. 

She has campaigned on issues such as abortion and human embryo research from a feminist perspective, and has a special interest in maternal health in the developing world.
Mrs Nash has appeared regularly on radio and writes prolifically for newspapers and magazines in defence of unborn children and their parents. She is also a published novelist and biographer.  She has spoken at dozens of universities.

Fiorella is married with 4 children.



Skyfall – come along to ‘extra’ special screening

23 Oct

Skyfall at Westfield Stratford City

        on Tuesday 30th October

            starts at 5:30pm (arrive by 5:15pm, we will not wait for you…)


The prices are a little more expensive because we would like to experience the ‘super-sized’ sound and vision:http://booking.myvue.com/images/filter_vuextreme.png VueXtreme
There is therefore an upgrade applied to ticket price

Adult at £13.00

Student at £11.35

I [Father Thomas] would be happy to contribute £5 to anyone who wanted to go but was put off by the additional expense for the VueXtreme experience.


If you are interested in going, please respond by Thursday evening by telephone to Jatau: 07926 370958

Jatau will then book your tickets (for we will not be able to turn up and by tickets on the night given the popularity of this new film just launched).

Aylesford Pilgrimage 2012 – don’t miss it

21 Oct

As many of the Cathsoc crew will know, next weekend sees the annual Aylesford Pilgrimage. Having attended last year, we can give a personal recommendation and say that this was a beautiful, peaceful and moving day out which anyone who wants to attend will benefit from. Details of this year’s pilgrimage and how to book your place can be seen copied from Father Thomas’s email. Below, is a picture from the 2011 Pilgrimage with last year’s Cathsoc group.

God bless all of you

Antonisia and John.

This is a student pilgrimage gathering CathSoc students who are studying in universities within south-east England…

If you want a place in the minibus, please telephone Jatau: 07926 370958 or birrex_11@yahoo.com

The minibus will leave at 9:00am from the carpark on the UEL Docklands campus and will return the same day around 5:30pm/6:00pm.

Rosary Procession in the Rosary Walk of the Shrine

Input & Group Sharing
Picnic Lunch – bring your own picnic!

Mass with Archbishop Peter Smith