On Sunday I went through to Durham to celebrate Rosary and Benediction for a group of Catholic famillies who were saying goodbye to the Shogren family who have been part of the group for a number of years (and Paul Shogren has led the band for St Patrick`s night here at Forest hall for the last few years) who are returning to their native Australia. I`d not been inside the church of St Cuthbert`s Durham for about twenty years and forgot that it is one of the more attractive churches of the diocese. However while there I was told that the parish newsletter a couple of weeks ago had announced that the Dominicans would be coming to run the chaplaincy and parish from 2012. At present the parish priest, Fr Currer, is also university chaplain.
Back in November 2008 I said it was a pity that no male religious community had had a presence in the city (although there were a couple of Mill Hill fathers living at Tenter Terrace for a while). I think this is a very exciting development for the university Catholic chaplaincy. It will give an added strength to the Catholic presence which a single priest in his own cannot provide. It may also result in a few more vocations for the Dominicans ( who nonetheless don`t seem to be doing so badly these days compared to others).
While I`m on the topic of university chaplaincies I`m sure the Dominicans would go down well at my old university, St Andrews, too!