In recent years, Cardiff University Chaplaincy has been the “Seed bed” for the Knights of St. Columba, the well known Catholic men’s group which at its hight had 30,000 members.
Last year Cardiff University Chaplaincy was given permission by the Supreme Knight Charlie McCluskey to develop a handbook and activities suited to young practising Catholic University students. These young men have been involved in serving Mass, participating in the Chaplaincy’s 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration; late night visits to the City centre to feed the homeless; pro-life initiatives as well as stewarding inter-faith and ecumenical Chaplaincy events. From Cardiff Chaplaincy this initiative has been adopted at Glasgow University Chaplaincy and there are university chaplaincies across England expressing interest in this initiative for young practising Catholic men.
The Knights of St. Columba spirituality and apostolate is Charity, Fraternity and Unity. University Chaplain Fr. Jones said “The Spirituality of the Knights is very well suited to the needs of a University Chaplaincy wanting to engage and form practising young Catholic men in a mature spirituality for men. If one wanted to establish a group from scratch one would want a sense of living tradition, a robust charism and balanced spirituality. The Knights provide this. University cells are assisted by the Chaplain and suitable Knights from local councils.” The Chaplain added that beginning from the academic year 2016-17 he intends establishing a group entitled “Magnificat” for young practising women at the University. He said “this women’s group will be assisted by some of the Sisters of Nazareth at Cardiff who have enthusiastically supported and enabled the expansion of the Cardiff Chaplaincy to its present hall of residence, with accommodation, a larger library, a refectory for students as well as opening their church to the twice daily Masses, confessions and Adoration as a university church. The recent “NightFever” initiative in the University church saw one hundred and fifty University students come into the church to pray at the invitation of Catholic students who went onto the campus to invite them in to the church to pray, light a candle or reflect.”
He concluded “The Knights of St. Columba and the Sisters of Nazareth responded to a need that was identified. They didn’t ask me for my business plan or a risk assessment in opening themselves up to young people. They responded with enthusiasm and Christ did the rest.”
Photo: (Back row) Bro Ambrose, George Harrold, Supreme Knight Charlie McCluskey, Fr. Jones, Alan Brown, Patrick Smalley, (Front row) Aldaberto Jose, Benedict Tanudjojo, Nicholas Lee, Stanley Sayer