My greatest joy as a university chaplain was to see young souls blossoming as they open to the grace of God. It was a delight to see them discover the beauty of our faith, including its demands and challenges, and simply to enjoy being Catholic.
I have learnt a lot in my many years as chaplain. [Fr Joe is now moving from King’s College to work in pastoral ministry in Manchester]. I have learnt that students want reasons and respond to good doctrine well explained. But they also need fellowship and fun: eating and relaxing together, finding support from other young Catholics to help them face an environment that is frequently hostile to their moral and religious values. I always insist, however, that chaplaincy must not be a ghetto and our time as Catholics together is to give us new strength to witness to Christ to our friends and colleagues. Chaplaincy is renewal not refuge, something which the students understand very well and respond to.
Eucharistic adoration and the Mass well celebrated mean a lot to them. Through spiritual guidance and Confession many among them come to discover Jesus as their true Friend and Love, and God as their tender Father, each one with his or her own spirituality or charism, which I as chaplain must be careful to respect.