Saturday, 2 June 2012
The Grad Ball
I attended the Graduation Ball tonight at the Marriott Hotel in Leeds. All the students had scrubbed up well and looked very elegant. I said grace at the beginning of the meal. One hundred and fifty students were suitably silent as I said an impromptu prayer, thanking God for the three years which had gone and asking for his blessing upon the graduates as they moved on. There was a loud whoop at the end and a round of applause. The Catholic Women's League never used to behave like this when I was in parish ministry. As the evening continued and I tucked into my goats cheese pastry, it being Friday (thanks a lot bishops), I looked round the room feeling rather fatherly and recalled moments I had shared with these smashing young people: a Chaplaincy walk in the Dales when I first conversed with that particular woman; the time when another young woman zipped through the trees on a pulley on a "Go Ape" adventure, screaming joyfully; the time when I joined two students, a young man and a young woman, dancing in the aisle in the Alhambra Theatre at a "Mama Mia" Abba-tribute concert - one of them has just got a teaching job, the other is still looking. It's a hard world out there. I hope everybody is going to be all right. Congratulations to Marcus Myrie, the Students' Union Vice-President, for organising a very good evening. He very kindly gave free tickets to me and Dominica Richmond, the Chaplaincy Administrator. Here I am with three of Leeds Trinity's finest: Max, Chris and Luke.