Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Having fun in sunny Scarborough
We had our last Chaplaincy social trip of the academic year last weekend - an overnight stay in sunny Scarborough. The forecast was awful and I nearly called the whole thing off but then I got a couple of emails from students saying how much they were looking forward to it - and I threw myself into the expedition with vim. I'm so glad I did. We went for a five mile walk along the coast just to the north of Scarborough. One of our party was a Chinese lad who had never seen the sea before. As we picked our way over boulders covered in seaweed, he said that it was good but that he had always associated the seaside with beaches and lots of beautiful women sun-bathing. As we were nearing the end of our walk one of the students said: "What exactly is a Catholic, Father?" We were off. And then a little while later one of the Muslim students said, "But if you say that Jesus is God and Jesus died on the cross then God died on the cross, so how did the world continue to exist?" I think I gave quite a good answer in terms of the Blessed Trinity as I started up the minibus, but they would have to be the judge of that. We dined at Harry Ramsdens on the seafront - £5 fish, chips a side and a drink, all cooked in vegetable oil, so the Muslim students could eat it - and then played on slot machines. I felt about 40 years drop off me. We stayed at St Peter's Church - the girls in the presbytery and the lads in the parish centre - at the gracious invitation of my friend Fr William Massie. He had just returned by coach from the diocesan pilgriamge to Lourdes and set about looking after us straightaway. They don't make priests like that down south.