|The ideal birthday gift for your University Chaplain|
Congratulations! You are poised for a most enlightening three or four years of highly concentrated study (at least 6 hours each week of contact lectures).
Phew! How will you cope with such pressure?
And, in the little time you have for yourself, you will be wondering how to handle the 'Catholic thing' - you know, that is the bit where you actually begin to learn that you now have to make decisions and choices without Mummy and Daddy there to make them for you.
Even worse, you may have to give a point of view that is, horror of horrors, not exactly in line with what the rest of the student body may be pushing.
Relax. We are here to help. This is your simple guide to surviving Uni as a traditional Pape.
Just follow these easy steps:-
1. When you meet the Catholic Chaplain for the first time, grasp him firmly by the hand and say: "Pax tecum Pater" - he will instantly warm to you for this.
2. At your first student 'Mass' do not ask, when you are sitting on the floor in a circle, "Is this the Playschool version?" University Chaplains have a belief that the Mass is only valid if celebrated sitting on the floor with a terra cotta chalice and paten, a loaf of supermarket wholemeal and a bottle of sweet sherry.
3. After Mass when you all relax with a cup of coffee and a spliff, you might like to suggest forming a Rosary group. This will instantly make you the most popular kid on the block.
4. Next, please be aware of so called 'Catholic outings'. These are not pilgrimages but sessions during which the one or two traditional Catholic students have to stand on a chair and be ritually abused by the Chaplain. It's very good for the soul.
5. If you are offered a place on the Catholic Pro Choice display in the atrium, don't, whatever you do refuse it. Just turn up wearing a SPUC badge, holding your 40 Days for Life Vigil Prayer Book and display one of those baby doll images of an embryo. It will go down a storm!
6. It would be really helpful if you could also take a large felt tip marker pen and scour the Uni looking for those awful posters put up by Counsellors. The ones that state: "Manage contraception......coil, pill, condom..." Just put a line through the three options listed and add the word "Abstinence"
7. Ecumenical hug sessions. Christian student groups just love the chance to gather all and sundry together for a group hug. According to Canon Law (and he should know) it is perfectly acceptable for a Catholic to join such a group hug provided that they sing Salve Regina at the top of their voices.
8. Now, I know practical jokes are not always charitable in the way they are carried out but here is one that carries a Bishop's Imprimatur (Google it). When the Catholic Students Association meets for their film evening get together, replace the 'Zombie from Hell' DVD with 'The Thirteenth Day' . That's a real horror/end of the world/we are all going to die sort of a story. And afterwards, you will be able to tell how they loved it by the stunned silence.
9. Choose a Catholic theme for your first thesis or presentation (if you are reading Media Studies). 'The decline of civilisation post 1535' is a good one or, more provocatively, 'Who founded the University, education and welfare systems in Great Britain?'
10. And, for a finale, if you really want to become the NBF of all around you, just kneel and receive on the tongue when you go to Holy Communion.
You will be amazed at the impact that has.