For the Beda College here in Rome this is a great day of celebration. We start with Morning Prayer at 07:40 followed by Mass at 11:00, but that’s not the end we continue the celebrations with a festive lunch which is always a great occasion here at the Beda. Another great thing about Beda day is no lectures which give us time to rest before another busy week.
The Venerable Bede was born in 673, near the monastery of Wearmouth in the present-day Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle; indeed his shrine is situated within that same diocese. He entered the monastery, was ordained, and lived a life of study and contemplation. His holiness was renowned in his lifetime, his pupils and comrades loved him and the works he wrote, particularly “The Ecclesiastical History of the English People,” were remarkable in their time and have endured. St Cuthbert, whose shrine likewise is within the same diocese, wrote after the death of St Bede the venerable: “Well may we believe that inasmuch as he had laboured here always in the praise of God, so his soul journeyed to the joys of heaven for which he longed.”
This College was first founded in 1852 to form older men, often convert clergymen, for Catholic priesthood. They came only for four years, because they were seen to have significant knowledge and experience already.
Today the character of the community has changed. Although the Beda remains the responsibility of the Bishops of England and Wales, it has opened its doors to receive men from English-speaking countries worldwide. However, the essential mission remains the same: to help older men harness and develop their experience and knowledge in the service of the Gospel as Catholic priests.
The Beda College is the place if you want to experience the wider Church; currently at the college we have men from Africa, Asia, Australia, America, India, Caribbean and of course Europe. In reality sometimes at lunch it is like sitting around the table at the United Nations. It is great to hear about the Church all over the world, how it has developed and indeed how it continues to develop as time goes on. At present there are 41 students studying over the four years at the Beda, ten of whom will be ordained Deacon in June this year at St Paul’s Basilica. A further eight will leave in June to return to their own countries to be ordained Priests.
Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past, reveals to his saints the eternal light of life.
Darren Carden Beda College Rome