On New Year's Day, Austin and I made our way to London for the final leg of the trip. We stayed two nights in London and two nights in Oxford.
It of course rained the whole day in London. Though we did get to see some of the main sites while walking around. The underground system made it really easy to get around. I'm not as excited about exploring these big cities. I like the smaller town where I can get to know people. The second day we happened to bump into some other seminarians from the NAC at noon Mass at Westminister Cathedral. It was good to catch up with them over some traditional English pub food. That day we also explored the London Museum and the Art Gallery. Later that evening
we splurged a bit to see a show. Phantom of the Opera was sold out so we watch Wicked instead. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
On the 3rd we took a train from London to Oxford to meet up with a friend of mine.
Shaun and I met at World Youth Day in 2008 in Sydney. We also saw each other again at WYD in Madrid. Ever since then we've kept in touch by writing letters. Even though we had only met twice in person I was very much looking forward to spending a few days in Oxford with Shaun. Shaun proved to be a great tour guide for us. He is in his first year of studies at Blackfriars in Oxford for his masters degree in Theology . He also introduced Austin and I to the finer elements of British society such as an afternoon tea and correct use of the English language. The highlight of our time in Oxford was seeing the important places in the life of Bl. Newman. Bl.. Newman, who was recently beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, studied and taught at Oxford university prior to his conversion. Shaun took us to Littleton to see the house and chapel where Bl. Newman stayed while contemplating his conversion to Catholicism. I've been inspired to read more of Newman. I've known for a while that his writings are really important, but now I have more motivation to read them.
Our two days in Oxford were very restful and enjoyable. The students were still on holiday so there wasn't much activity. Thank you to Shaun for his hospitality. Best wishes on his continued studies and discernment.
On the 5th, Austin and I flew back to Rome ending 13 days of travel. I was rather tired, but so thankful for all the wonderful people I had met during the trip. I've only grown in my appreciation of just how kind and generous people truly are. Though tt is good to be back in Rome...