The annual meeting of the Valladolid Association took place this week; both Fr Julian and myself are members of this association since we both trained for the priesthood at the English College, Valladolid in Spain. The College was founded in 1589 during penal times and, as you may know, six of the students were named as Saints in 1970 among the 40 Martyrs; many others have been named as Blessed.
Our meeting took place in Droitwich in Worcestershire; the photo shows us - about sixty priests - celebrating Mass in the beautiful church of the Sacred Heart and St Richard in Droitwich. (My namesake was born in Droitwich and, in fact, we stayed in a Hotel which stands on the site of Droitwich Manor in which he was born.)
The fraternity which we share is tangible since, most of us having spent six years of our lives at the college, have a lot in common. But since there were so many martyrs from the college there is a poignancy to our priesthood. We were all ordained to serve the mission in this country; we know that it is with humility that we must proceed and we know that holiness is our greatest calling.
There is an Englishness to this group of priests which is almost unique - our outlook and our culture have been formed in a college whose inheritance is an awareness of how to build the Kingdom on English soil.