From Sabine Schwartz, Catholic Chaplain:
For many of us studying and working at the University, life seems to be marked by the rhythms of the academic year, and also by many goodbyes and welcomes. Over the summer we have been saying goodbye to those who had completed their course and were going on to a new a life or back to their homes and families, and over the last couple of weeks we’ve been welcoming many new students, some coming from far away countries and some experiencing for the first time life away from home. For most, I believe, it’s a new stage in their lives and an adventure that’s both exciting and daunting. If you are new to Reading, please let me tell you that you are most welcome, and I hope you will find a home from home here. Even for those who are returning after the summer, many things will be different from last year and new challenges are looming – and you are most welcome back, too.
Whether we have just recently arrived or have been here for a long time, I trust that the words of today’s psalm will resonate with many of us: The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose… (Psalm 23). For some of us this might be an experience we can draw on from the past, and for others a hope and a prayer as we are drawn out of our comfort and our securities, to meet new people, new places and new challenges. I pray that, at the end of this academic year, we may all be able to say these words as part of our lived experience.