Dec 11th / Yesterday His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols led our Mass. You will find photographs of his visit at the bottom of this article.
We originally invited His Eminence to Loreto College to formally bless our refurbished Chapel, and we were delighted that he accepted our invitation. Cardinal Vincent also wished to celebrate a whole-school Mass with us and Fr. Charles Sweeney kindly allowed us to have St. Alban & St. Stephen’s Church for this very special occasion.
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent and Fr. John O’Leary led a beautiful Advent Mass with a congregation of over one thousand staff and students. Cardinal Vincent explained that on that day Pope Francis had remotely turned on the lights of the largest Christmas tree in the world, which stands in Gubbio, the town most famous for St Francis of Assisi’s intervention to effect a change of heart in the wolf that was terrorising the town. The Cardinal reflected that St Francis accomplished this transformation by sharing the love of Christ to the wolf and encouraged the students to follow the saint’s example.
He said, ‘We must always try to show others that Christ can meet them where they are and His love can heal their wounds. We must also pour out that love so that others can be filled with the same love and in their turn share it with everyone they encounter.’
At the end of Mass, a candle was lit and carried over to the school chapel where Cardinal Vincent placed it as a symbol of the light of Christ illuminating all those who come to pray in the chapel.
In a brief reflection during the liturgy, the Cardinal noted that it was very evident that the chapel is the ‘centre, the beating heart of the school’. He urged the staff and students to continue to keep Christ at the heart of all they do, following the example of their patroness Mary Ward, the foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters).
Headteacher Maire Lynch paid tribute to the work and example of the Loreto Sisters who founded the school and had taught its pupils for generations. Although they no longer teach at the school, there is still a close connection between the school and the order. Representing the Loreto Sisters on the day was Sr Anne McEvoy IBVM, Provincial of the English Province. Governors, members of the Loreto Parents’ Association and staff were also present.
The day was very special for all members of the community and we are very grateful to his Eminence Cardinal Vincent for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to visit Loreto St. Albans.
An article about this visit can be read on the Diocese of Westminster website by clicking here.