Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome back to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!
Thursday marked the beginning of the 60th Anniversary celebrations marking the foundation of St. Pius X Preparatory School, Preston. We marked this by celebrating a special Mass in the school hall which was extremely well-attended by local clergy, pupils, staff, governors and parents – both past and present.
The School was founded in 1955 by a group of Catholic Preston businessmen, and prides itself to this day on a well-established tradition and family atmosphere, founded on Catholic Christian values of mutual care and support, and a real sense of personal worth.
I am pleased to share with you here my homily for the occasion:
‘It is surely an occasion of joy and gratitude for a school to mark sixty years of its existence, to recall its beginnings and all that has been accomplished in that time in terms of education, the formation and empowerment of young minds, the transmission of deeply held values which lay foundations for their role in later life. A diamond jubilee is indeed an occasion for celebration.
St. Pius X School is also a Catholic school which gives it a special character, and it takes its place in that long and venerable Catholic tradition which recognises that all knowledge ultimately comes from God and should ultimately lead to God. Catholic education is distinctive because at its heart is the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the supreme teacher.
Jesus came on earth to reveal to us the face of his heavenly Father, who looks with love and care on each individual. What should shine throughout a Catholic school therefore is the appreciation of the unique value of every child, created in God’s image with an eternal destiny in heaven. The mission statement of St. Pius X does indeed share and embody this vision.
Our first reading this afternoon is part of King Solomon’s great prayer at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, and is a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the construction of this magnificent place of worship. It is also a prayer of petition, asking both God’s blessing and for the grace of fidelity to his laws and commandments. To leave God out of the picture would be unthinkable and tantamount to embarking on the wrong path. May the teaching and commandments of the Son of God continue to inspire and inform all that takes place here in St. Pius X’s School, for then the way ahead will indeed be assured and be richly blessed.
The gospel we heard captures Mary’s delight at the prospect of becoming the mother of Jesus Christ, and relates how she gives thanks to God in her Magnificat. Our Lady declares that ‘the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name!’ As St. Pius celebrates its diamond jubilee of service and education to the local community, to generations of young people and to the wider Church, I offer my warmest congratulations and pray that it will continue to be blessed by the Lord, whose mercy rests on those who fear him from generation to generation. Amen.’
Yesterday, in fact, marked the day in 2009 when my predecessor Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue retired as the Fifth Bishop of Lancaster and I succeeded him as the Sixth Bishop of this great Diocese.
It was great to be able to meet up with Bishop Patrick for a meal on the anniversary itself and to share together our experiences as bishop of the Diocese and life for us since he left the Diocese to live in Ireland.
The occasion gives me an opportunity to express again what a privilege it is to be Shepherd of this local Church of ours. Thank you for all your prayers and support – especially in times that call for difficult and bold decisions that promise to build up faith for the future.
Let us keep each other in prayer.
God bless you all,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster
Photos of the St Pius X Mass – courtesy of St Pius X Prep School