My dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome back to the Bishop’s Blog!
The work of Catholic education, which we know and greatly appreciate, continues quietly and effectively from day to day, but there are particular moments when a Diocese realises just how many people are involved and committed to this apostolate on behalf of the Church.
One such moment was the annual Lancaster Diocesan Education Mass celebrated last Friday evening in St. Peter’s Cathedral, Lancaster. It was inspiring to see the number of teachers, governors and others who filled the cathedral for this Mass of thanksgiving and acknowledgement of what our schools represent and achieve.
As Bishop, I was the principal celebrant of the Mass, joined by our Metropolitan, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Chair of the Catholic Education Service who also gave the homily.
With the priest-concelebrants, we were also very happy to welcome as a concelebrant Bishop Joseph Srampickal, the newly-consecrated Syro-Malabar Bishop of Preston.
At the conclusion of the Mass, I presented certificates to those who were newly-qualified Catholic teachers, to others who had gained promotion as Heads, Deputy Heads, and those retiring after years of dedicated service.
It was reassuring to see the number of young teachers beginning their career in Catholic Education. Certainly the atmosphere and sense of purpose prevailing on the night gives cause for optimism where the future of our Catholic schools are concerned. I express my deep gratitude to our own Diocesan Education Service for all that they do in this important “service of the Gospel.”
In his homily, Archbishop McMahon spoke of the role of the Catholic teacher within the context of the current Jubilee Year of Mercy. Teachers had in their possession the key with which to open the door of knowledge to their pupils and students, which in itself was an act of great mercy.
The Archbishop went on to say that an even greater mercy was to reveal the person of Jesus Christ in whatever subject was being taught, for as the Incarnate Son of God he is the way, the truth and the life, and the ultimate key to life’s questions. Only the truth which he brought to us on earth will satisfy the deeper longings of the human heart.
After the homily, the teachers and all present renewed their baptismal promises and by implication their re-commitment to their calling as educators of the young in the Catholic tradition.
The Mass brought us all together and strengthened those bonds which unite the Bishop, priests and people as a local Church, and gave renewed focus and impetus to the work of academic formation and the handing on the faith to the next generation of Catholics.
Until next week – may God bless you all,
As ever in Christ,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster
N.B. Photos of the Mass itself are courtesy of: Andrew Dennison – Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman, Morecambe.
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