Doors into Advent!

My dear friends in Jesus Christ,

Welcome to the Bishop’s Blog!The Holy Season of Advent is itself a door to the Great Feast of the Word becoming flesh for our salvation. Amongst many other events, a number of events involving schools are worth mention. Radiant at Corpus Christi Catholic High School in Preston was a vibrant, well-attended day focusing on the gift of the Eucharist.Over 200 were present for the day which included catechesis, prayer, personal stories of growth in Faith, opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The day ended with Holy Mass.Two days later I was invited to Carlisle to formally bless the foundation stone for Newman Catholic High School. Full media coverage was on hand. What a momentous stage for the school to reach. For the past four years the school has operated out of a temporary site. Within a year they will be permanently settled in this new building. My gratitude goes to all who have worked tirelessly to enable us to reach this point.A class from Holy Family Primary School, Blackpool came to visit the Cathedral in Lancaster on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They were a joy to be with! Fr. Pearson gave them a guided tour, explaining why the Cathedral is different from other churches in the Diocese. Just before the children headed home they were shown into the Bishop’s office, to see the portrait of all the former Bishops of Lancaster Diocese.Earlier this week I made my first visit to cardinal Newman Sixth Form College in Preston. It was an informal visit simply to meet the Principal, Nick Burnham, together with the Chaplain and senior staff. The visit was tinged with a certain degree of emotion. Mum went to Lark Hill Convent School in the 1930s. My three sisters were also pupils there in the 60s and 70s. I believe a Father Swarbrick who originated in the Garstang area was a key player in the founding of the school back in the 19th century.All these activities were evidence that we are trying to carry the tradition of our Catholic Faith forward in these extra-ordinary times. Advent speaks of Light, Hope, Joy and Peace found in Christ. It also teaches us that life is a gift and has a direction, a destination. Once we recognize and accept a gift we must thank the Giver of the gift.May these remaining days of Advent continue to enrich you with the promise of eternal gifts.

+Paul

Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster