I was invited to celebrate the annual Blessed Sacrament Procession for St Anselm's College in Birkenhead on the Wirral last week. It was a lovely occasion and what a treat it was to enter into a school where the Faith genuinely seemed to be at the forefront of school life, where boys enthusiastically took part as servers and assistants and seemed at ease with the things and acts of the Faith. We sang "Soul of my Saviour", the "Tantum Ergo". There was a great display of photos as soon as you entered the College of Bishop Mark Davies' visit to the school earlier in the year. I finished my homily with his words to the boys:
I would like to say to each of you that where the Holy Eucharist is found, you will also find the answer to the greatest question of your lifetime. Here you will find your true vocation.
The Head, staff and governors, as well as the boys, made me feel very welcome. So often my experience in our "Catholic" schools has taught me to expect that any number of staff will avoid the priest or be embarrassed; that pupils have no idea of who or what the priest is; and that things of the Faith are very much a low priority - and I speak as someone who was in full time Catholic school chaplaincy work for three years.
I think the photographs speak for themselves. If only my own school and so many others would enter into this kind of commitment to the public proclamation of the Faith in all its glory!