...the great saint of education established schools across Europe...and there has been one in Battersea since the 19th century, and one of my uncles was a pupil there in the 1940s.
Today's St John Bosco College at Battersea is a brand-new building opened just a couple of years ago, and it was a great privilege to be there yesterday evening to present prizes at a splendid ceremony attended by pupils and their families. I was made very welcome - there was a glass of prosecco with staff and other guests in the Headmaster's study, and then entry into a packed hall with a great atmosphere of friendliness and goodwill.
Always daunting to be the guest speaker on such occasions - but any anxiety dissipates into the general mood: things began with prayers and the blessing of the new hall, named in honour of Bl Michael Rua, Don Bosco's assistant and successor, and speeches by the Head Boy and Head Girl...
London is one of the great cities of the world and I wanted to convey to the boys and girls that this is their inheritance - their city, the city where Shakespeare wrote his plays, where St Thomas More faced death on the scaffold for defending Christian marriage and the freedom of the Church, where Elizabeth Fry launched prison reform amid the horrors of Newgate, where Florence Nightingale established modern nursing at St Thomas's Hospital, where Winston Churchill led the allies to victory in World War II... and where there are great things to be done, a great inheritance to cherish, great hopes for the future, great needs to be met.
South London has its own particular heroes - among them, William Wilberforce leading the campaign to ban the slave trade from the oceans of the world, and Violette Szabo parachuting into occupied France in WWII...
We need to think about the great adventures that await us tomorrow and to be ready to serve and to do great things...and at St John Bosco College pupils are taught the Faith that is the true foundation on which real achievement can be based, and real values established...
Friday, September 15, 2017
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