by Daniel Coyle, Headteacher
Newman Catholic College, formerly Cardinal Hinsley High School, celebrated its 60th anniversary with a wonderful Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 10th October.
Over 1,000 students and staff, past and present, were joined by old boys, governors, representatives from the diocese and Brent Local Authority, the Metropolitan Police and our MP Dawn Butler. Mass was celebrated by Bishop John Wilson and Frs Stephen Willis and Vincent Dike from the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden in Harlesden. The celebrants were also joined by Fr Marcus Winter from the Carmelite Monastery in Ladbroke Grove and Fr Michael Donaghy (formerly a staff member at Cardinal Hinsley and now based at the cathedral).
We filed inside to the beautiful sound of NCC’s steel pan band. Bishop John implored us to ‘be great’. We reflected on Blessed John Henry Newman’s ‘heart speaks unto heart’, a message that crosses the expanse of time and unites all of humanity.
The most powerful and inspiring words, however, were those of the students themselves. Following bidding prayers in the many languages of this proudly diverse school, a group of students spoke about how Newman Catholic College had supported them as immigrants and refugees from other parts of the world. Many of these young people were from Muslim or Hindu backgrounds and gave moving and compelling testimony to how the presence of God at NCC had supported their development.
The 60 years since 1958 have witnessed many changes in the Harlesden area. As a Catholic school community, it has often been challenging to adapt to these transformations. The magnificence of our celebration however gives us great confidence that we are on the right path and reminds us that, whatever the difficulties ahead, we can, in a spirit of love, joy and mutual respect, always prevail.