Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Maria Assumpta Chapel at Heythrop College on 20 January 2014 to mark the re-establishment of the ecclesiastical faculties of theology and philosophy, together known as the Bellarmine Institute. Now the faculties have been re-activated, the College will award in its own right ecclesiastical bachelors (STB, BacPhil), licentiate (STL, PhL) and doctoral degrees in Philosophy and Theology alongside existing degrees of the University of London.
In his homily, Archbishop Vincent praised the hard work and dedication that had gone into re-activating the status of the Institute, spoke of Pope Francis’ call to the Universal Church to always be thoroughly missionary in its outlook and activity and prayed that the Institute would further excel the teaching and learning at Heythrop College:
‘My prayer is that this Bellarmine Institute will indeed open the heavens to all who share in its life; that here they may find that graceful exploration of truth, inspired by the words and action of the Beloved Son of the Father, which casts light on every aspect of life and learning. I pray that the presence of this Institute within the University will be a great blessing for all the endeavours of the University, a beacon of true humanity and a light of divine grace.’
Archbishop Vincent was joined by thirty concelebrants including the Most Reverend Kevin McDonald, Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark and Bishop-elect Mark O'Toole, both of whom are governors of Heythrop College. Bishop William Kenney, a former student of the Pontifical Athenaeum at Heythrop, then located in Oxfordshire, also concelebrated.
This year Heythrop College is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its foundation in Liège by the Jesuits. 'For the Greater Glory of God and the More Universal Good' will be the title of a series of special events to mark the anniversary in June.