On the 27 September, the community at Finchley Catholic High school came together to celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving to mark the 90th Anniversary of the founding of the school. There were over 270 people in the congregation, including staff, students, past students and local dignitaries.

We were honoured to welcome Cardinal Vincent to celebrate the Mass along with priests from our local parishes. In his homily, Cardinal Vincent drew on the changes the school had seen in the last 90 years and encouraged students to continue their own projects, developing their own identities within their spiritual life, their education and in their social lives. He also spoke about the big decisions facing them in their futures, referring to Arsene Wenger’s theory on the stages of development in football: by their early teens, players will have developed their technique, by 17 they will have worked hard to improve their resilience, by 18 they are looking at the game in an analytical way and by their early 20s will be showing leadership skills. He spoke about how the teachings of the Bible can help us along this path and encourage us to continue through difficult times.

The choir sang beautifully under the guidance of Ms Retelsdorf and accompanied on the piano by Mr McMillan. Students also volunteered as altar servers, readers and musicians. The offertory procession was led by representatives from each of the six houses carrying their house ties to the altar.

Following the Mass, guests were invited to the Canon Parson’s Sixth Form Centre to see the Cardinal bless the new lectern, which was carved in wood by the school Technology Technician Mr Doyle, and for refreshments, including a delicious commemorative cake made by Ms McManamon.