On Friday 27 September the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, offered Mass in thanksgiving for the 150th anniversary of the London Oratory School. The Mass was concelebrated by Fathers of the Oratory and attended by over 1,300 students and alumni of the school.
In his homily Archbishop Nichols, reflected on the words of St Philip Neri, the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, and Blessed John Paul II and addressed the teachers and parents of the school: “I ask all, echoing again the words of Blessed John Paul II, that you are always “sowers of joy among young people, who are so often tempted to discouragement and lack of confidence.” To do this is the work of an evangelist, to fulfil your ministry, spoken of in the Second Reading today. Strive to have that “irresistible charm” that St Philip “exercised upon all who drew near to him” enabling them “to learn to know and experience the authentic source of Christian joy.””
Archbishop Vincent concluded by considering not only the history of the school but also its ultimate purpose:
“In this 150th Anniversary Year we rightly remember the beginning of the London Oratory; but we must also remember the end of the School, the ultimate purpose for its existence. Respice finem [the school motto]! Look to the final destination God desires for each pupil, member of staff, and everyone who, in one way or another, journeys though the School.”
Speaking after the service Fr George Bowen, an Oratorian Father and the school’s chaplain, talked about the importance for the students to be at the Cathedral and for Mass to be celebrated by the Archbishop on such an important occasion:
“The Mass in Westminster Cathedral was a wonderful way to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of our school, it allowed us to be together as a single community for this occasion. To be there and to have Mass offered by Archbishop Nichols, who said some very inspiring things about our school, I’m sure had an enormous impact on the students.”
The London Oratory School is a situated in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is a boys’ school with pupils from age seven and is coeducational in the sixth form. The school is in the trusteeship of the Fathers of the London Oratory.