On 19 September the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated the official opening of St Richard Reynolds Catholic College in Twickenham.
An estimated 1,000 people attended the official opening at an outdoor Mass, concelebrated by the Archbishop with the Most Revs Peter Smith and George Stack, the Archbishops of Southwark and Cardiff respectively.
The eagerly-anticipated school opening ends a long wait for families across Richmond as well as West London. When it is operating at full capacity the school will provide places for 1,050 secondary school students and 210 primary school children.
Speaking about the opening of the college Archbishop Nichols said: “A Catholic school is an act of partnership, a united effort, and a Catholic school always sees itself as part of a local endeavour to be of service to society.
St Richard Reynolds Catholic College has come into existence because of effective partnerships, through a united effort. It has not been easy. Some have wished to use this effort as an occasion to sow division. But this morning I thank all who have played a part to hold together and progress this project.
A Catholic school also seeks to act locally, to enrich the life of a community and to serve its needs. Personally I am delighted that this College is to develop a specialism in music, for music can so enrich a local community – and I speak as a once and enthusiastic member of a local youth orchestra where my appreciation of music was deepened, leading on to a life-time of pleasure and enrichment. I am delighted, too, that St Richard Reynolds Catholic College is to make special provision for children with physical or sensory disabilities. In them, too, we ‘See the good things of the Lord.’”
The Principal of St Richard Reynolds College, Richard Burke, said: "It has been a privilege being part of the movement that has brought The College into existence. Welcoming our Year Seven 'pioneers' last week as the College's first cohort was historic, emotional and heart- warming. It would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of so many people”.
Parent Joanna Saunders said: “Thanks to Richard Reynolds, my son in year 7 is the first of my four children to be offered a place at a Catholic secondary school. I am over the moon.
“The staff are warm and caring, They expect a lot from the students, and give a lot back. The atmosphere is calm and friendly.”
The full text of the Archbishop's homily can be found here