Solemn Blessing of New Extensions

With the Catholic Mayor of Harrow - Alderman A. E. P. F. MacRae - the Mayoress, Bishop Cashman, the Chairman of the Board of Governors - the Very Reverend Father Anthony, S.D.S., members of the Board of Governors, local Councillors, parish Clergy, Headmistresses and Headmasters of local schools, and a host of parents and friends, we welcomed the Archbishop of Westminster, the Right Rev. John Carmel Heenan, at the school on Wednesday, June 10th. It was the second ceremony of this kind we had had in three years, but it did not lose any of the glory that it carries for all that.

His Grace The Archbishop being greeted by Father Dominic on arrival at the college.
Also in picture, left: Father Aloysius, Superior of the Community
and, right: Very Rev. Father Anthony, Provincial.

In our last edition of the magazine we had reported that the new school extensions, comprising - 6 classrooms, Music room, Art room, Technical Drawing office, Pottery room, Biology Laboratory, Sixth Form rooms and second Library, were nearing completion. In March of this year the work was completed and we were in possession of all the new facilities. When His Grace was informed, although his commitments in the archdiocese were indeed manifold, he kindly agreed to come and bless the extensions on 10th June.

In the course of his address Archbishop Heenan paid tribute to the work done by the Salvatorian Fathers, not only in Harrow, but throughout the diocese, laying particular stress on the "supply" work done by the fathers Sunday after Sunday in parishes where there was only one priest. He appreciated the tremendous task which had been undertaken in the building of such a magnificent Grammar School and the great need that it met in offering places to Catholic boys who might otherwise have been unable to have followed up the academic avenues open to them. One had also to remember the good relations which had existed between the Local Education Authorities and the Catholic body; these former had done all in their power to meet our needs consistent with the restrictions under which they were placed financially. The particularly good relations which had existed between the Salvatorian College and the Harrow Education Office would set an example to others in education co-operation.

The ceremony began with the procession of the Archbishop from the Music room, where he vested, to the Stage in the Main Assembly Hall. Preceded by Rev. Father Louis, as Master of Ceremonies, the Mitre and Crozier bearers, the Bugia bearer, Thurifer and Boat bearer, a boy with the Metropolitan Cross and Monsignor Bruce Kent, the Archbishop entered the Hall. He was assisted by Revv. Fathers Raymond and Aelred. On arriving at the Stage, His Grace opened the Blessing with a special shortened formula which he had himself approved recently for use in the Archdiocese. A group of boys, representative of the various Forms in the school carried crucifixes which after blessing and incensing would be placed in each classroom. They were led by the Headmaster who bore the main school Crucifix, which when blessed and incensed was placed on the wall of the Assembly Hall. The simple, but affecting ceremony lasted about 20 minutes and then His Grace retired and disrobed. On his return to the Stage, he was introduced by the Clerk to the Board of Governors Councillor B.C.A. Turner.

The Mayor of Harrow then spoke of the work being done in the school and the primary virtue of good citizenship which was hot only being taught to the boys but had already been put into effect - one of the past pupils, now a member of the Governing Body, was a local Councillor and another, until he had left the district had served the needs of Harrow too - Councillor Fairley. Councillor Turner who proposed the vote of thanks to His Grace, spoke too of the vast field of endeavour open to boys from a school such as ours and the immense satisfaction to be gained from being of service to the whole community. The presence of the Mayor, whose Catholicity would enhance the noble office to which he was called, should prove an incentive to boys to work always for the common good, which is after all the prime endeavour of a Christian.

One member of the audience was left quite breathless - the foreman of the building - Mr. E. Gorman, when he was called to the Stage by the Clerk to receive a Papal Blessing from the Archbishop. This was a mark of gratitude for his unfailing endeavours during the building to see that the school suffered as little interruption as possible. The vote of thanks on behalf of the school was given by the School Captain, Bernard Woodford and a bouquet was presented to the Mayoress by the youngest boy in the First Form.

All the invited guests were entertained to tea in the school dining hall where His Grace was able to meet and speak with guests at his leisure. After tea he made a brief inspection of the school and expressed his admiration of the ideas incorporated by the architect, John Strubbe, F.R.I.B.A., and the "non-school" atmosphere of the buildings. On the evening of the same day His Grace presided at the Civic Mass in Saint Joseph's Church, which was attended by all the local Aldermen, Councillors and their ladies.

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