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Headteachers' Conference July 2012
posted on 22 August 2012
Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Diocese of Westminster

The diocesan Headteachers conference in July this year was entitled: Looking forward to the Year of Faith Archbishop Vincent Nichols led the opening prayer during which he gave a reflection upon Pope Benedicts Motu Proprio, Porta Fidei. Fr. Michael Holman SJ, Principal of Heythrop College, gave the keynote speech entitled: Open Wide the Doors to Christ in which he echoed the homily of Pope Benedict XVI at his inauguration, where Pope Benedict invites us, especially young people, to open wide the doors to Christ. Fr. Michael poses two questions: 1. How might what the Pope has written help us to open a door of faith for the young people with whom we work? and, 2. Remembering the many and complex issues with which we  work today as school leaders how might we, in the Year of Faith, negotiate the challenges of our work as people of faith leading schools which are communities of faith. The speech is rooted in Porta Fidei, and, at the same time, recognises the challenges facing all who work in our schools and parishes. Fr. Michael concludes by offering his own reflections in response to the two questions posed. The speech was punctuated with opportunities for delegates to reflect and discuss and was well received by all. Bishop John Sherrington, Chair of the Department of Education, was principal celebrant for the Mass of St. Thomas the Apostle during which those Headteachers who were retiring were presented with a gift to mark their many years of service to Catholic education and to say thank you. The afternoon was led by Ursula Morrissey, member of the Advisory Board for the Year of Faith. Ursula began with a short speech reflecting upon her years of experience as a Parish catechist and asks the question about the Year of Faith: Does it not have to be a time when we redefine what it means to be CHURCH in the twenty-first century? Recognising that we rally to the call when the Church is under attack, but what about the day-to-day grind? Ursula suggests responses to these questions and invited the gathered people to respond to these and other questions. The day concluded with closing prayer led by Bishop John.

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Stephen Horsman
Telephone: 02077989005

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