On March 17 the staff, students and governors of the John Fisher school in Purley, Croydon, were delighted to welcome Archbishop Peter Smith to celebrate Founder’s Day. It is their annual celebration of the life of their patron St John Fisher.
As his feast day (June 22) falls so late in the academic year when so many have left after exams, the school has permission to celebrate his life and witness to the Catholic faith at a more convenient time.
This year was more than a special occasion. Archbishop Smith began by speaking to the entire Sixth Form in the school chapel about his own vocation story before going on to look at the parallels between 16th century Britain and the 21st century and the need to stay faithful just as St John Fisher did by obeying his conscience and not the peer pressure of his time. He then inducted Fr James Clark (an old boy of the school) as the new school chaplain and Deacon Tony Flavin as spiritual life coordinator. Fr Clark describes his appointment as like being offered a job at Ferrari with a company car. He said it was a wonderful opportunity to nurture vocations and to inspire others to give of themselves to the wider community, to remind them how much God loves them and wants them to be faithful to Him.
Following this the archbishop blessed and re-named the music centre as the Fawssett Centre in memory of Fr Richard Fawssett, who had been on the school staff for 55 years and who died in June 2009.
Archbishop Smith then celebrated Mass for all those in Years 7-11.