As you are , no doubt, aware the Centre for Catholic Formation (CCF) is celebrating its golden anniversary this year. Since its official opening by Archbishop Cyril Cowderoy on 19 June 1968, the diocesan catechetical centre, the CEC or the CCF, if you prefer, has been working with parishes and her sister agencies to develop and deliver ways in which faith can be shared, deepened and lived out in daily life.
On 23 June 2018, Archbishop Peter Smith presided at a Mass to celebrate the Golden Jubilee and previous directors of the Centre (Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Canon Tom McHugh, Canon Brian Coyle, Canon John O'Toole and Fr David Gibbons) came to concelebrate, alongside St Anselm's parish priest, Canon William Hebborn. Staff, families and guests of the Centre joined in the celebrations which provided the culmination of two and a half weeks of lectures to mark the event. Dr Mark Nash, the current director, gave the following message of thanks at the end of the Mass before receiving, to mark the anniversary, a Papal Blessing on behalf of the staff and guests of the CCF:
It is clear that times have changed since her opening, an opening inspired by the wisdom and creative fervour of the Second Vatican Council and the generosity of Mother Cronin and the La Retraite nuns. Then, the Beatles had just launched Apple Records, Martin Luther King Jr had been recently assassinated, 2001: A Space Odyssey had been released, Pope Paul VI was putting the final touches to Humanae Vitae and France was about to explode her first hydrogen bomb on the Fangataufa atoll.
Today, we see online music streaming of amateur musicians; private space companies, the threat of nuclear war continues but with different actors. The way that the Church is perceived in society has also changed dramatically and the need for a shift in parochial culture is becoming apparent.
Who knows what the next fifty years holds for the Archdiocese of Southwark and for the Centre for Catholic Formation, if it is still known by that name! What we do understand, most clearly, is the need and priority of ongoing faith formation for adults (teachers, catechists, liturgical ministers and other individuals) which has been the work of the Centre and her staff for fifty years.
The Papal Blessing which we have received is not simply for the CCF or the staff but for all who cross our threshold to deepen their relationship with God in learning and reflecting on Scripture, tradition and the Magisterial teaching of the Church.
I would like to express my thanks, and that of the whole team at the Centre for Catholic Formation, to Archbishop Peter for presiding at this Mass. To my predecessors as director and the other priests who concelebrated and to the current and former members of staff who came to celebrate with us today, many with their families.
I would like to thank current and past students of the courses and seminars that we have held at the CCF, thank you for your support, prayer and personal commitment to learning about your Faith. To our friends from other diocesan agencies, may our collaboration grow ever more fruitful. To all at St Anselm’s Catholic Church for your kind and generous welcome. And, to our musicians today who made the liturgy truly special.
The Jubilee talks have been recorded and posted to the CCF YouTube channel.
More photos of the Jubilee Mass can be found on the Diocesan Flickr Pages.