Cardinal Vincent Nichols installed as St Mary’s first Chancellor
Cardinal Vincent Nichols was installed as the inaugural Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, on 27th May during a special service of Vespers at the Cathedral.
During the Rite of Installation, Bishop Richard Moth, Chair of Governors of St Mary’s, handed the seal of the University to Cardinal Vincent, as he inaugurated, admitted and installed him as its first Chancellor.
In turn, Cardinal Vincent accepted an Oath of Office from Vice-Chancellor Francis Campbell and entrusted to him the Seal of the University, ‘in full confidence that you will lead this University Community in the impartial search for truth that brings light and meaning to the relationship between faith and reason’.
In the homily which followed, Cardinal Vincent recalled the ‘remarkable visit’ of Pope Benedict to the University in 2010: ‘This visit, and this person, Pope Benedict, stands for me as a strong sign of the path still to be followed by St Mary’s, in depth of endeavour, in vision of education and in wholeness of life.’
The Cardinal pointed to the words of St Paul to Timothy: ‘Accept the strength that comes from the grace of Christ.’ He said, ‘I hope these words long remain at the centre of your lives, both individually and as an institution. You have seen your Vice-Chancellor receive a very formal mandate and give a very solemn undertaking. This is indeed a mandate of the Church, but, just as importantly, it is an invitation to rely on someone who is beyond all doubt and defeat, the one alone who has conquered the evil and death which is written into our world.’
Speaking of this historic day for the University, Bishop Richard explained that the Cardinal’s installation ‘underlines, in a most powerful way, our place in the Diocese of Westminster and our commitment to strengthening and developing St Mary’s University as a Catholic institution of higher education’.
Vice-Chancellor Francis Campbell said: ‘Today is a time to celebrate at several levels; to acknowledge great debts to those who have gone before us and to imagine a successful and vibrant St Mary’s of the future.’
He invited the University to rededicate itself to ‘those immutable Christian values of love neighbour and generosity of spirit’ and to combine them with ‘a passionate pursuit of excellence in teaching and research’.
Founded in 1850 by Cardinal Wiseman and L’Abbe Jean-Marie de Lamennais with a community of six students at Brook Green House in Hammersmith, St Mary’s University now occupies a 50-acre site in Strawberry Hill.
On 23rd January 2014, the Privy Council conferred full university status on St Mary’s.
L-R: Bishop Richard Moth, Chair of Governors, Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the first Chancellor of the University