Cardinal Michael Louis Fitzgerald was born in Walsall so when he was invited to come back ‘home’ he graciously accepted. 

On Friday 14 February he opened and blessed the new Prayer Garden at St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School and then went on to celebrate Mass at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School.

The schools are federated and work closely together and so the governors, parents, staff and children were extremely grateful to the Cardinal for managing to find the time in his busy schedule to visit both schools.

The garden was created for two reasons, firstly in memory for Spencer Hurst, a beautiful, kind, fun-loving child who attended St Thomas of Canterbury School but sadly passed away and secondly to enable all our children and staff that come to our school, both now and in the future, to spend time in prayer.

In this current climate, along with Pope Francis's recent encyclical named 'Laudato Si' - which discusses the need to care for our planet, we as a school need to show our love and commitment to being stewards of creation.

Pope Francis explains that the earth is God’s gift to us, full of beauty and wonder and it belongs to everyone, that is why it was so important that all the children were fully involved with creating the prayer garden and together with the ‘Faith Council’ will all be responsible for taking care of it.

The whole school participated in the blessing together with Father Robert Murphy, Father Chris, Father Roberto, Canon Michael Leadbeater, Michael Quinn (Chair of Governors) and Spencer’s mother and family.

While the children were singing ‘you have called us by our name’ a member of Spencer’s family, together with some pupils from the school, planted flowers.

The Gospel reading was read by Father Chris and pupils led prayers of intercession.

During the final blessing Cardinal Fitzgerald spoke passionately about all the pupils in school, making particular reference to the children’s beautiful singing which really enhanced the occasion.

In this particular year of ‘The God Who Speaks’ scripture initiative the staff, parents and children can come into the prayer garden, embrace the beauty, be still, listen and hear what God is saying.

Following the opening of the prayer garden Cardinal Fitzgerald made his way to celebrate Mass at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, together with parish priest Father Roberto and Father Chris.

He then opened two new classrooms at St Patrick’s school which have been named in his honour.

The Mass was beautiful and the children behaved impeccably. During his Homily the Cardinal spoke directly to the children thanking them for their letters of invitation.

Growing up in Walsall, the Cardinal and his family attended Mass at St Patrick’s. Although a new church has been built he spoke fondly of all his happy memories in Walsall and in the parish.

He then went over to the school to bless the new buildings where he spoke to some of the children, all the staff, Mr Quinn, some of the governors and the parish priests of both schools.

We would like to congratulate Cardinal Fitzgerald on his appointment as Cardinal last October.  It is a real privilege to know that we now have a second English Cardinal, and especially delighted to know that he comes from Walsall and grew up attending Mass at St Patrick’s.

Photo Gallery

Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald visits Walsall schools