Archbishop Peter opened a new building at Donhead School, Wimbledon, a Jesuit School founded in 1933. The new building is dedicated to St John Berchmans, a Jesuit seminarian who died at the age of 22 in 1621 and was canonised in 1888The occasion was largely informal as befits a new building for prep school age pupils and the Archbishop struck just the right note in his words to the boys. The opening of the new classrooms in the brilliant sunshine was excellently accomplished (well done headmaster) although I could see the architects and building team representatives looking slightly nervous as if some snagging defect might manifest itself at so public a time.
The Archbishop's conversation and manner and that of his secretary whilst chatting to adult visitors and staff afterwards over cups of tea were warm and interesting without some of the unneccessary loftiness that I recall from some of his predecessors many years ago and thankfully no Bishop's ring was proffered to kiss.
The Archbishop said that he had taken a law degree and we joked about whether his decision to eschew law for the cloth was for the best. He had always wanted to remain a parish priest - down town Thornton Heath was mentioned - but obedience does not always depend on formal vows so the (arch)bishoprics of East Anglia, Cardiff and now Southwark, beckoned. If this visit is any yardstick my view is that he will become one of Southwark's great Catholic Archbishops
Although I recall the late Bishop Guazzelli of East London visiting Donhead, Bishop Victor was an old boy of the school so there might have been some sentimental aspects for his coming, no one can recall any Archbishop ever visiting Donhead or indeed Wimbleon College before.