Cardinal Anders Arborelius has been back this week, paying another flying visit to the Diocese of Leeds. The first and only Swedish Cardinal is a good friend of Fr Paul Redmond, Parish Priest of St Clare’s, Fagley. He decided to combine an invitation to lead a Day of Recollection for Diocese of Leeds clergy with visits to the schools of the parish.
The Cardinal is very interested in our Catholic School system in England, on which Bishop Marcus is an authority and now the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service. Visiting St Clare’s and Our Lady and St Brendan’s Primary Schools, the Cardinal was able to meet children and staff informally as well as celebrate Mass.
Head Teacher Carmel Utting said: ‘It was a privilege to welcome Cardinal Anders Arborelius to St Clare’s. During his visit he met all the children who were delighted to talk to him about our school and their learning. Year 5 and Year 6 joined parishioners for the Mass which he celebrated in St Clare’s Church and led the readings and singing beautifully.’
The Cardinal made a great impression with the children, too; Isabella and Ava from Year 2 were ‘very excited’ to meet him and said, ‘It felt very special that Cardinal Anders came all the way from Sweden to visit our school.’
Year 6 students Arzoo and Zuzanna described him as ‘…inspirational and very friendly… He spoke to us about his role as a Cardinal and taught us some Swedish!’
Sweden’s Catholic minority of just 150,000 out of the population of 10 million are mostly immigrants – or converts from Lutheranism, as is Cardinal Anders himself. There are just three Catholic schools in the whole of Sweden for children
between the ages of 6 and 13 years of age, and these are run on similar lines to our academy system.