John Paul II Thanks Rome's Beda College for Historic Role

Pontifical Institution Supported by Bishops of England and Wales

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II publicly thanked the Beda College of Rome for its key role over the past 150 years in the formation of English priests.

When the Pope received 95 members of the college community today, he joined them “in giving praise to God for the many graces that have come to the Church through the work of the college in the years since its foundation.”

“It was a time of great turbulence when Blessed Pope Pius IX established what became the Collegio Pio,” John Paul II recalled. “Society was in turmoil, and the Church was not spared the troubles of the age. In England, a number of Anglicans had decided to seek ordination in the Catholic Church, and this prompted the Pope to establish the college.”

“At the end of the 19th century, again in unsettled times, the college had a surge of new life and in 1897 became the Pontifical Beda College, in honor of the great English saint and scholar whom Pope Leo XIII was about to proclaim a Doctor of the Church at that time,” the Holy Father continued.

“Another important step forward came in 1960, when the college moved to its present site in the shadow of St. Paul’s basilica,” he said.

“In the meantime, the college has opened its doors to students from many countries,” he added. “That is a great service offered to the whole Church by the bishops of England and Wales, and I wish to thank them for their generosity.”

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