Bishop of Plymouth gives his ‘recognitio’ to the School of the Annunciation

Bishop O'Toole with Dr. Petroc Willey of The School

The Rt Rev. Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth, has officially issued a canonical Decree, also known as a ‘recognitio’, establishing the School of the Annunciation as a Catholic Institute of Higher Education. The School’s campus at Buckfast Abbey is located within the Diocese of Plymouth.

Bishop O’Toole has taken a keen interest in the School since its beginning in early 2014, becoming one of the School’s two patrons, alongside Cardinal Pell, and appointing a diocesan priest, Fr Guy de Gaynesford, as the School’s first rector. This Decree, establishing the School as a Catholic Institute of Higher Education, is in accordance with article 3§1 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Apostolic Constitution of Pope St John Paul II concerning Catholic Universities and Institutions of Higher Learning in the Church. In doing so Bishop O’Toole also gave his consent to the use of the term “Catholic” in the titles of the School in an official capacity, as described in the requirements of Canon Law (Canon 808). 

In another significant move Bishop O’Toole has also issued Mandatum letters to full-time and associate staff of the School. These letters are canonical recognition given by the local Bishop that those who teach at, or for the School, meet the requirements the Church lays down for authentic teachers of Catholic theology and related disciplines, including their manifest fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium. 

Fr Guy de Gaynesford, the Rector of the School of the Annunciation, writes: 
“Bishop O’Toole’s Recognitio and Mandatum letters are vitally important for the future development of the School because they will assist us in forging partnerships with other Catholic Colleges and Universities, such as Franciscan University Steubenville. The Bishop’s canonical endorsement of the School and her staff will assure other Catholic Institutes of Higher Education of the vision and commitment of the School of the Annunciation to authentic and loyal fidelity to the Church and to the norms and requirements the Church lays down for authentic teachers of theology, philosophy and catechesis. In its short history the School has certainly had so much for which to give thanks for to the Lord and to Our Lady of Buckfast regarding the rapid growth of this new initiative placed at the service of the Church’s call for a New Evangelisation. This endorsement and support from our patron and Diocesan Bishop is yet another grace in answer to prayer for which we can all give thanks, and for which we can express our gratitude to Bishop Mark O’Toole, offering prayers for him and the work he has undertaken for the cause of the New Evangelisation in his Diocese and beyond.”
You can view the Decree of Erection in PDF form here:

Bishop Mark outside the Abbey Church along with Abbot David Charlesworth, Cardinal Pell, Msgr Keith Newton, Dr. Andrew Beards, Dr. Petroc Willey, Bishop Phillip Egan and Johnathan Deacon.


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