The School of the Annunciation, based in Buckfast Abbey, has been officially recognised as a Catholic institute of higher education by the Bishop of Plymouth.
Bishop Mark O’Toole has issued a canonical decree, known as a “recognitio”, acknowledging the school’s fidelity to the Church’s teaching.
The school’s campus, in the Diocese of Plymouth, is the only higher education establishment in Britain dedicated to the new evangelisation.
Bishop O’Toole has taken a keen interest in the school ever since its launch in early 2014.
He became one of its patrons, alongside Vatican Cardinal George Pell, and appointed a diocesan priest, Fr Guy de Gaynesford, as the school’s first rector.
His latest move is a major step in the school’s history, as it gives the school permission to use the term “Catholic” officially in its title.
Bishop O’Toole has also issued “Mandatum” letters to full-time and associate staff of the School. The letters indicate that those who teach at the School meet the requirements the Church lays down for authentic teachers of Catholic theology and related disciplines.
Fr Guy de Gaynesford, rector of the School of the Annunciation, said the letters are “vitally important for the future development of the school” and will help it form partnerships with other Catholic colleges and universities, such as the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.
In a statement, he added: “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.”