As a Catholic school there are key celebrations or times of the year that are unique to our daily life and to the ethos of our school. This Wednesday sees us commence one such occasion – Lent. On Tuesday both in school, and no doubt in many of our homes, we will celebrate Pancake Day or as we refer to it in Christian circles, Shrove Tuesday. Traditionally this is the day before Ash Wednesday and allows us the opportunity to rid our homes, kitchens and cupboards of all niceties, goodies and luxuries as we prepare to sacrifice certain things during the following six weeks known as a Lent.
Lent commences on Ash Wednesday. In school we will mark this day in the traditional manner. Fr Brendan will join us to lead us through the readings and prayers special to the day and will encourage us to reflect on why the next six weeks are significant. Why do we give things us or indeed take additional things on? Why do we sacrifice objects, belongings, goodies, luxuries and/or time for the good and benefit of others? Why does or might this help us become more like Jesus who did not give into temptation in the desert and who gave of himself for the well being of others. This service will end, as it does each and every year, in the reception of Ash on our foreheads in the sign of a cross. This is a very public sign that we are unashamedly a Christian Catholic community and wear our determination to consider the needs of others before that of our own in a most public way.
In line with this all year groups will commence their annual fund raising activities. Years 7 and 8 will support our Diocesan charities – Fr Hudson’s and Cafod. Years 9 and 10 will choose their own but are encouraged to consider those that are local and reflect Catholic principles. Years 11 to 13 will focus gathering practical supplies for the homeless and for our local food banks. These will be donated through our parish links. Staff will join in all of the above as it is important that we not only support but follow the example set by our students.
Thank you for your support, kindness, prayers and encouragement, particularly if you are the parent of students in Years 11 and 13. Mock exams are now concluded and we have already commenced revision and preparation for those all important final exams which are just around the corner. I would ask that you remember our Year 12 students who commence their next session of mock exams on Monday coming and our Year 9 students who will have Parents’ Evening Thursday next, March 14th.
We are also celebrating International Women’s Day this week. When the significant majority go both your staff and student population are female this tends to be an important day to commemorate – not least because it allows us all the opportunity to reflect upon and recognise the many noteworthy and outstanding contributions made over the centuries by women. For example, I was unaware of the role played by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of JFK, in the creation of the Special Olympics.
On Monday of the coming week we will be joined by a number of visitors, some of whom have personal connections to school, as they spend time putting our Year 11 through their paces in mock interviews. This features as part of our ongoing Careers programme in school and brings Careers Week to a successful and most productive conclusion.
Friday of the coming week, March 15th, is another exciting day as we welcome representatives from our local Catholic and C of E feeder schools to participate in a most worthwhile Lenten event – we will be making in excess of 300 sandwiches for the poor and disadvantaged in our local area and will conclude the day with Mass.