Mass of Thanksgiving for the 50th Anniversary of Saint Mary's
Friday 14th June 2019
The whole school celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the 50th Anniversary of our school on Friday morning at our parish church St Mary Crowned.
All pupils, staff and governors attended. They were joined by the Chair of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi-Academy Trust (CMAT) Mrs Jacqueline Rodden; the CEO Mr Sean McClafferty and Trustee Mr Peter Barnes. Invited guests included headteachers from the CMAT and former staff members. The school was also pleased to welcome so many parishioners.
Celebrating the Mass for us were Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham and parish priest Father Martin Sylvester, Canon Don Bowdren from St Charles and Father Kevin Gradwell of St John Fisher and St Thomas More in Chapel-en-le-Frith. They were assisted by Lead Lay Chaplain of the St Ralph Sherwin CMAT Mr Joe Hopkins. Nine altar servers served the Mass, five current pupils and three past pupils.
The Mass was a wonderful way in which to give thanks to God for the many blessings that we have received as a school community over the last fifty years.
As the congregation arrived, they were welcome by the uplifting singing of past pupil, Miss Chloe Jones who is studying music at The National Conservatoire of Wales.
The theme of the Mass was one of Thanksgiving for the past, present and future of Saint Mary’s. Before Mass began, a Year 6 pupil welcomed the congregation and described items that were to be placed in front of the altar by junior children. They presented a children’s bible and crucifix to represent Jesus as the centre of all that we do and the Catholic Life of our school. A copy of our new Mission Statement and a souvenir booklet from the official opening of our school were placed before the altar. A school sweatshirt was displayed reminding us that we form one body belonging to each other. Some exercise books to show how the children have used their gifts to work to the best of their ability. To represent the Sacramental life of our school and parish, a photograph of children celebrating their First Communion was presented. Our future is as a part of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, so an image and prayer dedicated to our Patron Saint was the final item to be added.
Mass began with the opening hymn ‘Here I Am Lord’ with musical accompaniment by Mr Andrew Elliott, past pupil Miss Esme Hall and peripatetic music teacher Mrs Jane Pickford.
Sister Celestine, former headteacher, read the first reading (Romans 12:3-13). In the first reading St Paul encouraged us to use our gifts to serve the one body to which we all belong. Mrs Samantha Buller, Chair of Governors, read the Responsorial Psalm with the congregation joining in the refrain.
The youngest Reception children were heard to welcome the Gospel with enthusiastic singing of Alleluia.
In the Gospel (Matthew 13:1-9), read by Father Martin, Jesus told his disciples a parable about a sower sowing seeds. Some fell on rocky soil, some among thorns but the seeds that fell on rich soil produced their crop. In the homily, Bishop Patrick asked the children what makes their school special and asked them what gifts they used.
Prayers of Intercession followed, with petitions read by pupils that included prayers for the Church; the children of Saint Mary’s; staff and those involved in Catholic Education; parents and carers; those who have died and included a moment of silence for our own intentions.
Communion hymns were performed while all pupils had the opportunity to receive Holy Communion and those of different faiths or who have not made their first communion were invited to come forward with arms folded across their chest to receive a blessing.
After communion, Bishop Patrick invited Mrs Sarah Rudd, Acting Headteacher to propose thanks to all those involved. Mrs Rudd spoke about the Mass held there, at St Mary Crowned, fifty years ago where at the time prayers were offered for the future happiness of the school community. The children received applause for their wonderful participation.
The Mass concluded with the final blessing and the rousing recessional hymn ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ with the children clapping and waving their arms in praise.
The celebration was a joyous and prayerful time for everybody involved in our school to mark the end of a week of celebrations. The children, staff and guests returned to school for a picnic lunch.