From the Principal
Earlier this week our College Captains, Zara and Silas, joined Fr Peter Hosking and me in recording our Dismissal Blessing for Term 1. This was shared online with students on Friday afternoon, and families who may be interested can view it below.
I understand that staff at the Junior School are currently creating an end-of-term message to share with students next week, and I Iook forward to that also.
The Dismissal Blessing at the end of each term at the Senior School is one of those traditions that I’ve cherished for the past 25 years. On occasion, when all our Jesuit members of staff might have been absent or otherwise engaged, it became a prayer service rather than a blessing but, importantly, we always wanted to mark the end of the term by giving thanks to God.
The excitement and anticipation that precede a holiday for students (and staff!) are almost palpable, and so entering the Dennett Centre (or sometimes the Kranewitter Hall) as we usually did became a somewhat joyous occasion. I always appreciated how quickly students settled, and even though they were very eager to commence their break, they always remained respectful and attentive throughout the short service.
On Wednesday when Zara, Silas, Peter, and I gathered in the chapel to film our blessing, I confess that I felt rather sad. I missed the buzz and smiling faces and good wishes that were normally associated with this event. Thankfully, I was able to identify that whilst it was okay to be sad for a bit, it would not be Ignatian to dwell there for any length of time.
I have so much to be grateful for, and whilst the Dismissal Blessing for Term 1 2020 is rather unique, having been pre-recorded and posted online, it helps me appreciate what I’ve enjoyed in the past and what I may anticipate again in the future.
On previous occasions, prior to the blessing I’ve tended to suggest to all gathered that we should take forward anything that was good for us this term – anything that helped us grow to become the people that God calls us to be – and we should try to leave behind all the things that have held us back or been unhelpful to us. This is not easy to do, but with God’s grace we try.
In this most challenging of terms, I’d like to think that we have much that we can take with us. Our community continues to strive to be a loving, caring, and supportive one, and whilst we may be physically distant from one another, we are still connected to each other through our ongoing beliefs and shared experiences.
Dismissal Blessings at the end of Term 1 have often had a special focus on the coming of Easter, and this year was the same. However, as Lent draws to a close and we approach the central mystery of our faith – the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Christ – we know that Easter next week will be very different for our community. We won’t be able to gather, and we won’t be able to do many of the things that we normally would.
We do still have the unique opportunity, though, to celebrate the fact that a belief in the Risen Lord is fundamental to our ongoing existence as a Catholic school in the Ignatian tradition, and that as a community of people we have an unshakable foundation that helps to anchor us to weather any storm.
I offer deep thanks for this as I pray also for God’s continued mercy and protection for all of us.
Mr Peter Coffey