Mass for the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman
On Sunday afternoon, our church was packed to the rafters as members of the parish, members of the Dominican congregation, school children from both the Primary school and the Priory school, and a whole host of clergy gathered together for a Mass to celebrate Blessed John Henry Newman becoming a Saint.
Fr Doyle delivered a strong and heartfelt sermon, reminding us to be proud of our heritage and our community of faith – of which Newman was a part. Fr Doyle also asked us to be inspired by Newman’s example and the sacrifices he made in responding to his vocation.
Well done to all of our students who attended to represent the school; you did us proud.
This week, students, staff and members of the parish came together to give thanks for all God's gifts in a beautiful Harvest Mass. During the Mass, Fr. Doyle explained the importance of giving, as well as delivering a reminder about Stewardship of the earth. The Offertory procession of gifts included our Harvest envelopes. The collected monies will be sent off to CAFOD to support their work with the hungry and most vulnerable.
Congratulations to our Harvest envelope winners;
Introducing Our new Houses:
As we begin the new academic year, and embrace all the changes that come with it, we are rolling out three new Houses. The House patrons have been chosen to reflect the values of our school and the teaching of the Church.
All three have become saints (Newman on the 13th October) under our current pope and all three, we believe, can inspire us to live according to gospel values: working for justice; showing compassion for our needy neighbour; and trusting in God’s love as we respond to our vocation.
The new Houses are:
Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador in the 1970s. At that time, in this Latin American country, most of the wealth was held by just a handful of families, whilst the majority of the population lived in extreme poverty. Priests that spoke out against this unfair system were often tortured or even murdered. Romero had been a quiet priest, but when he became Archbishop, he quickly realised that he had to speak for the people;
‘The world that the Church must serve is the world of the poor’, he said.
For three years Romero was a fearless leader: he wrote letters to the government and the military; he openly and consistently preached about the rights of the poor and against injustice and oppression; he sent words of comfort and hope to the people via his little radio station that he set up at home; he pleaded with the soldiers that came to Mass to disobey the law if it opposed God’s law; he was ‘the voice of the voiceless’.
Romero knew that his life was in danger, but he had no choice but to continue. He said, ‘They will kill me, but I will rise again in the people of El Salvador’ Sure enough, he was silenced by an assassin’s bullet, at the altar, saying Mass, on 24th March 1980. He was the people’s hero, and now a martyr. The people of El Salvador called him a saint both during his life and after his death, but he was officially canonised (or made a saint) by Pope Francis (our first Latin American Pope) in October 2018.
We can be inspired by Romero and his brave challenge against injustice. He calls on us to make a change, to make a difference:
Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
‘’Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; they will be satisfied.’’ (Mt 5:6)
John Henry Newman is set to become a saint later this year.
Newman was a very intelligent as well as a very devout man. He studied at Oxford and entered the Church of England, serving as an Anglican priest for several years. However, his studying drew
him to the Catholic Church and he left the Church of England to become a Catholic, in 1845. He was quickly ordained a Catholic priest and later a cardinal. He was a very important figure in the
Church, writing and delivering lectures, in a country that, at that time, was quite anti –Catholic; in fact, it was a common occurrence for priests to be pelted with rotten fruit and stones in the street
and for churches to be attacked. Becoming a Catholic came at a great price for Newman; he lost many friends and even his family became distant. However, he was convinced that he had made
the right choice and that God had a plan for him; ‘I will trust Him’, he said. And he wrote,
‘God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission.’
Newman is particularly associated with our diocese and our parish, being received into the Church by our own Blessed Dominic Barberi, the young priest who walked daily from Alton, past
jeering mobs, to say Mass in our little St Anne’s Chapel.
We can be inspired by Newman in our response to our vocation, trusting in God’s love for us in whatever it is we are called to be.
‘’Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God.’’(Mt 5:8)
Teresa (christened Agnes) was born into a poor family in Kosovo in Serbia in 1910. At 12 years old she felt called to a life serving God and so she became a nun, joining the Irish order of Loreto sisters.
However, she spent the majority of her life, loving and caring for the poor, the vulnerable and those no one else would care for, in India. To begin with she taught in a good school in Calcutta, but when she saw the suffering on the streets of the city and the general disregard for human life, she stepped away from her comfortable lifestyle and set up, first a school for slum children, then homes for the poor and dying. She was quickly joined by other volunteers and after securing permission from the Pope, they established themselves as an order called, the Missionaries of Charity. She took in many destitute, diseased and dying people; she did not claim to be able to cure them but she bathed them and fed them, she showed them that they were loved and gave them dignity. When challenged about her work and how she could stomach it, she said, ’I look into the face of every dying person and I see the face of Christ.’ Although she died in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity continue her work, caring for the poorest and most vulnerable in many countries of the world today.
Teresa was a humble and obedient servant, refusing any privilege, living simply - among those she cared for and choosing to dress in a habit that reflected the dress of those around her. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 and, although she refused to attend the lavish banquet she accepted the honour humbly and requested that the prize money go straight to helping the poor.
Mother Teresa has been called the greatest humanitarian of the twentieth century.
In 2016 Mother Teresa was canonised by Pope Francis, so we can now call her Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Although we may think the problems of the world are too great for us to ever solve we can be inspired by Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s words. She said:
‘We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop’, and
‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’
We can learn a great deal from her words, her humility, and her example of service.
''Blessed are the meek; they shall inherit the earth.'' (Mt5:5)
Football for MIND
On Tuesday afternoon, the whole school took on the challenge of raising money for MIND, the national mental health charity, by engaging in football matches on the sports field. Encouraged by both spectators and cheerleaders, competitive sportsmanship ensued, as well as great camaraderie and some skilful playing.
Goal scorers were Mary, Cal and Abdullah; whilst Alex showed great skill as keeper.
Well done to everyone. This concludes our fundraising for this year; get your thinking caps on for next year’s events!
Recently, our Primary 6 Confirmation students attended a retreat with Mrs Gauvin at St. Dominic's Church, where they were joined by Year 6 students from
St Dominic’s Primary School. They spent the day with Sister Valerie in church and in the Priory & learned alot about the church and St Dominic. The photo shows the Altar of St Winifred
and the Martyrs. St Winifred was the name chosen by one of our students as her saint’s name for confirmation. The retreat really helped them to focus on what Confirmation is all about.
Stations of the Cross
The Spring Term came to a close with Stations of the Cross.
Well done to all concerned, particularly Year 9 students.
Click Here to see more
Today was our last shared lunch of the Lenten season. Throughout this time students have given generously and eaten simply as a way of both standing in solidarity with the poor of the world and focusing on their own spiritual welfare as opposed to their own physical needs.
Well done everyone; as usual, carried out in true Dominican spirit!
We have raised enough money to buy fishing nets, chickens and even a goat for our brothers and sisters in developing countries overseas.
Year 10 Synagogue Visit
On Thursday, Year 10 pupils visited the Manchester Jewish Museum. There, they consolidated their knowledge and understanding of Jewish faith and practice through a series of games, activities and even a round of Family Fortunes!
Students also learnt some new and fascinating facts about the life of the Haredi Jews that live in the nearby Leicester Road. They travelled there afterwards and, having walked up and down the High Street, called into Brackman’s Bakery to sample some kosher fayre.
Senior RE Week Commencing Monday 28th January
Year 7 students have been looking at values in ‘the kingdom of God’, and in particular at what can be learned from the Gospel story of the rich man. In Tuesday’s lesson, they took part in an auction, in which they could bid for trips to Disney Land, new wardrobes, Stoke City season tickets, and more. Sadly, some had run out of money when the last lots were auctioned; these included clean drinking water for an African village, meals and shelter for the homeless, and three teachers for an Indian school. Those that still had funds pledged money with enthusiasm. Students learned not only that material possessions should not be our priority in life, but also that with wealth comes responsibility.
Year 8 students have begun their study of Judaism by looking at recent Jewish history. The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day was ‘Torn from Home’ and, after looking at film clips of the Kindertransport and reading the story of Renee Bornstein – a child refugee, students were inspired to write poetry or a postcard of solidarity and hope to Renee.
The theme continued on Friday, when Mr Ken Wilson, our CAFOD rep, came into the classroom to challenge the children to adopt the mindset of a refugee; this time from the point of view of a Syrian refugee.
These lessons have been both sobering and yet vital in the education of young people in equipping them with the determination to work for a better future.
In keeping with tradition, each mat contains a mistake (due to the belief that only Allah can create perfection). Can you spot them?
Year 10 students have continued with their study of Jewish belief and practice. A song from the acapella group, The Maccabeats, always helps our learning! (Find them on Youtube)
Year 11 students have been considering and debating issues surrounding the subject of human rights. Of course, this is very topical at present; however, it is interesting to note that way back in 1963, Pope John XXIII wrote Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) - a letter to all people of good will. In it he appealed for a world in which all human rights be recognised; the document was seen as monumental, and described as, 'not just some letter written by an old priest, but the conscience of the world’.
Quite a revelation to our students!
Brighten Up with CAFOD
Pupils and staff alike donned brightly coloured jumpers, tights, gloves and ties in response to the CAFOD initiative for Harvest.
We are standing in solidarity with the poor of the world, recognising their plight, and giving a donation to the wonderful work of CAFOD for the privilege of forgoing our uniform rules for one day.
Monies collected will be offered up at our Harvest Mass.
What is love?
This thoughtful and inspirational piece of writing was completed by a Year 9 student, after being tasked to write a wedding sermon as part of the RE topic, 'Vocation to Married Life'.
We are here today, why? To join this young couple together in holy matrimony, why? We join this couple together because they love each other; but what is love? Where does it come from? What does it mean?
This word is said so often that it loses its value. People love shoes, a dress or a certain meal; but not in the way that they love their family or their friends. The Greeks have four words for four different types of love
Storge – family love
Eros – romantic love
Philia – friendship
Agape – Christian love
The love that we talk about associated with marriage is all four. You will love your partner as part of your family, you will love them romantically, they will be your friend and companion for life and you will love each other unconditionally with Christian love.
All love comes from God, God loves us unconditionally with the Greatest love of all St. Paul’s letter to the roman’s stated that ‘He showed his unconditional love for us in the greatest way possible, while we were still sinners Christ died for us! We must remember that Christ died so that we may be forgiven God will always forgive you if you are sorry. You will make lots of mistakes in marriage but remember Jesus’ one wish. “love one another as I have loved you.
This young couple love each other so wholly that they wish to be joined together in the eyes of God. Today they will vow to love and honour one another forever. This journey will not be easy. But through your marriage, you must remember that you love one another and you must remember what love is through the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians.
“Love is Patient”, give your partner time and space when they need it, do not hurry anything; you will know when the time is right. “Love is kind”, love and nurture your partner always. “Love does not envy or boast”, be happy for your partner in their success and they, in turn, will be happy for you too. “Love is not arrogant or rude”, listen to one another and value each other’s opinion; never ignore your partner’s feelings or emotions. “Love does not insist on its own way”, work together and compromise, one must always consult with the other before making a decision. “Love is not irritable or resentful”; honest mistakes can and will happen, be forgiving and never hold anything against your partner. “Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth”, truth and honesty is ever so important, be completely honest and truthful to your partner and you love for one another will flourish. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things”. Your married life will be enjoyable but challenging at times stand together through everything, when things get hard, bear with each other, hope and pray together and you're married love for each other will be unbreakable. Love never ends. Enjoy each other’s company and love forever.
A group of P3-P6 children meet on Wednesday lunchtimes for Rosary Club with Mrs Gauvin. They light a candle, pick up some Rosary beads and start to learn how to pray the Rosary. They also use the time for their own quiet reflections
Summer Term 2018 Fund Raising
Our chosen whole school charity for the Summer Term was Lepra.
This charity does vital work in the fight against leprosy, which is still a life threatening but completely preventable disease that can ravage communities in many developing countries.
After listening to a moving presentation about the disease and its effects on people’s lives, pupils collected donations from generous friends and family members – sometimes in return for completing some household chores or achieving a certain goal. The money was brought into school during the penultimate week of the term and handed over to Julie Wood, a Lepra representative. The grand total was a fantastic £643.92, which will buy 211 pairs of specially designed shoes for those whose feet have been damaged by this disease, and so allow them greater mobility and the ability to continue a normal life.
By way of thanking the children, they were all treated to a fun Zumba /street dance session held at lunchtime. Some staff were encouraged to participate too!
First Holy Communion 2018
On 8th May 2018, Ethan and Alice took their first Holy Communion. Alice looked beautiful in her white dress and Ethan, extremely smart in his suit and red tie. Father Doyle led a wonderful and moving service.
Children from Pre-school to Year 9 joined together in church to share this special event in the children's Catholic life. Ethan and Alice were supported in their preparations by their classes and children from Primary 3 and 5 who sang in the choir. Primary 5 also handed out service sheets and led the bidding prayers, whilst Primary 3 led the offertory procession with great confidence.
After the service, the sun shone and in true St Dominic's tradition the pupils, parents and staff formed a guard of honour along the green. Ethan and Alice led the procession to great applause followed by their family and friends. All children from Primary 3 and 5 were then treated to a celebratory tea in the dining hall. A beautiful cake was provided by Ethan and Alice’s families and lovely flowers, gifts and cards were laid out for them. Prep Staff donated food. A very special thank you should go to Eleanor from Olive Catering, who came in on Bank Holiday Monday to prepare for the tea.
It was a wonderful and memorable whole school occasion that the children will remember forever.
The following prayer was offered for the First Communicants and their families:
The Spirit's Peace...
Wherever you live in this world,
Whatever place you make your home,
Whether your dwelling be humble or grand,
May the Lord's peace be his gift to you;
The peace of the Spirit to refresh you,
Peace to uplift you, peace to enfold you.
May the Spirit renew your innermost being
With the peace that passes
Lenten Lunches 2018
Well done everybody!
Our Lenten lunches have raised: £136.88
The money has been sent off to Cafod, and they will use it to make a difference to the lives of our brothers and sisters in the developing world. Mrs Cook was moved to see the way in which, once more, St Dominic’s pupils entered into the spirit of the Lenten lunches; they have eaten simply and given generously so that others may simply eat.
Let us not forget that our many privileges come with responsibilities, and as a Catholic school we have a duty to work for a fairer world, where all enjoy the same rights and opportunities.
‘Dear young people, do not give up your dreams of a more just world’ quoted by Pope Francis
Stations of the Cross March 2018
Term ended with a moving Stations of the Cross service in Priory Hall, led by Year 9 pupils.
The Eighth Station, ‘Women of Jerusalem’, provided a focus and had been sculpted out of wire and metal. The piece was inspired by the Sean Rice Stations, viewed earlier in the term on a visit to Liverpool’s Catholic cathedral.
The Way of the Cross was presented as a narrative, delivered from the viewpoint of Mary, as well as with meditations, adapted from a collection entitled ‘Stations; then and now’, and prayers – some of which had been written by members of the Year 9 class.
The service was enhanced by the accompaniment of some beautiful music performed by the School Choir, including some from Boyce and Stanley’s ‘Born for This’, a number from Godspell, and two Resound Worship pieces, performed by soloist Anna-Grethe Schwartz.
Soli Retreat March 2018
Pupils returned to school after three days on retreat at Soli House in Alton, with Mrs Burge and Mrs Cook.
Whilst there, all had the opportunity to take time out from the pressures of school work; pray; reflect on what was important to them in life; strengthen friendships and support each other in the various challenges set for them.
Amongst other things, they completed a 6 mile guided walk through the woods on arrival, with hot chocolate and cake at the Ramblers Retreat en route; directed or acted in a short film - one group choosing Jonah and the Whale (Jeremy Kyle style), another group - a Disney version of David and Goliath; pitched their product for a Gospel app to 'Alan Sugar’; Sat in quiet reflection in the beautiful attic chapel, lit with fairy lights; sang modern worship songs in Mass, accompanied by beatbox and guitar; and, perhaps most importantly of all, spent time together, chatting, playing cards or board games, without a mobile phone in sight.
Guilt Free Chocolate
Year 9 pupils ran a Fair Trade tuck shop in the RE room today and encouraged fellow pupils and staff to shop ethically.
Buying from the Fairtrade foundation allows us to stand in solidarity with producers in LEDCs by acknowledging their hard work and giving them a fair price for their product.
The chocolate tastes good too!
The Power of Words - Holocaust Memorial Day
Year 8 have been involved in a Holocaust Memorial Day project in their RE lessons this week.
After reading the story of Renie Inow, who came to England on the Kinder transport in 1939, and the story of Sedin, who escaped the Bosnian massacre in 1995, pupils have written and decorated postcards of hope which will be sent to Renie and Sedin via the HMD Trust.
In memory of all those who suffered in the Jewish Holocaust and all genocides since the activity ended with a reflection on our determination to oppose discrimination in all its forms, and prayer.
Below you can find the Jewish prayer found in the Ravensbruck concentration camp in 1945.
Lord, remember not only the men and woman of good will also
those of ill will.
But do not only remember the suffering they have inflicted on us.
Remember the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering..
Our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity,
the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this.
And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be
their forgiveness. Amen
Year 9 RE/Art Trip to Liverpool
On Wednesday 10th January Year 9 pupils, accompanied by Mrs Cook and Miss Jovanovic, travelled to Liverpool to carry out some preliminary work for their Stations of the Cross Project.
After a guided tour of the stunning modern Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, the girls settled down to each sketch one of the fourteen beautiful bronze sculpted stations that adorn the walls of this ‘Cathedral in the round’.
This year’s finished work will be inspired by the Liverpool Stations, sculpted for the Cathedral by local artist, Sean Rice, over twenty years ago and yet still have a very modern feel. Both pupils and staff agreed that Rice’s work had managed to combine both brutality and tenderness in its depiction of Christ’s passion.
On our return to school we called at Crosby Beach for a bracing walk and a chance to admire Antony Gormley’s installation, ‘Another Place’; one hundred identical male figures, standing unmoved and staring out to sea. Quite a contrast to the work of Rice but more inspiration for our young artists nevertheless!
Light a Light
November is a month in which we pray for the Holy Souls. Pupils and Staff visited St. Anne's Chapel at lunchtime to light a candle for those they have loved and lost.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.
The Annual Combined Schools' Mass
On the 12th October students and staff attended the annual Combined Schools' Mass at St Gregory's in Longton. In his homily, Bishop David McGough talked to all the young people about the challenges of living out our faith and the thoughtful student reflection on Blessed Oscar Romero brought home to us all the reality of this challenge.
Pictured are pupils, holding high the Dominican banner.
Prize Winning Poets
Pupils from Year 9, celebrated after their poem, ‘The Journey’, won an award of special merit in a national poetry completion.
The competition was launched by the Catholic Independent Schools Conference and was open to both primary and secondary school pupils. The theme specified was the Resurrection and as Year 9 pupils had just completed this topic in their RE lessons, it seemed appropriate to pen a poem.
The poem was a class effort, with each pupil contributing a line. It referenced the characters and events they had been studying, and it was completed in one lesson. The title alludes to a religious conversion from doubt and uncertainty to belief, and the poem concludes with the words of the risen Jesus to Doubting Thomas, words relevant to believers of all time.
The mourning Mary before the tomb.
Undecided disciples filled with gloom.
The story unfolds, could it be true?
Jesus has died for me and you.
Broken bread, doubt removed; Peter, his allegiance proved.
The sun shone behind his majestic head,"Rabboni Lord, you are risen from the dead."
Eternal life, ourselves redeemed,“Blessed are those who have not seen”.