St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School Attend Beginning of Year Mass at St George’s Cathedral

10th October 2023 Off By Claire Williams

On Wednesday 30 September, Headteachers, Governors, Chaplains, and student representatives, congregated at St George’s Cathedral for the annual Beginning of the Year Mass. This noteworthy occasion is masterfully orchestrated by the Education Commission, uniting schools throughout the Southwark Diocese for a profound commissioning mass and the reaffirmation of our commitment to our communities.

The principal celebrant, Bishop Paul Hendricks, led us in reflection, sharing poignant memories from his youth. He recalled how, during Christmas gatherings, he often evaded the responsibility of washing dishes, given the large family gatherings. Yet, these memories were tinged with the feeling of exclusion resulting from his choice not to help. He also recounted a childhood experience when he had to visit a lonely neighbour, a task he initially dreaded at the instruction of his mother. As a child, he approached this duty with reluctance. However, as he recounted, this initial reluctance gave way to a blossoming friendship with the neighbour, and he eventually cherished those visits, learning the lesson that dismissing something without trying can lead to unwarranted guilt.

The sermon beautifully underscored the message of “Taking up one’s cross” from Jesus’ teachings, emphasising that it entails embracing challenges and sacrifices in our faith journey. This call encourages us to exhibit perseverance and selflessness, compelling us to live in harmony with our deeply held values even when faced with adversity. In essence, it symbolises a path imbedded with meaning and purpose.

During his address, Bishop Paul also enlightened us about the presence of relics of saints in the altars of churches. Have you ever wondered whose relics rest in your parish? I encourage you to reach out to your parish priest, seek permission to take photographs, and share this discovery with our community. This act serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made within the church and prompts us to reflect on our own sacrifices for our faith and our willingness to share it with others. Let us express gratitude for those who have paved the way for us, and let us always strive to lead saintly lives in our daily endeavours.

The most profound honour during this Mass was bestowed upon our servers, Joseph, Ella, Nicole, Michaela, Philip, and Francesca. Their flawless service throughout the Mass made a lasting impression on the event, shaping a memorable and profoundly reverent experience. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to them for their dedicated service. Following this, our Chaplaincy leader, Tanto, had the privilege of representing our school by presenting a candle to be blessed at the conclusion of the service. Mr Sharp and I were immensely proud to witness this significant moment.

To the esteemed representatives who also graced the service with their presence, Chekube, Dominic, Gideon, Maya, James and Rocco, we extend our sincere thanks for joining us. We hope that this event left a lasting impression and enriched your understanding of our shared faith journey.

We want to express our sincere thanks to Bishop Hendrick and the Education Commission for putting together this truly remarkable event.