For the Schools’ Department one of the highlights of the Month of Mission was our Education Mass where representatives from pupils, staff and governors, from around the diocese gathered together to celebrate the work of Catholic Education.  Normally about an hour before the mass starts, I wander round the Cathedral wondering if any one will come but this year was different.  St Augustine’s College, Trowbridge, kindly volunteered to lead the music this year and their choir and musicians were at least 50 strong.  They arrived early to practice and set up and they were closely followed by the other schools who were participating in the event.  In preparation for our diocesan Year of Communion we took as our theme ‘Together we are Stronger’ and  the music led by St Augustine’s really brought this theme alive especially when they sang a hymn called ‘Together we are Stronger’ which was specially commissioned by the school from  former student, and now professional composer, James Otto to mark the school’s 50th anniversary.  Our mission rosary made by the staff and pupils of St Mary’s School, Swindon, led in the procession of banners and helped focus our thoughts and minds on the month of Mission.  As a reminder of our continuing work to support refugees the pupils from St Peter and Paul School also carried in our Lampedusa cross. During the mass St John’s School, Trowbridge, led our Gospel drama which was a mime to the parable of the ‘Sheep and Goats’.  St Gregory’s School, Bath, led thoughtful penitential reflection.  Student’s from St Bede’s College and St Bonaventure School helped us reflect on the Word of God and led our bidding prayers. St Francis School, Nailsea, pupils led our offertory and the pupils from St Osmund School, Salisbury, led a communion reflection based on the words of Pope Francis, where Pope Francis reminds us that” none of us is an island, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.  To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope.”. During the course of the mass there was an opportunity for governors and staff to renew their commitment to Catholic Education.  Bishop Declan reminded people about the importance and challenge of the work they were undertaking.  We were privileged to have with us members of the Missio team who presented the schools with Missio candles.  Since last September our schools have raised over £13,000 for Missio which I think is truly worth celebrating.  The mass was a lovely occasion, a chance for schools around the diocese to come together and celebrate both our purpose and achievements.

Ann Fowler

Education Mass October 2019

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