Priory Post 161 – One Hundred Years of Faith

Posted: 1st September 2015

One Hundred Years of Faith

H.E. Cardinal Vincent Nichols visits St Augustine’s Priory

It was a glorious day.  Tuesday 30th June saw St Augustine’s Priory celebrate our One Hundred Years of Faith on our Hillcrest Road site with Mass celebrated by H.E. Cardinal Vincent Nichols with several priests from the nearby parishes concelebrating.

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We were so pleased that His Eminence was able to join us on this happy occasion.  On arrival he and his Private Secretary, Fr John O’Leary, were welcomed to St Augustine’s Priory by Mrs Sarah Raffray, Headteacher, and Mrs Sue Kirby, Chair of Governors.  After visiting our Chapel and the exhibit of our One Hundred Years of Faith project ‘A Stitch in Time’ to embroider kneelers for our Chapel, the Cardinal gathered with the concelebrating priests and deacon and processed into the grounds where a marquee had been raised in which to celebrate Mass, our Chapel not being large enough to host such an assembly.

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The whole school was gathered in the marquee, with parents, staff, past pupils  and staff, Governors and members of the local community ready to welcome the Cardinal, among them Mr Steve Pound MP.

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After the entrance hymn four girls performed short monologues, snapshots from the past one hundred years; one girl represented 1915, the year the community of Canonesses Regular of the Lateran and their pupils moved into this newly-built convent and school, one represented 1945, one 1968 and one the present day.  One Hundred Years of change, except for one thing, the Faith which has been at the heart of our community since its founding in 1634 and which brought the nuns to build their convent and school here.

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The Cardinal celebrated Mass with great joy and warmth.  He delivered a homily on the rock of faith and how we all should be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness.  He succeeded in personally addressing this to each individual present.  All members of the St Augustine’s Priory community who were present, from the youngest child in the Nursery to the oldest past pupil of 93, recognised the relevance of his words and knew that they were personally addressed to them.

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The girls were present throughout the Mass, whether serving, reading, bringing up the Offertory gifts, playing music, singing or through their musical compositions.   At the end of Mass girls performed a liturgical dance, a celebration of all they do at St Augustine’s Priory, covering many of the subjects and activities here; but beginning with a genuflection, an offering of all that we do and are to God.

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At the end of Mass Cardinal Nichols blessed the newly-renovated Prayer Garden, worked on by pupils of all ages and supported by our dedicated Parents’ Committee and gardener, Mrs Molloy.  We also have a beautiful mosaic marking our One Hundred Years of Faith, into which each pupil had laid a tile and was then completed by artist Mrs D’Sousa.  This too was blessed, at which point a hundred blue and white balloons were released and flew high into the clear blue sky.  Refreshments were sorely needed by all present at this point and afternoon tea was served to all.

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The events of Tuesday 30th June were a highlight of the life of St Augustine’s Priory.  A day to be remembered by all those who attended this beautiful Mass.  We are all so glad that Cardinal Vincent Nichols was able to join us for this day, his presence was a great blessing for us and his warmth and generosity of spirit manifestly apparent.

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Photographs courtesy of Jeeba Marri, Lower VI, and Kiranjeet Sandhu, Upper VI.

Categories: Faith Life Whole School
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