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Christ the King Mass – 24 November 2013

The Feast of Christ the King, also known as Youth Sunday is the final Sunday of the Church's year before we move into the season of Advent. This year it also marked the end of The Year of Faith declared in 2012 by Pope Benedict and completed in Rome by Pope Francis.

Following our other jubilee celebrations it was decided that, for one year only, we would resurrect the school Mass for Youth Sunday that had been held in school for a number of years, this Mass would mark the final spiritual celebration of our Golden Jubilee year in a more informal way.

Every family in the school received an invitation to attend the Mass, which was held in the Main Hall in school at 2.30pm. Letters were also sent out, via the primary schools, to families and staff from all our feeder schools.

The response from families was disappointing, but as it was Youth Sunday many Parish Priests would expect their young people to be in their own Parishes to celebrate the day in their Parish. However a number of St Thomas Aquinas students volunteered to take part in the Mass as did some pupils from primary schools, and rehearsals took place the week before the Mass to ensure everything was in place.

The Mass began with a procession, where students brought to the Altar symbols of Christ’s Kingship, We offered up the cloak of Kings to remind us of the Lord’s authority and the protection and comfort that he brings, we offered up the crown of Kings to remind us of the celestial band that joins heaven and earth and we offered the sword of Kings, to remind us of Jesus’ victory over evil and the triumph of justice and peace. We also offered pictures from our Mission Week and our jubilee celebrations to remind us of the amazing things our school had experienced in the space of a year. It was a lovely, thoughtful start to the Mass.

All the readings and the procession were led by our students and pupils from the primary schools, who all did an excellent job. The primary school pupils who took part were representing St Brigid’s, St Edward’s and St Paul’s schools.

The music was provided by members of our choir, led by Assistant Head Richard Smith and accompanied by John and Ben Tibbits on guitars and Mary Johnson, Head of Performing Arts playing the violin.

Although the congregation wasn’t as large as we had hoped everyone who attended knew they had experienced a lovely, thoughtful Mass, with Fr. Jan reflecting on the special feast day and the also talking about the role of our young people in the Catholic Church.

At the end of Mass Mr Foley thanked everyone for attending and taking part in the Mass, he also asked for people to contribute to a collection being made for the people of the Philippines, following the terrible storms which had devastated large parts of their country. Everyone present was then invited to join the school community for afternoon tea.

It was a fitting end to an amazing Year of Faith, when we journeyed together, as a school community, to encounter Christ in a very special way.

Lay Chaplain