We hope that all pupils and their families have had a peaceful, joyful and blessed Christmas! Hopefully, the holiday is proving restful for all!
In our final week of the Autumn term, we were delighted to welcome senior parishioners to an Advent Mass celebrated by our School Chaplain, followed by a lunch served by our pupils and an afternoon of Christmas entertainment provided by the Schola Cantorum, a section of our full school choir. The raffle held ensured that many visitors went home with gifts and it was truly a privilege to have welcomed some familiar faces – longstanding members of the wider school community – as well as newer additions to this. During the Mass, pupils were delighted to be able to present a small gift to Canon Jason Jones, in whose parish the school is situated, in recognition of his installation as Canon of the Diocese of Menevia earlier this year. The afternoon was a most enjoyable one and the pupils certainly did an excellent job of looking after all guests; as ever, their ability to provide a warm welcome was commented upon by their visitors. Da iawn i chi i gyd!
With over twelve hundred pupils in the school, the matter of gift-giving becomes somewhat complex, however it is important that we convey to each and every one that they are important and valued members of our school community, and we have in recent years begun the tradition of giving each pupil a candy cane on the last day of the Christmas term. Very many within the school will know that this tradition was in fact started by a pupil who, for many years, brought in candy canes for every member of his class on the final school day before the holiday. This young man is no longer with us, but is remembered not only in our prayers but in our continuation of his act of kindness, which we offer to all pupils in tribute to him and to remind each that they themselves are treasured individuals within our large school community. The candy cane is a particularly fitting gift as it is often considered symbolic, with its white and red colours representing Christ’s purity and His blood, as shed for us, respectively, and its shape reminding us of a shepherd’s staff, this recalling both the shepherds that visited the infant Jesus, and reminding us that He is the Good Shepherd.
Having spent the last part of each Friday of Advent engaged in the Examen, a meditation that encourages us to reflect with gratitude and ascertain the direction in which we should go in our next steps, and having reflected briefly in the last blog post on all that we can be thankful for at Bishop Vaughan, we wish each of our pupils and their families every blessing in determining their next steps as we enter the New Year. Whether making resolutions, as is traditional at this time of year, or simply taking decisions throughout the year, we hope that each step taken leads to success, fulfilment and happiness. With every good wish, then, for the year ahead, on behalf of all at Bishop Vaughan.