“Behold, I am doing a new thing- Isaiah 43:19” was the theme chosen for the opening Mass in Loreto College Swords on September 16.
In former years the whole school community walked to the parish church, St Finian’s River Valley, to celebrate the occasion but due to Covid restrictions only sixth and first year students were present and the Mass was celebrated outdoors in the school sports area.
Principal Peter McNamara and Deputy Principal Sharon Gunn were joined by members of the RE Department, Sr Josephine IBVM and Betty Cronin, school chaplain.
Celebrant Fr Anthony Vibin Xavier, commissioned three sixth year students as special eucharistic ministers. They will assist at school liturgies throughout the year and have volunteered to serve in their own parishes in North Dublin. Many students are readers in their parishes while others are members of the Junior Conference of Vincent de Paul or participate in the Loreto Laudato Si’ initiative for justice, peace and care for our common home.
School chaplain Betty Cronin said: “We are a multicultural, multi-faith community who value and celebrate inclusion and so our students of other faith traditions are invited and welcomed to our liturgical celebrations. This year, together with our sixth year liturgy group one of our Muslim students will lead a lunchtime reflection as part of a mentoring programme offered to incoming first years.”
Loreto College, Swords, transferred from North Great George’s Street in 1988 and has “enjoyed a close relationship with our parish and local community”, Ms Cronin said, adding that the present team, Fr Des Doyle and Fr Xavier always make themselves available to lead liturgical services during the school year including Tuesday morning Mass celebrated before the beginning of the school day in pre-Covid times.
In the coming year Ireland will be celebrating 200 years of Loreto Education, with Ms Cronin saying: “All our schools will be remembering Teresa Ball and her two companions who established the first Loreto schools in Ireland and whose vision and values shapes our approach and thinking here in Swords to this day.
“At opening Mass we prayed in thanksgiving for her contribution to the education of women in Ireland and all over the world. We prayed, too, that our students will be inspired with that same spirit of courage and generosity which will enable them to lead happy fulfilled lives and to be of service to our school and to those they meet wherever their future takes them.”