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Message From The Assistant Priest

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Sunday 23rd September 2007



Dear Friends,

In the absence of the parish priest, I would like to give a plug for Loreto High School, where I am chaplain. Loreto High School is on the site of the former St Thomas Aquinas High School on Nell Lane in Chorlton. Over the past few years, Aquinas suffered quite a bit with falling numbers of pupils and a high turnover of staff. It remained however a Catholic presence at the level of secondary education in that part of Manchester.

A year or so ago the governors thought that the time had come: it was make or break for the school. Thanks to some very astute leadership and management, the place has become the subject of a radical overhaul. This overhaul has taken place in two main areas: 1) teaching and academic standards; 2) the Catholic identity of the school.

When it comes to 1), everyone knows how important it is to get a good and stable education. It is in this area that some dramatic and exciting innovations have taken place. Those in Key Stage 3 (years 7, 8 and 9) are now taught by a SINGLE TEACHER. This method is designed to better standards and foster stability, so that the pupils get to know their teacher well and are thus able to focus better. Taking on what is essentially a primary school-style model has marked LHS as a pioneer in this method at secondary education. As far as I know, no other High School in the country has adopted this approach. But the 'base' teacher is not left on her own: 'specialist' teachers come in for things like Geography, French or RE to deliver their classes, while the 'base' teacher stays in the classroom. This means that often there are two teachers in the class to help the pupils in their learning experience. Early signs are proving that the method is indeed working. Walking around the school you get the sense that there is a great sense of calm and enthusiasm shown by all concerned. So those in their first three years at the school are guaranteed high quality commitment from a teacher who really does get to know the needs of the individual pupil. Tight controls on behaviour and discipline help encourage this atmosphere right the way through to year 11. The head is Mr Luke Dillon, formerly of St John's Primary School in Chorlton.

The second area, of equal importance, is the Catholic identity of the school. Many children seem to have an adequate 'formation' up to year 6 and then it all seeps away. At Loreto, we aim to continue and improve upon this. That is why we have a chaplain (Fr. Flynn) and a school minister (Ada Collazos, who lives with the fraternas at St Edward's) covering the whole school week between them. They take classes regularly, operate an 'open door' chaplaincy, offer spiritual guidance and confidential help as well as helping in assemblies, form classes and so on. Confessions and year Masses form part of the diet as do the learning of hymns and prayers. We have a beautiful new chapel where liturgies take place and where pupils and staff can come for quiet prayer at any time throughout the day. The chaplaincy is given as equal a priority by the Governors, Mr Dillon and the staff as is the commitment to excellence in the academic programme. It goes without saying that the staff themselves are also offered help in their getting to know their faith, and the person of Jesus Christ in His Church, better. This has the result that all staff are thoroughly briefed on the work offered by the chaplaincy so that the Catholic identity is not seen as an optional extra but as an intrinsic part of school life.

Mr Dillon has a great reputation as a stimulating teacher and head, and is keen to get the school's standards up again. Indeed we hope that the school will have an academic reputation to be the envy of others all over the north, let alone Manchester.

As well as a chapel, the school has been equipped with a fantastic all-weather sports field, a gym, new music equipment and plenty of new books.

May I ask that you pray for the flourishing of this completely new school. Secondly, do think seriously about sending your children there. I guarantee that you will not regret the decision.

To see the place for yourself, please come along to an open evening on Tuesday evening, 25th September, from 6.30pm, where you can meet the head, the staff and the pupils.

Have a happy week.

Fr. John Flynn


1) Tuesday 25th September, 6.30pm. Open evening for parents and prospective parents at Loreto High School, Nell Lane, Chorlton. Come and see what a great new school this is turning out to be!

2) Fr. John Chiman left us on Thursday. He will be missed and goes with a big 'thank you' to you all for making him feel so welcome.

3) Xaverian College is holding two Open Days on Saturday 6th October between 10.30am and 2pm and on Sunday 14th October between 12.30pm and 4pm. The days are an opportunity to visit the Xaverian campus, and discuss courses and other matters with teaching staff and senior tutors. For further details contact Xaverian on 0161 224 1781.

Bidding Prayers

Bidding prayers for 25th Sunday of the Year cycle c 07.

Priest: St Paul instructs us today to offer prayers and petitions and intercession for everyone so that we might be able to live peaceful and religious lives in this world. So we turn to the Eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, coming to the throne of the Divine mercy.

Reader: For forgiveness in our troubled world - forgiveness and reconciliation between those nations and ethnic groups who hate one another. Lord hear us.

We pray for the ability to reach out in forgiveness as our Lord tells us to, those who have hurt us or rejected us for whatever reason and we especially pray for peace within families. Lord hear us.

For those souls who try to be the servant of the two masters - God and wealth - that they may be converted to the way of true life and joy in the Lord. Lord hear us.

For vocations to the priesthood in our diocese in our parish - that the priests of the future might be nurtured now by our heartfelt prayer. Send us good priests O Lord. Lord hear us.

For all our sick that the Lord in his great kindness may comfort them and heal them: Elizabeth Wallace, Peggy Walsh, Jean Corrigan, Lord hear us.

For all those who have died recently: John Langtree, Anne Neary AND:

For all those whose anniversary of death or birth falls about this time: Norma Power (Vigil Mass) , Owen Tomany (6.30 Sunday evening) Tommy Egan, John Hopkins, Jack Whitley, Beranrd Groarke (11am) Bill Everritt, Margaret Howard, Mary Fagan, John Morris (Junior) Frances Dutton, Stuart Dale and Vera Jennings.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Mary Most Holy, mary most Pure - our dearest Mother - come to our aid: Hail Mary, full of grace...

Priest: O Lord and eternal father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hear our humble petitions and intercessions and grant us peace in our days. Through Christ our Lord.