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750 pupils from across Diocese attend Schools Mass

Around 750 pupils from all 28 Catholic schools across the Diocese of East Anglia gathered in St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich on Friday September 29 to celebrate the start of the academic year with a special Schools Mass led by Bishop Peter Collins. Keith Morris reports.

Director of Schools, Andy Stone, said: “We had over 750 pupils from every single Catholic school in the diocese here today.

“It is the first time we have been able to hold this annual school Mass since before the Covid pandemic, so back in 2019. It was a lovely occasion and the chance for everyone to be together with our new Bishop Peter.

“Bishop Peter has a good rapport with children and young people and he enjoyed the celebration itself and he enjoys coming to visit schools across the diocese and has said that he aims to try to visit them all.

“It is a wonderful way to start the school year and it gives a sense of being a whole diocesan family of pupils and staff and everyone involved in our schools, that we are very proud of,” said Andy.

“We has many pupils taking part, playing music, singing, speaking and praying. Director of Music, Daniel Justin, rehearsed with all the pupils before Mass began, so they all knew the words and joined in with great enthusiasm, which was great to hear.

“It is really important for us all to gather together, though it is difficult because the diocese is so geographically widespread and a real effort for schools. But it is a really important occasion, especially as it is the first one for several years. So it will continue to be an annual event and we look forward to the next one,” he said. “We thank everyone at the St John’s Cathedral, our mother church for welcoming us.”

On the Feast of Archangels, Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Bishop Peter gave an engaging homily, talking about angels and dragons whilst walking about amongst the gathered students. He also assured everyone present that they had their own guardian angel looking out for them.

The musical content included young cantors and musicians from across diocesan schools, and a special choir was conducted by Director of Music Daniel Justin, in one of his final duties before leaving the diocese to head for his new role as Director of Music at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.

For more pictures click here or see below. Pictures by Keith Morris, Florrie Bown Lake and Jackie Trice.

RCDEA Schools Mass Sept '23 St John's Cathedral Norwich