On a beautiful summer's day, students, staff and families gathered in the coolness of the Chapel to bid our U6 leavers' farewell. Mass was celebrated this year by Bishop Mark O'Toole, Bishop of Plymouth. He reminded the congregation that George Errington, the first Bishop of Plymouth, is now buried within the Errington Corridor at the side of Our Lady of the Snows Chapel.
The Gospel was John 15:12-17, 'What I command you is to love one another.' The theme of 'love' continued in the Homily with the Bishop declaring himself a fan of Ed Sheeran and recalling a particular song from his last album, Save Myself, which ends with the lyrics, 'before I love someone else, I've got to love myself'. Bishop O'Toole told our leavers they need to "know yourselves more deeply, it is as important as the subjects you study. Being successful could feel hollow without a sense of value." He continued "God, who created you, lives in your deepest self. Find him to discover joy." Mass concluded with the recessional hymn, Lord of the Dance.
Chair of Governors, Mr Michael King, welcomed families in the (very hot) marquee before Mr Murphy-O'Connor gave the Headmaster's Address, asking our students to 'have perspective and a sense of the long view, so they can see beyond the day to day.'
The prizewinners were announced by Senior Deputy Head, Miss Cummins. Head Boy, Max Bradshaw and Head Girl, Maia Campbell-Lewis gave honest, witty and moving addresses to the audience.
Guest of Honour was Mr Raymond Friel, outgoing General Secretary of Catholic Independent Schools' Conference and newly appointed CEO of Plymouth CAST. Mr Friel had three pieces of advice for our leavers. The first being 'See people for what they are.' "We are all children of God. Treat everyone with respect and dignity." Secondly: 'Do good as you go, as you can.' Mr Friel asked that "whatever you do, do it well and honestly." Finally, 'Don't take yourself too seriously.' Quoting Oscar Wilde, Mr Friel suggested our students should, "Be yourself, everybody else is taken." Mr Friel concluded his address by telling our leavers, "You are blessed, gifted and loved, now go change the world."