The Season of Lent

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday (this year March 1, 2017) and ends on Holy Thursday (this year April 13, 2017). On the evening of Holy Thursday the Sacred Triduum begins.

The 40 days of Lent correspond to the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness to fast, pray, and endure the temptations of the devil, all in preparation for his public ministry which would culminate in his death on the cross.

“Each year, Lent offers us a providential opportunity to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives, and it stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God so that we, in turn, become more merciful toward our brothers and sisters. In the Lenten period, the Church makes it her duty to propose some specific tasks that accompany the faithful concretely in this process of interior renewal: these are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.” -Pope Benedict XVI

This year the Holy Father, Pope Francis offers us a new Lenten theme, entitled, “The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.” The following is an extract from his letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).

Dear friends, Lent is the favourable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favour the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter. (Pope Francis, October 2016).

One such Church organisation is CAFOD, an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Each year they produce an interactive Lenten Calendar (below) which supports and guides us through the Season. These beautiful reflections on Scripture are offered by CAFOD staff and volunteers. They ask that we please remember our sisters and brothers around the world in our prayers this Lent.

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Former All Hallows Student represents UK in New Zealand Sailing event.

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The first thing about New Zealand was that it is way further than we expected; after the first 11-hour flight and 4-hour layover in Hong Kong we felt like we should nearly be there and we still had another 12-hour flight to go. Watching the sun rise and set twice from a plane seat in one trip is a little disorientating. We arrived at 7am New Zealand time and checked into our accommodation and walked into the nearby town for some lunch. Unfortunately, soon after landing both Emily and I came down with a vomiting bug which took us out for a few days so we had to miss some of the pre-event exploration of Auckland, a volcano walk and a bit of training in single handed dinghies in Takapuna. In some ways, however it was an advantage as it made the event feel much like a normal one; and the room service that our coaches provided to us while we were stuck in quarantine was a bonus too!

The actual event opened 3 days after we landed, by which time we had fully recovered and couldn’t wait to get out on the water. Our boats were allocated the day before the event for us to rig and adjust to our personal preferences and then we finally got a chance to hit the water. Compared to the winter training in the UK that we’ve been doing in the last few months, the blue water, bright sunshine and 25 degrees was amazing. After a few practice runs and manoeuvres we felt happy with our preparations and speed and came ashore to get ready for the start of racing the following afternoon.

The boys raced in the morning and came in having had one entire lap of their race completed in a consistent 30 knots so we knew it was going to be an intense day physically and mentally against the best girls in the world. We arrived at the race course, had a quick discussion with our coach and then started our pre-start routine. The nerves were gone as soon as the start gun went and we could just do what we’d practiced for; try and sail two laps of a course faster than any other boat. We executed everything we’d learnt and by the end of the day we were leading the event having put in a score line of 1, 1, 2 and winning the first two races by 3 minutes. It couldn’t have been a much better start to the event and we were pleased to have demonstrated that we could sail well enough to win races and lead the event. Unfortunately, the following day was tough and we couldn’t quite get to grips with the tricky conditions as well as we would have hoped and we put in one too many high scores for a one discard event. Following this though we held our nerve and put in 3 more days of good racing in mixed conditions and we’re very happy with how we competed and feel we did ourselves, and everyone who supports us, proud by finishing in 5th place in one of the best events we’ve ever had the opportunity to compete in.

Being part of a team that did so well also made us incredibly proud; Emma Wilson the GBR windsurfer and Tommy and Crispin the 29er boys came away with gold medals and Team GBR came away a very close second in the Nations Cup which is the best result we’ve had in a long time. It was amazing to be a part of their, and our teams, success. Not many people our age can say that they’ve sat at a prize giving with people from 65 different countries in it and the learning, friends and experiences we’ve come away from the event with is something that we’ll always look back on with pride and take with us into the next stage of our journey.

Hannah Bristow

 

Music Success!

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All Hallows Catholic College awarded Bronze Music certificate by the Incorporated Society of Musicians

All Hallows Catholic College has been awarded the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Bronze certificate in GCSE music.

This means that more than 10% of all its GCSE students achieved an A*- C in music GCSE in 2016, putting the school in the top 649 schools nationally.

Miss Vicci Elliott, Head of Music, said ‘We are incredibly proud of the hard work and commitment of our Music staff and students at All Hallows.’

We have had a really successful year with GCSE music with the most successful results to date (100% A*-C) An excellent example that hard work really does pay off!

Able Writers’ Day

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On 24th January All Hallows hosted a day designed to inspire young writers, welcoming performance poet and writer Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) who led the day’s activities.

Four schools joined together for a day full of imagination, creativity, and poetry as the Able Writer’s Day took place. Students from St Benedicts, Christ the King and St Albans primary schools joined students from All Hallows’ year 7 to take part in a one-off experience.

 

CAFOD – The Catholic Charity Agency Presents to Year 13

On the 18th January 2017, the year 13s were visited by Alan Thomlinson, who is the emergency response officer for CAFOD, the Catholic charity agency. Alan spoke to the students about his life and experiences working around the world during various emergencies, from Haiti to India. In particular, he spoke about his experiences over the last few years in Syria. The students were told about the difficulties charity agencies face trying to deliver aid to the war-torn country and the challenges the huge number of refugees face every day finding food and shelter. The students were told about the opportunities available for anyone who wished to engage in voluntary work and the programmes that CAFOD offer. It was a thoroughly engaging afternoon.

Epiphany

Epiphany (also known as Twelfth Night, Theophany, or Three Kings Day) marks the occasion of a time honoured Christian tradition of “Chalking the doors”. A tradition whereby we dedicate our year to God from its very outset, asking His blessing on our homes and on all who live, work or visit them there. It is done traditionally on the Feast of the Epiphany – the Twelfth Day of Christmas.