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Celebrating Our School Chaplain

Guests at the celebration tea for Fr Paul

Students, staff and members of the St Paul’s community gathered to wish a happy retirement to our much loved School Chaplain, Father Paul Hardy, who has been a significant member of the community for nearly 30 years.

Guests enjoyed an afternoon tea and Mrs Jo-Anne Hoarty, Headteacher, spoke about the great contribution Fr Paul had made to the life of the school. She said: “Fr Paul dedicated himself to involving young people in the life of the Church through both parish and school activities. This has included organising celebration weekend retreats, visits to Taize, Buckden retreats, days of recollection and Mass of Celebration. We have all benefitted from these opportunities.”

Mrs Hoarty talked about how, because of Fr Paul, the school can still celebrate Whole School Mass together regularly throughout the year.  She said: “He is very gifted in the way that he is able to make Mass accessible for children so that they are thoroughly engaged. This has meant that in our very diverse community, Mass has been very inclusive.”

Fr Paul has also supported St Paul’s staff behind the scenes including informal coffee chats at break times, leading Continuing Professional Development such as “everything you wanted to ask a Catholic but were afraid to”, and supporting staff during challenging times of loss.

Many of the school’s liturgical celebrations are in place and have become traditions because of Fr Paul. Our Year 11 exam liturgies were written by Fr Paul years ago and are still in use today. In fact, the entire way that we celebrate the liturgical year at St Paul’s has been shaped by Fr Paul.

Mrs Hoarty added: “We thank Fr Paul for all of the love, care and support he has given us all over many years and wish him a very happy retirement.”

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