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The Annual Ecumenical Initiative – Thy Kingdom Come

This novena of prayer runs from Ascension Thursday through to Pentecost Sunday.  Within this prayer, individuals are encouraged to pray for 5 nominated people they know that they would wish to bring closer to Jesus.  Complete details, along with a Novena prayer are detailed below for your newsletters, parish websites etc.

Thy Kingdom Come

Once again the annual International Ecumenical Initiative of Thy Kingdom Come is promoting a novena of prayer from Ascension Thursday through until Pentecost Sunday, introducing more people to Jesus.

This year it is encouraging us all to pray particularly for a minimum of five nominated friends or relatives, on a daily basis, that we wish to bring closer to Jesus.

Bishop Mark has taken the lead on this evangelisation initiative and this can be viewed on the short clip at:

Further information and resources are available at the Thy Kingdom Come website:

Novena Prayer

Lord Jesus,

We pray for the confidence to be missionary disciples, sharing your Good News of salvation with those we meet in our daily lives.  We bring before you in prayer those who have never known you, that the light of your truth may penetrate their minds and hearts, and those who have grown lukewarm in their faith that they may be reawakened to your graces.  We commend to you those in need of your mercy that they will know the joy of your forgiveness (name the five people you want to pray for).

We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Deputy Head Teacher Vacancy

St Boniface’s College is a Roman Catholic Christian Community.

It is committed to striving for excellence in all its members through the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum involving spiritual, moral, cultural, academic, social and physical education, delivered to the whole young person.

All teaching and learning is done within the teaching of the Catholic Faith.

Notre Dame School is an optimistic school promoting Christian attitudes a school where every person belongs a school which values learning and high aspiration a school which rises to challenges and celebrates achievement

Notre Dame educates the whole person: head, heart and hands

DEPUTY HEADTEACHER

(L16-L21) £61,166 – £69,031 required for September 2021

Plymouth CAST is seeking to appoint an outstanding, enthusiastic and dedicated individual to be based at St Boniface’s College and join the Senior and Executive Leadership Team working across Notre Dame Plymouth and St Boniface’s College. 

The successful applicant for this post will:

  • be a practicing Catholic, committed to upholding the Catholic ethos of the schools
  • be a visionary leader, motivator, communicator and role model for staff and students
  • be able to demonstrate successful leadership and management skills at a senior level which inspire respect and commitment and evidence previous success in delivering improvements and implementing & managing change
  • be enthusiastic and have the ability to inspire staff to meet the academic and pastoral needs of our students
  • be a talented and skilled communicator who can adapt and respond positively to the changing educational environment and be resilient to the demands of leadership
  • use data to monitor progress, set targets, raise standards and challenge performance
  • be a passionate teacher who leads by example and is committed to high expectations
  • ensure that every student is valued and supported to achieve the very best that they can.

The successful applicant will be responsible for:

  • Professional, operational leadership at St Boniface’s College and strategic leadership within both the SLT and the Executive Leadership team across St Boniface’s College and Notre Dame developing and implementing policies.
  • The specific remit and responsibilities will be confirmed on appointment and tailored to the strengths of the successful candidate, however the successful candidate will be the strategic lead on the following areas of whole school responsibility: behaviour, ethos, pastoral care and staff leadership and cross-school responsibility: Pupil Premium, or Spirituality.
  • Leading and developing the pastoral life of St Boniface’s College to encourage student leadership, student aspiration and student voice.  Leading and supporting staff to consistently implement effective strategies in respect of student behaviour and student wellbeing
  • Parental engagement, maintaining excellent home-school relationships, representing the school and Plymouth CAST in public forums to promote applications for student admission to St Boniface’s College
  • Demanding ambitious standards for students, instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on student outcomes and behaviour

As part of our Executive Leadership Team you will contribute to shaping the School Improvement Plan, policies and procedures and share responsibility for day-to-day management of our schools.  You will also hold a teaching timetable of 14 – 18 hours per fortnight.

We encourage interested applicants to read the Welcome Letter from the Headteacher of St Boniface and Notre Dame to find out more about the role prior to applying.  Applicants should include a third referee within their application to provide a faith reference.

Applications should be submitted using the TES application form on this site. 

Please be aware all communication will be sent via the TES portal to the email address linked to your TES login.

Advertise from:          28th April 2021

Closing date:             Monday 10th May 2021, 10am

Interviews:                 Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th May 2021

This advert is also published at: www.ndonline.org and www.stbonifaces.com and www.plymouthcast.org.uk and www.teaching-vacancies.service.gov.uk

From Rita Bellini

Our Garden at 6am Thursday 22nd April looks at its best this time of day when the sun is shining. Looking from our bedroom window from left to right the sun firstly hits the bare branches of the large oak tree two doors along and the yellow magnolia stands brightly in front. Next it rests upon the rusty bark of the firs at the end and the pink magnolia, doing so well this year, with the plum blossom in front, and then on to the magnificent flowering cherry. The flowers are not all out yet but the bronze leaves are beautiful.

In the background, there are seats ready for our coffee breaks from where we can have a different view, and there are glimpses of the red leaved acer. Still looking further on to the right, in the distance is a rhododendron, pink budded opening to white. A lilac, pale mauve, is starting to open and we can just see some of the red leaved crab apple. Just at the corner of my eye is the apricot tree which seems to have a good crop of tiny fruit forming.

At ground level, all around are the last of the daffodils, some dead heading to do there, and for-get-me-nots, and a few tulips. The grass/moss/weeds, recently cut, is very colourful and lots of primroses and primulas are self-seeding everywhere. There are other shrubs like the tree peonies, abelias, viburnums and others that will delight us later in the year.

What we can’t see until we go outside is what a lot of varied ground cover we have in the beds, called weeds! It is a pleasure to sit with a cup of tea admiring it in the mornings. A good start to the day!

Let Us Dream

Dear Friends

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Spirituality Committee has recently published a rather lovely piece of work inspired by Pope Francis’ book Let us dream. The path to a better future.

In Let us Dream, Pope Francis offers a deeply personal and passionate reflection on the Covid crisis in his own life and insightful observations on the present Covid crisis as he looks and sees what is going on around the world. His conclusion is that Covid, as well as bringing untold suffering, has brought blessing in the present and can shape our future for the better. But, he says, for this to happen, “We have to see clearly, choose well and act right” p7.

We would really like to offer a virtual Reading Group via Zoom to help us journey together from Easter to Pentecost, using the insights of Pope Francis to enable us to begin ‘to see, clearly, choose well, act right’ as we look to rebuild our lives post Covid, so warmly invite you all to attend this informal gathering facilitated by Sarah Barreto.

We hope staff may welcome the opportunity to reflect together during the transition back to a more normal way of living and therefore offer this weekly Reading Group on Wednesday afternoons 1-2pm, for 45 mins up to an hour over the next 4 weeks. The sessions are open to anyone working at St Boniface House or for the diocese, who might like to consider and discuss this simple, short but beautiful text together in a little more detail. 

The suggested format of each session is simple and you do not need any previous experience or theological knowledge at all – just an open heart and mind:

• Welcome and introductions ( if necessary).

• Opening Psalm

• Small group conversations around the reading and questions.

• Plenary – opportunity to share significant points that came up in groups and perhaps explore what threads are beginning to emerge from the conversations.

• Closing Psalm

There will be no pressure at all to talk so if you would rather just come and listen, that’s fine. Feel free to bring your lunch too.

Please see the attached flyer for further details.

Session1 – The Prologue 28 April

(Let us Dream, Please read Pages 1-7)

Session 2 – Part 1: A Time to See 5 May

(Let us Dream, Pages 11-47)

Session 3: Part Two: A Time to Choose 12 May

(Let us Dream, Pages 51-94)

Session 4: Part Three: A Time to Act 19 May

(Let us Dream, Pages 97-144)

If you are interested, please book via the Eventbrite link below:

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/151505859103

Easter Day 2021

I used to minister at a church where, after a midweek Mass it was the custom to give a little iced cake to any member of the congregation whose birthday had been celebrated in the previous seven days.

Perhaps it was a bit silly, but we would all sing “happy birthday” as the cake was carried over for the single candle to be blown out. Because, despite your age it was always one candle!

And so, I wasn’t surprised when on a particular Wednesday close to my birthday, a cake started to move towards me whilst everybody began singing “happy birthday.” I blew the single candle out with a gusty puff, but to my surprise, it came alight again! I thought nothing of it, and just blew again. It went out, and then, it came alight once more! I must have repeated this, three or four times before I realised that people were laughing.

What they’d done, of course, was to put one of those trick candles onto the cake. You just can’t blow them out, and I think you probably have to snuff them out with your fingers or something. Anyway, they all thought it was hugely funny.

And all of this came into my mind as I sat in church later in the year after the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday.  The Blessed Sacrament had been transferred to the place of repose and many people were sitting quietly, watching with Jesus. Perhaps struggling to stay awake in the same way that the first disciples did when they watched with him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

After some time, a colleague of mine went to the altar, and one by one, he put most of the candles out. I was sitting right at the back of the darkened church, and its effect was very powerful. As the flames went out it was a strong reminder of what had happened in that garden at Gethsemane 2000 years ago. A reminder that the light of Jesus was going to die. He was going to be taken away from the garden and put to death. Like the candles, his life was going to be snuffed out.

He’d just given his friends a way of knowing how much he loved them; he’d just washed their feet. He was their leader and their master, but he loved them so much that he was prepared to do the most menial of tasks for them. And he was prepared to throw his life away in love for them.

We left the church in silence and went home, where I sat and turned these things over in my mind. I can remember thinking that the candles which had been extinguished; those candles which reminded me of the life of Jesus, would, like my cake candle, burst back into life again, and what a surprise that must have been to those who were the first witnesses.

This thought seemed to be at one with the truth that love is the strongest thing in the world.

Love is stronger than death, and anyone who’s lost a loved one certainly knows that. You don’t stop loving someone just because they’ve died. The love lives on, and the Christian belief is that it’s a part of God’s plan to re-unite us with all those whom we continue to love, and from whom for a while, we’re separated.

If you listen to the theologians, they’ll tell you lots of things about the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus. But if we’re honest, much of what they have to tell us is sometimes very hard to get our heads around. And so, I want to share with you, one or two thoughts which have helped me, and which I hope are easier to understand, because of our own experience.

First of all, if you love someone deeply then you’re going to suffer. Death will always separate you eventually, and the more you love, the more hurt you’ll feel. But true love is always prepared to suffer. You won’t welcome it, but you’ll accept it. Is there a parent here today who wouldn’t suffer anything for the good of their children?

So, when we look at the cross, we can see the great love of God displayed in the suffering and dyeing Jesus.

God loves us, each one of us, so much, that in Jesus, he’s prepared to suffer and die for us. You too, may find this to be a helpful way of looking at the death of Jesus as a measure of God’s love for us.

And we can believe that this love of God passed right through death and came back through the crucified and risen Jesus to show himself to those who loved him. Those first friends of Jesus were neither simpletons nor liars. Most of them went to their death for proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus.

Like the candles, love doesn’t die, and in the resurrection of Jesus we have a very deep proof of this.

We shan’t know, this side of death, why God had to create the world in the way that he did. We can never really understand the reasons for suffering and death. It’s sometimes hard to believe that God loves us in the face of all of the suffering that we see in our world.

But because Jesus passed right through death, we can see that death and suffering don’t have the last word. Jesus comes to us in many ways today, and because of the resurrection, he can live in us, with a presence which will change us, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly, into the kind of human being which God intends us to be.

What happened to Jesus in our time, will happen to us at the end of time, and we shall have a resurrection body like his. God’s love has conquered death; we are redeemed, and for us eternal life has already started. The shape of that life in the world to come isn’t for us to know. It’s enough to know that whatever the God who has demonstrated his love through the death and resurrection of Jesus, has prepared for us, will be for our very best.

And we can be very sure that all those whom we love will be with us in God’s new world redeemed and recreated by love.

May God continue to bless you all this Easter time, and may you continue to grow in Christ.

Amen

Palm Sunday 2021

Once a crowd begins to move, it’s hard to hold it back. Once you get caught up in a demonstration it’s very difficult to get out of it.

But crowds are very fickle, and it only takes a few professional agitators to stir things up. Didn’t we see just this, a few days ago in the Bristol riots?

And so it’s easy to see that the same crowd which welcomed Jesus on that first Palm Sunday were, just a few days later, stirred up by the religious authorities to shout for his execution.  

As we think about the crowds surrounding Jesus both on Palm Sunday and later in the week, we do well to remember the part which they played in all of those events. The emotions which were such a strong part of the gatherings led many of them down paths which they wouldn’t have chosen by themselves.

As we enter Holy Week, can we recognise ourselves in the characters around Jesus? Are we fickle and easily manipulated? Are we hard hearted towards the sufferings of others? Do we ever secretly relish the spectacle of violence, or mock those whose faith we don’t understand?

There’s a striking contrast between the obedient, trusting nature of Jesus and the petty, destructive behaviour of those around him. In the Passion of Jesus, we see our own failures mirrored in those characters; but we also see the costly self-giving of God in Christ.

So, this is a good time for us to stand back from the crowd and examine our own faith.

We need to be fully aware of just how much like everybody else we actually are. But we also need to be satisfied that despite all of our imperfections and failures we can still come to Jesus, with or without a crowd. We need to be able to ask him in the silence of our own hearts, to transform us to be like him.  To give us the mind of Christ, so that we too might learn to trust God completely, and give ourselves generously, just as he did.

Amen.