New Hall school in Essex was delighted to host a Mass for Catholic independent schools in the Diocese of Brentwood at the end of June.
The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood with Fr Frank Jackson, school chaplain and local parish priest, and Fr Michael Butler, a Governor at New Hall and parish priest of Old Harlow.
The theme of the Mass was “We are One Body in Christ”. The Mass also celebrated the 60th anniversary of Loyola Preparatory School.
It was a wonderful occasion attended by six of the eight independent schools in the diocese, members of the founding religious community and Maggie Shinkwin from the Catholic Independent Schools Conference.
Each school provided a bidding prayer and presented an item symbolising their school in the offertory procession. After Mass the students had the opportunity to chat over tea on the front lawn. Represented at the Mass were staff and students from Ilford Ursuline preparatory school, Redbridge, Loyola preparatory school, Buckhurst Hill, New Hall preparatory School, Chelmsford; New Hall School, Chelmsford, St Philomena’s preparatory school, Frinton and the Ursuline preparatory school, Warley.
Sadly, representatives from St Joseph’s convent school for girls, Wanstead, and St Mary’s Hare Park school, Gidea Park, were unable to attend on this occasion.
This is the first time that Catholic independent schools in the Diocese of Brentwood have celebrated together at such an event. The bishop was delighted that such an occasion had been arranged and has suggested that this should become a regular event in the calendar.
New Hall is a historic Catholic institution. The estate where the school is now situated was formerly owned by Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII acquired it in 1517 and built the first of his great palaces, Beaulieu, on which Hampton Court was modelled.
The ethos of the school is inspired by the founding religious community, the Canonesses of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
The religious community’s spirituality, rooted in the Augustinian tradition, has a special emphasis on the Resurrection, prayer, community life, hospitality and service to others.
The faith which lies at the heart of this foundation remains essential to the character of the charity today.
The school likes to say that Christian values lie at the heart of its work, expressed most profoundly through the New Hall Voluntary Service, which helps those in need in the local and wider community.