Hundreds of pupils and staff from 28 schools across the Diocese of East Anglia came together on Friday, 20 September for a special Schools Mass at St John the Baptist Cathedral to mark the start of the new academic year. Alex Savage reports.
The theme for the Mass was The Year of the Word, to tie in with the Bishops of England and Wales who have dedicated the next 12 months as a year of focus on the Bible and 'The God Who Speaks' culminating in the 1,600 anniversary of St Jerome's death in September 2020.
The Mass began with a colourful procession of banners and special Bibles brought by each school to symbolise that celebrating, living and sharing God's word is at the heart of their communities.
In Bishop Alan Hopes' homily he spoke of the awesome idea that we come to Mass to feast on the Word of God. Our lives are enriched and renewed by the message that God gives us. This gives us the strength to share the love of Christ throughout the world.
Young people of all ages from the St John the Baptist Catholic Multi Academy Trust played a very active role during the Mass as altar servers, readers, leading the music and even a Welcome Team.
The Diocesan Youth Ignite Team presented each school with a pack of resources to help them focus on scripture in the coming year including the launch of the 'Cornerstone website' of weekly themes based on each Sunday's Gospel.
At the end of the Mass the congregation, inspired by the theme raised the roof by singing 'Take the Word of God with you as you go'.
Most people then adjourned to the Narthex gardens to enjoy a picnic lunch.
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