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Developing the Whole Child

Our Year 8 pupils and their families celebrate a special start of Year Mass

Do Not be Afraid to Dream Of Great Things


On Thursday 10th November, we were delighted once again to be able to welcome our Year 8 pupils and their families to celebrate in a very special way the beginning of their Dominican journey in a school Mass.


Our Mass was celebrated by Fr Kevin Mc Guckien, our new Parish Priest and School Chaplain and were also delighted to be able to welcome him to the school.


Our new Head of Year 8, Mrs Somers, welcomed pupils and parents to the school and having explained the theme of the mass, described the absolute privilege of working with our new Year 8 pupils as they begin their wonderful journey.


The liturgy of the Mass focused on the talents and uniqueness of every Dominican Year 8 pupil and encouraged them to “dream big” and to work hard to make their dreams a reality. In preparing for the Mass, our pupils had each designed a poster reflecting their dreams and values and these were displayed on the night. Year 8 pupils helped lead the service in their music, prayers and   readings.


In his homily Fr. Kevin told the new year 8 pupils that there was one key reason that the school had planned this evening:


“The school wants you to know how special and important you are to the life of Dominican College. How do we know you are so important? Because God has told us so many times how important we are, how unique and irreplaceable we are. God chose each one of us before we existed. Being special does not mean that we are superior or more important than others, rather that we love and are loved with everlasting love”.


Fr. Kevin encouraged our young people to realise that they are special to their parents as no one can take their place in the family; equally they are special to their teachers as no one can take their place within the school community:


“You could never be replaced as each of us is a thought of God, we are loved and necessary. You are beginning an exciting new chapter in your school life and each of you is necessary to the life of the college, each of you play a vital role and each of you will make a valuable contribution”.


Continuing with the theme of not burying your talents, Fr. Kevin told the young people that they have all arrived in Dominican aware of the unique talents they already have and that how, in their seven years in the college, they would be made aware of so many more talents that the school would nurture, unlock and develop. Concluding his homily Fr. Kevin added:


“We want your talents to empower your dreams. Your dreams can be realised and the Dominican teachers will teach, encourage and reassure you as you work towards these dreams. However, you must also help and support each other as you journey forwards together. Your parents have entrusted your education to this great college and you will achieve your dreams. What a wonderful college this is that you have chosen to come to, a school so steeped in history and values. Year 8 pupils I wish you every blessing”.


At the end of the service Fr. Kevin spoke of his personal connections to the school as his cousins when they lived in Kilrea had attended here and described the immense privilege of becoming the Parish Priest in Portstewart. Speaking to parents he suggested that they had helped their young people choose well a school with both academic excellence and outstanding pastoral care.


Following a post-communion reflection where pupils were encouraged to dream big dreams, Mr Lynch, Dominican Principal, thanked Fr Kevin and Ms Rainey and the RE dept for such an inspiring and beautiful liturgy. He spoke of his immense privilege of working with such dedicated Dominican staff and thanked our Year 8 Dominican parents for “Entrusting us as a school with your greatest gift, your children. They are a credit to both you and us as a Dominican family and I hope that you will continue in the weeks, months and year ahead to see us as part of your family working together to ensure your young people achieve their true potential”.


Mr Lynch concluded by reminding parents that we would next see them” all too soon, in the blink of an eye” as U6 parents taking part in a Leavers’ Mass.