A truly celebratory weekend!

The final Residential Weekend of the 2022-23 academic year was full of moments of celebration as, in time-honoured ways, the continuing student and staff community bade farewell to the Leavers pictured above. On Saturday evening each of the six Second Year students paid a moving tribute to one of the Leavers in turn, noting the particular gifts which each had brought to the SEI community. Then, together, the Second Years sang a wonderful song, composed by Ross Stirling-Young and arranged and played by Jamie Campbell, the refrain of which went as follows:

They’re all leaving, they’re all leaving
Even Anne has chucked us and now she’s leaving.
What are we to do, without this motley crew?
We’ll carry on but we shall still be grieving.

Directly before the party came a magnificent Choral Evensong in St Mary’s Church. This act of worship, the brainchild of Ferdinand von Prondzynski and Jamie Campbell, was devised as a way of worshipping with the resident Redemptorist Community, all of whom joined us for that service. Fr Ronald McAinsh CSsR offered a most memorable homily, the student choir sang jubilantly throughout, and Jamie produced glorious music from the organ. It was a most moving and fitting way to end the year, praising God in harmony with our hosts who have offered us such warm and caring hospitality throughout.

Sunday’s closing Eucharist was similarly uplifting. We were delighted that the bishop of the diocese in which all our residentials have taken place this year, the Rt Revd Ian Paton, was with us as President, and that family members of the Leavers were also present. At the close of the service, Bishop Ian prayed the following prayer and then blessed each Leaver in turn.

We praise and thank you, God of the journey,
for our brothers and sisters who are soon to leave us.
We entrust them into your loving care,
knowing that you are always the faithful traveller
and companion on the Way.
Shelter and protect them from all harm and anxiety.
Grant them the courage to meet the future,
and grace to let go into new life;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The Residential Weekend coincided with another celebration happening much further south. The weekend’s schedule had been deliberately devised as to enable those who wished to do so to watch the Coronation. Many students did exactly that, gathering  in front of the Gerard Room television amidst festive food and drink. And some – most notably these three first year students – dressed appropriately. 

Photos courtesy of Ross Stirling-Young