This week started with the tragic news that two of our students were among the three killed in a tragic car crash last weekend, and finished with the news that our much loved colleague, Jo Shanahan, had died.
At times of grief and sorrow, the Catholic community of which out school is a part is a real strength, as the packed out mass for the youngsters on Thursday, and Friday’s after-school prayer gatherings for Jo showed. But it is also a privilege to be part of our times of celebration. The picture today is from the cover of our 2007 sixth form year book, and features the celebration mass held at Doncaster Rovers for our school’s 25th anniversary. Jo is in the bottom right picture, in the red top, holding her guitar as I so often remember her. When I first started at McAuley, singing at the liturgy was a turgid affair, but Jo’s enthusiastic singing and playing, born out of her infectious faith, was instrumental in giving us ‘permission’ to sing out with joy.
So, in the mass, when I hear the words ‘with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we join in the unending hymn of praise’ I’ll be thinking of Jo, whom we will miss, but now we trust she is able fully to enter into the spirit of her favoured motto: Vacare Deo.
+ Rest eternal grant unto her: and let light perpetual shine upon her. May she rest in peace, and rise in glory. Amen