Thanksgiving Mass ‘closing a chapter and looking forward’

Thanksgiving Mass ‘closing a chapter and looking forward’

27 March 2024

STUDENTS and staff, past and present, came together on Sunday to give thanks for the 71 years of service that De La Salle High School has given to the community of Downpatrick.

A thanksgiving Mass was held at St Patrick’s Church and was followed by a reception in the school.

De La Salle is to close later this year and will be merged with St Patrick’s  Grammar School and St Mary’s High School into the new Lecale Trinity Grammar School, which is due to open in September.

As the new educational era approaches, it was a time to remember with gratitude the many years of service to education given by the Lasallian Brothers and lay staff who worked in the school since its establishment in 1953.

At the thanksgiving Mass, which was led by students from the school, the Very Rev Canon John Murray reflected on the many children who had come through the doors and walked the corridors of the school, gaining an education and experience that served them in their adult lives.

He paid tribute to the six principals who had served in the school, as well as teachers, classroom assistants, ancillary staff and governors.

He said: “Today is an occasion for giving thanks as well as looking forward. We are closing a chapter in the book and looking forward to opening a new one in the coming autumn.

“Today and in the months to come there will be a certain amount of nostalgia and wistful memories, but it is also an opportunity to embrace what lies ahead – the challenge of the new.”

The principal, Mr Ciaran Maguire also paid tribute to the many members of the school community.

In wishing the new school the very best for the future, it was important, he said, not to lose sight nor a sense of gratitude for all that had been done in De La Salle.

He said that since the school opened in Edward Street in 1953 and then moved to its current site at Struell Road, De La Salle had educated “tens of thousands of young men who were very proud to be part of the Lasallian family”.

Mr Maguire said the new school would provide a curriculum that other schools “can only imagine” and would “create new opportunities for children and Downpatrick for years to come”.

He wished the new principal and staff every success and that they would build on the strong foundations built by past principals and staff.

Following the Mass, there was a reception and refreshments in the school where many past students and teachers came together to re-connect and share memories of De La Salle High School.

As a new era approaches, the celebration took time to remember with gratitude all that had gone on in the school since its establishment in 1953.