Bishop Donal McKeown was the chief celebrant at Friday’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Mass of St. Eithne’s Primary School at a filled-to-capacity Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty.
Parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters joined the pupils, staff and board of governors along with Bishop McKeown, Fr. Paul Farren, and Fr. Paddy O’Kane and the school’s choir sung favourite hymns and school songs enhancing the morning’s celebrations.
There was also a notable number of past-teachers and past-pupils in the congregation.
Readings were given by Paddy McDaid and Julie Spence with Prayers of the Faithful delivered by P1-P7 pupils Abigail Bond; Sean McFadden, Sophia Chambers-Laird; Aisling Harrigan, Lila Conaghan, Alexandra McCallion and Roise Parkhill. School Principal, Mr. Terence McDowell gave the Communion Reflection.
The local school was opened on 28th January, 2000 by the then Bishop of Derry, Dr. Seamus Hegarty and Minister for Education, Martin McGuinness. Sadly, both have since passed away.
The modern purpose-built school situated in the Hazelbank area of the city is a bright, spacious and well-equipped establishment and the school presently accommodates approximately 355 pupils with a teaching and ancillary staff of 25.
After Friday’s Mass a reception was held in the school assembly hall, where Mr. McDowell said he was delighted to see such a fantastic turnout and praised Bishop Donal McKeown for the beautiful Mass and thanked him for his constant prayers and support for the school and the school family of St. Eithne’s.
‘We are blessed with continued support from our Bishop and I thank him for that. I also pay tribute to Fr. Paddy O’Kane for his constant support for St. Eithne’s.
Mr. McDowell also mentioned the sterling work of his predecessor, Mr. Gerry Cosgrove, praising the sound and solid foundations laid by the hard work of Mr. Cosgrove before his retirement. He also commended the staff of the school for their continued dedication to their pupils throughout the awful financial crisis that existed for a number of years now, stating ‘The staff of St. Eithne’s are the key to its success.’
A week of celebrations in the school will draw to a conclusion next Friday, 24th January when there will be a tree planting ceremony within the school grounds.
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