As the country took to the polls on Thursday 4 July, St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy hosted a VIP visitor.

Accepting the invitation from Principal Dominic McKenna to visit the school, Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated a special Mass to mark the end of the school’s year of mission.

Staff have used inset days to reflect on what it means to be a Catholic, Lasallian educator and consider the distinctive nature of Catholic education. 

Students, parents and governors have all contributed to defining the mission of the school and staff and student working parties have attempted to draft this into a Mission statement which it will launch in September.

The Mass held was to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Margaret Ward - one of the school’s patrons - to finish off the whole process and bring everything together.

Principal McKenna said: "We’re really honoured that the Archbishop could make it today and he was so generous with his time."

Following the Mass students posed for photographs with the Archbishop before he blessed the Stations of the Cross.

The Stations were created by students in the Art Club and were erected in 2019. The school had arranged for Bishop David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Birmingham to bless the Stations. Sadly, with the school closure for the pandemic, and Bishop McGough’s sad passing, this was not possible.

Thankfully, Archbishop Bernard was able to perform the blessing during his visit.

Speaking about the visit, Principal McKenna, said: "We’ve chosen today to celebrate the Feast of Saint Margaret Ward. We’re very grateful that the Archbishop could come and see the school community all together, particularly this year as it’s our year of mission.

“It’s great that he can come and see what we’re about as a school, to share our values and appreciate what we do."

After the blessing, the Archbishop then met more of the staff during lunch before taking a tour of the school and meeting more students.

St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy

Photo Gallery by Mark Lear

Archbishop Bernard visits St Margaret Ward, Stoke-on-Trent