Wednesday, March 14 is a date that will be indelibly printed in the minds and hearts of the students of St Xavier’s Private School, St Joseph. This is the day that they had the distinct pleasure of meeting, up close and personal, Archbishop Jason Gordon. This was the second visit of an archbishop to the school, the first being by the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin many years ago. Archbishop Gordon was there to bless the school’s newly renovated prayer chapel.
On his arrival, and escorted by Principal Sr Ivy Pacheco SJC, the archbishop was welcomed by a pan serenade played by pupils, and then formally welcomed by two Prep 5 pupils. Following this, Archbishop Gordon took the time to visit every class to the delight of all present: pupils, teachers and other school personnel.
He greeted all with a smile and words of encouragement. His arrival coincided with the afternoon Period of Meditation for the school. He quietly joined the younger pupils in the ‘basement’ Hall, sharing their moment of peace and harmony, and thanking them graciously at the end for allowing him to do so.
After addressing them briefly and dispensing hugs to a few who came to him for that purpose, Archbishop Gordon continued his visit to classes before making his way once more to the top where the blessing of the chapel took place.
The melodious voice of a mid-school pupil again welcomed him, wishing him ‘Shalom’ in song. He in turn addressed the entire school body, letting them know all the positives things he had heard about the school and encouraging them to continue holding up the school and taking their work seriously.
He commended their silent reverence during their meditation period and reminded them that the most important thing in life was to be the best they could be, and that, he pointed out, would come from the way they related to God. He invited them to open their hearts to God every day, thereby allowing Him to come to them every day as well.
His words were well received, and the archbishop was presented with tokens of appreciation by some younger pupils. He was then formally thanked by staff member Mr Panthaleon, who expressed the school’s appreciation of the honour paid to them by his visit so early in his tenure as archbishop. He added that this definitely was “the day that the Lord had made”, and invited all present to “rejoice and be glad in it”.
Archbishop Gordon departed after sharing a meal with some staff members’, leaving behind a positive and lasting impression as the school returned to exam mode. – Elizabeth Derrick