God Bless Us, Every One!
It was the best of times; indeed it was the very best of times! From the moment they awoke on the morning of December 8th the first years were all but uncontainable with excitement at the prospect of the day ahead – and the rest of the school wasn’t far behind. Looking very sharp in their formal gear they waited patiently while the business of classwork was dealt with and then filed solemnly to the Boys’ Chapel, where they were greeted by the heady scent of incense and the aethereal sounds of the Schola Cantorum (under the baton of Mr Cyril Murphy). Mass to mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated by the Rector, Fr Michael Sheil sj who asked each of us to consider where we are in the journey of life in general and Advent in particular.
The aeterna quickly gave way to the caduca when Mass was ended and the indefatigable Mr Frank Kelly gave the students their orders for the festivities that were to follow and particularly enjoined them to look after their guests from the staff. The house leaders (and members) were better than their word as they spared no effort to make sure that all enjoyed the repast in the Ref’. And what a Ref’! Long tables accommodated some fifty diners each and the House Leaders plied them with food and drink to beat several bands as the feast began.
Was it good? Well! It was as good a feast as ever there was in the long history of Clongowes and it will take a very fine effort indeed to surpass it in the years to come! There never was such a turkey – or at least never one so magical in its proportions. Its tenderness, flavour and size, were the themes of universal admiration. Served with ham, potatoes and veg it was a sufficient dinner for the whole school. On an occasion like this a boy might well have asked for more and feared no consequence such was the generosity of spirit among the ghosts of Christmas present. What larks Pip!
Addressing the assembly afterwards the Headmaster, Mr Lumb thanked all who had made this such a special occasion. He remarked that events such as this, which bring the whole school together, serve to heighten the sense of community on which we rightly pride ourselves. School Captain, Hugo O’Donnell thanked the various staffs for their efforts during another busy term and the catering staff for such a splendid feast.
A special word of thanks must go to the Lord High Chief of all Indoor Doings, Mr Frank Kelly. It might well be said of him as it was of that late convert to all things Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge (and there the resemblance ends, we hasten to add), that ‘he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!’
And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!