St Paul School 45th Annivesary – Loyalty Award Ceremony
“The year 2016 is not just another year. January 25 is not just another day” statements which were conveyed in the introduction video presentation The year and the day marked a significant milestone in the history of Saint Paul School, the School community, and the lives of those who were and are privileged to be a part of this remarkable community.
January 25, 2016 sees the celebration of the School 45th Anniversary, but as the Principal, Fr. Alejandro Salcedo in his speech “…today’s celebration is not about Saint Paul School as such. It is about the loyalty, commitment and pride that you, teachers and staff have demonstrated in your service to our School and most important to our students, and we have come here to acknowledge you and applaud.”
The day began with a thanksgiving mass in the school hall presided by the Most Reverend Bishop of Macau Stephen Lee and with the presence of Fr. Javier González – Provincial of Our Lady of the Rosary Province -, Fr. José Luis de Miguel – Prior of the community of Saint Dominic Priory of Macau -, Fr. Bonifacio G. Solís, Fr. Dionisio Cabezón, Fr. Fernando Muñoz and the three fathers working in the school Fr. Chan, Fr. Legido and Fr. Salcedo as concelebrants in this rich and emotive ceremony. The school hall full to its capacity with teachers and students was, thanks to Sister Camino, decorated for the occasion. The warm and the sincerity of the prayers were evident and apparent during the offertory when, besides the offering of the bread and wine, each one of the catholic teachers offered a candle, and each one of the catholic students a rose to Saint Paul Apostle, Patron of the School. The silence in the school hall, surrounded by a sense of personal prayer was so intense, that even the official photographer of the ceremony did not take any picture not to disturb the peace of the moment.
In his homily Bishop Lee emphasized the figure of Saint Paul Apostle and in perfect harmony connected the conversion of Saint Paul and the commitment and loyalty we all must have in our roles as teachers and students. He encouraged the teachers and students to offer their talents for the good and welfare of the Saint Paul School community and the Macau society as a whole.
The second part of the ceremony ‘Saint Paul School Teachers and Staff Loyalty Awards’ started with the welcoming of the guests at the main entrance of the School and the Fra Angelico exhibition Gallery, where, assisted by the students tea and coffee were offered as the guests were arriving. Back at the state-of-art School Hall, the teachers and staff being awarded were greeted and applauded by the over 800 students and teachers present in the hall, teachers and students following the ceremony from the classrooms, Principals and representatives from about 30 different schools, parents and main guests, among whom we can mentioned Bishop Lee as representative of the Diocese of Macau, Fr. Javier González as the representative of Our Lady of the Rosary Province, Ms. Vicky Leong representing the Director of the Ministry of Education, the Delegates from Rome Monsignors Ante Jozic and Andrea Francia, representatives from the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macau Special Administrative Region, the supervisor of Rosaryhill school, Fr. Vicente Sánchez and the two Principals, Fr. Emiliano Pérez, and other members of the diocese and the Macau Society.
The ceremony began with a modern dance and we were led all through the ceremony by the two MCs, who although difficult to believe for their outstanding and highly professional performance, were a form 4 young lady and a school past student. The ceremony was exceptionally touching and moving as we all witnessed the 83 teachers and staff, out of the 293 personnel rendering their service at Saint Paul School, being awarded as Bishop Lee, Fr. Provincial and Ms. Vicky Leong presented the conferred certificates.
Saint Paul School presented their respects and heartfelt thanks to three retired teachers for their hard work and dedication during their years at Saint Paul. Not only emotion and warm feeling were seen when each of the teachers offered a rose to each of the retired teachers, but also tears were present in the eyes of some of the successors of those great three teachers as they shared with all of us how delighted they felt to be there on that special day and above all how proud they felt seeing their students following their steps and taking up their places in the teaching profession.
It was Fr. Athanasius Chan, the Director of the Pastoral Care of the School and the Deputy Principal who received the Apostolic Blessing from the hands of Monsignor Ante Jozic. On Behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis he extended His blessings and congratulations to the whole community of Saint Paul School
As Ms Vicky Leong, representative of the Director of the Education Bureau, said in her address to the audience, today is a special day for Saint Paul School because not only we celebrate 45 years of contribution to the Macau society but mainly because in the awards presented to the teachers and staff one can see the loyalty and faithfulness of these people towards the School and towards their careers.
The in-between performances ‘In your Hands’ sang by the President of the Old Students Association, and the ‘Saint Paul School Legacy Light Dance’ performed by Saint Paul School modern dance team compared to the highest standards as it is already a tradition at Saint Paul School. The song ‘You Raised Me Up’, interpreted by 5 students, was the best way to close the ceremony and once more thank not only the 83 teachers and staff who were awarded but to everybody who is giving their best and support the dreams and hopes of each student at Saint Paul school.
January 25, 2016, was not just another year, was not just another day. It was truly a special day of honoring the excellence that Saint Paul School has fostered.