We returned from our Christmas break in the second week of January having enjoyed a much needed break with our lovely families. In fact the term began on the Monday evening at Aylesford priory in Kent where we enjoyed a beutiful night's sleep in this ancient site before starting our 4.5 day silent retreat the following day. In the cold, frost weather, the priory was a truly peaceful and stunning location and, notwithdtanding the contribution of the ducks and the geese, our time was wonderfully well guoded by Carmelite priest, Fr. Joe.
It was a great way to start the New Year. We have now settled back into the place and intensity of school life. On the academic plane, January has been focussed on the Church's teaching on the sacrament economy, related to which, we have had the opportunity of supporting Confirmation clesses given to a hundred or so young candidates at Ealing Abbey.
At the start of week 3, we received two days of training on how to develop communication skills, particularly in non-verbal and emocional awarness, and conflict resolution. The Church teaching on indulgences was a key topic for the remainder of the week in the light of plenary indulgence being offered by the Pope to commemorate the year of St. Paul.
The last week in January, then was given over to the theme of 'Life in the Spirit'. We enjoyed a great series of lectures on the charismatic movement and spiritual struggle given by our much loved allies, the Franciscan Friers of the Renewal. The week anded with the opportunity to receive a fresh 'baptism in the Holy Spirit', following our Novena prayer.