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Prayer Book Launch starts Centenary Celebrations


Dominican College commences its centenary celebrations with launch of special book of prayer and reflection.
Laudare, Benidicere, Praedicare

On Monday 13th February, Sr Lucina Montagu greeted Dominican staff as they gathered to celebrate the launch of the 2017 centenary prayer book. She spoke of her arrival in Portstewart in 1962 and the appropriateness and relevance of the date chosen to launch the first in our series of Centenary events as the feast day of the blessed Jordan of Saxony, the successor to St Dominic.

Sr Lucina, on behalf of the Dominican sisters, spoke of how the 2017 prayer book spoke of a continuation of the ethos established here in 1917 and how the spirit of St Dominic continues to live on in the works of his followers. She told staff that the publication, a labour of love for the school’s RE department was “ something valuable to be proud of and a publication that will set before our young people the influences, challenges and responsibilities that lie before them, and ourselves as 21st Dominicans.”

She spoke of the belief of Meister Eckhart, a key figure from within the Dominican tradition, who compared prayers to “God’s coughs”- his way of letting us know he is there!

She thanked the RE department, Mrs McLernon , Miss Smyth and Miss Willighan and in particular Miss Rainey for steering the prayer book , our retirees Mr Gilmore and Mrs Gillen for their input , Ms Ronan and Mr Fleming and the Centenary Committee and concluded by reminding staff : “ There are three distinct phases to our centenary celebrations; anticipation, celebration and prolongation. Enjoy all that we are going to do over the course of the next twelve months as a Dominican family and community and be a part of it”.

Our school chaplain, Fr Raymond McCullagh, concluded the celebration by reading the powerful Prayer of Abandonment written more than 100 years ago by Charles De Foucauld.

Miss Rainey, the school’s liturgical co-ordinator explained:
“Dominican College has, for the past century been a place of prayer and reflection for Dominican Sisters, staff and students, and it is our hope that this book will help continue this tradition into the next phase of the school’s future.

The RE department have been working on this publication for the last 6 months and the book was specifically designed for our young people as they face the challenges of life. We viewed the publication as a challenge in terms of balancing the spiritual legacy of the Dominican tradition with the pressures and demands of C21st life for our young Dominicans.

We hope that whatever Christian background our pupils are from, or whether they are of faith or no faith, that they will find the book relevant, informative and inspiring.
St Padre Pio believed that prayer is the oxygen for the soul” and it is our hope that this small, powerful book of prayer and reflection will help breathe new life into the conversation between God and our spiritual selves.”
The Dominican prayer book is divided into categories to make it easier to access as they journey through the different experiences of life. There are quotes and reflections from people of all faiths around the world and throughout history.
All our pupils are familiar with the Veritas motto but there are two other mottos which are equally intrinsic to Dominican education: Contemplare et Contemplata aliis Tradere (To contemplate and to give others the fruit of contemplation ) and Laudare, Benidicere, Praedicare ( To praise, to bless, to teach).

The school is delighted to be able to offer the book as gift from the school to mark the Centenary year and Ms Ronan told our 2017 cohort of pupils at a special assembly on February 14th that they were special pupils within the history of the school and that the centenary gift would remind them, wherever they would go in the world and whatever they would choose to do in their life beyond school, that they would remain part of the Dominican family here in Portstewart.

Fr Raymond explained to our pupils that prayer is “becoming present to yourself in the presence of God” and he celebrated the “ big work that has gone into a small book of wisdom, reflection and prayers designed to help us along the various phases of life’s journey”.

Additional copies of the book of prayer and reflection will be on sale for £5.00 from the school and copies will be available at the various milestone events along our year of centenary celebrations.

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Dominican pupils Readon and on and on with record-breaking results!


Well done to our Key Stage Three pupils who have raised more than £2250 this year for the school’s annual Readon campaign designed to support NICFC. This superb sum exceeds any sum previously raised throughout the school’s long association with Readon.

Rebecca Oates, the representative of NICFC came to school assembly today to reiterate the benefits that the money raised by the Dominican pupils in helping the families of children diagnosed with cancer in N. Ireland. She spoke of her amazement at the amount raised by a school of our size and for the culture of reading that exists within the school.

Pupils were encouraged to read for pleasure at the end of last term and over the Christmas period and Mrs Davies, our school librarian, stamped more than 500 books from the school library over the Christmas period and pupils ravenously read books from home too to meet the Readon challenge.

Jessica Hanson from Year 10 has been nominated for a special prize for her exceptional efforts within this year’s campaign and the class prize for the most money raised has gone to year 10 group 1 with a total of £455. Year 10 (2) came a close second with a total of £450 and Year 8 (2) £405.

Later today Year 10 (1) class will celebrate with their very own Readon cake within their English classroom. Also recognised at today’s assembly for their excellent endeavours were: Reuben Tosh, Sasha Tannahill, Ryan Taggart, Amber McCaughan, Jack Dalzell, Dylan Wright, Reece Hunter, Clodagh Dempsey, and Finn Lafferty.

Several pupils were also drawn from a list of all readers to receive special prizes of movie and bowling passes for The Jet Centre. These pupils were Olivia Lappin, Charlotte Muldoon, and Michele Riche.

Very well done to every single Dominican pupil in Years 8-10 and their families and friends for supporting this important initiative and for the fantastic sum raised as a consequence of all that reading.

Today a reader: Tomorrow a leader!

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U14 Rugby Success


Well done to our U14 rugby team who have qualified for the regional finals for the Schools’ Cup at their very first attempt.

The boys, mostly from Year 10, have only been playing together for a very short time and they came up against much more seasoned teams in the qualifying rounds. The Dominican team won both of their heat matches to go through to a play-off against Ballymoney High School. Victory in this game ensured that the Dominican boys would be assured of a cup finals place on February 9th.

Mr Gerry Lafferty who is both a member of Coleraine Rugby Club and Ulster Branch has worked with the Dominican boys since before Christmas and has been very impressed at the way the team of seventeen boys has gelled so quickly into a successful unit. Seven of the squad are members of the Coleraine Youth Academy, one is a member of the Ballymoney Academy and one a member of the Ballymena Academy; eight of the boys however have never played competitive rugby before.

This is the first time that the school has fielded a Rugby team and builds on the recent success in the Ulster Championship that our U-14 and U- 16 Gaelic teams experienced.

Mr Carey praised the wonderful work ethic of this talented young team and their commitment to after school sport. He thanked Gerry Lafferty for his inspirational coaching and wished the boys continued success at the regional finals in Ballymena.

Well done boys from all here in DCP!

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Church Unity Week 2017


Today marks the start of church unity week and, as in many previous years, Dominican College were delighted to welcome to our school members of our local churches to share their faith and vision with us.

Fr Raymond, our Chaplain, invited his University colleagues the Rev. Steven Woods and Andrew Gibson to reflect on what the poet John Hewitt called the “ bond and break” between different Christian denominations.

Jamie, our Head Girl, commenced assembly by reflecting that we are called on as Dominicans to ensure that we do not “hide our lamp under a bowl” but rather to be a light to the people around us. Adam, Our head Boy, led us in prayers of reflection.

Andrew took as his theme the challenge of uniting people from different backgrounds and traditions. He used the film “ Remember the Titans” to explore how racial tensions affected an American High School Football team and showed the pupils the scene where the coach, played by Denzel Washington, used the backdrop of Gettysburg to illustrate his point to the mixed race team that “ unless we come together we will destroy ourselves as well”.

Andrew spoke of the significance of Church Unity week at a local and national level in allowing us to be together and pray together, to put aside differences and spoke of the wonderful beacon that Dominican represents.

Rev Stephen Woods took as his theme Psalm 133; The Psalm of Ascent – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity”- a line misappropriated during Friday’s presidential inauguration at a time of extreme disunity globally. He told pupils of the origins of this line in a Israel riven by tribal divisions between Judah and Israel and how these tribal factions would seek to share the unity of God’s news.

Concluding the assembly Fr. Raymond thanked Andrew and Steven for their ministries in the University and congratulated Steven on the wonderful news of the recent birth of his son, Matthew.

The school would like to extend Fr. Raymond’s thanks to Andrew and Steven today

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The Dominican College 2016 Carol Service was simply stunning!

Over the course of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning more than 1000 parents, pupils, past pupils and members of the local community were present at the two 2016 Dominican Christmas Carol services.

For weeks, under the care of Mr Cloughley, Mrs Campbell, Mrs Culbertson and Miss Doherty our Junior, Intermediate, Senior and Senior chamber choirs had rehearsed the varied musical programme of classic and contemporary carols.

Most people left Star of the Sea church uplifted with a sense of the true spirit of Christmas. The inclusive nature of our school was reflected in the readings by pupils who have celebrated Christmas in a diverse range of places worldwide.

The staff of Dominican College would like to take this opportunity to wish all our pupils and their families a very happy Christmas.

For Carol Service Programme click here

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SVP Appeal 2016

Mr Eugene Kelly was a welcome returning visitor to Dominican College on Tuesday 13th December on behalf of our local branch of Saint Vincent DePaul. He described his joy at seeing all the gifts of toys and hampers which pupils had worked so hard again to collect in the Dominican foyer. He told pupils that the drive for social justice is more evident in our than anywhere else and reminded them that, in the midst of harsh austerity measures like the recent cut in benefits, we need to try to help the poor as best we can. He explained that the role of SVP is to give people in need back a little dignity and read a poem entitled “The Other Side of Christmas” written by a local primary school pupil.

The poem asked the provocative question- do you ever think of the other side of Christmas- with its images of famine, disease, war and suffering and concluded that: “Not everyone sees Christmas the way you do”.

He told pupils that the SVP society are active in more than 167 countries and how they have recently helped with crises in areas such as Nepal and Syria.
Eugene explained the types of spiritual, financial and material help given at a local level by the SVP and how all the visits and donations to more than 120 local homes; “Are only made possible by you”. Of the £10,500 raised last year, assistance was given to local people in need in the form of cash, oil, gas, coal and gifts and vouchers at this most difficult time of year and throughout the year the SVP group locally was able to organise events such as senior outings, Christmas lunches, clothing drives and sharing funds.

Concluding yesterday’s assembly Eugene thanked Dominican pupils and their families for their “astounding generosity” and all the money they had raised both during the toy and hamper appeals and during the sponsored walk which would “ help alleviate what goes on on the other side of Christmas”.

“From the bottom of our hearts we wish to thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do to support the work of SVP. This year you have surpassed our expectations. Please keep it up.”

Well done to Mrs Willighan, Miss Smyth and the RE Department for their leadership in this work and to all members of our junior and senior SVP groups for leading by example.

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