ST. AUGUSTINE’S GRAMMAR SCHOOL
MANCHESTER, M22 4PJ

Head Master The Rt Rev. Mgr. F.J. McGuiness, S.T.L., M.A.
Telephone 061-428 3896

In reply please quote   Your reference
  S/25  

26th March, 1975

My dear Parents,

When I was a student for the Priesthood in the 1940’s, I thought that, like most clergy dedicated to the diocesan service, I should spend my life in various parishes of our Shrewsbury Diocese. As it has turned out, I have never had a parochial appointment and, my work has been in great part of the kind called academic. Priests in such positions as I have held tend to think of themselves as not enjoying quite the same affection and loyalty as those who work in parishes. We are more distant, our functions are often disciplinary and relationships sometimes more impersonal. But, despite all this, you have treated me, on the occasion of my Silver Jubilee, with all the affection that any priest could ever hope for. Indeed, you have astonished me by your generosity and by the encouragement you have given me to remain in your service for as long as I am required in the years to come. It gave me particular pleasure to see so many of you at the Mass of Thanksgiving on 7th February. So many parents have never seen the entire school together at public worship. I think we must invite you more often. My next Jubilee will be in the year 2000, but in the meantime I am sure there will be other festive occasions. Please accept my thanks for making the twenty-fifth anniversary of my Ordination a very happy day.

The Bishop’s letter I suppose your son will have told you by now, but you will probably expect me to tell you myself, Last Saturday, 22nd March, as I sat in my office in an empty school, I opened a letter from our Bishop to me. It began, "I am delighted to inform you that the Holy Father has appointed you a Prelate of Honour to mark the tenth anniversary of the foundation of St. Augustine’s." I know that this honour has given much happiness to you and to your sons, and to all my colleagues on the staff here, and rightly so, because all that has been achieved by God’s grace during these past ten years could not have been achieved without your never-failing generosity, piety and co-operation.

Mr. Bernard Quinn When this term began on 7th January last we welcomed a new member of the teaching staff, a Graduate of the National University of Ireland, a schoolmaster of much experience, who had served for the past fifteen years at St. Ambrose College, Hale Barns, where he had been Senior Master and Head of the English Department. We are proud of the fact that our own English Department during the past ten years has always been well led and well served, and we most cordially welcome Mr. Quinn as the new Head of the English Department. His wisdom, his learning and experience will be most beneficial to our boys in the years to come.

The Church Students’ Mass On Low Sunday, 6th April, at 3p.m. the Bishop of Shrewsbury, The Right Reverend Eric Grasar, will celebrate Mass in our school Chapel. This will be the annual "Church Students' Mass" organised by the local branch of the Serra Society. I hope I can take for granted that all our Shrewsbury church students will be present with their parents. All other church students and, indeed, all our other boys and all our parents, are welcome to come as well.

Dates The Easter term commences on Monday, 14th April, 1975. There will be a holiday on Thursday, 8th May (Ascension) as well as the Summer Mid—term holiday, which begins after school on Friday, 23rd May. We shall return for the latter part of the term on Monday, 2nd June.

The G.C.E. Examinations will commence with the General Paper and the General Studies Examinations on Thursday, 22nd May. Our school examinations will start on Monday, 2nd June, and will end on Tuesday, 1st July.

Midsummer vacation begins after school on Friday, 25th July.

The academic year 1975-6 will begin on Tuesday, 9th September, 1975.

Another Oxford success In the letter which I sent you on the Boast of Epiphany last I was able to give you some good news about some of our senior students who had been successful in the Entrance Examinations for the Oxford and Cambridge Colleges. Since then I have heard another piece of good news: John Whatnall, one of our Heads of School, has been offered a place at Queen’s College, Oxford, to read Law, on condition that he conforms to Matriculation requirements.

Uniform I trust you remember that in my letter to you last summer I asked that white shirts (not grey) should be the normal daily uniform from September, 1975. The tine has not yet come, but it nay well be that about now you may think of buying some new shirts for your son, and I take the liberty of suggesting that from now onwards shirts bought for school wear should be white onies. Allow me to suggest also that, as your son is growing physically throughout his school days, it may be presumed that each time he gets a new shirt it will be advisable to check the size and make sure that it fits comfortably. I offer you also the thought that the large floppy collars which some of our boys seem to prefer are difficult to keep clean and quickly look most untidy and unatttactive. I recommend to you the stiff, neat, Royal Navy officer type of white shirt, which everyone seems to think makes our boys look exceptionally smart.

Dinner Money From Monday, 14th April this year the price of the school meal will be 15 pence, i.e. 75 pence for a 5-day week. I trust that if your son pays for his dinner he will have the 75 pence ready on the first day of term.

Organ Fund You have contributed very generously to our various expenses in the past: I know I can rely on you to contribute with similar generosity to the removal of the debt on the organ which has so richly enhanced the public worship end the musical life of our school. I an afraid that 1 buys oven less now than it did in previous years, but I shall be very grateful indeed to receive t from you when the new term begins on Monday, 14th April. This will mean that your son will bring 1.75 on the first day of term, 1 for the Organ Fund and 75 pence for the school meal.

Easter Greetings The Lent term ends on the eve of Maundy Thursday. Let me wish you every blessing end spiritual consolation at this holy season which lies at the centre of our Christian calendar. May the end of Lent and the commencement of the Paschal Season be for us all a time of repentance, forgiveness and renewal of our convictions and our resolutions. Let us once again join with the whole Church on earth in greeting Jesus Christ our triumphant Saviour and following him to life and victory.

Wishing you every Easter blessing,

Yours sincerely,

(F.J. McGUINESS)
Headmaster