Why does the Edmund Rice Network Team see as so important the annual two day retreat for current headteachers as well as those who have retired? The answer is that it is possibly the one occasion in the year that this group of school leaders get a chance to step aside from their demanding role and spend a little time with each other in the presence of God in a beautiful and quiet setting. It is irreplaceable.
Twenty one of us took this opportunity recently by decamping to the Oblate Retreat Centre near Crewe. Our guest speaker for the few days was David Wells who is part of the Vicariate for Formation in the Diocese of Plymouth. His brief, over his three sessions, was the subject matter contained in Pope Francis’ first exhortation Evangelii Gaudium and to see how it might speak to us as both Catholic Christians as well as leaders in our schools. David’s unique style of presentation both engaged and informed us and gave us many a good laugh in the process. Everybody present engaged with his way of addressing his subject matter and appreciated his insights into Catholic life and forced us to re-evaluate what was important and what was not. David was universally acclaimed for his perception and accuracy in showing up the important from the irrelevant in the final evaluation exercise.