On Wednesday 10th January, the Year 9 students from The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College were in for a real treat. When students are in Year 9, they begin to make choices that could impact on the future of their education, they take their options! What better time to talk to them about the plan that God has for them.

The morning began with an assembly where the theme was taken from Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’

Students were encouraged to think big, not to set their heart on only one ambition but to know that wherever they go, God will be with them.

We invited a panel of guest speakers to talk to them about various vocations and that although a vocation to the priesthood and religious life are encouraged, if you’re not called to that, then there are other vocations out there. Their whole lives can be used for the glory of God.

Our panel included Jonathon Bowes, a diocesan seminarian who has been on placement here in Hartlepool. Jonathon spoke about the vocation of priesthood and what life as a seminarian is like.

We also had Ric and Rachel Slatter who talked about the vocation to marriage and family life, the joys and challenges that it brings and how their faith in God is the centre of their relationship. Ric is also the new Hartlepool Youth Ministry Coordinator so it was a great opportunity for Year 9 to get to know a bit more about him.

Dr Clive Kelly spoke to us about the vocation of being a doctor and the opportunities that arise to help others in the missionary field, by following that particular career choice. He spoke very passionately about his work with young people on the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and those in poorer countries and the impact that a little love and care can bring.

We had invited Chris Bache, a parishioner here in Hartlepool, to come and talk to us about his work in the business world and how you can work ethically and serve others with your profits. He spoke to us about “World Pay” which is the company he works for and the charity projects which they are involved in worldwide. He quoted excerpts from Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium and Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus. It was wonderful to hear how the big world of business helps smaller communities set up their own.

The morning culminated in a very entertaining quiz led by Deputy Head, Paul Dickson, whereby students had to guess what their teachers wanted to be when they were young and how none of them had gone into that particular line of work but ended up teaching. The message was one of encouragement, that God has a plan and with him at the centre of their lives, they have the opportunity to do great things.