In this, its 70th year, and after a weekend of hotly contested competition, Marian College’s team of 10 students were delighted to be awarded the highly coveted Bishop Lyons Shield.

Marian College’s winning Bishop Lyons Shield team.
Marian College’s winning Bishop Lyons Shield team.

The competition dates back to 1945, with the shield being fashioned in 1947 by Bishop Patrick Lyons, who was the Bishop of Christchurch at the time.
The competition takes place between the seven Catholic secondary schools in Christchurch diocese.
The event involves debating, prepared and impromptu speeches, Scripture reading and religious questions.
The weekend also included a cultural festival concert in which groups from most of the colleges performed to a packed and appreciative audience.
Marian’s win was set up by consistent scores from team members throughout, including Frances Daly (year 13) first in the senior prepared speech. “It was a little bit nerve wracking, but
mainly I was excited to be able to speak in front of so many people,” she said.
By the religious questions final round, Marian was in second place and tension was high. This year the round was based on Joy of the Gospel, the 128-page document written by Pope
Francis.
“It was full on when we worked out we could win the shield if we won religious questions, so there was a fair bit of pressure,” said Jovana Riordan (year 13). “The questions were really challenging and quite unpredictable so we weren’t sure how it was going to go.”
When the final placings were announced “everyone was so happy and there were a few tears”, she said.
The intense competition ensured high standards.
The weekend also provided an opportunity for students and staff from competing schools to renew friendships, socialise and enjoy the hospitality of host college, St Bede’s.
The competition will be hosted next year by Roncalli College, Timaru.

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