St. Mary's

Say hello to this year's gappers!

Shawn and Declan, 2021-22 Gap Year Chaplains

Shawn Kwan

My name is Shawn Kwan, and I am originally from Hong Kong. I came here to the UK in 2012 with my family and have lived in Surrey for nine years since then. I attended St. Leonards-Mayfield School for my A-Levels, and studied BA (Hons) Ceramics in Cardiff.

My hobbies include drawing, knitting, sewing and baking. I have most recently taken an interest in creative writing, and am currently challenging myself by attempting to write a novel. Other skills include learning piano from age five to 18, and did ballet until I was 16. I signed up to Step Into Gap in order to challenge myself by stepping out of my comfort zone, as well as to rediscover my faith in God.

Declan O'Brien

I’m Declan, I’m 26 and from Stockport. I have a degree in Chemistry. I enjoy physical training at my local gym, martial arts, gaming online with friends and playing tabletop RPGs. I once restored a 1946 Ariel NG motorcycle that had been unused since 1969 to full usability, maintaining the use of as many of the original parts as possible. It was a very rewarding project!

I decided to apply for Step into the Gap as I wanted to test a vocation for working with young people and Step into the Gap gives me an excellent opportunity to do that while making a difference in the world.

Pope Francis is a huge inspiration for me at the moment with his holistic approach to society and environmental stewardship.
The Gaplain's CAFOD overseas experiences
In conjunction with CAFOD our gap year chaplains get to experience the charitable work being undertaken in countries across the globe. Each year the gappers visit one of the countries CAFOD works in, to see first hand what goes on.

Upon their return to the UK, the gappers share their stories and experiences with us here in school and with parishes across the diocese.

Click the icons on the map to see where our gappers have been over the years.

Zimbabwe in 2015 by Kieran and in 2016 by Katie

El Salvador in 2014 by James and 2018 by Aleks

Nicargua in 2015 by Bernadette and 2018 by Aleks