We now enter the season of advent, ‘A Time of Hope’ and we look forward to the Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ. In school we are having a series of assemblies linked to the Year of Mercy. Each week has a key speaker who leads the assembly and we have heard from the Samaritans and shortly we hope to hear from St Michael’s Hospice and the Food Bank. These speakers have been chosen to highlight the the corporal acts of Mercy in action. These acts are:
- Feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To clothe the naked.
- To welcome the stranger.
- To visit the sick.
- To visit the imprisoned.
- To bury the dead.
Whilst the core purpose of St Mary’s is the education of our pupils this cannot be complete without considering the whole person and the values which we wish to encourage. With this in mind I have put together a series of papers under the general title of ‘Understanding St Mary’s’. They are all fairly brief but attempt to explain firstly the role of a Catholic school and the values that inform it; this is followed by a short account of how learning takes place. The final two papers explain the philosophy and principles around the way the school is structured and operates in order for us to carry out its purpose. I would recommend that you read it at some point because it does provide an insight into the thinking behind the experience we attempt to provide for the children.
What is our role?
Pope Francis stated in 2014 that families and teachers must guide students to critical thinking and a moral compass. This where a faith based education comes in. The Right reverend Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds explains, '…. A Catholic school should put Christ at the centre of everything that it does by integrating Gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic church into every aspect of learning, teaching and the totality of school life’
I leave the final word to Pope Francis, "… there are three things that you must transmit: how to love, how to understand and which values and customs create harmony in society. … [Teachers] must aim to build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel welcomed and loved for what he or she is, with all of their limitations and potential”.