Spirituality / Catholic Life
The Catholic Life of our school
We are a community living and growing in our Catholic faith. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ are the foundation of all that we undertake. We welcome pupils of all faiths and those with no faith background. We believe in nurturing faith in Jesus Christ in every aspect of the school’s curricular and extracurricular programmes and activities so that everyone is respected and treated equally.
We aim to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ that the whole creation, including every person in it, is a gift of God and loved by God and we are committed to ensuring that all pupils flourish.
Furthermore, we are committed to developing our curriculum, care, support and guidance to ensure our pupils to grow to be:
- Grateful for their own gifts, for the gift of other people, and for the blessings of each day; and generous with their gifts, becoming men and women for others.
- Attentive to their experience and to their vocation; and discerning about the choices they make and the effects of those choices.
- Compassionate towards others, near and far, especially the less fortunate; and loving by their just actions and forgiving words.
- Faith-filled in their beliefs and hopeful for the future.
- Eloquent and truthful in what they say of themselves, the relations between people, and the world.
- Learned, finding God in all things; and wise in the ways they use their learning for the common good.
- Curious about everything; and active in their engagement with the world, changing what they can for the better.
- Intentional in the way they live and use the resources of the earth, guided by conscience; and prophetic in the example they set to others.
Heart of the School
At the heart of our school stands our chapel, offering a silent oasis in the midst of our learning environment, a place of sanctuary and encounter with the living God. Here, we can spend time with Christ, present to us in the bread of life, the Eucharist, inside the Tabernacle.
Staff and students gather in St. Mary’s on the following occasions throughout the year to worship together.
September Whole School Mass
As a Christian community the School values collective worship, and the September Mass celebrates the beginning of the new academic year and is an opportunity to welcome all new pupils and staff to the St Mary’s community.
New Year Seven Welcome Mass
This Mass is always a wonderful opportunity for pupils to come together and share their hopes for the future with parents, carers and loved ones.
Pupils from each form group crate a banner representing their form and their House saint. Pupils also help to write the reflections, which look at their House patron, their virtues and how they can aim to incorporate these values into their everyday lives in order to be the best version of themselves.
On holy days which fall on school days, Mass is celebrated during the day for the whole school.
The liturgy is carefully prepared by the R.E. department and our school chaplain Fr Andrew. Our students play an active part in the planning and delivery of these celebrations as servers, readers, singers, musicians and welcomers.
House Masses are also celebrated throughout the year for the feast days of each of the patron saints. All year groups join together to celebrate the work and example of their House saint.
In addition to the services for the whole school students are invited to pray in the following ways:
Assemblies are held every week for each year group and reflect the liturgical year alongside the Virtue pairs. These assemblies are led by the Headteacher or a member of the Senior Leadership team or by the Head of Year.
Prayers are said at the start of every day in the chapel, this time is open to any who would like to attend and offers a calm reflective start to our day.
Prayers are also said during Staff Briefings.
At the beginning of each day form tutors pray with their students. Students are encouraged to take a turn in leading this act of worship each week.
Mass takes place in the school Chapel every first Friday of the month during extended morning registration at 9.00am. This Mass is an opportunity to pray for any members of our school community. Our students play an active part in the planning and delivery of these Masses as servers, readers and welcomers.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
During Advent and Lent all pupils attend a penitential service, to enable all students to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation or to simply reflect on the relevant themes covered and to talk with the priest. All staff are also given the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Works of Charity
As a Christian community we take very seriously our commitment to Charity. We regard works of Charity as an essential part of our pupils’ education.
LENT and ADVENT fund-raising activities
The School takes part in a variety of fund-raising activities throughout Lent and Advent.
A reverse Advent calendar collection of food and gifts is donated to the local foodbank and homeless people. We also have a Christmas jumper day for staff and pupils to raise money for Save the Children.
CAFOD Youth group
Our links with CAFOD are at the heart of our fund raising activities during Lent. This academic year pupils will be given the opportunity to join a CAFOD YOUTH group, this is an excellent way to volunteer and speak out about social justice.
During Lent a variety of events are organised e.g. non-uniform days, student led cake sales, raffles and games in order to provide practical ways to respond to the needs of others. All of the proceeds of these activities go to support the work of CAFOD.
In November 2022 our school launched a Youth SVP group at St Mary’s. The aim of this group is to help young people turn concern into action and engage with the community to make a positive difference, as well as learning new skills and developing faith. The Youth group meets weekly and is planning ways to provide support and assistance in practical ways, rather than just monetarily.