We believe that the prayer and worship life of our school community is central to all we do.
Through liturgy and worship, we aim to:
- Foster an understanding of what it means to belong to a Catholic community.
- Provide opportunities for enhancing spiritual growth and personal development through prayer and reflection.
- Encourage the development of a personal relationship with God.
- Provide experiences of sharing values and celebrating significant events in the lives of individuals and the community.
- Develop knowledge of and experience seasons within the Church’s year.
- Develop knowledge and understanding of scripture.
- Develop and celebrate skills of creativity.
We strive to meet these aims as follows:
Our pupils enjoy and are engaged in worship opportunities which nurture their relationship with God.
They are enabled to grow spiritually and develop personally through worship which encapsulates Bishop Patrick’s termly themes:
- Encounter – we ask ourselves, “How can I know Jesus?”
- Discipleship – we ask ourselves, “How can I follow Jesus?
- Missionary Discipleship – we ask ourselves, “How can I share Jesus?”
Our pupils take the lead in their spiritual journey: they experience and explore worship planned by others so that they can plan and lead their own prayer opportunities. We believe this pupil ownership of worship is fundamental to the development of a meaningful relationship with God.
Consequently, our worship planning cycle fosters pupils’ individual and personal journeys in faith, whilst also celebrating collectively all that following in the footsteps of Jesus can offer (John 10:10).
We recognise that we are all unique and special; all pupils can access worship and everyone is included:
We aim for pupils to leave St Mary’s confident in their identity as Children of God, secure in their knowledge of Him, trusting in his love for him and knowing how to spend time with him in prayer. With hearts, eyes and ears open to the Good News, they go forth in their mission to share Jesus with others.
To secure the above outcomes, pupils at St Mary’s enjoy a balanced and varied diet of daily worship opportunities, centred upon scripture and following the rhythm of our liturgical year.
We believe that worship should be varied and engaging, spanning the treasured traditions of our faith, as well as more contemporary worship opportunities. Our pupils are encouraged to be creative when planning and leading worship because we believe that this ownership and freedom to explore makes worship more meaningful to them.
In addition, to daily timetabled worship, each week, children can choose spontaneously from the ‘Class Worship Menu’.
They can also enjoy opportunities for personal prayer in the Holy Hub, where they can add petitions to our Prayer Tree, ask Sleeping St Joseph to sleep on their prayers, add to our remembrance books or enjoy prayer journaling.
We worship in different places, for example outside in our Mary Garden, and with others when we can, for example Stations of the Cross shared with our parishes. Pupils benefit from sharing Mass and other worship opportunities, such as Adoration, with our parish priests, Father Bill and Father Daniel, in school as well as attending Mass at church (pre-pandemic and due to re-commence soon).
To gain further insight into the breadth and depth of our worship provision, please ask to see our Collective Worship scrapbooks (also available in PDF format), which also record the wonderful lengths to which our community went to keep our Catholic Life and Collective Worship opportunities alive during the pandemic.
Leadership of Collective Worship
Pupils take centre stage in the leadership of Collective Worship at St Mary’s. Progression in the skills of planning and leading worship is mapped and assessed as follows:
Pupils and staff use diocesan planning and evaluation templates to ensure high quality worship is offered at all times. Classes evaluate and feedback upon each other’s liturgies and personal impact statements are gathered, in addition to regular monitoring and evaluation by the leadership team. To ensure rigour in providing purposeful opportunities for our spiritual growth, targets are set each year, which incorporate pupil, staff and parent voice:
Our worship life is supported by our school chaplaincy teams: the Faith Friends (Year Group Chaplains) and Team 10:10 (Y6 Lead Chaplains), as well as our Lay Chaplain, Chris Fitzgerald:
We strive for our children to live their prayer and worship life to the full (John 10:10). We were delighted to be judged by Diocesan inspectors as an outstanding Catholic school in December 2014!