“I can do all things with the help of God who strengthens me.”
Our Chapel is a place of welcome and hospitality is offered to everyone. As school Chaplain I am involved in many areas such as: seeing students individually who may need to talk or want some help or guidance, support for staff, working with Heads of Learning, planning liturgies, assemblies, retreats, reconciliation services, working with other faith communities, providing daily prayers for the school, being involved in outside school events, organising tutor masses and whole school masses. When needed we offer a First Communion Program. Each term the whole school gets involved in supporting and raising money for charity. I have visited primary schools with some of our Chaplaincy Team to present assemblies. I have also led workshops for staff.
I see my main focus as being available for students, staff, parents and anyone who is associated with St Edmund’s School Community. I try to empower staff and students in their faith and enthusiastically encourage everyone to be involved in various areas of Chaplaincy.
Our Chapel is a haven; a place for all to come and rest awhile. We have a very good Chaplaincy Team; dependable and willing to be of service to their fellow students. The Chaplaincy Team is taken from all year groups. We have two year 11 Chaplaincy Captains who nourish, provide and lead various activities within the Chaplaincy. With each new year 7 intake, more and more join the team and shadow the older students and they learn how to: altar serve, how to welcome and usher at various services, public speaking and reading, dance and drama as well as being a team who are involved in fund raising, Fairtrade and St Vincent De Paul Group and being a daily presence in the Chapel at break and lunchtimes.
Vibrant, welcoming, friendly, community minded, willing, continually growing in numbers, gifted and generous are words that come to mind when I think of Our Chaplaincy Team.
All are welcome!
Fiona - School Chaplain
Our Catholic Ethos and Chaplaincy
“Caelum Dives Ingredi” means to “Enter Heaven Enriched” and can be found on our school badge. Being part of a faith school community certainly enriches all students and we are in turn enriched by the presence and the giftedness of both our students and staff. Students realise that being part of a Catholic School Community is fun. Students at all year levels and from different religious backgrounds learn to be comfortable in sharing aspects of their faith.
In John 10:7 we read, ‘I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep.” Jesus is telling us that it is through him that we have fullness of life. He shows us how to do this in 1 Corinthians 13:13 ‘Meanwhile these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love: and the greatest of these is Love.’ This is what we aspire to live out each day through the many spiritual activities and daily routine of school life. Our Spiritual Poster reveals the areas in our Spiritual life that we wish to continue to develop in our school.
Lunchtime (8-10s) - The St Vincent De Paul Group
Lunchtime (7-9-11s) - The St Vincent De Paul Group
Break (8) Rosary in the Chapel.
Lunchtime (10) Rosary in the Chapel.
Lunchtime (7) Rosary in the Chapel.
A time for Prayer. This will include prayer groups, adoration and a time to pray for any prayer request given by students, staff or parents as well as the needs of our school and wider community.
Midday - The Angelus will be said by a group of Year 9 students each week on behalf of the school community.
Mass in the Chapel.
Our St Vincent De Paul Group
Our St Vincent De Paul Group continues to expand and meets weekly, every Monday. Students are involved from all Year Groups. It is a joy to sit with such enthusiastic, prayerful young people who want to offer service to our school and the community. When asked why they continue to attend, here are some of their comments:
- ‘I wanted to help people in the community. Explore faith further and deepen my understanding of God.’
- ‘It’s a great opportunity to be a part of the community and to help the greater community. Being in a family not only helps us grow as a person but helps everyone around us become a better person.’ (Year 7 & 11)
- ‘Good community and I always leave feeling happier and ready for the week ahead.’ (Year 11)
- ‘I enjoy having such a huge part in St Vincent De Paul and thus our school’s spiritual journey.’ (Year 10)
- ‘To be able to come together as a collective group to help the community.’ (Year 11)
- ‘To be spiritually and physically connected with many people. To be a part of something and to be closer to God and to all. To know what is going on in school and help this also helps me to connect to God.’ (Year 11)
- ‘…we all come together as a group to share new ideas and discuss opinions. We also like how we pray at the start of each meeting.’ (Year 9 and Year 7)
- ‘We can come together as a community to share our ideas and talk with each other. We can share ideas to help charities and our school.’ (Year 7)
- ‘I feel supported by being a part of this group…our simple acts of kindness bring joy to me.’ (Year 8)
- ‘I like spending time with each other and love the gathering and having people around.’ (Year 8)
- ‘Being in Saint Vincent De Paul means that we can come together in a community and talk about religion and how we can benefit the school.’ (Year 11)
- ‘It means a lot to talk about helping various communities and learn about respect.’ (Year 7)
- ‘Being in the Vincent De Paul means that we are in a community and respect each other.’ (Year 7)
- ‘Coming to Saint Vincent De Paul made us have a better connection with God and so that we can have a stronger connection with the St Edmund’s family.’ (Year 7)
- ‘To be able to be in the SVP is a privilege and opportunity, as it teaches us to be loyal, and faithful in our meetings.’ (Year 7)
- ‘I wanted to help people in the community and explore faith further and deepen understanding of God.’ (Year 11)
- ‘We joined so we could come together as a community, so we can grow in faith.’ (Year 7)
Our Rosary Group
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
The three ‘R’s of our Spiritual life are: Refreshing, Reflecting and Rejoicing
The ‘Refreshing’ element is about helping students to learn more about and appreciate the faith. This includes Year 7 retreat, Year 8 retreat, Year 10 retreat/reflection and a staff retreat.
A ‘retreat’ is when we have time away from the school day to stop, reflect and refresh. Spiritual input is included in a reflective and fun way. Students who are part of the Chaplaincy also have times for training and input which enables them to listen to other students and take active roles within the various liturgies and community activities that take place in school. Year 9 have a ‘Vocation Morning’, where a variety of people e.g., priest, sister, married couple, street pastors, police man etc., come into school and share about their life choices.
Our school has a spiritual badge system. There is a set of criteria drawn up for each year group. This criteria ranges from being involved in tutor prayer and masses, various school liturgies, fund raising and local community involvement. Fairtrade and The Saint Vincent De Paul group provide various activities for the students to be involved in. Fund raising for various charities both local and overseas are very much part of making students aware of others. Our school is actively involved in the 'Romero Award' which promotes awareness and activities in the areas of Justice and Peace.
The ‘Reflecting’ aspect includes our daily tutor prayer. Each year group write their own prayer and each tutor group compose their own prayer. These prayers are then put into a booklet for daily use. Assemblies give students and staff extra time to reflect and to participate in sharing how we can be a good community. Tutor Masses enable students to learn about the history, symbolism and the various parts of the Mass. Students then fully participate through reading, singing, dancing, serving and praying together. Reconciliation is part of all our lives and during Lent and Advent staff and students attend a service which is put together by the Chaplain and students in order to reflect and prepare for Easter and Christmas, opportunity is offered after the Service for students to attend Confession. The Rosary is said in the chapel every Tuesday and the Angelus is said every Thursday as well as a weekly Mass on a Friday. Students who are from other faiths use the chapel for prayer and their beliefs are respected and incorporated into the spirituality of the school.
The ‘Rejoicing’ part is experienced through our Christmas pantomime, our Carol Service, St Edmund’s Feast Day, Easter services, year 11 Leavers Mass, Random Acts of Kindness, Education Sunday and our assemblies.