The first task in life is this: prayer. But not the prayer of words, like a parrot; the prayer of the heart: gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord.Pope Francis
At St Catherine’s, prayer and worship are an integral part of our daily life. We pray together as a part of our class routine, we have weekly child-led collective worship, gather as a whole school for Mass and also have class Masses and liturgies.
We begin and end each day with a prayer, and also come together to thank God before and after meals. Our prayers take the form of traditional prayers such as the Our Father, but also modern, child-friendly sung Grace. At the end of every prayer, we ask for the intercession of the Saints as we say, ‘St Catherine of Siena, [name of class saint] and Saint Michael pray for us.’
Please see our St Catherine of Siena school prayers:
Last year we completed a major school project, one that has been part of our school Vision for many years – the creation of a school Chapel. In keeping with our commitment to sustainability, our Chapel is made from mainly recycled materials, and was entirely built by the school staff – everyone played a part, Head, SLT, Teachers, TAs, Office Staff and crucially our Handyman Keith and Premises Manager Eileen. It was an absolute labour of love.
Ours is not a traditional Chapel – it was designed to be an inviting, warm sanctuary, with a focus on sensory calm. It is our sacred space and is valued by every member of our school community. As well as holding class worship there, it is open for daily personal prayer, led by our Friends in Faith. We also use it as a safe space where pupils can be alone with Christ.
As a staff, we have held morning briefings together in the Chapel, Governing Body prayer as well as using it as a place for us to go when we need our own spiritual nourishment.
The Chapel was blessed by Bishop Paul McAleenan on the retirement of our long-serving and much treasured Assistant Head and Religious Education Coordinator, Catherine Wildey. The Catherine Wildey Chapel is dedicated to her as her legacy, and in tribute to her contribution to the school over 20 years.
Every week a class leads the whole school and parents in a collective worship. While supported by the class teacher, this is a class-led worship. On special occasions throughout the liturgical year, our Friends in Faith also lead assemblies and worship.
The marvel of Creation is one of the most powerful ways in which children encounter God. We try to include awe and wonder in our outdoor learning. Pupils say our Forest School Prayer before every session and we take time to utilise our Prayer Garden for outdoor worship.
Each year group attends Friday Mass in our Lady and St Michael’s Church, on a rota basis. The children write the Bidding Prayers and do all readings. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to join with our parish community, and for our pupils to experience the richness of Mass celebrated in Church.
Holy Days of Obligation, as well as other important liturgical events are celebrated either in school, or at Our Lady and St Michael’s Church. We are blessed that Father Terkura and other members of the clergy are able to lead us during these occasions.