Chaplaincy is part of the beating heart of our school, striving to continually foster the Catholic Life of Holy Cross and opportunities for all students to engage spiritually. Miss Byrne is our Lay School Chaplain and coordinates a lot of chaplaincy provision, which fits in with the school mission as a whole. The vision of chaplaincy at our school is “to support the Catholic life of the school by ever-increasing student participation which aids them to deepen their spiritual life“. We have a beautiful school chapel, “Chapel of the Resurrection” that is open every day and regularly visited by students and staff alike for reflection, personal and group prayer.
“Chaplaincy provision has been enhanced in recent years with the appointment of a lay chaplain who continues to devise effective new ways of engaging pupils in the religious and spiritual life of the school irrespective of their personal faith or belief.”
Denominational Inspection Report, 2018
Whether it’s a mission day, special visiting speakers into school, big celebration assemblies at the end of each term or celebrating our school feast days throughout the year, it is important to us that, as the Catholic Church follows a yearly cycle, with high and low points, our school life has a similar feel, with important events very much a part of the Catholic life of Holy Cross.
There are trips throughout the year organised by our school chaplain and the RE Department, providing our students with lots of enriching opportunities to explore faith in different ways and contexts. Trips include Diocescan Masses at St George’s Cathedral, the Flame Congress at Wembley Arena, the Wintershall “Life of Christ” and “Nativity” productions, and visits to other places of worship.
The Lay School Chaplain oversees an established Student Chaplaincy Team, Ignite, which students have the opportunity to join. The team meets once every fortnight, and plays an important role in school, with the student members able to input ideas & creativity into chaplaincy activities and events, encourage their leadership skills and promote things to their peers. Recently, the team have gathered together their some of their favourite Bible verses to be shared around school during the “Year of The Word” and created daily resources for tutor groups for Advent 2019.
The Ignite Team aim to:
- Ignite good fires (faith)
- Represent God
- Encourage and include
- Come up with new ideas
- Organise events that inspire and encourage faith
- Grow in hope, holiness, faith and love for God
In our varied extra-curricular club programme, there are a number of clubs organised by Miss Byrne, our Lay School Chaplain, and supported by members of the Ignite Team or other students or staff. We have been running Youth Alpha for a few years now, where students have an opportunity to explore big questions of life in a beautiful way, with thought-provoking discussion and fun included. Our Gospel Choir meets every week for fun, lively singing, and often performs or leads singing at key school events and assemblies, along with our other school choirs. There are on-going opportunities for praying in different ways at lunch and break times that vary throughout the year also (for e.g. meditation club in our school chapel).
A number of staff gather once a week in our school chapel for a time of reflection and prayer, as a chance to stop during the busy-ness of the week and come together as a community. Some of our school governors occasionally attend staff prayers as well.
We are part of an established Deanery Chaplaincy Group, which meets a few times per year, with representatives from the secondary and primary schools of the Kingston Deanery. Each year since it was established, the coordinating adults have organised a “Deanery Chaplaincy Day” with the student chaplaincy teams from the respective schools, with a different theme every year.