“The role of the school chaplain is an essential part of preserving and strengthening the catholicity of our schools. The chaplain is appointed in order to promote the spiritual and human development of all members of the school community.” Diocese of Shrewsbury – A Vision of Catholic Education
As a Catholic school we centre our mission on the person of Jesus Christ and we recognise the Spirit of the Risen Christ present and alive throughout the school community and in all aspects of school life: academic studies, pastoral care, religious life and personal formation. By proclaiming and living out the faith of the Catholic Church, we support each other in shared endeavours of teaching and learning, prayer, worship and charitable works. Our motto, ‘In Omnibus Labora’ comes from St Paul’s letter to Timothy when he encourages all people of faith to work hard in all matters of life and ministry.
St Martin de Tours is the patron saint of chaplains. His conversion came about when he met a beggar on the road and was moved to offer half of his cloak to the man. In a dream, he was shown that the beggar was, in fact, Jesus and that his actions had fulfilled the words of scripture, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40). St Martin’s ministry became one of sharing his life with others through reconciliation and charity.
Chaplaincy is about drawing on this example, ‘accompanying’ all members of the community, working with them and ‘inviting’ them to a fuller life in Christ, ‘going with them’ to where they are going and ‘challenging’ them to live the best lives they can. We recognise that young people today will not be fulfilled in their faith unless they are encouraged to develop a personal relationship with Christ.
The three main roles of the Lay Chaplain can be identified as liturgical, prophetic and pastoral.
Liturgical life is an integral part of our life as a Catholic community and should always be given the time and resources to be as reflective and meaningful an experience as possible. It is about awakening a thirst for and contributing to spirituality and prayer.
The Lay Chaplain is called to inspire and support the school community in promoting what is distinctive about Catholic education and why it is a radical alternative to state education. The Lay Chaplain seeks to make a reality that God lives in each of us and that we encounter him each day in the ordinary, everyday happenings of school life.
Pastoral care is a response to every child as a whole person with specific needs, a unique story and God-given dignity. Therefore pastoral care is at the heart of the ministry of the Lay Chaplain. The Lay Chaplain works alongside other pastoral staff in the school so that she is seen as one type of referral among many that can be made for a student. She has a caring, supportive and affirmative role in relation to staff, students and parents and is one of the builders of an environment in the school that personifies the Gospel values of love, care and compassion, trust, honesty and forgiveness.