Spiritual Life of Our School
St Catherine’s is a community that works together to create a place where students grow in awareness that every one of us is loved by God and precious in his eyes. Discovering and deepening personal vocation is supported by being a praying community. We support our students to find different ways that will enable them to share God’s love with others.
The liturgical calendar supports this commitment throughout the school year. Induction to the school in Year 7 begins with the assurance that "You are loved" in a Special Mass of welcome. Parents and carers join our students for this Mass of Welcome. Within their first term at St Catherine’s Year 7 enjoy a day of retreat, allowing a day of prayer and reflection. The retreat also provides a special opportunity for them to get to know the other members of their form and their form tutor.
On the Feast of All Saints, the whole school gathers for Mass and all are invited to embrace their personal vocation. We are encouraged to become the saints what Pope Francis calls ‘the saints next door’. In all masses we celebrate scripture and faith using our gifts and talents in music, dance, signing and other creative expression.
Advent is signposted with the Advent wreath and a purple cloth over the Cross in our dining hall. Through assemblies and form time prayer, we allow time to centre ourselves on Christ, to prepare for his ‘coming’ at Christmas. We are particularly inspired by Mary's example at this time in her generous response in bringing Christ into the world. During the Christmas liturgy, students are reminded that they are deeply loved and called to become transform the world.
In the Spring term, the Chaplain nurtures seventy Year 10 students as they start their formation programme as Prayer Leaders. They are encouraged to explore God’s call for them and are invited to attend a Prayer Leader retreat at Kintbury or attend the Flame Conference at Wembley. Prayer Leaders are also invited to enrol for the Faith in Action Award Silver Level which is offered by CYMFED. This formation supports them to pray with younger students in our school community. Prayer leaders are an essential support and inspiration for form time prayer.
All Year 8 students have the opportunity to visit Aylesford for a day of retreat which focusses on and celebrates God's faithful and unconditional love. Every year, our students express their enjoyment and appreciation of this opportunity.
The development of prayer and meditation is supported by the opportunity for different year groups to visit the chapel during an R.E lesson. During this time, students experience different forms of prayer and reflection. Teaching students to appreciate silence and prayer supports and deepens their faith development.
Throughout the liturgical year we invite our whole community to join with us through the weekly prayer and reflection in our weekly newsletter, Contact. We also provide times for staff to pray in our staff meetings, through Lectio Divina before school and in our masses in the chapel where students and staff come together to pray and celebrate the Eucharist.