At Our Lady Immaculate School, Jesus Christ remains central to every aspect of school life. We aim to be a living, loving and sacramental community which is in inspired by the life of Christ and the teachings of the Church, rooted in Gospel values and our Virtues to live by. We hope that from the minute you enter our school you clearly see and feel that we are a Catholic community.
Acts of prayer and liturgy may take place at any time during the day. It may take the form of a single act of prayer with the whole school community or separate acts of prayer in school/class groups. In our school there is no confusion between prayer and liturgy and celebration of the word during assemblies. When we gather for prayer and liturgy we focus on the Word of God, we use symbol and ritual and we are open to God’s presence among us. Prayer and liturgy is not designated curriculum time under regulations and will not be subsumed under any part of the curriculum including RE.
Prayer and liturgy in our school is an integral part of our ethos, aims and relationships, as Christian values permeate all aspects of school life and all relationships. It is a way of deepening our relationship with God together and individually. Through the many forms this worship takes we grow in spiritual, moral and liturgical understanding. We allow ourselves to grow in understanding of our living faith tradition and then develop a sense of wonder and inspiration in the person of Christ. It is through prayer and liturgy that we share each other’s faith experiences and learn the skills of prayer and reflection. This is a very important aspect of life in Our Lady Immaculate.
We aim to:
- To develop an awareness and understanding of the presence of God in each individual child’s life and to encourage a personal response to that presence
- To allow each child to develop their conscience and make sound moral judgements based on commitment to following Christ
- To offer opportunities to deepen their faith and foster attitudes of care and respect for each other
- To live, experience and understand the Liturgical life of the Church through the Liturgical Year together with Solemnities and Feast days
- To promote sacramental life of Christian families and to encourage parents to take an active part in the preparation of their children for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion.
- To foster school-parish links to ensure that our children remain exposed and committed to the Catholic faith experiencing prayer and liturgy beyond the realms of the school curriculum
- To enable each child to participate and respond to prayer and liturgy in an appropriate way to their age and maturity.
PRAYER AND LITURGY IN OUR SCHOOL
The Parish Priest works closely with the Headteacher and RE Coordinator to ensure a cohesive response to the development of child and staff spirituality.
Prayer and liturgy takes place in school daily, staff and pupils are encouraged to pray with thoughtfulness and with respect through a variety of prayer experiences – whole school Masses and liturgies, celebration of the word during assemblies and prayer services together with formal classroom and individual reflective prayer. This will follow the liturgical year and include appropriate feast days, it will also encompass Gospel Virtues, British values, world events and world faiths to enable pupils to appreciate their place in society and respect those around them.
Celebration of the Word – Class Assemblies
Each class takes it in turns to lead an assembly based on the topic they have been studying during Come and See. Parents are invited to join their children as they celebrate their work through celebration of the word, prayer, song, dance and drama.
The school provides the children with a leaflet called the ‘Wednesday Word’ which can be read online with their family. The children listen to the Gospel from the coming Sunday within class and become familiar with the meaning as well as reflecting upon the Wednesday ‘word’ for the week.
MARK 10 MISSION
Every week children have an opportunity to hear the Word of God through the Mark 10 Mission resources. Mark 10 Mission liturgies bring children together to hear the Gospel, pray and worship.
Gathering together with children to spend time with Mary, Mother of God, our Mother,
is a great source of joy, inspiration and peace. We share that our faith is a living
relationship with God and that, like any other relationship, it requires communication to
remain healthy. We achieve this through prayer. We create a sense of sacred space by inviting the children to focus on the presence of God. We encourage the children to develop a strong, enduring and growing relationship with God.
At Our Lady Immaculate, we are very fortunate to have the support of the members of
the Legion of Mary. They come in once a week to pray the Rosary with the children.
Each half term pupils participate in class meditation led by the class teacher. At appropriate level each class experiences prayerful reflections, including silent contemplation, to develop their own spirituality and private prayer. Pupils are encouraged to share their own thoughts and prayers through open prayer.
PRAYER FOCUS AREAS
As well as having our parish Church next door which pupils use for prayer and liturgy on a regular basis, we have dedicated prayer areas throughout the school. Each classroom has a prayer focus area to help pupils in their prayer life. This is used in acts of prayer and celebration of the word. It has reminders of liturgical themes and colours; it also contains traditional prayers and RE curriculum foci.
The Chaplaincy Team is designed to give the children more ownership and understanding of this central aspect of their faith. Our group of pupil volunteers work with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher to prepare for, plan and celebrate school liturgies in Church.
They lead morning prayer in each class once a week. They monitor prayer tables in classrooms and the prayer areas around school.
Children in Key Stage 2 are given the opportunity to join our newly developing Mini Vinnies groups. The children have time to examine issues of social justice as primary age members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. They lead fundraising events and community outreach activities i.e. collecting food for the local foodbank. Children who take part in this group are becoming “Vincentians for Life” and developing their active faith through good deeds and prayer.
Each year, Year 5 and 6 visit Walsingham House Retreat Centre as part of their journey of faith.
As part of the Church community the school has strong links with the parish. Pupils and staff join the parish for regular Masses as well as parish celebrations. Pupils are encouraged to become part of parish life through activities like Children’s Liturgy led by some of our parents to participating in the choir and Altar serving. Pupils also take part in the parish sacramental preparation.
LINKS WITH PARENTS
Liturgies and celebrations and events related to the Catholic Life of our school are shared in school newsletters and on twitter and are published on the school website. Parents and families are regularly invited to join the school community in Masses, class led celebration of word, and fundraising activities.
Parents of children in Sacramental year groups are also invited to Sacramental Meetings as part of the Sacramental Preparation Programme.
Parents and catechists are involved in preparing the children in Year 3 for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and their First Holy Communion. The Parish Priest regularly visits the children in class to support them on their journey.
Prayer and liturgy enables each child to participate and respond to liturgy and prayer in an appropriate way to their age and maturity. Formal and reflective prayer is used in a variety of ways to suit the needs of our children and allow them to worship in ways in which they feel comfortable. Prayer, liturgy and celebration of the word is planned by and accessible to all children in our school.