This academic year, we are emerging from the many necessary restrictions and there is a sense of returning to a familiar pace in school. Throughout the pandemic, the work of chaplaincy has continued with chapel groups meeting online and support offered by email and phone. Each day staff and pupils were able to access prayers to pray alone or together in forms and the chapel has remained a welcoming, open space in school, available to all. In September it was a joy to return to the chapel and I have been encouraged by the many pupils who have walked through the door offering their gifts and talents to continue the work of chaplaincy in our FCJ School.
I have noticed that students share a thirst to reach out and help others. Our foundress, Marie Madeleine felt this thirst herself profoundly in 1816 when praying before a crucifix; she heard the words ‘I thirst’, and from this moment she answered this call from God to respond to the needs of the world. Over 200 years later our students continue to embody the energy of Marie Madeleine and are shining examples of our values of companionship, dignity, excellence, justice, hope and gentleness.
I am pleased to introduce our two new year 7 chapel assistants; Neve Hilland and Evie Turner (top photo) who are setting an excellent example as young FCJ leaders, their enthusiasm has helped to renew and invigorate chaplaincy this year. They are currently working on a project to raise money for the Owen McVeigh Foundation, a cause close to Evie’s heart.
Our Year 7’s have continued the tradition of joining FCJ Group and we have a wonderful group of young people enjoying the sessions that are offered at lunchtime. They particularly enjoy craft with Miss McCarthy and have made Advent lanterns, poppies for Remembrance Day and prayer boxes. Prayer sessions with Sr MaryAnne fcJ and Mrs Henry give us all an opportunity to pray for the needs of our world. Miss Rowlands has led us in responding to current issues such as the Church Synod and Environmental Justice.
Finally, it is exciting that the chaplaincy has been able to support a number of new initiatives in the life of the school, that respond to the dignity of our young people and allow our young people to work for justice. The LGBTQ+ group provides a safe inclusive space for our young people. Also, we have started a Live Simply Group so that we can continue to find new ways to care for the environment in school and promote sustainability.
We are excited about our new developments in chaplaincy and I look forward to bringing more news in future from our groups.