‘For where two or three gather in my name, I am there with them’ Matthew 18:20
Collective worship is part of our daily routine and Catholic ethos.
At the same time, it provides a shared language and set of values, and is integral to the moral and spiritual development of all in our Faith Community. Pupils and staff alike, are given a ‘space’ in which to reflect, as well as the opportunity to support one another in prayer and to develop their sense of compassion, concern and responsibility for each other as well as the wider community; locally, nationally and globally.
Before the school day all staff gather in prayer, and as such we are rooted in and reminded of our purpose and our vocation.
Each school day begins with some form of collective worship, whether it is a senior assembly in our beautiful St Anne’s chapel, a whole school assembly in Priory Hall, or Form Prayers in the Form Room.
All acts of collective worship begin and end with the sign of the cross and will usually also conclude with our school prayer:
‘Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us. Our Holy Father, St Dominic, pray for us and give us the right spirit.’
There is an assembly rota for both the Senior and Prep Departments. Assemblies are led by Staff; principally The Head, The Deputy Head, The RE Teacher, or by pupils.
It is the responsibility of the Form Leader to create a rota for the Form Prayers.
Pupils are encouraged to prepare well for both pupil led assemblies or class prayers and should seek advice from members of staff if required.
Form prayers always begin with the lighting of a candle (possibly reflective music too) to create a sacred space.
At the heart of our school is the Mass and we are very privileged to have direct access to The Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Dominic as well as the services of Parish Priest Fr Gerald Doyle. Fr Doyle says mass for us at the beginning and end of the academic year as well as at the times of important liturgical feasts and Holy Days of Obligation. For some masses we join with staff and pupils of St Dominic’s Primary school; most of our masses are open to all members of the parish; all of our masses are open to parents, guardians and friends.
We have a small team of willing altar servers who support Father Doyle at each mass, as well as pupils who regularly take on the responsibility of the offertory and a group of competent youngsters for both the readings and the bidding prayers.
We also have an accomplished choir to support the liturgy and all pupils and staff are encouraged to join in with the hymns and sung responses.
‘He who sings prays twice.’ St Augustine
All masses are indicated clearly on the school calendar.
Members of our school regularly attend the North Staffordshire Combined Schools’ Mass, held at St Gregory’s, Longton, in October each year.
In addition to the Mass and daily collective worship, we gather as a community to celebrate the Incarnation with our annual Festival of Carols and Readings, and to reflect on Christ’s Passion with our annual Stations of the Cross service.
There is further opportunity for a more ‘youth centred’ collective worship when pupils attend the nearby Catholic retreat centre, Alton Castle/Soli House. (Day retreats annually for pupils in Yr 6 and 7, residential retreats biennially for Yr 9 and 10)