Chaplaincy at St Bede’s is about expressing faith through both prayer and action. Our aim is to encourage pupils in discovering their faith, support them in engaging with their faith by putting it into action, and finally, to equip them with the means to be disciples in their communities, responding to Christ’s call to ‘spread the good news’. All chaplaincy activities are supported by Fr Tom Finnegan, our college Chaplain, our Lay Chaplain and Faculty staff.
The Eucharist is at the heart of our worship and weekly Mass is celebrated by Father Tom. The liturgy is prepared each week by a different class from years 7, 8 and 9, and pupils play an active role through readings, bidding prayers and the offertory procession. In addition, Year 7 and 8 classes have the opportunity to celebrate a class Mass with Father Tom or clergy from our parishes, where they can incorporate music, dance, drama, and art into the celebration. Class Masses are followed by an opportunity for pupils to ask a priest questions in a ‘grill-the-priest’ session.
The chaplaincy team at St Bede’s provides a number of opportunities for pupils to become more engaged with both their faith, and the faith life of the whole college and local community.
- In Year 7, pupils have the opportunity to attend ‘PathFinders’, a lunchtime club that allows them to discover more about the catholic faith, in a friendly and fun environment. In these sessions we play games, look at stories from the bible, and do activities that convey the Catholic message in a fun and interactive way.
- In Years 8 and 9, pupils have the chance to put their faith into action in a variety of ways. For example, the ‘FaithWorks’ team has weekly meetings at lunchtime to plan sessions and work together to show the love of God in both practical ways and good works. The team has visited local primary schools and local care homes, in addition to taking part in fundraising activities within the college.
- In Year’s 10 and 11, pupils begin to make further connections with their faith life. Year 11 Eucharistic Ministers are commissioned and take part in the weekly Mass and in larger school events, to support clergy in the distribution of Holy Communion. Year 10 pupils, who wish to become Eucharistic Ministers, attend training afternoons, and a retreat, run by Fr Tom to fully understand the significance of the Eucharist in the Mass and in the Catholic faith. They form a vital part of the chaplaincy at St Bede’s and in their parishes.
- There are many opportunities for Sixth Form involvement in Chaplaincy. In collaboration with the Diocese, and CAFOD, they can participate in the CAFOD Young Leadership programme. This programme allows them to become involved in developing, organising and running Awareness and Fund raising events for CAFOD within the college as well as other aspects of the St Bede’s chaplaincy.
- SOULSPACE is another opportunity available to all pupils at particular times in the school year. It affords them a space for quiet contemplation and prayer through the use of interactive and creative prayer stations.
In addition, there is much more opportunity on for pupils to become involved in chaplaincy at St Bede’s. The college is heavily involved in charity work, regularly raising money for CAFOD, the Julian trust and other organisations. A recent innovation to our chaplaincy programme is the provision of workshops designed to make Faith relevant in an ever changing society – the new series is entitled ‘Rooted’ and looks at faith within creativity. In addition to all this, there are many opportunities for retreat experiences throughout the year which vary from 1 day to weekend residential visits to Kintbury and other retreat centres.