AIM & PURPOSE OF COLLECTIVE WORSHIP
At St Joseph’s, 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. We hope that from the minute you enter our school you clearly see and feel that we are a Catholic community.
Acts of worship may take place at any time during the day. It may take the form of a single act of worship with the whole school community or separate acts of worship in school/class groups. In our school there is no confusion between Collective Worship and Assemblies. When we gather for Collective Worship we focus on the Word of God, we use symbol and ritual and we are open to God’s presence among us. Collective Worship is not designated curriculum time under regulations and will not be subsumed under any part of the curriculum including RE.
Collective Worship 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 Collective Worship that we share each other’s faith experiences and learn the skills of prayer and reflection. This is a very important aspect of life at St Joseph’s.
We aim 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
- allow each child to develop their conscience and make sound moral judgements based on commitment to following Christ
- offer opportunities to deepen their faith and foster attitudes of care and respect for each other
- live, experience and understand the Liturgical life of the Church through the Liturgical Year together with Feast days
- 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, Holy Communion and Confirmation
- foster school-parish links to ensure that our children remain exposed and committed to the Catholic faith experiencing liturgy and worship beyond and realms of the school curriculum
- enable each child to participate and respond to liturgy and worship in an appropriate way to their age and maturity
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP IN OUR SCHOOL
The RE Coordinator and Head Teacher ensure a cohesive response to the development of child and staff spirituality.
Collective worship 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, assemblies and prayer services together with formal classroom and individual reflective prayer. This worship will follow the liturgical year and include appropriate feast days, it will also encompass Gospel Virtues, British values, world events and worlds faiths to enable pupils to appreciate their place in society and respect those around them. Nursery experiences classroom prayer and assemblies and, when ready, whole School Mass.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP PREPARATION
Our pupils prepare their own class worship using the Let Us Pray 2gether resources. This takes the form of 5 parts:
Preparation – When, where, who, what? What resources will I need? Create focus. Send invitations.
Gathering – How will we begin / enter – to music? Create an atmosphere of prayer. Use a ‘gathering chant’, come in procession.
Listening – Reading from scriptures. Pause at times for quiet contemplation. Dramatise the readings / Use power point
Responding – What do participants do? Quiet reflection, formal / informal prayer / respond to bidding prayers. Place stone at foot of cross etc.
Go Forth – What will I do to help those present take the message away with them – prayer card, picture, common prayer, action etc.
UNDERSTANDING OF THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR
We ensure that pupils are aware of the Liturgical Calendar and key events in the Church. The symbolism of colours is made clear from the earliest days in our school: purple for penance (seen during advent and Lent), red for Holy Spirit and martyrdom (seen at Pentecost), white, gold for important feasts, green for the ordinary times of the year, blue is associated with Mary.
Some months of the year have special foci. October is the month of the Rosary, November is the month when the Holy Souls (the deceased) are prayed for, May is the month when Mary is especially remembered and June is the month of the Sacred Heart when we remember especially the great love Jesus has for us.
The whole school celebrates Mass together with our parents and parish community on a regular basis, and this is dependent on the liturgical calendar. We also hold special Masses at the beginning and end of the school year. Children play an active part in each Mass, through reading, praying, singing, altar serving and taking part in entrance and offertory processions.
Pupils and their families are also invited to participate in Sacramental Masses at the parish which supports their journey of faith as members of our wider Church Community.
There are two weekly whole-school led by different members of staff, the first of which focuses upon the liturgical year with the relevant liturgy of the word which is supported by the help our RE Ambassadors. The second ‘Celebration’ assembly celebrates the achievements and success of our children’s God-given talents and is supported by the help of our Head Boy and Girl. Key Stage liturgies are also used as a way of reflecting on important Church and RE curriculum themes. Each class lead a liturgical assembly once a year to which parents are invited.
FORMAL AND TRADITIONAL PRAYER
Children are encouraged to develop their individual prayer life through daily participation in our formal prayers such as our school prayer, morning prayer, grace before and after meals and evening prayer. It is important that we enable pupils to participate in community of the Church through learning our traditional Church prayers. Formal prayers, appropriate to the age and maturity of the year group are taught through the RE Strategy, each class teacher a copy of the prayers that their class are expected to learn in each year.