At the end of last term we were incredibly busy in Chaplaincy with so much going on however, two events ion particular were incredibly important in the formation of our students and those pupils who we hope will join us at St Gregory’s one day.
Primary School Chaplaincy Training Day
The first of two events was the ‘Primary Chaplaincy Training Day’ where we welcomed the new members of student Chaplaincy teams from many of our feeder Catholic primary schools to take part in a day of training for their important roles.
It was a pleasure to work with so many enthusiastic young people keen to be leaders of faith in their communities. It was also the perfect opportunity for some of our students, who have been a part of Chaplaincy groups for a number of years, to share their expertise and inspire a younger generation. Thomas, Maddy, Maddie, Anusha and Megha were a great help and we’re very proud of their contribution.
One part of the day involved students creating a display of artwork that could be put up and have a message in or around school. They only had 20 minutes and a handful of scratch boards. What they came up with to commemorate October, the month of the Rosary, was quite amazing and can be seen as the main picture for this article.
Year 7 Retreats: “God has chosen you as his own special people.” (Col 3:12)
The second event was our annual ‘Year 7 Retreats’ which took place at nearby Sulis Manor before concluding back in the school hall. The theme for the day was “God has chosen you as his own special people” (Col 3:12).
We began our day in prayer looking at the point of a retreat before introducing the theme and how we are all a part of the St Gregory’s larger family. We then spent a while building up excitement with some high-energy games before splitting into groups for a morning of workshops. Each of the morning’s workshops explored the retreat theme by delving a little deeper into what it meant to be a part of a bigger community and how our unique personalities and nature bring something special to the table. Our first workshop encouraged students to aim for the stars, to recognise that they were each individually created by God and called by name. They created stars which are being displayed in and around the school. The second workshop looked at some of the situations and challenges that arise during secondary school. Students created short dramas based around scenarios to reflect on our responses and how we can treat everyone with respect in the Christian way.
Our third workshop encouraged our students to explore ‘the treasure in our hearts’ (Matthew 6:21). After discussing what they considered to be the treasures of life, they then wrote themselves a letter which will be handed back to them on the final day of Year 11 in 2023. In those letters they wrote all about the people and things that they saw as important to who they were, as well as what their dreams for the future entailed. The letters will be sealed and stored in a chest in the Chapel over the coming years so that in the heart of our school is the heart of our young people.
We finished each retreat day with a celebration, Mass or liturgy, to bring together everything we had reflected upon. After writing their letters earlier in the day, they received one in return based on the words of God from scripture full of promises for humanity. We ended by singing loudly the words of an upbeat hill-song tune, ‘You are alive in us’. We pray that our Year 7 students take these words to heart and truly believe them about one another for the next five years.