“All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God” Psalm 86:8-12
Collective Worship at St John Rigby is concerned with giving glory, honour, praise and thanks to God. As a Catholic primary school, our educational purpose is to know and love Christ and to open the vision and imagination of all children to the wonder of living in God’s world, and the responsibilities that follow from this.
As such, Collective Worship is an integral part of our ethos, aims and relationships, with Catholic virtues that permeate all aspects of school life and all relationships. It is a way of deepening our relationship with God together, making space for us all to join together as one, in prayer and celebration of God’s presence in our lives 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 and , as a school community, embrace spiritual growth and reflection; it is through our acts of shared worship, prayer and liturgy that the Catholic identity of our school is shaped and sustained.
Our recent Catholic School's Inspection Report recognised the quality and range of liturgy and prayer provided by the school as 'Outstanding'
Collective Worship aims to provide our children with the opportunity to:
- 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
- To reflect on the values of the Gospels and allow each child to develop their conscience, making sound moral judgements based on commitment to following Christ
- To deepen their faith and foster attitudes of care and respect for each other, developing a community spirit, a common ethos and shared values.
- To live, experience and understand the Liturgical life of the Church through the Liturgical Year together with Solemnities and Feast days of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation
- To foster school-parish links to ensure that our children remain exposed and committed to the Catholic faith experiencing liturgy and worship beyond the school curriculum
- To enable each child to participate and respond to liturgy and worship, as well as plan their own personal contributions to Collective Worship appropriate to their age and maturity.
UNDERSTANDING OF THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR
We ensure that children are aware of the Liturgical Calendar and key events in the Church. The symbolism of colour is made clear from the earliest days in 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 also have a special focus: 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 show gratitude for the mercy and great love of Jesus.
COLLECTIVE WORSHIP AT OUR SCHOOL
Collective worship takes place in school daily; staff and children 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 world faiths to enable to appreciate their place in society and respect those around them.
FORMAL & TRADITIONAL PRAYER
At St John Rigby, we aim to help children value and respect the power of prayer Children are encouraged to develop their individual prayer life through daily participation in our formal prayers; our children pray together at least three times a day: at the beginning of the day, before lunch and at the end of the school day
It is also important that we enable children to participate in our community of the Church through learning our traditional Church prayers, such as The Sign of the Cross, the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory Be (Trinity Prayer). In the months of May and October we have a whole school focus on the Rosary.
Each class has a focus Prayer Bag created by the school. These are taken home and shared so that through examination of text, artefact and prayer the family unit has the opportunity to pray together on a theme familiar to the child. This can also help support the faith and sacramental development of our children.
Prayer Focus Area/Hosanna Room
Each classroom has a prayer focus area which supports children in their prayer life and is used in acts of class worship. It has reminders of liturgical themes and colours as well as class saints, traditional payers and the RE curriculum foci. Children are encouraged to write prayers to add to the prayer box
There is also a Hosanna Room, next to the school hall for children to use outside of curriculum time. This area gives children the opportunity to spend time in private prayer. The Hosanna room is prepared by the School’s Lay Chaplain who supports the children through intentions/prayer box so that family situations, illness, thanksgiving and individual concerns can be expressed and supported.
MASS & LITURGY
In school, Mass and liturgies allow us to come together as a community to celebrate key events within the Church’s liturgical year. Each of the school’s values are made a focus for each half-term with key liturgical events in mind. For example, Hope is a focus for Advent as we recall the hope that God will fulfil the prophecies declared in the Old Testament; Christmas is the feast of Love as ‘ God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son’; Forgiveness is our focus at Lent and is also the time when our Year 3 children are preparing to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time; Trust in the resurrection at Easter bring us peace and strengthens our Faith in God’s love.
Throughout the year we have the joy of celebrating the Sacrament of the Eucharist in school. The Masses are led by our parish priest who comes into school, working with the staff and children in the preparation of these. Our children play an active part in each Mass, through reading, praying, singing, altar serving and taking part in entrance and offertory processions.
The older children and Junior Chaplaincy Team also attend Mass with the parishioners of the local parish church one morning every half-term in order to support their journey of faith as members of our wider Church Community.
To further strengthen links with local parish, families are invited to participate in Sacramental Masses at the parish church at 11 am Sunday Mass, particularly during the weeks of Advent and Lent
In every school term, there are many special liturgies to mark important events and feast days in the Church’s liturgical year. These include: St John Rigby’s Feast Day, All Saints and All Souls and Remembrance Day. The children also participate in The Stations of the Cross, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Each week the school gathers together for a liturgy linked to Sunday’s Gospel Reading. These are led by the Headteacher, Senior Leadership, Chaplaincy or the RE Lead. The liturgies follow a format which is familiar to the children with music, the lighting of a candle, scripture, prayer and hymns. Each act of worship follows the four-fold action of Gathering, Hearing God's Word, Responding to the Word and Being Sent Forward with a Mission to live out God’s Word. .
As a school, we actively seek opportunities for our parents/carers to join us in celebration through whole school Mass, Liturgy and class assemblies.
There are two weekly whole-school assemblies led by different members of staff, the first of which is either whole school or Phase Assemblies and focuses on current themes, events or people, British Values or topics linked to personal, social or cultural learning. The second ‘Celebration’ assembly celebrates the achievements and success of our children’s God-given talents and is supported by the help of our Pupil Leadership Team. During this assembly, children are also celebrated for positive attitudes and behaviour for learning and 'real life' examples of how our school virtues have been ‘lived’ by our children are shared.
Class assemblies are also used as a way of reflecting on important Church and RE curriculum themes, which children are actively involved in the selection of readings, the writing of prayers and leading collective worship. Each class will also lead a liturgical assembly once a year, based on their Class Saint, to which parents will be invited.
PRAISE & WORSHIP
Music is central part of praise and worship within our school and hymns are used in all areas of worship from supporting themes within Masses, liturgies and assemblies, to providing atmosphere and celebration in Gospel acclamations and reflective music in mission contemplation and meditation. The children participate in weekly hymn practices, where they learn Mass responses and sing both traditional and modern hymns, linked to both the liturgical calendar and RE topics within the ‘Come and See’ syllabus.