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Prayer and Liturgy

Liturgy, Liturgical Prayer, and Prayer form a continuum with a celebration of Mass on a Solemnity of the Church (e.g., Ascension of the Lord) at one end and silent meditation at the other. Of course, there are areas of overlap between the categories. The word ‘Worship’ is not  used to denote a distinct category in the Prayer and Liturgy Directory. In Catholic terminology ‘worship’ is not generally used to name and describe a distinct type of prayer or event. Worship is about living our lives in a way that recognises that everything we have is a gift from God and that everything we do should give glory to God. That, of course, does include prayer but the scope is broader. With that understanding of worship it will be seen that the purpose of education in a Catholic school is to know and love Christ and to open the vision and imagination of pupils to the wonder of living in God’s world, and the responsibilities that follow from this.

Prayer and Liturgy Directory 2022

Celebration of The Eucharist

The celebration of the Mass is at the heart of Catholic life and worship. By this sacramental act we fulfil the command of the Lord Jesus to celebrate the Eucharist in memory of Him. The mystery of His saving death and resurrection is made present for us as the living Lord speaks through the Scriptures and gives Himself in the bread that becomes His Body and the wine that becomes His Blood. The purpose of every school Mass is to unite all present more closely to Christ, to deepen their love for him and for others. All children participate in the celebration of the Eucharist at school and at St Joseph’s Church. It is fundamental to the spiritual life of the school.

Bishop's Mass

Prayer

To pray is to communicate with God or the Saints, our faith, our love and our wants. So we can say that prayer is communication. As children progress up the school we encourage the children to prepare and organise their own class prayers and liturgies (under the direction or with the support of the class teacher if required).

Lay Liturgical Ministry- Children

The principles of active and conscious participation in the liturgy are important for Masses celebrated with children. Everyone at St. Joseph’s is invited to participate spiritually and prayerfully. Silence also has an important place and a value in enabling participation.

Children take part in a series of progressive training to take up different specific roles, as appropriate, during the celebration – for example, serving, singing and music, reading, praying, and bringing up the gifts of bread and wine.  Our older children play a vital role in training up the younger children to take on such ministries. 

Liturgical Prayer

Liturgical prayer at St Joseph’s follows the pattern or a variation of the pattern

Gathering- how we come together, the setting, the environment (quiet/ reflective,music, lighted candles, statues, sign of the cross, focus and examination of conscience etc);

Word - a reading from the Scriptures (or another suitable source), breaking the word, time to reflect on this and prayers to fit into the theme;

Action - a ritual movement that everyone can join in with that fits with the theme (gestures such as shaking hands, holding hands, lighting a candle, prayers, responses to prayers, etc);

Mission - the sending out from the celebration, giving the children something to hold onto from the experience of the liturgy that they can take into their daily lives.

To Help you Pray

Prayer is communication.
It can be spoken or silent. It can be a song or a story. It can be a picture or a dance.

Prayer can be done as often as you like.
Every week. Every day. Every hour.

Prayer can be done however you want.
There’s no right or wrong way to pray.

Prayer can be shared, but doesn’t have to be.
It can be done alone or with a favourite toy. It can be done with friends, family or pets.

Prayer can be done anywhere.
It can be done in your room or at the kitchen table. It can be done out in the playground, at the park or even at the zoo.

Prayer can be done in any mood.
You can be happy, sad, angry, scared or confused when you pray.

Prayer can be for yourself or someone else.
If you know someone who could use a little help — add them to your prayers.

Prayer doesn’t need a certain structure, length or specific words.
Whatever words you use, long or short, however your prayer comes out is fine.

Prayer doesn’t need a special occasion.
There are certain prayers appropriate to special occasions but you don’t need to wait for a special time to pray.

Prayer doesn’t have to be a request.
It can also be used to give thanks for what you have already received. “Thank you,” is a perfect prayer.

If you would like a copy of our school Prayer Book please click on the link below:

Prayer Book

Feast of The Epiphany/Mass at the beginning of term

Father Robin Farrow celebrated our first Mass of the new term, which was celebrated on The Feast of the Epiphany (Holy Day of Obligation).  This was a wonderful opportunity to come together as a whole-school family.  Our RE Champions led the reading of scripture and prayers of intercession.  

Christmas Celebration

On our final day, before Christmas, we gathered together as a school family to hear the Christmas Story.  This was done using scripture, prayers and liturgical dance performed by dance club.  Perhaps a moment of reflection was when our older children shephered our youngest children to the crib and sharing this story with them.  

Liturgical Dance 

Year 5 and 6 Mass at the Parish Church

On Thursday the 29th November, the Year 5 and 6 children walked to our Parish Church to celebrate Mass.  Mass was said in Latin, with Fr. Anthony repeating it in English.  The children and staff and parents that accompanied them to St. Joseph's, Aldershot, enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate Mass in this way.  The RE Champions read the readings and said the bidding prayers with others taking the offertory and being altar servers.  Attending Mass, gave everyone the time to reflect on this period of Advent and what it means in our lives today, helping us to get ready for the Coming of Jesus.

 

Advent Liturgies 2022

Parents were invited to come and adore Jesus through exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Fr Anthony led the adoration and benediction and parents as well as children enjoyed the time to be calm and appreciate Advent for what it really stands for.  Parents comments were –‘I wish we could stay longer it was soo peaceful and reflective.’

Parents had the opportunity to take away cards that the children had made.  Some of them read:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. John 14:27

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” Matthew 5:9.

Peace begins with a smile.  Mother Teresa

‘If you want to bring peace to the whole world, go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

Early Years Welcome Mass

To welcome new parents to our school, Fr Anthony led Mass with the help of our RE champions. Parents were welcomed and were given prayer books to help their children say their prayers at home as well as a guardian angel key ring and a prayer card to help the reception children on their faith journey. The children were absolutely brilliant - both the little ones and the bigger ones! Well done! 

 

Rich Catholic Traditions - relics

We had a very special visit from Fr Anthony this week as he joined us in the Well to talk to Year 6 about one of our rich Catholic traditions - relics. He spoke about why we have them and how we ask these saints to intercede on our behalf to God. 

This tied in with our catholicity of praying with relics that happened in our mother church - St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth. 

Some of the relics the children looked at were:      

                                                        St. Cordelia 

                                                        St. Fortunata

                                                        St. Cecilia

 

Start of Term Mass 22.09.2022

All Hallows Students Led Liturgy

In preparation for the transition from Year 2 to Year 3, our feeder school, All Hallows led a liturgy based on facing new challenges and how these new  beginnings can be difficult to embrace but it can be the start of some great opportunities and adventures. Lauren, Charlie and Grace offered up bidding prayers asking God to help the children to be courageous as they move from the Infants to the Juniors. Anna and Jessica were brilliant at helping out too! They did a great job planning and carrying out the liturgy and our children really appreciated their efforts and kind considerations. 

Year 6 Leaver's Mass

Our last Mass of the year was outside and for the first time in a long time, we had our whole Catholic family together to celebrate the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, whilst saying goodbye to our beloved Year 6s and staff who were leaving.  Fr Anthony led a beautiful mass and blessed all the leavers with holy water. The Y6 children were also presented with a leather-bound prayer book.  We will miss them and wish them luck with their future sucesses.

Yr3 Corpus Christi Procession

To celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi we processed around our local area, sprinkling rose petals and singing ‘Oh Sacrament Most Holy.’  Afterwards Fr Anthony led the children in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  This was helping the children to understand one of our rich Catholic traditions, whilst also ensuring that the children know how important it is to evangelise and be a witness to our faith. The children were able to bear witness to their faith whilst showing them the importance of evangelisation.  

Yr 5 & 6 Corpus Christi Procession and Mass - 16.06.2022

The Feast of Corpus Christi is such a joyful ocassion, we used the opportunity to process to our local church, St. Joseph's.  Year 5 & 6 made beautiful banners so that residents along the way to church would know what we were doing and why we were doing it.  The children learnt the importance of evangalisation whilst showing that they were bearing witness to our faith.  Mass was led by Fr Anthony and Deacon Kim and it was a delight to be able to celebrate mass in our affiliated church.

Spiritual Garden Revamp

It was hot. It was a mess! However, to the rescue came children from our feeder school, All Hallows. They cleaned the wood and painted everything in sight. They were a tremendous help and on hand was our Director, Mrs McLaren! Good job people!

Annual School Mass

For the Annual Schools' Mass, we went to the mother church, St John's Cathedral, Portsmouth.  Some children brought gifts for Bishop Philip who thoroughly enjoyed meeting the children.  He led an inspring mass about the importance of symbols and how we can recognise them in our faith.  Afterwords, Deacon Craig led us in a tour around the Cathedral which celebrated its 140th year this year.  Our RE Director, Mrs McLaren, helped out by looking after the children and ensuring that we had a wonderful day.  Later, we ate icecreams in the park!

Marian Procession

In the month of May, we remember Our Lady and the special sacrifice that she did for us. To commemorate this and celebrate this, we went on a Marian Procession so that our local residents would remember why this month is very important to Our Lady as we remember her and the gift of the Rosary.  The children enjoyed this procession as one of our rich Catholic traditions as they offered up their intentions by saying the Rosary.

Bible Exhibition

Some pupils from Year 5 were lucky to go and view a Bible exhibition in Aldershot.  It was based on the first five books of the Bible and the children got to learn quite a lot about the Jewish faith.  They enjoyed their time learning about another faith that is so closely related to our faith.

An Audience with Fr. Anthony

After Early Years children received their ashes on Ash Wednesday, Fr. Anthony stayed to chat to the children about who he is, what his job is and why they got their ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.  He then went on to explain why the cross is so important in our faith and why we bless ourselves in this shape. Fr. Anthony explained to the children that by blessing ourselves we are clothing ourselves in Jesus’ love. It was wonderful that the youngest of our children had this opportunity to ask Fr. Anthony any question they wished whilst they were learning about the basics of our rich traditions. All involved had a wonderful time! 

Holy Communion Celebration

Lots of children in Years 3 and 4 made their Holy Communion across many parishes. However we celebrated it by having a special assembly and giving the children candle holders that they decorated and blessed St. Joseph’s key rings. 

Ash Wednesday 2022

To prepare our souls for the season of Lent, Fr Anthony came to school and burnt the blessed Palm Crosses that we would be putting on our head to mark Ash Wednesday.  The children enjoyed learning about where the ashes come from.  The following day, the children were led in a special liturgy to mark the start of Lent and receive the crosses on their forehead.  Even the babies in pre-school got ashes on their forehead.  This is an important way that we evangelise and bear witness to our faith.

Spiritual Life

St Joseph’s is privileged to have a spiritual room set apart for class liturgies, prayer and reflection.  At the heart of “The Well” is the tabernacle where Jesus is truly present at the heart of our school in the Blessed Sacrament – the Eucharist – made present for us at every Mass. Within ‘The Well’ we build upon the spiritual life of the school and are conscious of the spiritual needs of both staff and pupils and endeavour to make Christ present for everyone.  “The Well” as a sacred space is used by children from our Crèche, Pre-school and all year groups.  Once a month, staff have a short Reflection and Prayer Service which enables them to build upon their own prayer life, often in the context of Eucharistic Adoration. All children in the school experience Eucharistic Adoration within their Advent and Lent Liturgies and at other times. Holy Mass is celebrated several times during the school year and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is made available during Advent and Lent for children in Year 4 and above.

The atmosphere within ‘The Well’ is of a sacred space, often with sacred music playing softly and it is in this atmosphere that the children come to learn about our Catholic faith, the Liturgical Year of the Church, God’s Word and the people of God.  They listen to stories about Jesus’ life, His ministry and His teachings, they explore and discuss stories about His miracles, and of the greatest commandment he left us with, ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. 

Tour of The Abbey in Farnborough that holds the national shrine of St. Joseph. Abbot Cuthbert greeted us and led us on the tour. Edmund Adamus from the Portsmouth Diocese joined us on this memorable day. Deacon Craig let a candle and placed it on the altar for the intentions of all the boys, girls and staff of St. Joseph.

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