The Christian Life of the School
St. Mary's is a Catholic Christian school in which academic excellence and the fulfilment of potential are promoted within the context of a community of faith. There are opportunities for spiritual and moral formation not found in secular schools.
The Chaplaincy at present is based in Claremont House where the former Christian Brothers' Chapel serves as the school chapel. A new prayer room is being prepared and there is space for informal meetings. The Chaplain, Fr Pat Harnett SCJ, has a pastoral and counselling role in the school.
- Celebrates Mass
- Offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Directs retreats and pilgrimages
- Is friend and counsellor to pupils, parents and staff
Worship and Prayer
Whole school masses are celebrated on Holy Days of Obligation and voluntary masses take place twice a week at 8.30 a.m. and are organised by individual forms. The school day begins and ends with prayers in the Form or Tutor group and there are regular weekly assemblies for Lower, Middle and Upper School . Pupils are encouraged to play an active part in the liturgy. During Advent and Lent there is a Service of Reconciliation open to pupils, staff and parents.
Religious Studies and Theology
Religious Studies is a core subject taught throughout the school. In the Lower School the College at present implements its own syllabus, in line with the ‘Curriculum Directory' and the approved diocesan syllabi.
At GCSE all pupils study for the AQA Modular GCSE Syllabus C, taking papers at present in Acts of the Apostles, the Early Church Persecutions and the Papacy in the 20th century. This is supported by a core paper in Old and New Testaments and Principles for Christian Living.
In the Sixth Form, Advanced Level studies is available. The new AS A2 specifications will include study of the Pauline Corpus aspects of New Testament Theology and Christian Theological Trends since 1945, topics include theologies of liberation (South American, black and feminist), exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism. The department has strong links with the University of Manchester and is a host school for the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oxford.
Retreats and Pilgrimages
In the course of each school year there are opportunities for :
- A day retreat for each year group
- A further residential retreat for the Sixth Form at St. Cassian's Centre, Kintbury
- A junior Pilgrimage to Lourdes
- A Sixth-Form Pilgrimage to Lourdes with the HCPT, The Pilgrimage Trust
In the Lent Term there is a full week's College Mission on a sacramental theme, with a team of visiting priests and religious.
Faith in Action
The College's current activities involve pupil groups working with:
- The Christian Brother inner city mission in Grinfield Street
- The Mother Teresa Sisters (Missionaries of Charity) mission in Seel Street
The College's charitable fund-raising and sponsored activities include support for the Christian Brother Missions in West Africa and an ongoing link with a shanty town school in Ecuador. The College has links with Christian Brother missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and opportunities for vacation or ‘gap' voluntary service in those countries are being established.
The RE Department
Head of Department: Patrick G Duffy, BA (Hons) Theol. Mphil, PGCE, SBL
Christine Hearty, BEd
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