Chaplaincy at Cardinal Allen is absolutely fundamental to the life and wellbeing of the school community. It contributes towards the development of the school as a Christian community by the spiritual and pastoral care of students, staff and families. We are fortunate at Cardinal Allen to have an full-time Chaplaincy Coordinator in addition to the support of our Deanery Priests and Deacons, whose role it is to plan and lead the liturgical life of the school community. The Chaplaincy team is here to share and celebrate in the joys of life and the Gospel, but also to support our community in times of need.
Prayer, liturgy and collective worship
Prayer, liturgy and collective worship are a central and continuing part of our Catholic faith and identity. Each member of the school community is unique in terms of his or her spiritual needs, faith development, interests and motivation, and as a school we are committed to ensure everyone has the opportunity to know, love and serve God in their own unique way. An important way to do this is through prayer and each member of our community is encouraged to pray every day. The school day begins and ends with the Sign of the Cross, with prayers said during Form Time and in Hall and Chapel Assemblies, where pupils are encouraged to write their own prayers and lead their peers in worship.
There are several occasions in the year when the whole school gathers together to pray, including Christmas, Easter and Welcome / Leavers’ Masses. We also have Mass every Friday morning before school to which staff, pupils and the local community are welcome, and every form will come together once a year for their own special Mass. These small-scale celebrations take place in The Chapel, which sits at the heart of the school surrounded by a beautiful garden. It is a natural centre for celebrations and, at other times, for many of the school community it is a quiet haven. Each year we offer the opportunity to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation in addition to providing important support to the Confirmation programmes run by the Deanery parishes.
Out of school experiences
Opportunities may differ from year to year but rest assured that there will be the chance to experience activities out of school in order to enrich the spiritual development of our pupils. There are opportunities in Year 9 and again in Year 11 to visit Castlerigg Manor, the Diocesan residential youth centre in Keswick for a retreat. In recent years, Year 9 have travelled up for an activity weekend and for many years Year 11 have a week-long stay to explore their spirituality through art, music, group activities, team building, walks, prayer and reflection. These retreats always prove popular with our pupils, offer valuable “time out” to reflect and grow, and always stand out as one of the most memorable aspects of school life.
The Castlerigg team have also supported our new Year 7 pupils, offering them a chance to settle in, to get to know their peers and think about what life at Cardinal Allen will be like and how they can make the most of their time here. These activities culminate in the Year 7 Mass of Welcome, at which pupils and their families come together to celebrate the Mass as a year group for the first time.
At Cardinal Allen, we acknowledge that we are part of a wider community and are keen to foster and develop links between our local schools and Parishes. Our Chaplaincy groups enjoy visiting our Parishes Advent Service which moves between Parishes each year and we celebrate Youth Sunday in one of our local Parishes on the Feast of Christ the King. We invite members of our local community to join us for Mass each Friday morning, and are keen to support the life of our local schools and parishes in any way that we can.and partner primary schools to deliver assemblies and workshops. We have a leading role in the Deanery.