Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!”
(Pope Francis, Christus Vivit)
Miss R Wall
As the chaplain of Notre Dame Catholic College it is my privilege to try to offer the sense of hope that Pope Francis speaks of to all the young people and staff at our school.
Chaplaincy plays a vital role in the life of every Catholic school: it offers answers to big questions of life; it offers fellowship and friendship; it allows each person to reflect on their own unique call from God and it allows us to deepen our relationship with God.
In my life, I try and offer a Gospel witness to those I meet and the passage of scripture I find useful for me and I base our school’s model of chaplaincy on is The Beatitudes:
“Happy are you poor; the Kingdom of God is yours! Happy are you who are hungry now; you will be filled! Happy are you who weep now; you will laugh!” (Luke 6:20-22)
At Notre Dame Catholic College we encourage everyone in our school community to similarly follow Jesus’ instructions found in The Beatitudes
There are so many people living in poverty today. But there are also so many living in spiritual poverty; hungry for more in their life. St Augustine said ‘the heart is restless until it rests in God’. Young people can find themselves restless as they hunger for God.
At Notre Dame we try to satisfy that hunger with our times of collective worship and year group assemblies. We have regular celebrations of Mass and liturgies through the year. The chapel is well used for times of prayer and reflection and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
We support our students to experience their faith in different cultures and communities through times of pilgrimage to Lourdes, places associated with St Julie, and other places of pilgrimage.
As well as spiritual hunger we know so many across the world are physically hungry and are disadvantaged in different ways. Here at Notre Dame we try to live out our Gospel values and put our faith into action in the local community and through global charities.
We invite young people to be part of the national Faith in Action scheme where they can gain an award for the number of credits in a year they offer in service to the community. Our Eco Club meet weekly to participate in meaningful and enjoyable environmental projects and activities. We support various charities such as CAFOD, MIND, Mary’s Meals and local charities such as Nugent and The Whitechapel Centre.
We use the liturgical seasons of Lent and Advent to launch campaigns such as those on the environment and to reflect on displaced refugees and asylum seekers.
Of course, faith should always be life affirming and joy giving. As Pope Francis says above, we should be people of hope.
With chaplaincy we try to welcome all people and give staff and students a sense of fellowship and community. We have a growing group of young people willing to take a lead in the faith journey of the school community through the Cafod Young Leaders Scheme.
And this faith journey is complemented and supported through our Charity Club.
Young people and staff share in the lives and of each other with a spirit of faith, fun, friendship and fellowship.