Prayer, Worship and the C Team
Prayer and Worship
The Chaplaincy at The John Henry Newman School is at the centre of the school community and offers support and nurturing to pupils, students and staff in their mission to become the person God created them to be.
Chaplaincy focuses on two key areas of school life:
Liturgy, prayer and worship
Putting faith into action
Our staff Chaplaincy Team, ordained Chaplain and pupil led ‘C-Teams’ work together to build Christ’s kingdom in our very own school community.
Our students have an integral role to play in the preparation, participation and evaluation of Masses, liturgical worship, services of reconciliation, retreats and acts of prayer and reflection. Through music, readings, liturgical dance and reflection, pupils and students are at the centre of every worship opportunity and we hope to continue the tradition of commissioning more Eucharistic ministers from our student body this year.
Our pupil led C-Teams are proud, proactive and committed to making small acts with great love to change the world, and with over 100 pupils and students being commissioned at our school Feast Day Masses, ideas are shared and developed weekly to live out the example of Christ in both our school, local and overseas communities.
In the midst of the busy school day you will find two areas of sanctuary for all pupils, students and staff. Firstly our Chapel, open every day for all to visit. Frequently booked by individual classes and tutors, years 7 and 8 have a chapel lesson every year and opportunities for reconciliation are offered during Advent and Lent. Our priest chaplain, Fr Philip Law, invites the whole community to Holy Hour, over Friday lunchtime and staff prayer on a Thursday morning is a welcome time of peace and reflection in the middle of the busy week. The second is our Peace Garden which is in the heart of our school. Opened and blessed by Bishop Paul McAleenan, it offers a place of rest, stillness and sanctuary at the heart of our vibrant community.
Moments of stillness can also be found elsewhere in the school. Daily prayer is shared every morning in tutor groups and year group Masses are scheduled in throughout the year. We are fortunate to be supported by our Deanery priests, one each being assigned to every year group, who frequently visit, celebrate Mass with their assigned year and support the Pastoral teams across the school.
To keep up to date with the work of the Chaplaincy, the C-Teams and for all recent liturgical celebration, fundraising and campaigning news please see the weekly section of the Headteacher's newsletter.
Please see here for the Prayer Resources this week.
Over 100 pupils and students were commissioned in our Feast Day Masses by Bishop Paul McAleenan, Fr Norbert Fernandes, Dean of Stevenage and Fr Jimmy Garvey.
JHN Feast Day
Year 7 Friendship Days
For our Year 7’s, a new school means new friends. Just a few weeks into the new academic year, we organise for them to have an opportunity off- site, where they can explore the scriptures and the advice it offers on friendship, led by Sixth Form volunteers. Pupils enjoy a carousel of activities which include learning about their form Saint, team building activities, designing their own Superhero based on Scripture and being introduced to our school charity KISS.
Once again the C-Teams led the school in remembering and showing solidarity with the displaced and the persecuted for #redwednesday. Pupils were encouraged to accessorise their school uniform with items of red to show their support for refugees around the world. Mass was celebrated in our own chapel for all those who cannot and are not allowed to attend and celebrate Mass.
This year’s season of remembrance was marked with the sale of poppies and a poignant remembrance service centred around the theme of peace. Readings, prayers and our reflective musical accompaniment drew members of our school, parish and local community together in prayer and remembrance.
Advent Charity Appeal
For our most recent Advent appeal the school supported local homeless charity Feed Up Warm Up, and saint charity of St Teresa, who operate drop in and reach out initiatives to those without shelter in our local communities of Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth. Each year group were charged with a different category of item to source for the most vulnerable during the winter months. This ranged from soap to socks, and donations were presented to the charity before Christmas.
On Christmas Jumper Day this year we held a 'All things Christmassy Day'. Pupils were asked to make a donation of £2 to wear their christmas jumpers, reindeer antlers, festive socks, ties and yuletide accessories.
This year all monies raised went towards supporting a former student of the JHN School. Lucy Priest left JHN in 2018 having completed her GCSE's and A levels. Whilst taking exams is stressful for the majority of students for Lucy it was made even more challenging due to suffering from anorexia, depression, OCD and anxiety.
Lucy was offered a place at a specialist treatment centre in London named Orri. This treatment is radically different to what Lucy had experienced before and has the possibility of changing her life. Unfortunately Orri is not currently available on the NHS and as a result is expensive. We often say that you never stop being a part of the JHN family and as such this was our chance to provide a life changing opportunity for a member of our community.
Carol Singing for KiSS
Our Music students entertaining patients on the wards of Lister Hospital, only up the road from where they can be found carol singing at Sainsbury’s to fundraise for KiSS during Advent!
At the end of the Advent services Years 8-13 had the opportunity to spend time with the concelebrating priests to receive the sacrament of reconcilliation. Our reflections during the service tied closely into this - for example the interpretation of God's grace through dance was prepared and performed by a number of our Year 8 pupils. Year 7 pupils are given the opportunity throughout the year to meet a priest during school time. Throughout the course of Advent, Year 7 also focused reflections on our wasteful society habits. This culminated in a competiton for the most innovative nativity scene, enabling groups of pupils to work together to create an up-cycled nativity scene made out of recycled materials.
Holocaust Memorial Day
On Holocaust Memorial Day we were invited to attend the Dame Alice Owens School for the county wide event remembering the victims of genocides. This included the Rwandan genocide, and 2 of our Sixth form students, Hope Holliday and Sean McCann, presented a moving account regarding one of the members of our KiSS community who had to flee to Uganda as a result of genocide in their native country. Hope and Sean then had the opportunity to join the other speakers on a day to visit the infamous the Nazi Camp, Auschwitz, in Poland. On their return they shared their experience as part of our Lent service. On Holocaust Memorial Day, we had the privilege of listening to Izzy, a holocaust survivor, (pictured centre) and shared his inspiring life story and wisdom, including his relationship with God.
Our Wider Community
Throughout the year, we work hard to maintain our close, strong relationships with pupils from our feeder primary schools. They are invited to many of our school events, attending the matinee performance of our school productions and our community mass. During their visit at Christmas, the Head Boy Head Girl team were really inspired by how the young people of the KiSS community would teach the little children games and dances and pass down their culture to future generations. On their return to school, our students undertook to teach a dance that the Head Boy/Head Girl team learned on their KiSS community visit, to a group from St Vincent De Paul school. The pupils of St Vincent De Paul school enthusiastically took part in the ‘You are KiSS’ night as part of our KiSS week events, and performed it to the community. The whole school assembly prayer focus also enjoyed a Ugandan inspired makeover for ‘wear Uganda’s colours’ day when pupils could wear items of clothes that were red yellow and black, with many pupils opting to wear some of the Ugandan national dress bought over from the Christmas visit!
In the curriculum....
Year 9’s are covering Judaism as part of their curriculum in RE and we were kindly hosted by the Missouri synagogue in St Albans for a few afternoons so that all the groups could visit and learn. This was a really interesting opportunity to understand the basis of the traditions of our Church.
Our Key Stage 4 curriculum was enriched by a visit from members of the Ten:Ten Christian theatre company who provided two thought provoking workshops for Years 9 and 10, exploring the themes of love and relationships