Catholic Faith at St Mary’s Hampstead
Catholics believe that Religious Education is not one subject among many but the foundation of the entire educational process.The beliefs and values it communicates should inspire and unify every aspect of school life. It should provide the context for, and substantially shape, the school curriculum and offer living experience of the life of faith in its practical expression.
At St Mary’s School we follow the ‘Here I Am’ programme for Religious Education. We work on common themes throughout the school and as a result the children experience a programme which enables and supports their faith development.
All children participate fully in acts of worship through Assemblies, class masses, whole school masses, Praying Together activities and prayer before meals and at the beginning and end of the day. Each class (Year 1 – Year 6) celebrates mass with their families at least once through the academic year. The School celebrates the Holy Days of Obligation and on such occasions the liturgy is prepared by the school actively involving the children.
Father Chris Connor is the School Chaplain. He guides us spiritually in our everyday work and also provides wonderful pastoral support and care for the whole school community. All of our masses and liturgies take place in our own school chapel.
The children are taught a wide variety of liturgical music which enhances all our worship. We have a wonderful Chapel Choir who not only perform at school but also take part in other singing events throughout the school year.
Children are prepared for the sacraments of First Communion and Confession with the close involvement of parents and staff. Pupils are encouraged to understand the practical side of their religion by involving themselves in charitable work in the local community and supporting various charities around the world.
Throughout this process we liaise closely with the neighbouring parishes.
Underlying all of our teaching and relationships within and beyond the School, lie the Gospel values of faith, love and willing service. In the work of bringing children up in the faith that we profess, the church calls school and home to partnership.
We are very fortunate at St Mary’s School to have our own Chaplain – Reverend Fr Chris Connor. Father Chris provides wonderful support for the whole school community. He works at St Mary’s for 2½ days a week and provides valuable teaching input and spiritual support for the whole community. Father Chris leads us in our religious celebrations.
We celebrate mass in our own beautiful chapel. It is also where we hold any religious services as well as our weekly ‘Praying Togethers’. Whole school masses are celebrated at the start and end of the term and on Holy days. Classes hold masses once a term and parents are invited to attend these. Children, staff and parents use the chapel at many other times during the school day. It is a wonderful resource. You would be most welcome to use it also
The Year 6 girls form our beautiful Chapel Choir. They sing regularly at masses and other occasions. There are annual Carol Concerts and celebrations at school. The Chapel Choir also takes part in outside music events and performs with other school choirs at the Albert Hall each year. They are supported by other musicians across the school.