Celebrating Faith 2017-18
Start of Year Mass
The new school year started with the celebration of Mass as a school community. The readings were read by members ofstaff from across the school. We always start off our school year with a Mass in honour of St James, the saint our school is named after. We prayed that God will guide us through this new academic year, helping us to grow in the love and knowledge of Christ.
Year Four, Five and Six Mass
Years Four, Five and Six joined together school to celebrate special Mass with Years Four, Five and Six on the theme of ‘being strong to follow Jesus’. Parents and guardians were invited to join us in school for this special Mass. The children sung beautifully and helped lead the Mass by reading and serving.
During the month of October, which is dedicated to the Rosary, children from across the school met together once a week to pray a decade of the rosary for the school’s intentions. Children brought along their own rosaries and spend a sometime praying together seeking the guidance and prayers of Mary.
For the feast of All Saints Fr Wojciech celebrated Mass for the whole school community. For the firsttime Reception joined the school for Mass. We reflected on our calling to become saints, and how we can always seek the intercession of the Saints who have gone before us who are now in Heaven.
At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, we remembered the servicemen and women who have died during and since WWI to protect us and our country. Children in Key Stage 2 participated in a liturgy in the Main Hall, led by Mrs Yarnell, during which the Last Post was played and everyone observed a minute’s silence.
At the beginning of Advent Fr Ulick led us in the celebration of Mass. We watched as the first candle on the Advent Wreath was lit at the start of Mass. Fr Ulick taught us about the meaning of the different candles on the wreath. The choir led the school in singing classic carols such as ‘O come O come, Emmanuel’ and ‘Joy to the world!’ Year Four children read the readings for the Mass confidently.
Advent prayer packs
This Advent we sent home prayer packs with each child during Advent. Children took the packs home and spent time at home praying together with their families. They brought them back each day and shared the prayers they had written with the class.
Advent Art and Prayer
During the season of Advent, staff and children gathered in the library for Advent reflections and creative activities including making Advent calendars, biscuits and tree decorations. Each session included some time of prayer and scripture, and lots of fun!
The children will be immersed in a variety of creative activities during their RE lessons to give them time to think, reflect, listen, pray, read and mediate. There were daily reflections linked in with Spirituality Week. Children had time of prayer, reflection, Adoration and art throughout the week.
Canon Peter Newby led the whole school in a service of Adoration in the school hall as part of Spirituality Week. Each class also spent time as a class in Adoration throughout the day, spending time in prayer and reflection with the Blessed Sacrament.
In March all the children from Reception to Year Two gathered with their families for a special Infants Mass celebrated by Fr Bernard Boylan from St Theodore’s parish. The theme of the Mass was Mary, and the children spent time reflecting on the role of Mary as the Mother of Christ. They thanked God for their own mums and all the work they do. The children sung songs in honour of Our Lady and finished with the hymn ‘Jesus’ love is very wonderful’.
During the Season of Advent and Lent children in Years Four to Six have the opportunity to feel God’s grace through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Priests from local parishes visited school on several occasions to offer the children this opportunity.
Year 3 Reconciliation Mass
Year Three were very reverent during their Reconciliation Mass celebrated by Fr. Ulick on Tuesday 13th March which helped them prepare for their First Holy Communion this summer. Fr. Peter Newby’s talking Masses with Year Three during January has helped the children to have a deeper understanding of the Mass and the sacrament of the Eucharist. The children were joined by their families for this special Mass now that they have completed their first confession as part of their First Holy Communion preparation in their parishes.
Lent Prayer packs
Throughout Lent family prayer packs were once again sent home. Children spent time at home praying with their family and completing a prayer together in the class prayer book. The children then shared these with their classes.
Lent Art and Prayer
The annual Lent Art and Prayer club took place again this Lent. Children gathered with staff in the Library for time of reflection, scripture and crafts. This year the children made palm crosses, special candle pots and their own Garden of Gethsemane alongside other activities. The children used their creations to support them and their families in prayer during this season.
Crowning of Mary Liturgy
In honour of our lady during the month of May the school gathered together for a special Crowning of Mary liturgy. Families kindly donated plants and flowers that were used during the liturgy and then planted in the prayer garden afterwards. The Note Bene choir led the school singing songs in honour of Mary such as As I Kneel before you. The school also prayed the Magnifcat and listened to the story of the Annunciation.
Mary Prayer Packs
During the month of May our family prayer packs continued with a different theme. Children were encouraged to spend time praying at home with their families seeking the intercession and guidance of our Heavenly Mother, Mary. Children created their own prayers asking for Mary to carry our prayers to her son, Jesus. Each class spent time together praying the rosary so the children could go home and teach their families how to pray a decade of the rosary.
During the month of May, which is dedicated to the Mary, children from across the school met together once a week to pray a decade of the rosary for the school’s intentions. Children brought along their own rosaries and spend a sometime praying together seeking the guidance and prayers of Mary.
Adoration for Corpus Christi
On Wednesday the whole school gathered for a service of Adoration and Benediction lead by Canon Peter Newby. Throughout the day each class spent time together in Adoration in the library. We were responding to Cardinal Nichols call for all schools and parishes to have a time of public Adoration in preparation for the Adoremus National Eucharistic Conference in September. The children were all very reverent and respectful during the time of prayer and singing.
First Holy Communion Celebration Mass
Year 3 enjoyed preparing and taking part in their First Holy Communion Mass on Tuesday 19th June. Parents were invited to join their children for Mass celebrated by Fr. Ulick Loring from St. James’s parish, Twickenham. It was a joyful celebration and the children looked very smart in their Holy Communion clothes. A huge thank you to staff and parents who had clearly prepared the children well for a wonderful celebration.
Misso Charity Assembly
Fr Philip Baptiste (Previously Parish Priest at St Francis De Sales) came into school to deliver an assembly about the works of the charity Misso, the Catholic Church’s official charity for overseas mission. The school will be making a donation to Misso from the money raised during the recent non-uniform day.
Arts Week – Rise Theatre
To start off Arts week, Rise Theatre, a Christian Theatre company, came into school and led a day of activities based on the Bible story of ‘The Mustard Seed’. Rise Theatre worked with different year groups to bring the story of the Mustard Seed to life and to start off the annual school Arts week.
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
The whole school joined together in the hall for a Mass celebrated by Fr Bernard Boylan from St Theodore’s parish. Children from Year Five read the readings of the day and brought up the offerings. Fr Bernard taught us all some facts about the life of these important saints and why we remember today. The children enjoyed singing Shine Jesus Shine at the end of Mass and listening to the choir sing their own reflective hymn during Communion.
Good Shepherd Mass
In July Mrs Steed and Mr Wasmuth took a group of Year Six children to Westminster Cathedral for the annual Good Shepherd Mass organised the Catholic Children’s Society. One of the Year Six children read a bidding prayer and all enjoyed joining in with the singing. We joined lots of schools from across the Diocese for this occasion.
Staff Leavers Mass
A special Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated at the end of the year as we said goodbye to some staff moving onto new adventures. Special thanks were given for long serving members of staff such as Mrs Reynolds who was retiring. Mass was concelebrated by Fr Rob Esdaile and Fr Philip Baptiste, and Fr Rob reminded us of the importance of the gifts we receive in life and how we can use them for the greater good.
Year Six Leaver’s Mass
The annual Leaver’s Mass took place on the last day of term as we said goodbye and thank you to our Year Six children. Fr Ulick celebrated Mass and reminded us all that change can be scary, but is also good, and as Year Six move on to new adventures, they can always look back fondly on the time they spent at St James’s school.