As a Catholic primary school collective worship plays a fundamental part of daily school life and enables us all to join together as one in prayer and worship.
Growing Closer to God
In its simplest form, prayer is defined as “talking to God.” It is a personal time of opening our hearts to our Heavenly Father and bringing everything in our hearts to Him. Through the Apostle Paul, God asked us to pray. Prayer can be a powerful force for change in our lives, and the importance of doing it on a daily basis should be instilled in our children.
Communication is the foundation for success in any relationship. When we communicate openly and freely with each other, we learn to know each other as individuals. This principle also applies to our relationship with God. By talking to God, we can learn more about who He is and what plan He has for us.
Prayer Has a Purpose
It is important that our children understand that there is a purpose to prayer. Jesus frequently prayed during His life on Earth. He had a reason for doing so. Our prayers are something that God deeply desires. But our prayers are not for His benefit; as a perfect Divine Being, God is complete in His power and knowledge. Our prayers are for our benefit, and this is what we need to teach our children.
We pray four times daily:
Beginning of the day.
Each day starts with time for some reflection, and then praying our school morning prayer together:
Father in heaven, you love me,
You're with me night and day.
I want to love you always
In all I do and say.
I'll try to please you, Father.
Bless me through the day.
Before lunch we thank God for the food that we are about to eat, and all those who have helped prepare the food:
Grace before Meals- Key Stage One
Bless us, O Lord, as we sit together,
Bless the food we eat today,
Bless the hands that make the food.
Bless us, O Lord.
Grace before Meals – Key Stage Two
Bless us, O Lord and these your gifts,
which we are about to receive, from your bounty,
Through Christ our Lord.
After lunch we say our grace after meals together. We have also learnt how to say this prayer in French using the Makaton symbols.
Grace After Meals
Thank you God,
for the food we have eaten.
Thank you God,
for all our friends.
Thank you God, for everything.
Thank you God.
At the end of the day we come together to thank God for all of His blessings that day and ask that He will continue to keep us safe. We say our Night Prayer:
God our Father, I come to say
Thank you for your love today.
Thank you for my family,
And all the friends you give to me.
Guard me in the dark of night,
And in the morning send your light.
We also have learnt how to sing our end of day prayer, which you can find on our Saints and Singers Youtube Channel
In October and May we pray a chaplet of the Rosary asking for the intercession of Mary for our intentions.
To mark the school's 125th anniversary we have written a new school prayer:
St James’s School Prayer
Bless our school where we continue to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ.
Help us to be kind and forgiving.
We pray for our parents, carers and our communities near and far.
Help us to truly put out into the deep,
As we journey through each and every day.
St James, Pray for Us.
Each day worship takes places in the school:
On Mondays each Key Stage gathers together to sing songs of praise to God and practise hymns and songs that we use for our collective worship and for Mass.
Each Phase (Lower, Middle and Upper School) gather together each week for collective worship linked to the liturgical season, Sunday’s Gospel, or other religious themes such as Saints. Teachers from each stage take turns leading the children in worship.
Child Led Liturgy
Each week, different children in each class prepare and lead their class in worship. In Lower School and Middle School the children are guided by adults to prepare for this. In Upper School the children independently plan their own worship.
Teacher Led Liturgy
Teachers plan a weekly worship for their class to allow time for reflection and prayer based on a religious theme.
Celebration Collective Worship
Each Friday the whole school community comes together for a time of collective worship. Each class leads a collective worship throughout the year teaching the messages of the Gospel. We also celebrate the achievements of the school that week, awards are presented and one child in each class is chosen to receive the Golden tie or belt. We end the week together by praying the Night Prayer and thanking God for all He has helped us to achieve that week.
Throughout the year we have the joy of celebrating the Sacrament of the Eucharist in school. Our local Parish Priests come into school and celebrate Mass throughout the year. Please see ‘Celebrating the Faith’ section to see the Masses we have in school.
Children help to prepare and lead the Mass through Altar Serving, reading and bringing up the gifts during Mass. On different occasions parents and guardians are invited to join us for Mass in school.
Throughout the year, to mark important events in the Church’s liturgical year, we hold special Liturgies.
Each year Key Stage Two children lead the school in a Carol Service at St Francis De Sales Church. The story of the Nativity is retold through scripture and carols. Parents and guardians are invited to join us for this special time of worship.
Every Lent, Year Six perform the Passion Play at St Francis De Sales Church. The children re-enact the Passion and Resurrection of Christ through drama, scripture and music. We are joined every year by parents and guardians for this special occasion in preparation for Easter.