What do we mean by liturgy?
“Full conscious and active participation” in liturgy is what the Church desires for all the faithful.
(Sacrosanctum Concuilium 2 .14). As members of the community at The Catholic High School we must strive to bring this about in all that we undertake.
We must begin in the same way, with the stuff of everyday life, with everyday human actions and values: doing things as groups, greeting and welcoming, listening, thanking, asking for forgiveness, sharing, marking special occasions, experiencing symbolic actions.
Liturgy is fundamental in holding us together as a community, it is the way in which we express our beliefs, it forms us as a community.
In liturgy everything in our lives, everything that makes up our lives is gathered into God and blessed, even our sin draws God to us, to forgive us.
At The Catholic High School we believe that liturgy is not just “the icing on the cake” it is not superimposed, it is already there, woven through the very fabric of our lives. What we are trying to do is to be more aware of God’s blessing in our lives, God’s work in our lives, and celebrate it.
In liturgy, we who have been baptised are called to share in the priesthood of Christ, who has given us the example that we must copy.
Jesus showed us perfect love by getting up from the table, and kneeling at the feet of his disciples and washing them. This is what liturgy is all about, perfect love.
Worship is legally the responsibility of the Governing Body. In practice at The Catholic High School it is the Leadership Team, link Governor, along with the Head of RE and the Religious Education Department who will make decisions regarding the collective worship within the school.
All staff appointed at the school are expected to support the ethos of the school and contribute effectively to collective worship.
2.Quality of Liturgy and Celebration
It is paramount that the students are given well planned and meaningful liturgy, as this may be the only opportunity that they have to participate and reflect on their own faith.
On a day to day level staff are provided with resources to assist them in prayer with their form groups. The “Theme of the Week” resources are very beneficial for tutors to use at lunchtime registration.
At special times, such as Holocaust Memorial Day the form tutor may be given a more developed reflection to use with their class.
Staff are aware that the Religious Education Department have resources to use in assemblies.
The RE Department plan reflections, services and Masses at The Catholic High School. Students and other teaching staff are actively encouraged to assist in the planning of liturgy and participate whenever possible.
Liturgy during the school year is as follows: (Eucharist is discussed in the next section):
• Advent Service
• Christmas Carol Service (in the evening and during school time)
• Ash Wednesday Service
• Lent Services
• Holy Week Services –planned and delivered by students.
Display is important to reinforce messages that have been given to students during reflections and services. At other times in the academic year the liturgical calendar will provide inspiration for display.
We understand that some staff and students are not familiar with the meaning and importance of the Eucharist as others. We are a Gospel community and an inclusive community where all are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist.
Pope John Paul reminded the Church that she lives from the Eucharist, that the Sacrament is nourishment for her life and mission: ‘a renewed impetus in Christian living passes through the Eucharist.’(Ecclesia de Eucharistia 60)
Preaching on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ in 2004 the Holy Father quoted words from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:26).
He continued: ‘With these words St. Paul reminds the Christians of Corinth that the “Lord’s supper” is not only a convivial gathering, but also – and above all – the memorial of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. Whoever takes part – the Apostle explains – unites himself to the mystery of the death of the Lord, in fact, becomes his “herald.”’
There is, therefore, a very close relation between “celebrating the Eucharist” and proclaiming Christ. To enter into communion with him in the Pasch memorial means, at the same time, to become missionaries of the event that the ritual realizes. In a certain sense, it means to render it contemporary at all times, until the Lord returns.’(John Paul II, homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, 10th June 2004)
Similarly Pope Francis restated the importance of the Eucharist when he stated, “The Eucharist is Jesus who gives himself entirely to us, feeding on Him and abiding in Him through Eucharistic communion — if we do so in faith — transforms our lives into a gift to God and to our brothers and sisters.”
The best way that we have to help our community understand liturgy and particularly the liturgy of the Mass is to ensure that they have opportunities to experience the human values involved in the celebration of the Mass which naturally arise in everyday life:
• Helping others
• Working together
• Socialising together
• Giving and sharing
• Welcoming others
• Saying sorry and Thank you
The Eucharist will be celebrated at The Catholic High School on the following occasions:
• Voluntary Lunchtime Mass through the year
• Voluntary Mass or whole school mass to celebrate a Holy Day.
• Start and end of year Masses.
• Leavers Masses for Year 11 and Year 13.
• Welcome Mass
4. Worship on a daily basis
Prayer should occur simultaneously across the school in the morning and at lunchtime- in this we are united in our faith.
All form tutors will pray with their students at the start or the end of registration, and as a class teacher at the start of lunch.
All staff are provided with resources to assist them in praying with the students, however, one would encourage staff to consider reflection and prayer in other ways such as:
Students could listen to a reflective piece of music.
There can be a focus for prayer such as an object for example a candle.
Students should be encouraged to write and say their own prayers.
A newspaper article can prompt a reflection
A reading from the bible
5. Assemblies/Collective Worship
Firstly it is important that we distinguish between a meeting and collective worship. If a Year group is gathered for information/ notices this is a meeting, collective worship involves a gathering for worship.
At The Catholic High School we recognise the importance of celebrating achievements; for example merit certificates and that a Year group gathering is an ideal opportunity for a Head of Year to discuss operation matters. There must be an obvious differentiation between notices and the start of worship from whoever is leading the assembly.
Staff planning an assembly should aim:
• to keep it as close to the Liturgical theme they have been given as possible.
• to involve the students as much as possible in the planning and delivery of the collective worship.
• to allow the students opportunity for some quiet reflection.
• for prayer to occur
6. Holy Days
The Catholic High School will aim to celebrate Holy Days of obligation with the Eucharist. This maybe whole school Mass or voluntary Mass at lunchtime.
7. Staff Prayer
During morning briefing and INSET staff will pray together. Prayer binds us as a community and gives us focus for the day ahead. We are able to share in joy and celebration as well as in times of sorrow or anxiety.
8. Reflection and Evaluation
Governors should be aware of their legal responsibilities in regard to collective worship, taking account of the requirements of the Education Reform Act 1988, Education Act 1996 and the school standard framework 1998.
In this voluntary Catholic academy, it is the overall responsibility of governors, in consultation with the Headteacher, to ensure that the legal requirements are met and opportunities for quality collective worship are being delivered. Those responsible will ensure that acts of worship are in accordance with the school’s trust deed and consistent with the rites and practices of the Catholic Church.
The following will be monitored by the Leadership Team:
• Time set aside for collective worship;
• Whether the observed practice is consistent with agreed policy
• Whether collective worship is resourced in terms of materials, visual aids etc.
• Staff development on collective worship and its impact
• Prayer focus and its effectiveness in drawing pupils into prayer
• Impact on pupils and members of the school community
• Opportunities for pupils to develop the necessary skills to access worship and prayer
• Records of themes and teachings of the Catholic Church covered in collective worship
Outcomes of monitoring will be communicated to staff and governors with
recommendations for future action.
8. Right of Withdrawal
Parents do have the right to withdraw their children form worship and they are informed of this through the school prospectus.
Approved and ratified by Full Governing Body in May 2016.