Prayer and Liturgy
Prayer and Liturgy is at the heart of how we express our faith as a Catholic school.
As a school we have moved away from the term Collective Worship in order to develop a deeper and richer understanding of prayer and liturgy.
As a school we have been moving away from the language of Collective Worship, preferring to use prayer, liturgical prayer and liturgy. We want the children to recognise the difference between prayer, prayer with a liturgical shape (liturgical prayer) and liturgy.
The word Liturgy literally means work of the people, within the Catholic Church it is used to describe all the public acts of worship that take place, as it draws the people into the work of God. Liturgy is in many ways the public face or shop front of the Church, it is through the liturgy that people engage with the faith and deepen their relationship with God.
‘Liturgy is not an event that depends on good ideas and great songs. No one makes up or invents a liturgy. It is something that grew over millennia of faith.’ YOUCAT (paragraph 167)
Liturgy is the divine worship of the Church and includes the celebration of Mass, the celebration of the Sacraments, and the Divine Office or Daily Prayer of the Church. The celebration of the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, and so all other liturgies flow from and to the celebration of Mass.
Liturgy is not just the words that are said, it is much much more than that. Through the liturgy we encounter God, and are united with our brothers and sisters across the world as the Universal Church.
The umbrella term, prayer and liturgy, is used for the school’s policies, the subject leader’s plan and the school’s long and medium term plans.
Opportunities for prayer are planned to be varied and reflect our rich Catholic tradition.
Our Liturgical prayer has a “liturgical shape” because it follows the Emmaus model for liturgy (Gather, Word, Response, and Mission). Opportunities to pray in this way are offered to pupils and pupils in Key stage 2 lead a weekly prayer with a liturgical shape.
The liturgy usually celebrated in school are the Eucharist (the celebration of Holy Mass) and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
We make sure the children have plenty of opportunites to take ownership of their own worship and encourage them on their own personal spiritual journey. All aspects of Prayer and Liturgy are embedded into school life from whole school celebration Masses to individual prayer and reflection.
Here are some examples of Prayer and Liturgy at St Alban's.
There are lots of opportunities for Masses during the school year from feast days such as All Saints Day to class Masses, staff Masses and our very special Thanksgiving Mass for our Y6 children. Sometimes we have Mass in our Parish Church and other times in the school hall. The children are involved in the planning of these Masses and are learning about the significance of each part of the Mass. Children also take part in Class Mass and Year group masses.
Prayer in class
As a school we use the resources made by TenTen. These help us to focus on the Gospel message from Mass each Sunday and give us something to think about for the week ahead. These are often part of our class daily prayers which include a prayer at the beginning and end of the school day and grace before meals. We give the children the chance to plan for Prayer and Liturgy themselves on a regular basis by choosing prayers and hymns.
Stay and Pray
We invite parents and carers to join us for Prayer and Liturgy at various points throughout the year. The children enjoy preparing this special prayer session and it is lovely to involve more of the school community in our Prayer and Liturgy in this way.
Mr McDonald, Miss Nuttall, Miss McAlavey and Mrs Christensen lead whole school assemblies on Mondays and Fridays. Friday is a celebration assembly when we congratulate the children who have been identified as going 'above and beyond' during the week. We also talk about our 'Value of the Month' and identify where children are demonstrating this. Being together as a school means we can share prayer and hymns together too.
Advent and Lent
During the special times of Advent and Lent we reflect each week as a class and gather around the prayer focus area. See tabs under Catholic Life for more details of these reflections.