Introduction to School Chaplaincy
The role of a Chaplain in any community is to care for that which is most important, most treasured and precious to that community. In our Catholic schools it is our faith in Jesus Christ that is the most important constituent because our following of the person of Jesus Christ and His teachings, in union with the Universal Church, is what gives us life; life to the full. (John 10:10).
Our belief that Jesus Christ is at the Centre of all our communities of faith needs to be supported and nurtured and that is why we need Chaplains, either Priest Chaplains, Religious Chaplains or Lay Chaplains. We have all three types of Chaplain in our schools and their role is to support the faith of all members of the school community, but especially to share in the special responsibility of the Head Teacher or Principal to ensure that the school is seen and celebrated as a Catholic School in full communion with the Universal Church.
Each school, with the support of the Department for Education, appoints the person to the role, but it is the Bishop who gives authority to the ministry of Chaplain. That is why each year the Bishop Re-commissions existing Chaplains and Commissions new Chaplains.
In recent years we have been blessed in the diocese by the introduction in eighty per cent of our schools of GIFT (Growing In Faith Together) Chaplaincy Teams. These are teams of pupils/students supported by a Priest, Lay Chaplain or Adult Leader to enhance the Catholic life of the school. The Adult Leaders of the Chaplaincy teams and the Pupil Chaplaincy Teams undertake training with the Diocese.
Our School Chaplains are vital to the life of our schools as Catholic schools and we applaud and support those who undertake this important Ministry of Service in our Diocese.
Canon T. A. McBride
1st September 2017