Prayer and liturgy are part of the fabric of daily life of our school, with students worshipping together every day. There are a number of special celebrations throughout the year which correspond to the church calendar, the school calendar or to world events. There are some recent examples of these below.
End of Year Mass
Each July our students gather for their end-of-term Mass to thank God for a busy and successful academic year. There is always a wonderful atmosphere, with over 650 attendees in St Mary and St Michaels church coming together in prayer, reflection and celebration.
Last year was particularly significant as it marked the last school Mass celebrated by Fr. Willie Skehan and the last Mass before our schools amalgamate in September. We thank Mr. McGarvey for providing the music that elevated the Mass, as well as the student readers and altar servers who played an essential role in making this it such a fitting end to the year.
Year 7 Open Air Liturgy
At the end of the school year, our Year 7 students come together for an Open Air Liturgy in the Year 7 playground to celebrate the end of their first year at Bishop Challoner. The first year at 'big school' is always hugely significant for any student, and our young people enjoyed the chance to reflect on the friends they have made, the challenges they have overcome, and everything they have learned over the year.
As the end of term and Holy Week approaches, our school community comes together to celebrate Mass. These Masses focus on the themes of the upcoming Passion of our Lord and the idea of Reconciliation. Each year our readers read and St John's Passion beautifully, and our Altar Servers supports in a professional and prayerful way.
During Lent and Advent, our students receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. This sacrament is offered to students in every year group, usually taking place in St Mary and St Michael's church.
Stations of the Cross
Throughout Lent, our students pray the stations of the cross in their RE lessons. This makes use of the beautiful stations arranged along our colonnade, and prepares our young people for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.
Prayer Service for Ukraine
Thank you to the students, parents and grandparents that took part in our service in the chapel at lunchtime on the 24th February marking the sad anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.
As a community we stay close to the people of Ukraine and pray for peace.
Ash Wednesday Masses
Pope Francis tells us that “Lent is a time for believing, for welcoming God into our lives and allowing him to “make his dwelling” among us”. It is a joy each year to begin our Lenten journey together as a community with three Ash Wednesday Masses in St Mary and St Michael's Church, with ashes distributed by staff and student leaders.
Whole School Christmas Masses
On the last full day of the Autumn Term, the whole school comestogether to celebrate Mass in St Mary and St Michaels' Church. The celebrations offered the chance to give thanks, to prepare for Christmas and the birth of the Christ child.
On Friday, 11th November the whole school falls silent in prayer at 11am in remembrance and honour of the fallen.
After the silence, our student leaders read 'In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.
Year 10 Boys Deliver All Souls Intentions to St Mary and St Michaels’ Church
Each year on All Souls Day our students deliver prayer intentions to St Mary and St Michael’s Church and take part in a short service.
We start with a minute’s silence, then after the intentions are brought up to the altar each student lights a candle and places it beside them.
Our box of names and prayer intentions remain on the altar for the rest of November, the month where the Church traditionally honours and mourns those who have died.
All Souls Day Arrangements
Wednesday, 2nd November is All Souls’ Day, a day of prayer and mourning for those who have died. It offers the opportunity to remember and give thanks for loved ones who have gone before us, and to celebrate all that they meant and mean to us.
Before school, during break and during lunch, the school chapel is open to staff and students for prayer, reflection or to simply offer a quiet space for contemplation. Private messages or prayers were placed in a box on the altar. At the end of the day the box is taken to St Mary and St Michael’s Church, where it remains throughout the month
Year 7 Celebration Mass
Each year in the first term our Year 7 take part in a Mass of celebration in St Mary and St Michael's Church.
The occasion gives the students and their teachers the chance to reflect on and give thanks for the first half term at their new school. It is always a joy to welcome our new Year 7 to Bishop Challoner and each year they add so much to our community. We thank God for all of our Year 7 students and cannot wait to see them become all that God has called them to be over the coming years.