Presentation on theme: "Catholic Senior Schools: Fight or Flight? …. Introduction Fight or flight … A World War 1 analogy Revolution in weaponry changed the dynamics of."— Presentation transcript:
Catholic Senior Schools: Fight or Flight? …
Introduction Fight or flight … A World War 1 analogy Revolution in weaponry changed the dynamics of the battlefield Entrenched positions and great loss of life Aeroplanes became pivotally important for reconnaissance and strategy In Catholic Secondary Schools the battlefield has changed the mission has changed the strategy must change
Session Structure PART 1 - The Battlefield PART 2 - The Mission PART 3 - Strategy PART 4 – What can you and I do?
PART 1 The Battlefield
Context PastPresent High % Catholic Many practicing Greater knowledge Much lower % Catholic Few practicing Most haven’t got a clue St John’s … 45% Catholic
Enemy Weapons Weapons of mass destruction: Governments Ofsted Parental and staff apathy or pace of life Youth culture
Weapons of mass destruction Governments, Ofsted, exams and statistics Entry and Recruitment policy restrictions Volume of change to teaching practice Pressure with regard to inspections and league tables Obsession with exams Who do we serve … Ofsted or God?
Apathy Parents and staff Parents and staff that don’t feel they have time or don’t see a need to live their faith Parents and staff that have no faith You can’t give what you don’t have Isolation of Chaplains Like standing in the fast lane of a motorway trying to talk to the traffic
Youth culture Negative peer pressure Need to be constantly entertained Low concentration span Disconnection with Church So many broken homes Disneyfication of Christmas etc Promiscuous society versus Church teaching How do we reach them?
Chaplain’s challenges School Leadership Infrastructure and systems Staff Pupils Priests Chaplain
Chaplain’s challenges: School Leadership Temptation to ‘give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what’s left’ Under huge pressure to meet government, Ofsted and public perception requirements Implementing constant change on staff Difficult to have strategic dialogue with Too busy with academic strategy Sometimes schools see chaplains as junior staff or an unnecessary expense
Chaplain’s challenges: Infrastructure and systems Stress on staff Calendar saturated with exams and deadlines Centralised and bureaucratic monitoring and control of staff Classes of 60 and open plan learning areas Many triple lessons (2 ½ hours total) Can’t get sensible groups of people together Split year morning break and lunch break times Mixed year and subject timetables Year 9 up Very limited Form time and assemblies Staff meetings or revision classes everyday before and after school
Chaplain’s challenges: Staff How to get them on-side Chronically overworked Permanently at high level of alert and stress Constantly have to implement change Low morale and high turnover Most don’t practice a faith Can’t get 3 people in one place at one time
Chaplain’s challenges: Pupils How to get them interested Most do not enter the school with any understanding of the Faith Many do not enter the school with respect Bored in the wink of an eye Expect to be entertained
Chaplain’s challenges: Priests How to get them on-side Many are not comfortable or willing to work with young people Do not always understand the battleground or that the mission has changed Some shake their heads from a distance
PART 2 The Mission
The Mission PastPresent Support the parents in bringing up their children in the Faith Support those few that are practicing parents Evangelisation
The Mission of the Church Go and make disciples … Feed my lambs … feed my sheep Let the little children come to me … Jesus came to find us … he didn’t wait for us to find him. Evangelisation must surely be modelled on this.
Three levels of conversion Conversion to Christ Conversion to Church Conversion to the World
After they leave school What will become of their faith? What will become of their Christian life? What will become of their Christian service?
The Mission You have 10 minutes to come up with a mission statement I suggest you express it as a set of goals in ‘bullet’ form
The Mission Goals To enable and foster pupils’ belief in God To foster their growth in spirituality and virtue To help them become and feel part of a worshiping faith community To develop their sense of love, service and mission To equip young people for Christian life in the world
PART 3 Strategy We cannot just keep doing what we did 20 years ago and expect to make headway How do we lead them to Christ, to Church, to the world? How do we meet them where they are?
Pope John Paul II … staff who work in Catholic schools: Through you, as through a clear window on a sunny day, students must come to see and know the richness and joy of a life lived in accordance with Christ's teaching, in response to his challenging demands. To teach means not only to impart what we know, but also to reveal who we are by living what we believe. It is this latter lesson which tends to last the longest.’
Principles 1 Live what we believe Richness and joy of Christian life The young people must know that we love them and God loves them We must inspire them with an infectious enthusiasm that speaks from who we are A little humour goes a long way
Principles 2 They have a right to question why they should believe Don’t assume they understand anything Baby food before solids but they do need solids Conversion is a prerequisite of catechesis Meet them where they are
Principles 3 They need to understand that its about love and happiness not rules and conformity God created us and saves us for our sake so that we might have eternal happiness God is not a kill-joy rather he desperately wants to secure our happiness Sin is the obstacle
Principles 4 They need to feel it and live it They must connect emotionally and spiritually Knowledge is not enough They wrestle between search for self identity and purpose, and raw entertainment We must reach the first before they are consumed by the second There needs to be a blend of inspiration, enlightenment and experiential discovery
Delivering the goals Foundations Inspiration and catechesis Liturgy, sacrament and prayer Feeder school and Church links Experiential involvement of young people
Delivering the goals Foundations Mission, Principles, Strategy and Plans Relationship, relationship, relationship People not tick lists Team Is the Chaplain foot soldier, reconnaissance pilot, strategist or all of the above? Extended chaplaincy team All staff and pupils Pastoral care of young people and staff They will know we are Christians by our love
Delivering the goals Inspiration and catechesis Conversation Relationship; free to question Assemblies Students, Chaplaincy, Teachers Chaplaincy led sessions Inspiration is not the same as teaching External guests or missions E.g. John Pridmore, SION Retreats All children not the few RE and PHSE but also Links with whole academic programme
Delivering the goals Liturgy, sacrament and prayer Morning prayer Variety of prayer experience Regular experience of liturgy Non-Mass services Singing Understanding the Mass Mass Liturgical Calendar Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist Reconciliation
Delivering the goals Feeder school and Church links Let the young people help market the school in feeder schools (as well as the chaplaincy staff) Church is an obstacle for most young people especially if their families don’t go To take themselves alone to Church is daunting They need a sense of purpose and belonging They will not embrace Mass without feeling embraced themselves
Delivering the goals Experiential involvement of young people Active participation in all the above Charity Charity they can connect with Experiential events E.g. winter sleep-out for the homeless Befriending Listening and support of younger students with issues (with training and supervision) Student leadership /voice Young ministering to young
Risks School leadership, infrastructure and systems may all favour ‘Caesar’ Teachers may not have opportunity to give Chaplaincy may be chronically under- resource and undervalued Muddling through rather than strategic change
PART 4 What can you and i do?
Your help You have 10 minutes to come up with some ideas
Ideas Prayer Foster common vision and understanding in the Church Contribute ideas and resources Give your time in School / Church links Making young people feel embraced Give your time and talents to schools
Summary The mission has changed We need to gear up the fight Strategy and buy-in at the top Strengthen and listen to chaplaincy Steering system that ensures we do not give away all to Caesar Evangelise … Chaplaincy should be prepared for this Enable conversion to Church Please support our schools