Prayer and Liturgy
At St Francis Xavier, Prayer and Liturgy are an integral part of the fabric of day-to-day school life. The children pray together daily whenever they gather at the beginning of the day, before lunch, after lunch and at home time. The children take parts in daily liturgies in a wide variety of ways including as a whole school, key stage, in their class, as part of our prayer group or with our parish community through Mass. The children actively lead liturgies themselves throughout the school and are given the opportunity to prepare spaces for prayer and worship, choose scripture readings, apply creative techniques to help them and their peers respond to the message of scripture and to identify how what they have reflected upon will shape their own thinking and actions as they work to achieve their mission.
As a school, our program of prayer and liturgy is closely aligned with the Liturgical year, with special periods of the year and feast days marked in their own special way. We work closely with our parish priests, Fr Darren and Fr Henry, to ensure that all of our pupils receive a rich spiritual education in line with the Catholic tradition. Our pupils' families are encouraged to attend special whole school celebrations - see our liturgical calendar for more information.
At St Francis Xavier, all members of our community embrace the school's mission 'Achieving excellence together with God's Love' by following what Jesus teaches us in the Gospel values. Each half term, we focus upon two Gospel virtues as the focus for our whole school and key stage Liturgies and reflect upon what actions we can take in order to ensure we are following Jesus' teaching. This virtue is introduced in our Monday assembly by Mr Hoyes, the children reflect upon this more deeply in their key stage assembly on a Tuesday or Thursday and then on a Friday we celebrate as a whole school where we have seen examples of Jesus' teaching lived to the full.
Year Three's prayer and liturgy team decided they wanted the collective worship theme to be aspirations. They planned the whole liturgy from the gather through to the mission, finding their own scripture linking to the theme. They even created a song to call and response with the rest of the class, 'I can be anything I want to be.'
Children in EYFS have loved taking home the prayer bear.
Father Henry came into school to do our Ash Wednesday liturgy. He blessed the ash and did the sign of the cross on the teacher's foreheads and gave each class the blessed ash. Then in classrooms we had our own liturgies where we were given the sign of the cross with ash and heard the words "repent and believe the gospel."
In response to our whole school Ash Wednesday service, the children in Year 2 made their Lentern Promises and displayed them on the classroom tree.
For Shrove Tuesday we had a whole school liturgy. Mr Hoyes taught us about the history of Shrove Tuesday and why we have pancakes on that day. He also told us about the Lent period, how long it is and what we might commit to as our Lenten promises this year.
Our liturgy focus is resilience. We started by gathering in a circle and starting with a prayer created by the liturgy team. Before we listened to the word we passed round the Bible remembering how important the word of God is. Then we listened to the word from Luke 4:1-3. Through this scripture Jesus shows us how to be resilient as he could have given in to temptation from the devil but he put his faith and trust in God. In response we placed a sequin at the foot of the cross and prayed to God to help us be resilient in our daily lives. Our mission is to try our best in lessons that we often find hard to show resilience and keep persevering.
"I will complete this week's mission by being resilient in my times table test."
"I liked it when we put a sequin at the foot of the cross as it was my time to speak to God."
"I will show resilience by doing something that's hard like the reasoning questions in maths."
Our liturgy focus is I am unique. We started by gathering in a circle listening to bells ring to let us know its time to gather. Before we listened to the word we spent time with God thanking him for making us who we are and knowing that he made no one else like us. Then we listened to the word from Psalm 139. In response we created I am unique poems, once completed the children compared their poems to see the differences and similarities between them. Our mission is to remember to always thank God what creating us all as individuals and loving us all equally.
In today's liturgy we talked about worries. The nursery children listened to the word of God and to respond Miss May asked the nursery children to hold a piece of paper and whisper their worries into it. Miss May then asked the children to scrunch up the paper into a ball, meaning that all your worries are being scrunched up. Miss May explain that when they put the piece of paper in the bin, all their worries will disappear. The children really enjoyed this activity and said that they felt much better afterwards.
Our liturgy focus is gifts. We started by gathering in a circle listening to peaceful music whilst thinking about God. Before we listened to the word we placed both our hands together like a bowl and thought of a memory or thought to offer God. Then we listened to the word from 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. In response to this we dropped a sequin in a bowl of water whilst praying to God thanking him for the gifts he has given us. Our mission is to tell someone their special gift.
Both children and staff have reflected in the prayer room whilst visiting the 'prayer for peace' prayer station.
As we get ready for Christmas, there's so many things to do! I'm trying to remember, Jesus, that it all comes back to you. I am part of your family, a branch on this Jesse Tree. Help me listen to these stories, and what they are saying to me. Amen.
Our RE topic in Year 3 is visitors. We reflected on everything we had learnt through class liturgy. We responded by making posters showing what makes a good host and a good visitor. Here are the children's responses to our Liturgy:
"I have really enjoyed learning about visitors. My favourite lesson was looking at the visitation story."
"It felt calming and relaxing listening to music when we gathered in a circle."
"My favourite part was the Our Father prayer as I always feel better after prayer to God."
Our nursery children spoke about our Gospel Virtue of the week Patience. Children spoke about times they have been patient. Children mentioned about waiting for mummy and daddy to finish talking so they can talk, or waiting quietly to go and wash their hands for dinner. Children learnt about the importance of waiting and how we can wait and be patient when we want something. Children were reminded that when they feel tempted while waiting, they can always ask god to help them. Children's mission this week was to be patient, especially when waiting for their turn to play with different toys or when they are taking turns on the interactive whiteboard. Children also helped set up for our collective worship and helped put it all back where it belongs. Our nursery children are really helpful!
On Friday 2nd December Father Henry came into school to lead us in a special celebration Mass to mark the feast day of our patron saint, St Francis Xavier. During his Homily, Fr Henry led us all to reflect upon how we can more like St Francis Xavier by reaching out to others and proclaiming the word of God through our words and actions.
Our children placed their prayers of hope on to our tree in the prayer room. They each took some time to quietly reflect on their hopes for advent. They have the opportunity to add their prayers to the tree and to spend time in the prayer room during our prayer group on a lunch time.
Our Year Three children reflected on our gospel assembly and explored which of our special visitors bring us hope and why.
Today children took part in a prayer and liturgy all about kind words. Children focused on God's word and how it is important to be kind to one another and say nice things instead of hurtful things. Children spoke about all the kind words that they could say to someone. Children said that the nicest thing to say to someone is "I love you." At the end of our worship we prayed to God.
"For the times that we say harsh words...we are sorry."
Nursery children's mission is to carry on saying kind words and make someone's day, whether this is at home or in school!
In Reception, we have been talking about kindness. After our story, the children shared their ideas about what it means to be kind and we hung them on our kindness tree.
During our Liturgy and Prayer we looked at being helpful. Children spoke about times they were helpful at home or helpful in school and remembered how God helps everyone. I set the children a mission of being helpful. In provision I saw children being even more helpful to one another and some children helped my put back our prayer area. Our nursery children are always helpful!
In collective worship we explored 'love'. We read a story about love, then thought and talked about who we love. We talked about the love in our school and families. We rejoiced in the knowledge that 'God loves all of us, all of the time." "God is love, created love, and loved us first." 1 John 4:19
With the focus of our liturgy being prayer we visited the prayer room. We looked at the healing heart and read some of the names people have asked for prayers for. The children's mission is to use the prayer room and the healing heart to pray for someone in need in their lives.
Children in Nursery have been talking about what makes us brave and when we have been brave. Children spoke about who helps them be brave when they are a little less brave. Children talked about their parents, teachers and other family members and prayed for them all.
Year 3 explored the life of St Francis Xavier during our RE lesson. We reflected on his achievements and what it means to be a saint. Our mission is to be inspired by St Francis Xavier by spreading the good word of God. Here are the children's responses to our Liturgy:
"My favourite part was the prayer because it was a time to reflect on all of our worries."
"I felt at one with Jesus and part of God's family."
"It felt calming to reflect with St Francis Xavier."
"My favourite part was finding out St Francis Xavier baptised over 30,000 people into the family of God."
Nursery class have been exploring the word Hope. Children had time to reflect with lovely music and each child took it in turns to hold our hope stone and say what they hoped for. There were some beautiful suggestions from our youngest children in school!
Year 3 Liturgy focused on the rosary beads and their importance. Here are the children's responses to the Liturgy:
"I felt happy because it is a time where I can speak to God."
"The liturgy made me feel peaceful because it was a time to reflect and feel calm."
"My favourite part was exploring the different beads on the rosary."
"My favourite part was where we said the Hail Mary prayer."
Nursery have been looking at the Rosary beads as October is the month of Rosary. Children enjoyed learning about the Rosary beads and were able to take home their own Rosary beads that they can use at home to pray!
Nursery have been learning about how God made them. We talked about how God made everyone and God made the world and prayed for everyone in our family.
Our Daily Prayers