Fr. Christopher Loughran, is a priest of 30 years who is currently the Parish Priest of St Clare’s Preston, this is what Fr. Christopher has to say about primary school’s :
In nearly all of the bilateral agreements between the Holy See and national governments there is a clause on Catholic Education; the Church has always seen the education of young people as part of her primary role and therefore, it is important that the priests of the Church are involved at every level of education and there is no more important place than the Primary School as our boys and girls begin their formal introduction to the life of the Church and the person of Jesus Christ.
In over 30 years as a priest I have almost always found great joy in being a part of the Parish Primary School. And I use the term parish primary school advisedly, for the school is not a separate entity but any parish and school worth their salt will see the school as an active part of the parish. The priest is the ‘glue’ that binds church and school together.
The role of the priest is manifold, working in conjunction with the Governors, Headteacher and staff. In the school the priest is first and foremost a pastoral presence; in this way he should have a care for the teachers and other staff especially in these days when so much is asked of our teachers and demanded of them; he obviously should have a care too, for the children and their families.
In matters of liturgy and doctrine he should be seen to have some expertise helping to guide staff and governors in their policies regarding RE and Liturgy & Prayer. Preparing for and celebrating school Masses is obviously part of his remit.
In the Catholic Primary Schools which I have served, I have met, almost without exception, a warm welcome from the Head and teachers and a collaborative approach to ministry within the school. My aim has always been to visit each class once a week and speak with the children at an age appropriate level. This is not teaching as such but rather a way of reinforcing what is being taught by the class teachers and perhaps more appropriately the Catholic ethos of the school firmly based in Gospel values.
Involvement in other school activities too, is a way of being integrated in the broader life of the school: being present at plays, assemblies, football matches, PTFA events and so on.
The presence of a Primary School in a parish is nearly always an enriching element; enriching for the whole parish community but, in my experience, especially so for the priest who is blessed to be part of a vibrant Catholic entity with shared aims and goals. Though I enter my primary school to give I am the one who returns richer for the experience.
As you can see our priests play an important role in our schools, to help this vital work to continue we need more men young and old alike in our Diocese to answer the Lords call to priesthood. Maybe you are a young man who has at one point or another considered priesthood, but for whatever reason has put this though out of your mind. Maybe you are older and have had these thoughts in the past, but for some reason you think it is too late to explore this sense of calling. I encourage you to make contact with the vocations team. Our Diocese needs you THINK PRIESTHOOD!
Director of Vocations: (for enquirers aged over 21 years)
Father Darren Carden St Clare’s Presbytery Sharoe Green Lane North Fulwood, PRESTON, PR2 9HH Telephone: (01772) 719604 Mobile/SMS text: 07552 795060 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Director of Vocations: (for enquirers aged 15-20 years)
Canon Adrian J Towers St Andrew’s Presbytery 114 Hoyle’s Lane Cottam, PRESTON, PR4 0NB Telephone: (01772) 726166 Email: email@example.com