John Griffin is Lay Chaplain at Corpus Christi Catholic High School Preston; John joined Corpus Christi just under a year ago as a new chaplain.
At Corpus Christi Catholic High School we are extremely blessed to have a priest Chaplain. As the Lay Chaplain at the school I can see first-hand the need and benefit for a priest to be linked to a high school community. For many pupils in our high schools who do not attend Mass each week, this can be the only time that they see a priest. Here at Corpus Christi we are also fortunate that four other priests who support our school community by taking it in turns to celebrate out weekly voluntary Mass.
Fr Darren Carden comes into school each day which in its self is a wonderful witness to the vocation of priesthood to pupils, especially those who don’t regularly attend Mass.Fr Darren celebrates our full school Mases at Advent, Lent and at the start and end of the year but also contributes throughout the year with morning year group liturgies.This year at Corpus Christi I have introduced ‘Light Fever’ where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and pupils and staff come and light a candle and pray before the Blessed Sacrament, the priest chaplain makes this possible. ‘Light Fever’ is a well-attended event at our school and continues to grow.
The priest chaplain works alongside me in delivering Lunchtime Sacramental programme preparing pupils who wish to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation. On occasions the priest chaplain is invited to into RE lessons where pupils ask their burning theological questions. As a chaplaincy team we work closely with our pastoral support officers to comfort pupils during difficult times and bereavement as well as supporting staff and parents.
Here at Corpus Christi we have been able to introduce so many activities to help our community to grow in faith to name a few half termly lunch time Masses, services of reconciliation, ‘light Fever’, Advent and Lent liturgies to prepare our young people to celebrate our Masses with much more understanding.
Chaplaincy can be an isolated role so it is good to discuss ideas with a priest chaplain and work on future projects or liturgies together. At my high school we didn’t have a priest or lay chaplain which meant the Headteacher and RE department prepared and led the spiritual elements to the school however I feel it works much better with a dedicated Chaplaincy team. I personally grew in my faith whilst at university in Liverpool due to the excellent university chaplaincy with study groups, daily Mass and a community of faith.
With very few of our young people attending Mass, our Schools becomes our Parish where we communicate the Gospel. I believe wherever possible a school should have close links with local clergy who regularly go into the school as they are the face of the Church.
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