'With Christ, our life becomes full and everything makes sense.
When Christ is your friend, you have joy and happiness'
At St. Bernard's Catholic Primary School we always strive to provide quality experiences of prayer and liturgy that support pupils’ spiritual and personal development. These communal acts of prayer and the liturgical celebrations of the Church form part of everyday life in our school. They are essential to our wonderful school ethos. Every child in our school is given the opportunity to pray by giving praise and thanks to God using traditional prayers of the Catholic Church and many other sources of prayer that enable this to take place. You will find a selection of these prayers in the 'Catholic Life' section of our school website. We fully encourage the children to nurture a strong relationship with God through words, symbols, song, gestures and reflective silence. Prayer in St. Bernard's is such an integral part of school life that it can never be confined to ‘timetabled’ slots but may take place in a variety of contexts other than those specifically structured. Our school aim is not just to teach the children to be role-models in society but importantly for them to be faith-models - to be the best faith model they can possibly be.
Central to our prayer life in St Bernard’s is the weekly Collective Worship. The Eucharist is the very core, the very essence of our Catholic life in school and therefore is celebrated with the whole school and the extended community each Wednesday morning when our Parish Priest is available to celebrate Mass with us. Children participate in a variety of ways: praying, reading, singing, playing musical instruments, preparing a display to emphasise a specific focus of the Collective Worship, to name but some. In addition to Collective Worship, our sacramental classes attend our local church, English Martyrs, to celebrate Mass with our parishioners, in order to further help their understanding of the richness of the Eucharist. Our Y6 children also visit our diocesan Mother church, Saint Chad's Cathedral in the centre of Birmingham.
Other opportunities for prayer take place within the classroom at the start of each day, before and after lunch and again at the end of each day. Prayer in the classrooms and in assemblies always includes use of symbols and a focal point for prayer which is appropriate to the liturgical season, for example, Lent, Advent or Easter. During all these times of prayer, both staff and pupils are involved in leading and participating.
In addition to children's Collective Worship, St. Bernard's staff gather together every Tuesday morning, before the school day for phase meetings and reflection - the meetings always include a staff reflection and prayer focus. This is an opportunity for staff colleagues to reflect on the biblical values and discuss and promote the Gospel message of Christ. The Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher will also lead weekly morning briefing prayers, so school prayer is very much a focal point at St. Bernard's.
The Archdiocese appointed Father Murphy who is now our permanent parish priest and we also have Father Gerry Lennon (visiting priest) who has been very supportive within the parish and in school regularly helping our children to experience what it means to belong to, or take part in the worshipping community of the Church. The children are fortunate to be able to experience the richness of the liturgical life of the Church in many ways throughout the year such as the Stations of the Cross during Lent, the celebration of the sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a wonderful joyous Carol Service at Christmas.
It is thus our aim at St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School to provide our children with numerous faith opportunities to experience a variety of forms of daily prayer that help each individual in the school community foster their own relationship with God. As mentioned before, we aim for our pupils to be the best faith-models they can possibly be.