Woldingham School is a Catholic School and we form part of the network of 150 Sacred Heart schools in 41 countries all over the world.
The Chaplaincy and the Chapel are not only at the geographical heart of the School, they provide the ‘soul’ of all that goes on. The Chaplaincy provides spiritual and pastoral care for all: full time Chaplain and Priest in Residence, Fr Gerry Devlin, is accessible day and night to meet with students in time of need or for a friendly chat.
The Chaplaincy encourages students to help out with the planning and celebration of school liturgies. Students serve as eucharistic ministers, readers, ushers and sacristans; they sing or play musical instruments at Mass. Students are encouraged to develop leadership skills, foster social awareness, enhance their individual faith, volunteer for outreach programmes or work with local, national and international aid agencies.
Regular courses of preparation are offered for students who wish to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, First Holy Communion and Reconciliation. The Sunday Mass in the school chapel is the principal event of the week and it affords both students and staff the opportunity to gather together and celebrate the Eucharist. Mass is also celebrated during the week and on Holy Days of Obligation, while the whole school gathers to celebrate Mass to mark the beginning and end of each term.
In accordance with the School’s desire to give each girl the opportunity for spiritual and moral development, Days of Reflection are organised by the Chaplain for each year group once a year.
Night prayers are held for boarders every week and the Chapel is open each day from early morning until after night prayers and is a place of sanctuary and stillness in our busy School. Such a space in our School is important because, as Pope Benedict XVI reminded young people during his visit to the UK in September 2010, “even amidst the business and stress of our daily lives we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God. And in silence that we discover our true self. And in discovering our true self we discover the particular vocation which God has given us”.
The time which students spend at Woldingham will pass very quickly, so our aim is for the girls to make the most of the opportunities and, with the help of many others, to make a lasting contribution to the continued growth and development of the life of the community at Woldingham and beyond.
Fr Gerard Devlin