Prayer and collective worship
Prayer, reflection and worship are at the centre of what we do here at Christ the King. Throughout the year, we celebrate religious events by saying mass, holding liturgy services, adoration and celebrating of the sacraments including receiving the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
Worship is held on many different scales due to the size of our school, these include: intimate class masses, year group or phase group worships, site-wide liturgies (Infant and Junior), as well as whole-school worship (both Infant and Junior sites coming together) which is typically held outside.
Please see the drop-down sections below for further information about Prayer and Collective Worship at Christ the King:
Our school has a culture of prayer, which is central to everyday life at our school. We begin our day with a morning prayer; before we eat lunch, classes say their lunchtime prayers thanking God for the food we receive; we finish our day by saying a blessing before we leave at home-time.
We have set prayers for different age groups; please see a booklet below for our daily prayers.
Our older children also like to incorporate any prayers they have learnt on retreat to places like The Briars, which are often to theme tunes of well-known children's programmes including The Addams family and football-chant prayers.
We come together as a school community for mass regularly; our most recent event was for the 70th Anniversary of the school which was celebrated by Bishop Patrick McKinney, Fr Neil Peoples, Fr Simon Gillespie (Episcopal Vicar for schools) and Fr John Cahill, supported by Mr Noakes, English Martyrs’ chaplain. Such large masses are held outdoors due to the size of our school community. Please see the gallery for photos.
Other whole school masses include: Holy Communion celebration mass, retirement mass for Fr John Joe, farewell mass for previous headteacher Mr Fitzwilliam.
We also celebrate mass in a more intimate way through regular class masses.
For the past four years, we have celebrated mass in an intimate way through class masses for our children and families, which are celebrated with Fr John Cahill on a Monday afternoon scheduled at different points throughout the year.
We have run these masses in a variety of ways:
Pre-pandemic (academic years 2018/19 and 2019/20 until March 2020)
One class from each site came together to celebrate their class mass, the older children guiding the younger children through the mass using a child-friendly version of a mass booklet so that they could come to know the responses to mass more readily and deepen their understanding of what happens when we celebrate the Eucharist. Parents were invited to celebrate mass with their children. Fr John focused on teaching the children about the vestments priests wear for mass and what the garments represent. The children loved seeing Fr prepare for mass in this way, as it is usually done in the sacristy.
Mid-pandemic (from March 2020 to July 2021)
During the height of the pandemic, school masses were cancelled in-line with Government and Diocesan requirements. As restrictions lifted and worship was allowed to resume, we tackled this by celebrating any whole-school masses (such as the Feast of Christ the King) virtually with Fr John celebrating mass in the school hall to one class, socially distanced. This meant that all children could watch the mass and have an opportunity to encounter Christ through prayer, albeit at a safe distance in their classroom bubbles. Unfortunately, parents were not able to join us at school for these events, but any worship was also shared at home via YouTube live.
Once restrictions were further eased, we began celebrating mass in single class bubbles with Fr John in the school hall, of which we held 18 individual masses. We felt it was important for children to come to know the order of mass again after a long period of not attending parish masses during the lockdowns, and most importantly, for children to be able to receive the Eucharist once again. Fr John focussed on teaching the children the correct responses the congregation say during the mass.
Post-lockdown and easing of all restrictions (academic year 2021/22)
Now that all restrictions for schools have thankfully been lifted, we are able to celebrate mass together again and invite parents back into school to receive the Eucharist with their children. This year, we are holding year-group masses (3 classes) so that children can celebrate mass with peers who were not in their lockdown class bubbles. Parents of the year group are invited to attend mass and it has been wonderful to see the children and their families coming together again to share in the joys of our faith.
Fr John is continuing to teach our children the correct responses during the mass as this is an impact we have seen from the lockdowns.
To find out when your child’s year-group mass will be taking place this year, please check our school diary which can be accessed via the homepage.
Year 6 mass: 27th September 2021 at 2.15pm; Junior Hall
Year 5 mass: 11th October 2021 at 2.15pm; Junior Hall
Year 4 mass: 22nd November 2021 at 2.15pm; Junior Hall
A culture of prayer: Christian Meditation, Liturgy and Lectio Divina
Our school has a culture of prayer, which is central to everyday life at our school. Teachers make use of a range of collective worship forms, such as child-led Liturgies, Christian Meditation and Lectio Divina.
Documents outlining our prayer and worship life can be found within this section, including the CMAT Culture of Prayer Document and our CTK Collective Worship Progression Document.
Liturgies are planned using the Extra-Ordo-nary Calendar from NDCYS, which gives the children a weekly theme on which to focus their worship. Some classes also plan liturgies on themes of their own choosing, particularly if they want to pray for something specific to them.
Class liturgies are planned and delivered progressively as the children move throughout the school. Adults reduce their scaffolding in the planning stage as the children move throughout the year (progression from term to term) as well as between year groups as they progress through the school (progression year on year). Children make use of a range of resources in their liturgies. We are currently experimenting with the new ‘Let Us Pray 2Gether’ resources which will aid progression and further support independence in the planning stage of worship.
The chaplaincy team meets regularly to plan and deliver liturgies for other classes and year groups, marking events in the Liturgical Calendar such as Harvest, the month of the Holy Rosary (October), All Souls, Advent, Lent and so on. Because our chaplaincy team is made up of children of varying ages, we tend to make use of the oldest children (who are the most proficient in liturgy planning) to support the younger children in teasing out good ideas and making sure the theme of the liturgy is clear throughout, maintaining that Scripture is at the heart of worship. We particularly focus on what we want our congregation to ‘see, hear, think and do’ during the worship, and we use the Let Us Pray 2Gether resource to help us do this. We then put these ideas into our plan following the structure of gathering together, preparing to hear the Word, Scripture reading, response to the Word, receiving our mission and ending the liturgy.
Please see the Collective Worship Progression Document for further information on how children progress in their proficiency in planning, delivering and evaluating liturgies.
Christian Meditation invites our children to spend time with God, focusing on allowing Him into their hearts and minds. The children have received sessions with Sr Anna, who has explained the importance of being present with God, and allowing him into our minds and hearts.
Our class chaplains take responsibility at the beginning of the year to lead this form of worship in their classroom; as the year progresses, our chaplains support their peers to begin to lead this form of worship too.
We follow the structure given to us by Sr Anna which can be seen in the Powerpoint below.
Quotes from children:
"I like Christian Meditation because it focusses my mind on Jesus and trying to let him speak to me.”
"Each time I do Christian Meditation, I try to focus for a few more seconds. If I find it hard, I start to say the prayer word in my head.”
Christian Meditation Club is held each week by our Infant Chaplaincy Team during lunchtime.
Lectio Divina was introduced to the children following the previous Diocesan Canonical Inspection, where it was suggested that the children would benefit from another form of prayer. Sr Anna and Fr Anthony Pateman have helped us to embed this form of worship into our prayer life over the past five years.
Lectio Divina focuses around short passages of scripture, allowing the Word of God and its meaning to have a personal impact on you. Children are encouraged to say which words stand out to them and why, how the passage makes them feel and what it is saying to them.
The structure of our Lectio Divina can be seen in the power point below.
The children are now well-versed in Lectio Divina, and so if you would like to try it at home with your family, please see the Lectio Divina Guidance Document attached here. Children are encouraged to take home the scripture they explored at school and share this with their families. Alternatively, you can choose any extract from your Bible to focus on in this way.
Please watch the following video to see what Lectio Divina looks like in our school and how you can replicate this at home:
Lectio Divina club is held each week by our Junior Chaplaincy Team during lunchtime.
Year of St Joseph 2021
Pope Francis established a Year of St. Joseph so that ‘every member of the faithful, following his example, may strengthen their life of faith daily in the complete fulfilment of God’s will.’
On the infant and Junior sites, we have dedicated a special prayer area to the Year of St Joseph where we invite children to leave their worries and prayers for St Joseph to dream about while he is sleeping. This is because Pope Francis has the habit of putting cards or notes under the statue of the sleeping saint that contain problems and prayers It’s like inviting Joseph to ‘sleep on it’, and perhaps put in a word to God to solve difficult situations and give us guidance, thus renewing his role as the merciful and protective father to those he loves. We invite our children to visit the prayer area and do exactly this.
Home/School prayer and worship links
Homework is sent for families to complete together throughout the year. This ranges from talking about the mission statement to exploring ways to encounter Christ at home. During October, we hold a Rosary Club, where we invite the children to bring in their own Rosary beads from home. We also send out the Travelling Rosary to families during this month. In November, we ask our school community to submit names of loved ones to be remembered during the feast of All Saints and All Souls. During Advent, a travelling Nativity is sent home to encourage families to share the story of Jesus’s birth. Similarly, during Lent, prayer bags are sent home to help families pray together throughout this important season.
Parents and carers are invited to all school masses and class masses, and are encouraged to leave comments about the services in our Reflective Journal, which is available at the front of the school.