Every year St Richard’s joins the Diocesan primary and secondary schools for the Good Shepherd celebrations. These are usually held in Worth Abbey.
A number of Year 7 Liturgy Reps attended the Good Shepherd this year The theme this year was Praying Hands and 3 pupils presented our Praying Hands symbol to Bishop Richard during the service. In return we received a beautiful praying hands ornament which is now on display in school, as a reminder we all are united in prayer as diocesan schools.
Representatives from many other Catholic schools in the diocese were also present which made for a lively and enjoyable celebration. The service ended with a picnic lunch in the grounds of Worth Abbey along with all the other Catholic primary and secondary schools and our banners made a wonderfully colourful procession.
A group of Liturgy Reps represent the school annually at the Diocesan Secondary Pilgrimage in Arundel. This is a wonderful celebration which joins all our Diocesan secondary schools in prayer and worship. We have on a number of occasions taken on roles within this service, including singing, offertory and providing a welcome. This has proved to be a proud moment for our pupils to represent their school in such a beautiful cathedral.
FLAME – Youth Congress
The Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) seeks to help shape and support Catholic Youth Ministry in England & Wales. Every two years they hold a congress for all the Catholic youth in the UK in Wembley Arena. The event begins with a number of speakers and worship music and concludes with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. St Richard’s first attended in 2015 alongside Bexhill and Eastbourne Confirmation groups. This was an incredible event, the highlight for pupils was the inspiring talk by Cardinal Tagle and the worship music by Matt Redman whose hymn ‘Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons) is a favourite in school.
Lourdes HCPT – Group 715
HCPT is a charity offering pilgrimage holidays, to Lourdes in the south of France, for disabled and disadvantaged people from around the UK and further afield. HCPT is a Catholic charity and its services are open to all. Volunteers and beneficiaries come from all walks of life and from all faiths and none. Every Easter over 1,000 disabled and disadvantaged children enjoy a week in Lourdes, staying in hotels with their volunteer helpers. To learn more about the Trust you can visit their web page http://www.hcpt.org.uk/
St Richard’s have previously run a Service group to Lourdes. Led by Mr Campbell as Group leader and Jo (Lay Chaplain) as Deputy Group Leader, the group is made up of Year 11 pupils. In recent years this has not proved possible as it has been in term time, however we have continued to support the work of our local groups and hope to be able to go in the future. We are fortunate to have 3 groups from our area who we assist, Group 154, Group 210 and Group 71. All of these groups take children from our area and many of the helpers and group leaders are ex-pupils of St Richard’s.
For four years, Jo (Lay Chaplain) has taken the role of Leader with the Youth Service for the Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and more recently as assistant Chaplain in a Hotel group. The Diocese travels in the last week of July to Lourdes, over 800 pilgrims young and old take part in the pilgrimage.
The Youth Service known as the Redshirts are a key part of the pilgrimage providing a service to the whole pilgrimage including welcoming and marshalling various events and leading music, and various different services within the 10 days in Lourdes. Redshirts are offered to Year 10 and 11 pupils and an assembly is held in advance of the application deadline to offer the opportunity to St Richard’s pupils. Over the years a number of pupils have preferred to take this opportunity rather than go with group 715 as it is in the holidays and so avoids the busy Year 11.
In February 2018 a mixed group of Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils set off very early on the Monday of half term for a week’s pilgrimage to Rome. Highlights of the trip were the Colosseum, Vatican Museum, The Pantheon and the Dome of St Peter’s (9 intrepid pupils, Miss Easton and Jo climbed the 537 steps to the very top!). We were lucky to attend the weekly audience with the Pope and even get a wave from him, well worth the waiting in the rain. We were also fortunate to have Deacon Ian with us who was an asset to help navigate around all the sights. Rome is truly a beautiful city, steeped in Catholic history and this trip runs on a biannual basis.
The Lay Chaplain took a small group of pupils to the annual ‘Life of Christ’ dramatic reenactment of Jesus’ life at the Wintershall Estate. As the RE GCSE course has a section on Forms of Expression this was a really useful way for pupils to see a form of religious expression – Biblical drama in the flesh.
It was a wonderful day and we joined many other schools and members of the public being enthralled by the excellent actors who brought the Bible to life before our eyes. Furey Bollington, Year 11, said afterwards, “The life of Christ trip was amazing. I have learned so much and will remember so much as my understanding of the Bible is so much better.”