With our ‘Open Door’ policy we seek to offer a place of welcome and hospitality to students and staff. The Chaplaincy Team, with Anne Barry-Murphy as Chaplain, work to promote the moral, spiritual and personal development of students. We offer space to relax, reflect and pray. The Chaplain’s Office and Meditation Room are among the facilities available for Chaplaincy activities.
The pastoral care of students ranges from being there for students in times of bereavement, loss or illness to providing opportunities for meditation and days of reflection. Supporting students in building resilience and being a listening presence, particularly around exam time or other occasions of anxiety or stress, is a further dimension of the work of the Chaplaincy.
The provision of leadership in prayer and worship is a central element of chaplaincy work. From First Year to LC2, students engage in a wide variety of liturgical experiences. Formal and informal prayer is encouraged and the various faith traditions are recognised by marking major festivals during the school year.
Prayer, Worship and Meditation
Prayer and community worship are key elements in the faith development of students. Our Interfaith Celebration is a central feature of our First Year programme. All Year groups take part in Prayer Services and these reflect seasonal variations and the liturgical life of the Church calendar.
The Ecumenical Christmas Carol Service is an ideal opportunity for students to share their gifts through music, readings and drama. Significant feasts in the major world faiths are celebrated and remembered.
Year groups take part in Retreats/Days of Reflection thus building students’ capacity to reflect, make good decisions and deepen their prayer life. For senior students these days take place away from the College thus enabling them to step back and identify their priorities, their values and mark out their path in life.
The Graduation Ceremony for our LC2 students is an experience which draws together the joys and challenges of the years spent in Castleknock Community College as well as incorporating the hopes of the students for the years ahead.
Each Year group from Second Year to LC2 has the space to learn the skill of meditation and reflection. This is approached from a relaxation perspective and an opportunity to deepen the experience of prayer. Our Meditation Room is a vital resource for this activity. The practice helps to develop personal maturity and supports the students in times of stress and anxiety. In this regard it is an essential skill in developing individual strengths and building resilience. The practice of Meditation is drawn from the various faith traditions.
The Rainbow Garden
The garden comprises the memorial stone, seating space and a sensory flower and herb area. The quotation on the stone, “In the rising of the sun to its going down… We remember them” signifies the heart of what we wish the space to be; that is a place of constant remembrance. The Student Council recognise the potential for the garden as a personal space, a class space for meditation, prayer and relaxation. It also serves as a lunchtime gathering point. Our hope is that it will continue to be a prayerful, reflective and creative space for the college community.
A Ceremony of Blessing took place in May 2012 in glorious sunshine. The ceremony acknowledged those who worked on the garden and those whom we wished to remember. The project has supported and developed the strong spirit of community within the college.
In October 2012 the official opening of the garden took take place with a ‘Prayer of Remembrance.’ This is now an annual event in the college calendar.
Student Chaplaincy Team
Volunteering is an excellent way to get more involved in CCC. It increases ones skills base and provides new opportunities to develop as a person. The Student Chaplaincy Team mark significant times throughout the college year and offer hope and encouragement through prayer, reflection and meditation.
The activities of the Student Chaplaincy Team include:
- Leading prayer and discussion groups
- Being part of social outreach programmes
- Developing the ‘Thought for the Week’ reflections through email
- Shaping and creating times of prayer for Assemblies
- Learning the art of Meditation and leading groups
- Creating podcasts and other digital media content to develop the spiritual life of the College
The Chaplaincy team provides bereavement support through ‘Rainbows’. ‘Rainbows’ is a peer support group for students who are grieving a death, separation or other painful transition in their family. Rainbows run a number of age appropriate programmes for young people. The programme for adolescence is known as the Spectrum Programme. More than ever the daily pressures on mothers, fathers, extended family and caregivers require that the wider community offers support especially during times of crisis and significant loss.
The Chaplain, along with several teachers and parents, has completed training in this programme and facilitate groups in the College. These groups allow students to express, in a safe space, emotions which may be difficult for them. They can do this in their own way and in their own time.
Social Outreach Programme
As part of the Transition Year Programme students are afforded the opportunity to work alongside students from St. Vincent’s School, Navan Road. This is a school for students with Special Needs. Through this module students build friendships, learn new skills and discover and appreciate their own giftedness. A combination of class time, social activities and workshops encourages students to expand their capacity for reflection, compassion and empathy.