School Chaplaincy is a work of the Church’s pastoral ministry carried out primarily within the school community. It is not simply “youth work”, since it is directed towards both the staff and the students. This ministry also extends beyond the immediate school community to family members, friends and neighbours. School Chaplaincy is a ministry of the Catholic Church, and those who work in it require a mandate from the Diocesan Bishop. School Chaplaincy personnel (that are not priests) are now normally appointed by, and are employees of the Governing Body. In the school, they work with the Headteacher and are ordinarily accountable to him/her. In their work, they are guided by the policies and decisions of the Governors and the Senior Management Team. However, their fundamental mandate comes from the Church and they are in this sense ‘ministers of the Church’.
Whenever there is a vacancy in a chaplaincy post the vicariate should be informed as soon as possible before any action is taken to recruit to the post. Fr Martin Kelly the Co-ordinator of Lay School Chaplains will then support the governing body through the recruitment process. Chaplains appointed to schools in the diocese are provided with a programme of termly meetings to support them in their work and to guide the personal spiritual formation of the lay chaplain.