Collective Worship: Expectations
Worship (‘prayer’ and ‘liturgy’) in a Catholic school is concerned with giving glory, honour, praise and thanks to God. It is our loving response, in word and action, to God’s invitation to enter into friendship, made possible through Jesus, God’s Son, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. It is an integral part of the life of the Catholic school, putting Christ at the centre of education, helping to create and sustain the Catholic ethos, making it tangible.
The Legal Requirement
The legal requirement (Section 70 of the 1998 Education Act) is that ‘each pupil in attendance at a school shall on each school day take part in an act of collective worship.’ This can take place at any time during the school day and can be either a single act of worship for all pupils, or separate acts of worship for pupils in different age groups or in different school groups. However, in a Catholic school it is more than just a legal requirement. It is an integral part of school life, not only because it contributes to building up the school’s ethos but because it is an essential source of human formation: prayer and worship, in the Catholic tradition, are not concerned with making us more religious but more human: ‘I came so that they may have life, life to the full.’ (John 10:10)
Guiding Principles for Acts of Worship
Every effort will be made to give children positive experiences, based on sound educational, pastoral and liturgical principles.
Acts of Worship will prepare children for the liturgical life of the Church.
Acts of Worship will take into account, as far as possible, the age, aptitudes and backgrounds of the children.
Eucharistic celebrations will highlight a special occasion and will normally be celebrated with those children whose faith development has reached an appropriate stage.
Acts of Collective Worship will usually follow the basic structure of Christian worship.