Giving the school community the opportunity to encounter God is one on the key aspects of the Brentwood Ursuline School Community. When we join to pray the words of St Angela Merici, we say that we are bound to one another by the bond of love, respecting each other, caring for each other and bearing with each other. We are committed to living out the Ursuline values such as faith, justice, compassion and respect in everything we do and say.
The Chaplain has a leading role in the Catholic life of the school. The School Chaplain, Miss Gillespie, works closely with the Senior Leadership Team, the RE Department and the local clergy.
Celebration of Mass
Liturgical life is an integral part of our coming together as a Catholic community. There are three important Ursuline Feast Days; the Feast of St Ursula (21st October,) the Feast of St Angela (27th January) and Foundation Day (23rd April.) Mass is celebrated in Brentwood Cathedral on these occasions. We also celebrate Mass on Holy Days of Obligation, Year 7 Welcome Mass and Mass or Liturgies to mark the beginning and end of each term. Further, there are 'House Masses' celebrated in school which are prepared and led by House Captains and prefects.
Our students are fully involved in the planning of Masses and Liturgies. They certainly enrich our collective worship by reading, singing and serving.
We are blessed to have an amazing school Chapel with the Blessed Sacrament which provides a peaceful place for staff and students to reflect and have some quiet time. Students and staff use the Chapel for personal prayer and to meet with the Chaplain.
Prayer life is central to our school community. We pray together at the beginning of the school day during tutor time and during Assemblies. We pray and support each other in times of need. Staff pray the Divine Office every Thursday morning.
St Angela believed in actions and being active in our faith. There are several fundraising events during the year as well as activities to support local charities. As a Christian community and as an Ursuline School, we place great focus on being of service to others. We have a duty to serve those around us in the way Jesus taught. We had a very successful Harvest Festival in October last year. At Harvest Festival, students are asked to bring in a 'gift' of tinned goods, dried food, toiletries or art materials. The donations are then shared between some of our local charities such as Basildon Women's Aid, St Francis Hospice, The Brentwood Foodbank and Little Haven's Children's Hospice.
Each class has two designated Liturgy Reps to lead the tutor time prayer each day. Miss Gillespie, the School Chaplain, meets with them periodically to support them in their role. They work with their Form Tutor and other members of the form to help make prayer a central part of registration.
This year, all of our retreats will be held within school.
All Year 7 and Year 8 students will take part in a full day retreat which will be led by Miss Gillespie. The retreat is a unique opportunity for students to take a step back and look at their lives as well as being able to deepen their relationship with God.
Justice and Peace Group
Our Justice and Peace Group is rooted in the Catholic Social Teaching and social justice themes. We have just formed a new and energetic group. We will meet regularly, talk about global issues such as poverty, human rights issues and trade justice and will lead different fundraising events through the year. Justice and Peace week takes place in February when students from the group lead all the assemblies. There is also a non-uniform day to raise money for different projects in Africa.
Ursuline Links UK was started by an Ursuline sister from Forest Gate. She has created links between the Ursuline communities in the UK and overseas. The projects have been running since 2011. The aim is to give students the opportunity to take part in different service projects in the UK and USA. The students have relished these experiences, and it is a great way to live out St Angela's direction of service to others.
Brentwood Catholic Youth Service (BCYS)
We have strong links with the BCYS with many of our students attending youth events around the Diocese. Every summer, many students join the pilgrimage to Lourdes. It is a wonderful and moving week for all involved. As well as Lourdes, many of our students attend Youth Gather and the monthly Youth Mass.
One of the key roles of the Chaplain is to provide pastoral support to the school community. The Chaplain is available for all students and staff from all faiths and none as a listening ear.