Academy and Parish Links
At St. Bernadette’s we recognise the importance of the links between the academy and our Parish Priest, Monsignor Tom McGovern, and with our local parish community. We believe in the importance of working very closely with Father Tom and the parish to provide an education for our pupils based on the unchangeable values of the Gospel.
We continually work to create, maintain, and develop links with our parish in a number of ways:
Throughout the year numerous Masses take place within the academy, as well as at church, and these are always advertised in the parish bulletin. A good number of parishioners attend our academy Masses and it is wonderful to worship together and for our pupils to know that they are part of a wider parish family.
Each year, through a carefully planned programme, academy staff lead and prepare a group of children to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. The pupils also attend numerous parish Masses and practices at church as part of their preparation for these most special of events. Pupils make their First Confession and First Holy Communion in the parish church, celebrating with the wider parish family, followed by a buffet lunch celebration in the Parish Centre.
Prayer Partners’ Programme
This year, two of our pupils, acting as our Academy Ambassadors, helped to launch our new Prayer Partners’ Programme – an initiative which was very strongly supported by Father Tom. Each pupil at the academy made a prayer card that was given out at church at weekend Masses at the beginning of the Liturgical Year. Throughout the year, pupils and parishioners have committed to pray for one another, and this is another beautiful way of enriching our links with the parish and one which we believe will bring many blessings.
Important academy events, such as our Christmas Fayre, Christmas Concerts, and our Strawberry Tea are all advertised in the parish bulletin. Members of the parish are very welcome to join us for these events.
Our pupils also represent the academy at a variety of important parish events throughout the year. Recently, for example, our pupils read the bidding prayers at a special Mass at church, led by Bishop Patrick, to celebrate 25 years of continuous Eucharistic Adoration within the parish.
In an effort to further enhance communication between the academy and the parish, we now have our own dedicated noticeboard within the foyer of St. Bernadette’s Church. The academy’s Mission Statement is displayed, as well as current newsletters, and upcoming academy events.
All of the Governors at the academy are also active members of the parish community. Their dedicated work and expertise within the parish also benefits the academy in numerous ways, and serves to strengthen further the bonds between our academy and the parish.
Our pupils work hard throughout the year to raise money for a variety of good causes, particularly the poor, the disadvantaged, and those less fortunate than themselves. Every year, through our Harvest Festival activities, we fundraise for the local branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society which is run by members of the parish. This year, pupils have also supported the parish appeal to raise money for a new organ for the church.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Inspired by the Year of Mercy, our pupils have, each year since then, lived out the Corporal Works of Mercy as part of their commitment to serving others. In some cases this has involved carrying out work or tasks that have in some way supported certain members of the parish.
In the months and years ahead we will continue to work closely with Father Tom and the parish for the continued benefit of our pupils, families, and parish community, united in love and fellowship as one body in Christ.