Prayer and Liturgy
Prayer is a central part of school life at St. Mark’s and children experience prayer through many forms, for example; words, actions, symbols, music and drama.
Children are invited to pray privately and as a community, as prayer unites us as members of the Family of God. They are well-formed to be able to prepare, participate and minister their own experiences of prayer and liturgy as well as by enthusiastically participating in experiences provided by their peers and staff.
At St. Mark’s the children learn a range of prayers and they pray many times during the school day for a range of purposes. Children at St. Mark’s also learn to write their own prayers and they often choose who or what they would like to pray for, developing the liturgical formation of pupils.
Our families and communities are heavily involved in the prayer life of the school. Parents, parishioners, governors, directors and members of the community join us weekly for Mass as well as other events such as our May Procession. We have regular prayer projects for children to complete with their families as well as themed class prayer bags. These are thoroughly enjoyed by the children and their families.
Advent Challenge winners
We plan our own collective worship
Traditional Catholic Prayers
The children are also taught a range of traditional Catholic prayers. These are incorporated into class collective worship, RE lessons and whole school celebrations. These are also shared with our families so the children can share them at home. Here are an example our Prayer Books, which contains the prayers that children at St. Mark’s learn during their time here:
Staff and Governor Prayers
Staff are enthusiastically devoted to the mission of St. Mark’s and every Monday morning, all the staff at St. Mark’s gather together to share carefully-chosen scripture, prayer and reflection. This collective act of worship, always respectful of the diversity of staff backgrounds and beliefs, is a way of professing our shared values and reminds us of our common purpose.
Before every Governors’ meeting, we invite our governor to join our SLT for some time in prayer. It is lovely to join together to reflect and pray about the importance of our work, the difference we all make and to give thanks for the support of our governors.
Tuesday morning staff prayers
Collective worship is an important part of school life.
Children and parents are invited to attend assemblies in which we promote the ‘Gospel Values’ and think about how we can put these values into practise in our everyday lives.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ. We hold community carol concerts and nativity productions, which are always a highlight in the school’s calendar.
At Easter we celebrate the risen Christ and remember the important events that occurred during Holy Week. We have community prayer services during Holy Week and an Easter production undertaken by Key Stage 2 pupils.
During the month of May we pray to Our Lady and remember our Mother Mary and we have an annual May Procession celebrating our Faith. Prayer focuses in each classroom reflect the liturgical year and are a very important part of our learning environments. We feel they make our school unique and special.
Advent Prayer Corner
The Wednesday Word
The Wednesday Word is a 21st Century mission for Catholic primary schools, and a simple mid-week habit of prayer and reflection on the Word of God for parishioners and Catholic school families. Linked to the celebration of Sunday Mass, this is a new way to share the Gospel and the teaching of the Catholic Church, rooting the partnership between home, school and parish in the Word of God.
Visit the Wednesday Word website
The Month of Mary
The month of May is dedicated to Our Blessed Lady, and it is the occasion for a moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world pay to the Queen of Heaven. During this month we, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially loving homage of prayer and adoration. In this month, too, the benefits of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance.
To symbolise our adoration and love for Mary, we dedicated prayer areas and spaces in school to Mary. We also hold an annual May Procession, planned by Year 6.
Giving flowers to Mary
Mary, our Mother
Children reading prayers to Mary
We pray to Mary
Proessing with our flowers to Mary
The St. Mark's family
The crowning of Mary
Visiting Our Lady
The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, one of the best known of all Catholic devotions. October includes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7th). The best way to celebrate the month is, of course, to pray the Rosary.
At St. Mark’s, all of the children have worked hard to create a Holy Rosary class prayer table. This is used every day in October because the children pray a decade of the Holy Rosary every day in class during the month of October.
Every lunch time, Mrs O’Shea leads ‘Rosary Club’. A quiet, reflective atmosphere is created through the use of a focus table, which changes according to the church’s seasons and candles. Each child has rosary beads and all the prayers are led by the children.
The Rosary is a prayer to remind us that Jesus loved us so much that he died on the cross for us.
The Rosary tells the story of Jesus’ life in four parts:
- The Joyful Mysteries
- The Sorrowful Mysteries
- The Glorious Mysteries
- The Luminous Mysteries
Each time the Rosary is prayed, the children focus on Jesus’ life as well as a special person or intention that they wish to pray for.