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 Prayer Policy

Education in a Catholic school seeks transformation of the whole person so that those in the school community are empowered to shape and enrich our world by living the Gospel of Jesus in their everyday lives. At St Francis Xavier, we endeavour to further develop the faith of individuals in ways that are sensitive to their cultural and religious identities. Prayer is an integral part of the life of St Francis Xavier School.

Purpose                                                                                                                   

This policy is designed to support the Religious Life of the School through Prayer and Worship and is applicable to those involved in prayer experiences within the St Francis Xavier school community.
We offer at least three opportunities for our students to experience prayer throughout the school day.  All classrooms have a sacred space to foster the prayer experiences of our students. 

Prayer and Worship

Integral to the life of a Catholic school, prayer (fostering a personal and living relationship with God) and worship (adoration of God) have the potential to nourish the spiritual growth of all members of the school community. Prayer and worship help create a sense of purpose and identity within the community. The three elements of prayer and worship encouraged at St Francis Xavier are; Christian prayer, celebrating liturgy and sacraments and ritualising everyday life.

The life of faith is expressed in acts of religion. The teacher will assist students to open their hearts in confidence to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through personal and liturgical prayer (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, n.83)

 
Christian Prayer – contributes to the faith growth of individuals and the building of a Christian community. St Francis Xavier draws on the richness of the Catholic tradition, the wider Christian tradition, Stewardship and our Mercy tradition to nurture prayer life of the school. Students at St Francis Xavier are invited to regular prayer:
·         Daily morning prayer – Children’s Suscipe of Catherine McAuley
·         Daily grace
·         Daily afternoon prayer – St Francis Xavier School Prayer
·         Weekly Mass (Years 4 to 7 attend Mass with parishioners in the church)
·         Weekly Meditation – Meditative prayer is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion and desire. This may include readings, reflection, journaling, silence and stillness.

 
At St Francis Xavier, students will experience a variety of formal and informal expressions of prayer, appropriate to their age and development. We will teach and learn all prayers as outlined in the prayer scope and sequence from the Religious Education Curriculum.
·         Each classroom will establish and maintain a sacred, reflective space. Students will be involved in creating this spaces.
·         Each class will participate in Meditative prayer once a week during Mercy Matters.

 
Liturgy and Sacraments – are the formal, public prayer and worship of the church. At St Francis Xavier we familiarise students with words, actions and gestures, symbols and structures. Celebration of liturgy both reflects and influences what it is we proclaim, who we are proclaiming and what we do. At St Francis Xavier we celebrate Mass as a school and parish community on at least eight occasions throughout the year:

 
Opening School Mass; Mothers’ Day Mass;  An Indigenous Mass during Reconciliation Week;  St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Mass; Assumption Mass;  Fathers’ Day Mass; Mercy Mass; St Francis Xavier Feast Day Mass.

 
Whole school liturgies are also celebrated:
Belonging (Covenant celebration); Ash Wednesday; Holy Week; ANZAC Day; Stewardship; Farewell.
At St Francis Xavier we prepare our students for conscious and active participation in liturgy. This includes opportunities for instruction about the nature, purpose and structure of liturgical celebrations and of appropriate ways to participate.

 
Individual classes are encouraged to plan, prepare and celebrate a class liturgy once per term. We acknowledge that careful preparation and planning are essential to a good liturgy.
Each class will have the opportunity to plan, prepare and facilitate assembly prayer at least twice per year. Celebrations for some assembly prayer include:
St Patrick’s Day; St Joseph’s Day; Ascension; Pentecost; St Francis of Assisi (Peace focus)
 
Ritualising everyday lifeoccurs through rituals combining words, actions and symbols that make meaning of the mystery of life in the light of the gospel. At St Francis Xavier we affirm the sacredness of everyday life by recognising and celebrating God in the created world, in relationships with others and in events and experiences. We celebrate prayer rituals acknowledging rites of passage and moments of grief and loss, joy and celebration.

Staff Prayer and Spiritual Formation

Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, n.2650).

 
At St Francis Xavier we acknowledge staff require ongoing support and formation in understanding prayer and worship, and in developing the knowledge and skills needed to deepen their own spirituality, to promote experiences of prayer and worship with students. All staff are encouraged to enter into prayer on a daily basis with their students.

 
Staff come together regularly for staff prayer. Staff are encouraged to facilitate this prayer individually or in groups. Extended staff prayer is offered twice per term to which all staff are encouraged to attend.