As Director of Spirituality at The Palmer Catholic Academy, my job is to support the students and staff in what we regard as a home for our academy family.
The main aim for me as Chaplain is to encourage all students to engage in everything the academy has to offer, including the spiritual life. I hope that every student, regardless of their own faith, feels safe and comfortable to explore their own views and learn from one another in the process.
The ethos of The Palmer Catholic Academy is that in every action, we are doing it for "The Glory of God, and the Service of others." This is at the forefront of every interaction and we strive, as a Catholic academy to develop each individual to fulfil this motto. Our views and academy life are founded by the motto and our mission statement.
In our day to day life at the academy, we have a prayer at the beginning of the lesson which is led by our liturgy leaders, who have a responsibility to lead other students in faith. In subjects we try, where possible, to learn and reflect on the values that mean the most to people of faith and encourage students to make connections from subjects to belief.
In my role as Chaplain, I have an open-door policy where students can speak to me about any concerns, worries, or want to talk about faith. The chapel is a space provided for the students every break, lunchtime and after school as well, if they want some quiet, or want time to develop in their faith.
A new area of development that has started in the academy is the Saint Vincent de Paul Society Conference where we have students working to raise awareness and funds for different charities. By students taking ownership of the charity it makes them see the benefits of the help they can give.
As a Lay Chaplain I aim to:
- Support the young people of the academy to take a lead in developing their own knowledge of their faith and how this may present in their actions and making relationships with others
- Support young people as they attempt to answer life's problems and help them to shape the questions
- Network with parishes from which our students come from
- Develop new expressions and ways of creating liturgies and prayer time
I believe that faith is, and should be, in everything that we do, in some way. It does not mean students are overwhelmed with religious expression, but rather they see God in small acts of kindness, in different people and in the thanks they give at the end of each day. To me, the most important line of our prayer is, ‘Lord make me a better person.’ As chaplain, I hope in helping students and working with every student, they become a better version of themselves.
Mr J Millbery
Director of Spirituality