Students from Saint Paul’s were offered an opportunity to step away from their busy lives and enjoy some quiet space for reflection and prayer when they recently spent a full day on retreat. The Year 7 students were able reflect on their faith and look more closely at their relationship with God as well as with their peers.
The theme for the retreat was “belonging to a community” and the students looked at how they and others contribute to this. They engaged in a number of group based activities exploring the theme and focusing on its impact in school, the home the local community and in the wider world.
The students explored the theme through a number of activities including icebreakers, name games, a scavenger hunt around school, meditation and liturgies.
Mr Ric Slatter, Lay Chaplain at Saint Paul’s, said: “The retreat offered many bonding opportunities for the Year 7 students whilst at the same time providing a time for reflection and peace. The retreat is seen by the school as an integral part of the life-long faith formation of young people. The students withdraw from the ordinary activities of the school for a period of time to be with God in prayer and reflection.”
“We all need the space and the silence to reflect and pray, it can help us begin to sense a deeper truth about ourselves and God, how he loves us as we are,” explained Mr Nathon Mallon, Year 7 Progress Leader. “The retreat gave us the opportunity not only to reflect upon our goals and ambitions and how our faith supports us in achieving these; but also a chance to get to know each other better.”
Mr Tony Billings, Executive Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s, said: “The retreat is a spiritual exercise which provides the opportunity for our pupils to deepen their relationship with God, with others and with themselves, through reflection and prayer.”
The Year 7 induction process concluded with a Mass attended by students, staff, parents and primary school heads and Year 6 teachers. Each student had created a link in a paper chain which were all connected to make a long chain representing the whole year group. Each form created a form poster with a jigsaw piece representing each student (joining together to make a cross), form prayers and house saint information. Also each primary school presented with a candle inscribed ‘you are the light of the world’ as a symbol of the unity between Catholic schools in Wythenshawe.