A bishop is urging schools to be “a centre of prayer, ideally with a chapel and a chaplain,” after visiting all 76 Catholic schools in his diocese.
In a pastoral letter to be read on Sunday, Bishop Philip Egan of the
Diocese of Portsmouth shares his findings and aspirations for Catholic
schooling after visiting the schools over an 18-month period.
“In a Catholic school – independent, voluntary aided, free or academy
– everything should be done to create an authentic Christian ethos.
“The entire curriculum should be so centred on Christ that all
teaching and learning,” Bishop Egan said, before emphasising the role of
prayer in daily school life: “The school should be a centre of prayer,
ideally with a chapel and a chaplain.”
The bishop also drew attention to the need for practical action,
acknowledging a current shortage of places in Catholic schools, and the
need to attract talented people to the teaching profession. He said: “We need to be innovative, to find new ways of attracting staff,
encouraging our young to become teachers.” He added: “St Paul sees
teaching as a God-given vocation, something we see in the inspiring
teachers we have today. So today after Mass, or when you next visit the
Blessed Sacrament, please remember to pray for more vocations.”
Publicly-funded Catholic schools in the Portsmouth area are currently
being converted into four multi-academy trusts, a task Bishop Egan
described as “challenging”. The trusts will be under the patronage of
four contemporary saints of mission: “St Edith Stein, St Mother Teresa
of Calcutta, Blessed John Henry Newman and Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati.