Our Chaplain is Father Ned Wall and our Lay Chaplain is Mrs S Perkins.
Chaplaincy in at Loreto Altrincham works within the “Vision, Values and Philosophy” statement of Loreto Education in England. Its role is defined in this document as: “helping students to strengthen their relationship with God through prayer, liturgy and action and (in) helping them reflect on their hopes and fears, dreams and gifts”.
Within our chaplaincy there is a special emphasis on the Ignatian spirituality in which Mary Ward was steeped. Consequently, our approach to students and staff is rooted in a belief that God can be found in all things and that our own experience of day-to-day living is where God speaks to us.
Our chaplains share the profound hope and desire that all will experience that “free and open access to God” of which Mary Ward spoke. Critical to this hope is the willingness to allow each person to be their true self and to recognise that “the spontaneous Spirit of the God of surprises is equally at home in the awkward, the wayward, the different, in those who march through the classrooms of their education tuned in to a different ipod” (Daniel O Leary)
Our chaplains nurture the gift of discernment in both themselves and those to whom they minister. They are tuned in to everyday reality and aware of what touches students and staff, knowing that every human experience opens the door to God. They embrace the richness of those of other faiths and none and share with them what we value and hold dear. They are attentive listeners and holders of courageous conversations that challenge and deepen understanding of what lies below the surface of our lives. They are dream keepers.
Conscious that Mary Ward, though often critical of aspects of the Church, always remained its loyal servant, our chaplains are committed to helping all come to a deeper understanding of the Church that Christ founded and to find their place within it.
At the heart of the work of chaplaincy is care for the person. Our starting point is the belief that all our students and staff are created in the image and likeness of God and all are offered the fullness of life. Our chaplains serve the needs of all students and all staff and provide a setting where all are welcome and where lives and experiences can be shared in safe and affirming surroundings.
Mrs Perkins our Lay Chaplain’s role is wide ranging and centred in light of the principles and ethos described above, which are central to her function. She is involved in the telling of Mary Ward’s story and in deepening staff and students’ understanding of the relevance of our core values to the day to day life of our school, leading and supporting preparation for liturgical events such as our Year 7 Welcome mass, year 13 Leavers’ Mass, weekly Mass or Word and Communion services, termly whole school masses, Advent and Lent services. She provides opportunities for one-to-one and small group spiritual development, prayer and reflection and responds to major events in the life of the school and our students and staff. She has close links with the Senior Leadership Team, pastoral tutors, RE department and JPIC activities. Years 7 – 11 experience an annual retreat including the opportunity for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Eucharistic ministers’ training is offered to confirmed girls from year 10 upwards and staff. Links are made between school, feeder primary schools and parishes.
A message from Mrs Perkins
My role as Chaplain is one of accompaniment with the girls and staff in our Loreto community in keeping with Mary Ward’s far sighted vision for women in the world, challenging our girls to be become confident and strong women in a supportive and holistic way. I walk alongside girls and staff wherever they may be on their faith and life journey, giving witness to truths and values embedded in our Mission Statement and inviting them to deepen their relationship with God. Our prayer underpins each day, with time given for reflection and faith development, especially during Advent and Lent. My pastoral role enables me to support girls and staff with following qualities: