The present Chaplain in Beara Communty School is Marie Murphy.
The Role of the Chaplain in Scoil Phobail Bheara
‘The chaplain, as a faith presence, committed to the values of Christ, accompanies each person on the journey through life.’ (‘The Chaplain: A Faith Presence in the School Community’, Monahan and Renehan, 1998)
The primary role of the school Chaplain is that of a faith presence in the school who is available to all students and staff. I accompany members of the school community on their journey through life. The chaplain’s non-disciplinary role in the school enables me to develop a relationship of trust with the students, staff and parents. I will respond firstly to the spiritual and religious needs of the students and the whole school community respecting the denominational, religious and personal convictions of all.
The chaplain receives a mandate that is both educational and ecclesial. The chaplain puts flesh on the holistic aims of the Education Act (1998) which obliges schools to ‘promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students.’ The chaplain is also missioned by the Christian community to accompany and support young people so that they may ‘have life and have it to the full’ (Jn. 10:10)
The chaplain participates in activities which relate to the wellbeing and development of the school community, e.g. pastoral care meetings, student support team, school planning, evaluation, in-service. The chaplain ensures that the characteristic spirit of the school, reflecting the founding intention of the school and the school’s Mission Statement, finds practical expression in faith formation as well as pastoral, liturgical, para-liturgical and school outreach activities. The school chaplain exercises my pastoral role by: a) personal contact with individual students, b) access to class and small groups, c) provision of liturgical functions, d) maintaining a lively interest in recreational, cultural and outreach activities, e) responding to the day to day pastoral needs of the students. This role is wide and varied ranging from teaching Religious Education, Social Personal & Health Education, guiding Young Social Innovator projects, organising liturgies, retreats, meeting students as groups and on an individual basis and taking an active part in all areas of school life. The role of chaplain is a professional one and a privileged responsibility.
The Chaplain’s areas of focus include:
Support in crises
Sometimes it can be difficult to define the role of the School Chaplain in a single measure. The interesting and challenging aspects of chaplaincy lie in the various elements of the job. Chaplains do anything and everything- there is not really a typical day.
I attempt to makes this job my own- using my unique talent and skills. I do plan each day, week, month and year however these plans may all change at a moment’s notice despite all best intentions and flexibility is a constant necessity. There are certain things which must be considered each week such as classes, prayer services for times of religious significance, and visitors welcomed to the school for relevant talks and presentations to students .
The role of the Chaplain incorporates a journey of mission to bring the good news of the Christian message to the school community. Just as Christ and the Apostles walked with the people of their time so I walk with our people in our time.
We are, as the Gospels say, Christ’s body on earth. It is the Chaplains love for the message of Christ that allows me to be a presence within our school and we bring the love of Christ to those we meet each day. Bearing in mind the old adage “faith is caught and not thought” I consider my actions, not simply words, to be of up most importance at all times.
Like any Journey there is a mystery about what one will meet or run into along the way. It might be the illness or death of a student, a teacher or a family member. It is during these times I comfort and console those who are affected or bereaved.I support through my presence and listening, helping them to grieve the loss they have experienced. I try not to-seek answers; I am merely willing companion along the way.
Privacy is constantly to the forefront of my mind however I inform all pupils of my confidentiality policy in first year- harm to themselves (by themselves or another), to others or to property will be the only reasons I must speak to others without their permission. Where possible I seek to give pupils the confidence and skills to empower them seek their own solutions- they will be asked what they feel is the best course forward.
In my role as Chaplain in Scoil Phobail Bhéara, I feel I am someone who must have a spiritual and physical presence in the school community. Wherever possible I attempt to reflect Christ’s approach to people when on earth. I shall endeavour to be non-judgmental, never presuming and always willing to listen.
As I journey with my school community, I feel it is my duty to should bring hope, love, kindness and understanding to the everyday events. This is a very privileged position-one not to be taken lightly- it is a role which chooses you and you in turn must give it everything.
Is anyone happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
This day is almost over, and its toiling time trough.
Is there anyone to utter now a friendly word for you?
Can you say tonight in passing with the days that slipped so fast
That you helped a single person, of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day, or lose it? Was it well or poorly spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?