2019 was huge success with staff and students raising over €138,000 for the homeless by spending two nights sleeping out on O’Connell St.
We understand Pastoral Care ‘as an approach to education which endeavors to value and develop each member of the school community. It is within this context that our Pastoral Care approach is shaped and implemented. Each member of the school community has a significant role to play in creating and protecting the pastoral ethos of the school and as an individual has access to the pastoral structures and procedures in place.
We strive to place mutual respect, understanding and care of the individual at the heart of all that we do in Belvedere as the strength of relationships within the school community is the core resource that supports our pastoral approach. Chaplaincy is a vital part of the support structures in place for our students in terms of their personal, social and spiritual development during their time in Belvedere.
The Role Description of the Chaplain
In a school community, which embraces a holistic vision of education, chaplaincy plays a pivotal role. The Education Act 1998 Section 9(d) notes the obligation placed on schools to “promote the moral, spiritual and personal development of students in consultation with parents having regard to the charismatic spirit of the school”. While the chaplaincy is primarily concerned with moral and spiritual development of students it also plays an important role in integrating these with other dimensions of education, social, personal, academic and physical.
‘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 most relevant analogy of the role of Chaplain is that of the Road to Emmaus story, the accompaniment story for all Christians. Like Jesus, the Chaplain meets people in their present situation, walks with them, acknowledges their fears/needs/hopes and supports them in their spiritual development. The Chaplain is in the privileged position of facilitating a student’s personal reflection on their lives and their relationship with God, in a context of respect, understanding and friendship.
Time is given to the individual to support them in articulating who they are and what is going on in their lives at present. They engage in a conversation with themselves in the presence of someone else and in the process become more self-aware. Students are challenged to think about their own self-image, how they relate with others and most importantly they are listened to as they reflect upon their present realities and the challenges they are facing in life. The student’s development of a positive self-image is a key aim for the Chaplain in their individual meeting with them.