Sunday Times Prep School of the Year 2013-14

Catholic Life

Bethlehem - the Musical!

Our Junior girls performed superbly last week, retelling the Christmas story in their funny, vibrant, energetic, modern production of ‘Bethlehem – the Musical’; the school audience and appreciative parents, siblings and extended families were all amazed at seeing nearly 160 girls on stage, all at once in the Hall, all singing their hearts out, dancing and acting their parts with great enthusiasm in character. Fabulous effort girls!

Our Pre-Prep department younger pupils were not to be out shone either as they presented three retakes on the traditional Nativity story, confirming that whether you are a minor fir tree, a family of mice or an inquisitive child seeking a game to play during the holiday season, there is a place for Jesus’ birth in all of our lives. Well done to everyone for reminding us of the true meaning of CHRIST-mas…

 R nativity

Looking ahead to Advent

Advent begins on Sunday 2nd December, and our girls throughout the school have been making Advent promises and reflecting upon the joyful season that is ahead of us.

Perhaps you could create an Advent wreath at home with your daughter(s) – collect some evergreen foliage from the garden and safely support 5 candles in the arrangement? The girls know all about the wreath and what it means and how it can help us prepare our hearts for Jesus’ birth.

The Nativity plays put on by Wintershall are a wonderfully special way to celebrate and reflect upon the season with your family; perhaps this year you could make time to attend? https://www.wintershall.org.uk/nativity-play

 Advent prayer

We look forward to December where we prepare for the coming of our Lord. We will celebrate the season with special advent assemblies led by Mrs Hair, Miss Green and our Faith Leaders. The Christmas story will be retold in unique ways with 4 different plays performed by the Pre-Prep and Junior departments, and a special Christmas Mass prepared by Y6P will end another successful term, celebrating the birth of Jesus and preparing ourselves for Christmas with our families.

Faith Leaders

The Faith Leaders are a  group led by Miss Green consisting of 9 Year 6 girls. The girls meet fortnightly to discuss, plan and implement new initiatives in line with the school's mission and ethos, support and develop collective worship throughout the school and be an ambassador for the faith formation and liturgical life of the school community. The Faith Leaders assist with the weekly gospel assembly led by Miss Green or Mrs Hair and some members formed part of the Remembrance Sunday parade.

Remembrance Sunday - 11th November

On Remembrance Sunday Mrs Hair, Miss Roche and 13 of our year 5 and 6 girls represented our school in the Coombe and New Malden Remembrance Parade led by the Royal British Legion. One of our faith leaders wrote a prayer on behalf of the school which she read at the service and two other faith leaders laid a wreath with our school logo and prayer attached. It was a very moving and special experience and one we will continue to support.

Mass of Inscription - 31st October 

At the end of October, the school community came together to pray for our Year 3 girls who have started on their sacramental preparation programmes in their own parishes. They will make their First Holy Communion during the summer term when we will celebrate once again in our ‘Going Forth Mass.’ As a whole school community, we promised to pray for them as they begin this special part of their faith journey. It was wonderful to see the 20 girls from classes Y3 and Y3P celebrate their Mass of Inscription with Father Michael. This represents the start of their journey in faith towards receiving the sacrements of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Let us pray for them and their families.

At this Mass, we also celebrated the Feast of All Saints. This feast was also recognised with a special assembly that week, presented by Mrs Hair and our house captains, who talked about their house saints. 

 prayer for first HC girls

May you always know the peace of Jesus, the light of His love, and the joy of His life within you. Amen.

Space for Faith - Our Prayer Room

This academic year we are delighted to present our school 'prayer room',  a space dedicated to time with God. It has been furnished with cushions designed by year 6 and resources to help us experience and explore further our journey in faith during our time at school. Classes have begun to gather here for class liturgies and reflection and our faith leaders are planning a blessing for this special space. It is a beautiful room at the back of the school, overlooking our extensive grounds, flooded with natural light and warm sunshine. Our Mustard Seeds group gather here every Wednesday lunchtime to explore the meaning of the Good News through prayer and reflection in creative ways. On Monday mornings, Sr Ursula meets parents here for her 'Time 4 God' group where they pray, reflect and enjoy eachothers company. 

We hope the girls will enjoy the room for self reflection, mindfulness practices, stillness - all of which will help our girls grow personally, socially and spiritually.

         

 roof over head prayer

Prayer for daily courage

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline." 

Timothy 1:7

 "Lord, grant me courage as I go through this day. When I am tempted to give up, help me to keep going. Grant me a cheerful spirit when things don't go my way and give me courage to do whatever needs to be done. In Jesus' name, Amen."

The Mustard Seeds

The Mustard Seeds lunchtime prayer group meet every Wednesday to explore the meaning of the Good News through prayer and reflection in creative ways using art, drama, song and science. They have planted and grown their own mustard seeds having read the parable, as a way of exploring what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God. This term they composed prayers of intention, made rosary beads to celebrate October the month of the Rosary, shared ‘fruits of the earth’ to learn about Harvest, painted art for our new Prayer Room, said prayers for our loved ones in heaven, made poppies to remind us of Armistice day and explored the four elements of collective worship, creating the words with stain glass window effect to display in our prayer room

         

Light up the dark…

With darker Autumn nights upon us we may be feeling a bit gloomy and reach for the nearest string of fairy lights, but there is no need…we have light within us! Light is powerful and all-pervading; when we walk close to Jesus we choose light and love and darkness is dispelled. When we follow the Gospel values in our daily lives and consider the Holy Cross Way in school, we become little lights; we can bring God’s light, goodness and truth to the whole world, wherever we go.

Prayer for Light
Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.

 candle light

Prayers we say in school

 pray daily

The start of a new school year brings a much welcome routine for many of us; the endless days of sunny, holiday fun are a precious gift, but can only be truly appreciated when they replaced by routine and they become something to look forward to once more in the future. Being back in school signals a return to regular prayer for most of us as our school day is punctuated with time for this small act of worship and thanksgiving. We may pray at any opportunity in the day, and the girls are reminded of the importance, and need for spontaneous prayer which they can lead; there are also ‘set’ prayers we join in together. Please take a moment to read through these – they may prompt you to write a ‘family prayer’ which is special and unique to all of you at home.

We make the Sign of the Cross together

 sign of the cross

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

Morning Prayer (said together in Assembly)

Heavenly Father I give you today all that I think and do and say, united with what was done, on Earth, by Jesus Christ your son. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be they name

Thy Kingdom come, they will be done

On Earth as it is Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses and those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Amen

 

Hail Mary

Hail Mary full of Grace

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

 grace at lunch

Pre-Prep Grace – sung in the Dining Hall together towards the close of lunch service.

Thank you God, for the food we have eaten.

Thank you God, for all our friends.

Thank you God, for everything.

Thank you God. Amen.

 

Junior Grace – said or sung in class before the girls attend lunch.

At the table, at the table

Bless this food, bless this food,

Bless this food we ask you

Bless this food we ask you,

And us too, and us too.

 

Pre-Prep ‘hometime’ prayer

God our Father I come to say, thank you for your love today, thank you for my family and all the friends you give to me. Guard me in the dark of night and in the morning send your light. Amen.

 hometime prayer

 

October -  The month of the Rosary - 15th October

Miss Green led a beautiful assembly on The Rosary with help from our faith leaders. We thought about the importance and significance of the mysteries of the Rosary, during the month of 

Zambia Pupils Visit - 4th October

Our numbers swelled this week when we were joined by 62 pupils and four members of staff from the Holy Cross school in Zambia. The boys and girls joined us for a taste of English school life. They accompanied our Y5, Y5P, Y6 and Y6P classes as they followed in their footsteps for a day in the busy timetable of Holy Cross, Coombe. There was much to learn from each other and many differences to giggle over, but importantly, there was lots of Holy Cross values to share and appreciate the same regardless of continent!

Zambian prayer

A Prayer for Friendship between Nations…

Dear Lord, teach me to love others the way you first loved me. As I build relationships with others, let them see you in the extent of my generosity, the authenticity of my kindness, and the depths of my love. All of those things are only possible through you, the God who abides with me and calls me His friend. Amen.

 Zambian pupils

Harvest Mass - 10th October 

As part of our commitment to support those in need, this year we chose to support the work of The Kingston Food Bank in association with The Trussell Trust. The girls were encouraged to donate items of non-perishable food and were given a list as to what the Food Bank required. We had an amazing response with approximately 22 crates being delivered to their storeroom. During our Harvest Mass, prepared by Y6P, we thanked God for the wonderful earth and for our harvest, the food that grows for us and prayed that we may be truly grateful for all He gives to us. We then shared fresh bread, made by Chef. The girls took it back to their classrooms after Mass where they gave thanks for the harvest and all we have.

Harvest Prayer - a CAFOD reflection

Creator God, in love you give life. In your generosity you create the gifts of the earth. As daughters and sons of the same Father, may we learn to share the plentiful gifts of creation, especially with those most in need. Give us open hands and loving hearts, so that we take less and give more. We ask that all may benefit from your goodness and share in the fullness of the life you have promised. Amen.

 HArvest display          

We are shaped by those around us - 26th September 

Y5 reminded us in their service that we are shaped but those around us. As members of the community we came together in God’s name to praise Him for the many gifts that He has given to us. We thanked Him especially for the people in our lives and in our community who make our lives happy and safe.

Feast of the Holy Cross - 12th September

We opened the school year celebrating the Feast of the Holy Cross and giving thanks that we are all part of this special family, where we grow and learn, where we feel valued and safe, where we work together and make lasting friendships. We gave thanks to the sisters of the Holy Cross and all those who work for the good of others. Children from all year groups participated in this beautiful Mass. We are lucky to be able to celebrate the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross so early on in the new academic school year because it enables us to focus and reflect upon the ethos of our school. The girls have been reviewing and learning about the Swiss order of Holy Cross nuns who founded the school and gave us our legacy. The Offertory gifts during Mass reminded us of the value of education in God’s world as well as the importance of what He can teach us. It was a prayerful and joyful celebration and we welcomed many families and parents in our congregation as well.

 HC feast

 

Celebrating the new school year Mass with Archbishop Peter Smith - 11th September

On 11th September Miss Green and Mrs Whitfield took 6 children from Year 6 to St Georges Cathedral in Southwark, to mark the beginning of the new school year and to celebrate Mass with Archbishop Peter Smith and the rest of the Diocese. The girls were impeccable and represented our school beautifully.

 St George's cathedral diocese mass

Our Holy Cross Song

My song shall rise with gladness, thy name and fame to tell

To hail the place I treasure and where I long to dwell.

That spot so dear and cherished to where my heart has grown,

My second home of childhood

The Holy Cross my own,

The Holy Cross my own.

 

Thou art to me a fountain whence life and truth to draw

From these three pleasant streamlets

Peace, joy and wisdom flow.

‘TIs here that childhood’s pleasures are ever to be found,

Where ties of tender friendship

All youthful hearts entwine,

All youthful hearts entwine.

New Beginnings - 6th September

We threw open our school gates and warmly welcomed our two new Reception age classes of children into our Holy Cross family. We extend our embrace to all the new staff and the handful of new pupils who join us through the school; God Bless them all, may they feel settled and happy here in no time. Over the next week in class we will all be looking at our ‘Holy Cross Way’ and reminding ourselves of our purpose here in school as part of God’s big family.

Prayer for the New School Year
Loving Father, thank you,
We have had time to rest,
And now we are full of energy.
We have had time to think,
And now we are full of ideas.
We have had time to stop,
And now it’s time to get going.
Help us all to be the very best we can be.
Be with us Father we pray as we begin this new school year together.
Amen

2017-18

Saying ‘goodbye’ and moving on - July 2018

Tissues were clutched tightly and friends hugged even closer as we held our ‘Leavers Mass’ on Wednesday. Whilst it is a joyful celebration of the end of another successful academic school year, it is always tinged with sadness for our Year 6 girls who are saying goodbye to us and moving on to their new, chosen senior schools in September. The girls have been with us for seven years since first starting in Reception, and it has been a joy and a privilege to watch them blossom and grow academically, personally and spiritually. We continue to keep these girls in our prayers and assure them that their Hoy Cross family is always here for them. The remainder of the school look forward to the long summer break and a chance to spend some time with family and friends, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. God Bless all.

Remembering the power of prayer in our busy, hectic lives as daily temperatures rise...

The Serenity Prayer

God grant us the serenity
To accept the things we cannot change;
Courage to change the things we can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as we would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If we surrender to His Will;
So that we may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Amen
 

Blessings before the Summer Holidays
Take time to claim your strength; this is a gift from God.
Take time to have fun; it is God’s way of teaching you your strengths.
Take time to grow yourself; only you can grow you.
Take time to trust yourself; God trusts you.
Take time to be self-reliant; it is better than being dependent.
Take time to share with others; they will bless you and you will bless them.
Take time to have hope; you are a child of God.

 

Picnic and Praise!

On 26th June our Year 5 girls journeyed to St Philomena’s school in Carshalton to be part of the Picnic and Praise event run by our Diocese.  The pupils and staff of many schools came together to experience 'Share the Journey'  led by CAFOD. After a picnic in the grounds, the day ended with celebrating Mass; a perfect end to a very special and spiritual day.

 picnic and praise

 

Going Forth - 26th June 

A fantastically beautiful and joyful celebration of our First Holy Communion girls as we held our ‘Going Forth’ Mass in school with siblings, grandparents, god parents and friends joining us in the Hall. The girls looked serene in their special white dresses and were prayerful and reflective during Mass; their classmates were supportive in wearing their own clothes too and joining in the precious day. The sun shone down on all and we felt truly blessed and thankful.

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 31st May

We are lucky to fill our school environment with many beautiful crucifixes on classroom and corridor walls and holy figure statues. A very popular statue with girls and staff is the large Mary who watches over us on the top lawn; she makes for a beautifully serene spot to stop and reflect in our busy school day.

 

Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Ascension Day Prayer
O Lord Your Ascension into heaven
marks the culmination of the Paschal Mystery,
and it contains an important teaching for us.
May we live life as an earthly reality
and develop our human potential to the fullest.
May we make use of the results of science
to achieve a better life on this planet.
But in our best moments
we know that there must be more
than all of this,
a transcending Reality.
As Christians, we know that this Reality
is Your loving Father
Who awaits us with You and the Holy Spirit.
Where You have gone,
we ultimately will come - if we are faithful.

New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book

 flames of the Holy Spirit
 

Lenten Walk -19th April

The whole school community came together to reflect on Christ's last journey on earth. We walked in His footsteps together, appreciating the beauty of our environment and the school grounds and stopped at each station of the cross to pray and observe. The triumphant resurrection was given real meaning by the girls in Y6P as they re-enacted the scenes and spoke the words from the Bible account. It was a very powerful and poignant afternoon in school and one which is appreciated by pupils, staff and visitors alike as we don our heads scarves and become the crowrds in Jerusalem.

 

Friendship Prayer

Help me, O God, to be
A good and true friend.

To be always loyal, and
Never to let my friends down;

Never to talk about them behind
Their backs in a way in which I
Would not do before their faces;

Never to betray a confidence or
Talk about the things about which
I ought to be silent;

Always to be ready to share
Everything I have;

To be as true to my friends
As I would wish them to be to me.

This I ask for the sake of You who are
the greatest and the truest of all friends,
For your love’s sake, Amen.

 Hc shield