Spiritual and Moral
The religious observance and instruction in the school is that of the Roman Catholic Church.
As a Catholic school we seek to reflect the life, teachings and values of Jesus Christ in our organisation, curriculum and relationships with each other. We provide experiences of prayer, liturgy, celebration and retreats for all our students to help all our students achieve their very best so that they confidently progress to the next stage of their lives.
The governors are required to remind parents of their right of withdrawal of pupils from worship and Religious Education. However, parents are also reminded that the school exists to give a Catholic education to its pupils and that, therefore, they are expected to be in sympathy with its aims and objectives which pervade all areas of school life and not simply the area of religious worship and Religious Education lessons.
St Robert of Newminster
St Robert was born at the beginning of the 12th century in North Yorkshire. He had a great interest in psalms and studied them during his time at university in Paris. Upon his return, he became parish priest in Gargrave, North Yorkshire and was later made rector.
St Robert joined the Benedictine order at Whitby, joining with monks from St Mary’s Abbey, York. In 1132, they established a new monastery near Skeldale. The monks lived in extreme poverty with only a makeshift structure for their Abbey. When a new novice joined the community he donated all of his wealth enabling a new monastery building to be completed which was named Fountains Abbey.
St Robert received permission to join with the Cistercian order at Fountains Abbey and was sent out from there to establish a new monastery. The abbey was built near Morpeth and was called Newminster Abbey.
St Robert was known for his holiness, his austerity and his warmth. He was a faithful and merciful companion and was devout and prayerful.
St Robert’s feast day is celebrated on 7 June, the anniversary of his death in 1159.
Each week during term time, Mass is celebrated by one of the local Deanery priests in the chapel at St Robert’s. A different tutor group is given the responsibility of arranging the Mass, attending to readers, prayers of intercession and the offertory procession. During the course of the year, there is the opportunity for each student to be involved in the planning of Mass.
Year Group Masses
Over the course of the academic year, each year group will join in the celebration of Mass as a whole cohort. This is a formal opportunity for them to come together to take part in Mass. The year group provides readers, young people to bring forward the offertory gifts and creates the prayers of intercession.
The year Mass dates for 2012-2013 are:
- Year 7 15 October
- Year 10 12 November
- Year 11 28 January
- Year 8 8 March
- Year 9 20 May
There is an extensive programme of retreats at St Robert’s whereby every single student is given the opportunity to spend time away from school with their peers. The students are guided through their days away either by members of the school chaplaincy team, members of YMT or other carefully selected specialists. During the retreats, there is also time for the students to get to know each other out of the formal school setting.
Prayer time in St Robert’s
Form tutors are given ideas for prayers on each of the weekly themes that have been selected for the year. Tutors are then able to guide their students through the theme in a meaningful way. Prayers are also led by teachers in their classrooms before and after lunch and at the end of the school day.
Morning prayer is offered to all who wish to attend from the school and the local community at 8.25 every Tuesday morning in the chapel. Morning prayer also takes place at 8.25 Wednesday to Friday.