The Chaplain, Séamus O’Looskan, works within the school full time, following a Salesian method of working with young people. Supporting the Chaplain is Daniel McGlynn, the Assistant Chaplain, and this year’s Damascus Project Volunteer. The Chaplaincy team are available to talk to and to listen. It may be that a child is worried and needs to share their anxiety, has had a bereavement or needs support. The Chaplain’s role is unique within the school because he is able to listen and advise but will not need to pass judgement.
The Chaplaincy team work closely with the pastoral team in every year group throughout the year, supporting them spiritually and pastorally. They are involved in arranging and leading trips to the Briars Retreat Centre for Years 7 and 9, Think Days for Years 7, 8 and 10, visits to the Holocaust Centre for Year 9, Retreat Days for 6th form and year Feast Days celebrating the patron saints chosen by the year group for their time in school (year 8 St Michael, year 9 St Sebastian, year 10 Don Bosco and year 11 St Josephine Bakhita). From the Chaplaincy also is co-ordinated the Ananias Youth Leadership Academy which brings together the School Council, Parish Ambassadors and Peer Mentoring.
The Chaplaincy is based in the Bosco Room, which can be entered either opposite the chapel or off the dining room corridor. Next to this is also the Stanford Garden, an oasis of peace in a busy school.
The Chapel of St Paul, with the Blessed Sacrament reserved, is located between the RE department and the staff room and is open all day for anyone who wishes to use it. A place to pray, or to sit quietly with your own thoughts. A place to shed a tear when news is not so good. A place to celebrate important events in our faith journey.
Every week, the Chapel is the centre of daily worship in the form of Morning Prayer, a time for students and staff to come together to gather their thoughts and give thanks before the Lord at the beginning of a new day. Also, each week, the school community can come together to celebrate the Mass in the Chapel with local clergy.
The Chapel of St Paul is a very important place within the school and therefore, each year, it plays host to a variety of classes – be it for the Year 7 Chapel tour and quiz, meditation sessions, Year 10 Exploration of Marriage, Advent services, Lenten services and small group masses.
Séamus O’Looskan has been Chaplain to St Paul’s School for 13 years and jokes that he is “the best lay Chaplain the school has ever had!” (Actually he is the only lay Chaplain the school has ever had). His hero is St John Bosco – patron saint of youth – and he follows this saint’s Salesian method of working with young people. He has worked in many schools & youth centres in London, New York, Hong Kong & Bootle. He is a member of Sacred Heart & St Margaret Mary parish, writes a school prayer book for use in the Diocese of Nottingham schools and is the Pilgramage Organiser for the Diocesan Pilgramage to Walsingham. He loves cooking, etymology, languages, art & architecture, food (especially Indian!) and follows Stoke City FC and Kerry Gaelic Football Club. He can be found anywhere in school but rarely in his office!
Dan, the Assistant Chaplain, is a former student of the school and a graduate of Leicester University in Criminology. He spends 3 days a week in school and then spends a day a week as Chaplain to St Thomas More and St Joseph Voluntary Academies. He enjoys music and can often be found playing one of his many guitars when he’s not in the office. When he’s not in school, he is often found working with the Air Cadet Organisation where he is second in command of a squadron in Melton Mowbray. He also enjoys going to the cinema, catching up with friends and tackling the challenges of the local pitch and putt golf course. He has a reputation for his baking skills (well, his lack of baking skills!) and is a big fan of the Great British Bake Off!
Daisy, the Damascus Volunteer, is more likely to be found in the office! Having just completed her A Levels at St Paul’s, she is taking a gap year working in the Chaplaincy before taking up her place next year at Keele University studying English with Creative Writing. She hopes to become an author or work in the publishing industry once she has completed her degree. Daisy loves reading and writing, and harbours a great love for cats – particularly black and white ones. She also loves travelling on trains and planes, and exploring old English villages, as well as reading her favourite novels in strange and unexpected places, such as clifftops and even once in a boat!