The Chaplain, Deacon Séamus O’Looskan, works within the school full time, following a Salesian method of working with young people. Supporting the Chaplain is Lydia McFerran, this year’s Damascus Project Volunteer. The Chaplaincy team are available to talk to and to offer a listening ear. It may be to share a worry, have had a bereavement or need support. The Chaplain’s role is unique within the school because they are able to listen and advise but will not need to pass judgement.
The Chaplaincy team work closely with School’s Pastoral Team to provide pastoral care as well as opportunities to grow spiritually and develop personal understanding. This includes, the weekly Savio Club for Year 7, retreats at the Briars Retreat Centre for Years 7 and 9, Think Days at the Rosmini Centre 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. This year the Patron Saints are Year 8 St Peter Claver, Year 9 St Mother Teresa, Year 10 St Maria Goretti, Year 11 Maximilian Kolbe. The Chaplaincy also co-ordinates the Ananias Youth Leadership Academy bringing together the School Council, Parish Ambassadors, Peer Mentoring and the Lower & Upper School Awards.
The Chaplaincy office is based in the Bosco Room, which can be entered 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 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 with Morning Prayer each day at 8.20 am, 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 on Wednesday’s at 1.25 pm, the school community can come together to celebrate Mass in the Chapel with local clergy.
Our Chapel 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.
Deacon Séamus has been Chaplain to St Paul’s School for 17 years and jokes that he is “the best Chaplain the school has ever had!” (Actually, he is the only Chaplain the school has ever had). He is a member of the School Leadership team and was ordained to the diaconate in July 2018 at Nottingham Cathedral. 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 serves as a deacon at Sacred Heart & St Margaret Mary parish, is a member of the Diocesan Evangelisation team and is the Pilgrimage Organiser for the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham. He loves cooking, etymology, languages, art & architecture, food (especially Indian!) and follows Stoke City FC and Mayo Gaelic Football Club. He can be found anywhere in school but rarely in his office!
Lydia recently finished a year of being on the volunteer team at The Briars (the Diocesan Youth Retreat Centre) and has come to Saint Paul’s to gain more experience of Chaplaincy. She is not 100% sure what her plans are for the future but is really enjoying the position she has here at school and knows she is definitely on the right path. She plays the violin and is very passionate about that. She loves reading and being able to be really creative, especially when creating scripture art! Her biggest love, though, is food and you will never catch her in the office without a snack and a giant cup of coffee.