In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.
The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.
The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”
A Prayer for St. Joseph
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.
As a school and parish we will be marking the year of St Joseph in our own special way throughout the year. Look out for more details on our newsletters and social media posts.
Catholic Life at St Joseph’s
Some of the things we have done at St Joseph’s to celebrate our faith over the past school year.
Mass to celebrate the beginning of the New School Year
Fr Callistus stepped in to celebrate a beautiful mass with us to open the new school year on 12th September 2019. He welcomed all new children and staff.
The second part of the ‘Growing in God’ Day was held at St Bernard’s on 20th September. The first part of this initiative was held in the Summer Term for Year 5 children – this was the second session which is held once our children had transferred into Year 6.
Mission Together Assembly
Thinking about children across the world who may be less fortunate than ourselves and how we can help them through our charitable donations.
We joined the parish and celebrated a child-led mass on Sunday 20th October at St Joseph’s Church. A collection of non-perishable food items which had been donated by pupils and staff during the week was placed before the altar during the offertory. This food was then distributed to the local food bank. The children all had jobs to do during the service: greeters, readers, bidding prayers, offertory etc. It was very well attended by children, parents and staff and was a great opportunity to forge stronger links with the parish.
During our Baptism/Confirmation Topic in Year 3, Fr Callistus came into school to talk about baptism on 22nd October. He conducted a beautiful “walk through” baptism with ‘baby Ciara’ for Year three and our foundation children who thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
GIFT team Training
On Thursday 7th November, the GIFT Team took part in a Training Day at St Bernard’s, along with the other primaries in our Learning Community – St Bede’s, St Gerard’s, St Mary’s, Maltby, St Mary’s Herringthorpe. St Bernard’s ‘BEAST’s’ also joined us. After lunch, we walked to the Immaculate Conception Church, where we celebrated a beautiful liturgy based around St Martin of Tours, who was the first chaplain. Bishop Ralph then commissioned each child. Fr Callistus also joined us, together with other priests from the deanery.
Bishop Ralph’s Visit
Bishop Ralph visited school on 20th November. This was his second visit in recent years to St Joseph’s. This time he visited each class to talk about their learning and met with the leadership team to discuss plans for Advent before enjoying a school dinner with the children in the main hall.
Advent started with an Advent wreath blessing service for our whole school wreath, which was then lit every day during collective worship and became the focal point of our reflections during the season of Advent.
All classrooms had an interactive Advent wreath on display during the season of Advent with Catholic themed activities for the children to do and every child in school was gifted a book during Advent from our book class advent calendars.
An Advent newsletter was also shared with all parents and the parish about events taking place in school and ideas for celebrating Advent in the home. This was extremely well received and requests for a Lenten version were made.
A penitential service is held in school at the beginning of the season of Advent (and Lent).
Each child in KS2 is given the opportunity to say that they are sorry. This is also a thought-provoking liturgy and is well attended by the parish too. Preparation for this is done during weekly hymn practise.
Community Carol Service
This is an annual event, which takes place in the Immaculate Conception Parish, Rotherham. All our Learning Community Schools take part. It is always a really popular service and well attended by parishioners from all over the Deanery. This year we attended with the majority of our Year four class. GIFT team and several members of staff.
Advent Service – St Joseph’s Church
Key Stage 2 take part in an Advent Service in Church, which is shared with parents and parishioners.
Nativity Services – Foundation Stage and Key Stage One
Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 both perform plays based on the nativity. These are always well attended by families and the parish.
Fr Andy led us in Mass to celebrate Epiphany. The service was prepared and led by the Year 6 children along with Ms Gilgrass our Parish Link worker.
Ash Wednesday Liturgy
Service in school led by the children and the Chaplain from St Bernard’s Catholic High School. Distribution of ashes by the Parish.
Holy Communion Preparations
We have several children from across Key Stage two who have been undertaking weekly classes with Lucy at Church in preparation for making the sacrament.
Learning Community Talent Show
Charlotte in Year 6 represented St Joseph’s in the Learning Community Talent Show. She played the piano beautifully.
Jonah – A Fishy Tale!
Year 3 were invited to perform at St Bernard’s as part of a Learning Community production of Jonah (A Fishy Tale). They have been practising singing and dancing and are looking forward to performing alongside friends from St Gerard’s, St Bede’s St Mary’s Herringthorpe and Y7s from St Bernard’s.
Stations of the Cross
Year 5 prepare a wonderful retelling of the Stations of the cross, which is usually performed in church for families and the parish- this is prepared for in the week’s leading up to the service in RE lessons.
This year as an alternative due to Covid-19 lockdown the staff prepared an online recording to be shared with families via our virtual school platform which was very well received by parents and parishioners as an alternative to our traditional service.
Key Stage One perform a dramatization of the Last Supper in the last week of term for the rest of school and the parish, with children waving palms, washing of feet and of course lots of singing. Unfortunately, this year this was unable to be re-arranged. At-home teaching materials were circulated to all parents instead of a performance.
Our Passover Meal for Key Stage two children and staff is a really special time and is a really special time for us to share as a learning community. Children and staff all have roles to play and singing is rehearsed in hymn practise in the weeks leading up to Holy Week. It really is a special occasion at St Joseph’s. Key Stage One are invited to join us for the final song so that we are all together as a learning community for our final celebratory song of the season and before we break for our Easter holidays.
Summer Term Events…
In the summer term we usually celebrate the feast day of St Joseph the worker, on May 1st as well as work throughout the month of May dedicated to Mary. We enjoy meeting with friends from across the diocese at Padley Gorge for an outdoor mass and we always celebrate our successes from the year in a special leavers’ mass as we say goodbye to children and staff who are ready to move on to pastures new.