Catholic Special Character

Catholic Special Character

St Mary’s is a Catholic school, our Catholic Special Character is the essence for our school's existence and the beliefs of Catholic Christians are inherent in all facets of our daily lives.

Each day starts with prayer in the classrooms ( children also pray at other key times during the day, i.e. grace before lunch and at the end of the day) and the children are given instruction and encouraged to ensure that meaningful prayer becomes a part of their daily lives.

Religious Education is taught at all class levels, the programme that we teach in our school is the official programme as per the "Religious Education Curriculum Statement For Catholic schools in Aotearoa New Zealand".

An outline of the programme is found in a document called ‘The Family-Whanau Book’ covering the programme and how you can help at home, it is an expectation that all families possess this document, they are given to all families on the successful enrolment of their first child.

The Principal and Director of Religious Studies (Mrs Mary Dillon) are always available to discuss questions about our special character: alternatively information about the Catholic Church, Catholic Education and our Special Character can be found in the following webpages -

Alongside this programme, we aim to have Christian values reflected throughout our school, from the school charter through to the staff and children's relationships. We encourage support from parents, including helping with Religious Education homework and the Sacramental programme, attending class and family Masses and assemblies. Each term a school Mass is celebrated, this is when the parish and school come together to celebrate Mass as a whole community.

The Charism of the Sisters of Mercy.

In Christian theology, a "Charism" ( from the Greek ), denotes any good gift that flows from God's love to humans. The word can also mean any of the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his or her task in the church.

While the Sisters of Mercy were not the founders of St Mary's, this honour fell to a lay teacher; Miss Katherine McLachlan, they were the stewards of the school for over eighty years. The Sisters of Mercy's Charism is based on five key values:

Human Dignity




Care For The Poor And Vulnerable.

# We respect Human Dignity when we:

*respect the sacredness of life

*care for the whole person

*demonstrate unity of purpose while recognising individual differences

*value each person's contribution

*act in a culturally appropriate manner

*cultivate the potential for excellence in a holistic way

We see this value when we read - in the Gospel of St Luke 17: 7 -14, the story of Humility and Hospitality

#We show compassion when we:

*act with understanding and sensitivity to each other

*work cooperatively with others

*make ourselves available for others

*respect and nurture the environment

We see this value when we read - in the Gospel of St Luke 5:12 -13, The story of the healing of the leper

# We provide Service when we

*create an environment of welcome and hospitality

*promote quality care and excellence in teaching and learning

*encourage and demonstrate team spirit

*show openness to constructive criticism and feedback

We see this value when we read - in the Gospel of St John 6:1 - 15, the story of the loaves and fish (feeding the five thousand).

# We promote Justice when we:

*act with integrity

*respect the rights of others

*take responsibility for our actions

*preserve our resources

*provide quality without extravagance

*demonstrate fairness in decision - making

*affirm, celebrate and develop the talents of each person

*model justice in all aspects of teaching practice

-We see this when we read The Gospel of St Luke 19: 2 - 9,

the Story of Zacchaeus.

# We care for the poor and vulnerable when we;

*collaborate with each other to share resources

*create access to educational opportunities

*listen attentively to identify unmet needs

*respond in a practical way to those in need.

We see this value when we read The Gospel of St Luke 10:30 - 37;

"The story of the good Samaritan'

We have adapted these Mercy slightly, so that they are in line with the National Curriculum values, to become our schools values:






Our Mercy Charism is visible in our school:

Physically by bookmarks, larger versions of these hang in all of the class rooms and other common areas; by the attitudes and focus of pupils around our school and by the attitudes of the staff and parents.

Our Charism is a continuing focus but we especially concentrate on it at the beginning and end of year school Masses and our founders day, we have over the past years had Sisters of Mercy into the school to speak at these celebrations as representatives of the Sisters and as a link to the past.

We focus on the Mercy values during our Whanau* time:

every second Friday afternoon. Here our senior pupils facilitate a learning experience, planned school wide by a teacher, on one of our mercy values. We also support this learning during class time.

* All pupils are grouped into Whanau or houses, each Whanau has representatives from all classes and all age groups. The Whanau are each named after a New Zealand indigenous bird.

2016 Calendar of Events for Special Character

Term One

12 /2/16 Mass, presentation of Leaders’ badges, whanau games

10 /2 /16 Ash Wednesday Mass - beginning of Lent and our 6 week Caritas theme :"love in action"

25 / 2 /16 Principals and DRS Conference ( Burns Lodge)

21/2/16 Family Mass 9am, cuppa tea at school, School and Parish celebration

3/3/ /16 Living Simply Caritas Lenten appeal - children eat a simply lunch

22/3/16 cultural Mufti day for Caritas Lenten Appeal

24 /3/16 Easter Liturgy – Holy Thursday at Parish church - 2pm

8 / 4 / 16 Celebration of Easter Mass - whole school 9:00 am

Reconciliation for Years 4 – 8 students TBA with Father Michael

Term Two

24/4/16 Anzac Service at school 2:30 pm - prayers and shared remembrances

12/5/16 Parent meeting for Confirmation children 7:00 pm

parish centre

Buddy class Masses - Wednesdays or Fridays: rooms 2&4 - Friday 10th June; Rooms 1 & 7 - Friday 17th June9:00 am; Rooms 5 & 6 - Friday 24th June 9 am.

16/5/16 catholic Schools week - begin each day with shared morning prayers - each class to lead one prayer session at 9 am in the foyer.

22/5/16 Family mass - 9:00am Sunday mass - focus on being a Catholic school

14/6/16 Monica Brown concert at Holy Name Church

St Mary's to organise

19 / 5 / 16 Bishops Forum

28/6 /15 Confirmation - Parish & School celebration

6/7/16 Mufti Day for Nano Nagle Charitable Trust

Term Three: (Individual Class Masses - Wednesdays or Fridays )

11 / 8 /16 Parent meeting for First Eucharist

14/8/16 School Family Mass -

for the feast of the Assumption

31 / 8 /16 Mufti day for the local Taieri Food bank

7/9/16 Room 4 class Mass 9am

9/9/16 Room 7 class Mass 9am

14/9/16 Room 5 class Mass 9am

21/9/16 Room 2 class Mass 9am

23/9/16 Room 1 class Mass 9am

18 /9/16 First Eucharist celebrated at 9am Sunday Mass

15 / 9 / 16 Twilight meeting to be held at SMM

24/9/16 Mercy Day (Saturday)

Term Four

14/10/16 Room 6 class Mass

During the month of October the whole school will pray the Rosary together

21/10/16 Whole school Mass on saints theme -9am

27/10/16 Parent meeting for first reconciliation - 7 pm

November; the last three weeks of the month will have a:Mission Focus - school - wide

27/11/16 Family Mass at Sunday Mass 9am - School and Parish celebration

TBA School Mass with Missions focus

/11/16 Missions month “Work For Chores” action

1/11/16 All Saints feast day - whole school Mass TBC

TBC Parent meeting for Reconciliation programme

8/12/16 First Reconciliation; as a part of the Advent Parish Reconciliation

Advent prayer liturgy - TBC

Reconciliation for senior classes - TBA

14 /12/16 End of Year School Mass and Graduation of Year 8 Students 6pm