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.

2021 Calendar of Events For Special Character

Term One:

12/02/21 Opening School Mass and blessing of our school leaders, whanau picnic and games afternoon

17/02/21 Ash Wednesday school liturgy held at school at 11am

Caritas actions ongoing

Mufti Day for Caritas – Gold coin trail in the shape of a cross

28/03/21 Family Mass with the Parish family – Palm Sunday – 9am

01/04/21 Holy Week liturgy – whole school at the Parish Church 2pm

16/04/21 Celebration of Easter themed Mass – the whole school - 9.15am

Term Two:

07/05/21 School Anzac Service held in the school grounds – prayers and remembrances

30/05/21 Family Mass – School joining the Parish for Sunday Mass at 9am

16/06/21 Food Bank Appeal

27/06/21 Confirmation celebrated with Bishop Michael at Sunday Mass - 9am

09/07/21 Mufti Mania for Caritas – across Catholic Schools

Buddy class Masses to be arranged for a Wednesday or a Friday during Term Two

Reconciliation to be arranged with Father Michael for Rooms 4,6 and 7

Term Three:

Mary themed School Mass at 9.15am

24/09/21 Mercy Day – School Mass to celebrate the founding of the Mercy Sisters

26/09/21 First Communion celebrated at Sunday Mass – 9am

29/09/21 Catholic Schools Day

Class Masses to be arranged with Father Michael during Term Three

Term Four:

During the month of October we will pray the Rosary together as a school

Missions month – “Work for chores” action

01/11/21 Feast of All Saints – school will join with the Parish for Mass at 9.15am

Family Mass joining with our Parish family at Sunday 9am Mass

Advent wreaths blessing – whole school

First Reconciliation – celebrated with the Parish as part of Advent – 7pm

End of Year Mass and graduation of our Year 8 students – 6pm

Reconciliation to be arranged with Father Michael for Rooms 4, 6 and 7

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