My name is John Magee and I am the Chaplain in Millstreet Community School.
My primary role is to be a ‘faith presence’ in the school community. This means, amongst other things, that I am responsible for the religious liturgies / Masses that take place during the school year.
Many of these are listed on the next page. They are organised with the members of the Religious Education Department and teachers from other subject areas. On every occasion, one of the primary aims is to involve the students as much as possible – from the planning stage right up to the event itself.
In years gone by it was usually the case that the role of the chaplain in a community school would be filled by a priest or sister. This situation has changed in many places around Ireland. Millstreet is no different. There has been a lay-person as chaplain in Millstreet Community School since 2001. I have had the privilege of fulfilling the role since 2003. As a lay chaplain, I am grateful to the priests in the local parishes for their support of the work we do in the school, particularly with the celebration of the sacraments.
The chaplain is part of the pastoral care structure in Millstreet Community School. I make a point of meeting all First Years to offer support and encouragement as they settle in to our community. In turn, they are encouraged to see me, the Guidance Counsellor or their tutor should they want to talk about something.
These are examples of the liturgies / services that take place in Millstreet Community School:
Opening of school Mass for first years, parents/guardians, & grandparents
Start of Year Mass for second years and third years
November remembering liturgies
Advent reconciliation services
Blessing of the Crib
Christmas reflection: The Shepherd’s Story
The feast of St Brigid
The feast of St Patrick
The celebration of Mass for staff
Week of prayer for Christian Unity
Lenten reconciliation services
Retreats for first years, second years and Leaving Certs
Dramatic presentation of the Stations of the Cross
Projects co-ordinated by the Chaplain:
Peer mentoring – Transition Years are given the opportunity of becoming ‘peer mentors’. A peer mentor’s responsibility involves being assigned to a group of first years. All the first years meet with their mentors on a number occasions during their first term. In these groups they take part in activities to get to know each other, to build up their confidence and to learn about the school. The purpose of the mentoring programme is to ease the transition from national school. The Transition Years have first to apply to become a mentor, and then take part in a training course. Only then will they be approved as mentors.
Living Scenes Inter-generational Project
Transition Year volunteer visiting in Millstreet District Hospital
Trócaire Lenten Campaign—Pamoja Kwa Haki: this has involved hosting public meetings, a ‘sleep-out’, running workshops for 6th class pupils, Trad for Trócaire event.
WWW from MCS: A world wide welcome from Millstreet Community School. This is an event which celebrates the different cultures with the local area, through song, dance and food.
Religious Education Field Trip to Cork: Transition Years are given the chance to visit a Synagogue and a Mosque in Cork. They have the opportunity to talk to the members of the different communities. I believe this is particularly important as Ireland becomes home for more people from different religious backgrounds.
Irish Pilgrimage Trust (IHCPT) - supporting and helping to fund-raise for fifth year students who are going on the week long Easter pilgrimage to Lourdes as helpers.
We are very fortunate to have a special room in the ‘c’ corridor set aside for prayer and reflection for staff and students. Transition Years in 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, along with Mr Barry Fraser (art), decided on colour, texture and design. The Transition Years of 2009/2010, along with their woodwork teacher, designed and constructed the altar.