The New Year, and the start of 2023, saw the beginning of a new role here at St Cuthbert's. We thought we'd have a little chat with the new Leader of Catholic Life, Mrs McDonagh and officially welcome her to the St Cuthbert's family.
Who are you?
Hello. I am very excited and thrilled to have been appointed as Leader of Catholic Life and Teacher of RE at St Cuthbert’s. I have been an RE teacher for nearly twenty years, having qualified in 2003. I grew up in Oldham and went to Trinity and All Saints, Leeds to study Theology after my A ‘Levels. Once completing my degree, I continued at the same University to study for my PGCE. I now live in Wigan with my husband and twin 13-year-old sons. I love teaching RE – I love exploring and debating the big questions in life that RE challenges students to think deeply about, like why are we here, is life special, what happens when we die? I also think it is important to open up different worldviews to students to try to foster tolerance and understanding of different religions, cultures and groups. I believe that RE is one of the subjects that everyone comes back to throughout their lives. It is an exciting subject to teach.
What is your role?
Leader of Catholic Life is a new role at St Cuthbert’s. It is my job to develop the religious life of school. I am keen to advance the use of Chapel and Chaplaincy provision to help students to develop their skills, talents and spirituality. My vision for Chaplaincy at St Cuthbert’s is to create a welcoming place that is open to all, staff and students, religious or not. Working with the whole school, I want everyone in our community to know that they are loved by God and are special because he created us. Through providing different experiences everyone has the chance to encounter that love and care. Chaplaincy is a place for students to question, learn, explore, lead and be creative. I will provide lots of opportunities for this to happen so that students can thrive and ‘live life in all its fullness’. As well as developing the Catholic Life of school I am a listening ear and another level of support within school.
What is going on in Chaplaincy?
We have some new groups up and running that everyone is welcome to join. We have a Chaplaincy Leaders Group who will be planning and leading prayer, liturgy and chapel activities. There is also a Faith into Action Team who will be leading our mission to love one another through acts of charity and raising awareness of issues around poverty and justice. There is also the Equality and Diversity Group who will be championing all forms of equality and assisting in taking a stand against all forms of prejudice and discrimination, because as a Catholic community, we believe that everyone has been created by God and therefore should be treated with dignity and respect.
The Chaplaincy Leaders group have set up a drop in ‘Prayer, Cake and Chat’ group at breaktime on Tuesdays. The group has been busy planning creative, fun and exciting reflective activities that everyone can get involved in.
There are a lot more ideas and activities in the pipe line too!