Bishop Patrick’s Themes

Bishop Patrick’s Themes

As we head towards the Jubilee Year of 2025, we are focussing on Bishop Patrick’s theme of Encounter.

Bishop Patrick said, “I would like to ensure that people of all ages in our parishes, schools, and chaplaincies are helped to discover, or discover more deeply, the importance of a personal encounter with Christ; so that they can become convinced that they are each loved by God and are invited to grow in their relationship with him.”

At Our Lady of Good Counsel, we encounter God in many ways. We encounter God through our school displays and the various sacred spaces around school. We also encounter God through prayer and liturgy, during which we take the time to talk to Him in our hearts and minds. Through Celebrations of the Word we encounter him collectively. In moments of stillness and silence we can encounter him more personally. Some classes may use meditation to encounter Him. All classes take time regularly to pray at the beginning of the day as well as before lunch and at the end of the day. Our R.E. lessons also provide moments to encounter Him through moments of wonder. We love singing and can encounter God through this too. We also help others to encounter God when we treat them with kindness and respect. Our fundraising and community work helps others to encounter Him too.

The pattern in which we usually focus on each of the three Bishop’s Themes has currently changed due to the upcoming Jubilee. You can find out more about these changes below.

Encounter:

Bishop Patrick McKinney invites us to find opportunities to encounter Christ in all that we do and to grow closer to Him through these connections.

Since Advent 2023, we have been journeying through a whole year of Encounter, to tie-in with the Year of Preparation focusing on Prayer in its many forms.

Discipleship:

A disciple of Christ is to become like Christ in all that we say and do. Being a disciple means we must take the time to get to know Jesus through prayer, action, reaction and interaction. At Saint Mary’s, we spread and celebrate the word of God through our prayer and liturgies as well as through our actions and words.

Over the last few years during each Lent term, we have focussed on Discipleship. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, KS2 wrote letters to our parishioners to try to spread some love and cheer during an incredibly difficult time. It was wonderful to even receive some very touching letters back!

To deepen our understanding of discipleship we wanted to find out more about the original 12 disciples so that we could learn who they were and how we can be like them. Each class researched 2 disciples and then we shared our new understanding through PowerPoints and videos so that everyone in school could learn from one another.

Our next focus on the theme of Discipleship will be during the Jubilee Year, beginning on Christmas Eve 2024 and lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany (6th January) 2026. The Jubilee Year 2025 will be dedicated to the theme of Discipleship, and we will be looking at some of the themes of the Year including care for creation, food poverty, forgiveness, and rest and worship.

Missionary Discipleship: 

With a greater recognition of, and openness to, the help, guidance, and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can all become Missionary Disciples; faith-filled, joyful, and outward-looking Christians. At Our Lady of Good Counsel, we are Missionary Disciples when we bear witness to His love through our service of our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need. Our pupils are always incredibly generous, and we are delighted to be able to support a range of charities throughout the year.

The theme of Missionary Discipleship will be our focus from 7th January 2026 until the end of Ordinary Time (28th November 2026).

To remind us about this important theme given from Bishop Patrick- EYFS and Y3 created a lovely display in our hall. It reminded us of ways we encounter Jesus in our lives.

Sacred spaces to encounter Him

The Shining Stars chaplaincy team often set up our sacred spaces around school. They think carefully about liturgical colour, creating a reflective space to pray. This particular example is linked with the time of year; November – a time when we remember those that have died.

Our Bishop’s message

“I would like to ensure that people of all ages in our parishes, schools, and chaplaincies are helped to discover, or discover more deeply, the importance of a personal encounter with Christ; so that they can become convinced that they are each loved by God and are invited to grow in their relationship with him. In particular, I would like to see the development of times of Eucharistic Adoration in our parishes, schools and chaplaincies.”

To find out more about the Bishop Patrick’s vision, click here to read his pastoral letter.

To find out more about the Year of Prayer in the Diocese of Nottingham, please click here.