We are excited to announce that this year we have appointed Miss Desbruslais to be our full-time lay chaplain. Since her time at St. Thomas More, Miss Desbruslais has spent over seven years providing youth ministry for international Catholic organisations such as Youth 2000, the Ignite team and Celebrate. Her vibrant creativity and holistic understanding of the Catholic faith lend themselves perfectly to her new role and we look forward to her witness as she contributes to the Catholic life of St. Thomas More.
Through providing opportunities for students to take ownership of their faith, by reaching out to local parishes and planning bespoke retreats for all members of the school community, Miss Desbruslais will support us as we strengthen our vision for the Catholic Life of the School to palpably guide our young people in their spiritual growth.
“I’m overjoyed to be the new chaplain at St. Thomas More and to be part of such a wonderful community. This year, I hope to put new life into the chaplaincy and provide the best pastoral support possible. We are so blessed to have a wealth of resources available to us, and I will ensure that all members of the school community are provided for. Please be assured of my prayers and support during this time of transition back to school and I am excited to get to know you all.”
The chaplaincy is a place where staff and students can always come for a cup of tea and chat. Throughout the year, we host fun activities and clubs, prayer groups, outreach projects and retreats for staff and students. This year, we are implementing a formation programme to assist students on their faith journey and celebrate those making their Confirmation. Miss Desbruslais hopes to provide students with the tools and the confidence to take ownership of their faith and use it to strengthen them as they go out into the wider world.
Our chaplaincy committee gets together for faith and food every fortnight to brainstorm and take the Catholic vision of our school forward. Every form has two chaplaincy reps, who organise a charity event with their form each year, in addition to all our volunteers from students and staff. Lastly, our chaplaincy leadership team, including Fr. Michael Branch and our headmaster Mr. Sharp, meet up every term to evaluate and improve the Catholic life of St. Thomas More.
The chaplaincy is a safe place where all students and staff can come and feel welcome. No matter what your background is, you can find a secure sense of belonging, respect and dignity whenever you enter the chaplaincy doors. In the words of our chaplain:
“Everyone deserves to feel seen, heard and valued. Everyone deserves to be treated with unconditional love, dignity and respect. We are each called to encourage one other in self-confidence and to bring out the best in whoever surrounds us – that is at the heart of our mission and at the centre of our purpose as a community.”
This year, all of our retreats will be held within school, in keeping with COVID-19 regulations. However, we look forward to inviting speakers and youth ministry teams to create bespoke retreat experiences which will enrich all members of the St Thomas More Community. From next year, we also hope to provide staff and students with the opportunity to attend World Youth Day, Youth 2000 and Celebrate retreats.
Outreach and Community
We have a wonderful relationship with Christchurch in Eltham and frequently visit for Mass and days of reflection. The sacraments are at the heart of the Catholic faith and we are always very excited to celebrate Confirmation with our year 8s. We especially look forward to engaging with Christchurch for more outreach, which will involve providing the CYMFED Faith In Action Award to students who show engagement in the wider community through active faith and service.
The rhythm of liturgical life runs throughout the School year, carrying us through Christmas, Easter and during ordinary time. We are blessed to have a well-established structure of prayer at St. Thomas More, with form prayer at the start of each school day, grace before meals and a short reflection before home time. Each assembly we provide is centred on scripture and rooted in the liturgical season. Our school calendar is also integrated with the liturgical seasons so that all members of the school community are aware of upcoming feast days and holidays.
We have a Chapel on site at St Thomas more, which is always available for staff and students to come and visit for private and collective worship. The opportunity to got to Mass at Christchurch or in the main hall is also provided on feast days and holy days of obligation. It is also part of our practice to provide the opportunity for students to have confession during Lent, Advent and during ordinary time.
Staff Prayer Group
Student Prayer Group
Student Bible Group
Parents Prayer Group