St John Rigby College Chaplaincy Team recently invited Chaplains from local Catholic High Schools to the College for a day with a Mill Hill priest, Fr Kevin Hughes, who led a presentation on Missionary Discipleship, Christian commitment and engagement. Chaplains from Our Lady Queen of Peace Skelmersdale, St Peter’s Wigan, St John Fisher Wigan, St Edmund Arrowsmith Wigan, St Mary’s Astley, Holy Cross Chorley and St Bede’s Ormskirk were invited as the college maintains strong links with these Catholic partners. These schools form the Wigan Catholic Education Partnership (WICEP), a group whose headteachers, teachers and pupils work closely together to support the continuation of strong Catholic Education from Year 7 through to Year 13.
After the morning workshop, current SJR students met with the Chaplains from their former high schools. A shared lunch was followed by a Mass celebrated by Fr Kevin and Fr Emanuel who was visiting from Africa. This proved to be a valuable opportunity for the high school Chaplains to meet with their ex-pupils. Ex-St Edmund Arrowsmith pupil, Melissa Pace said “It was lovely to see my school Chaplain and catch up. At school Mrs Johnson worked closely with us and the event keeps the links between my school and college strong.” Melissa achieved 11 A and A* grades in her GCSEs and now studies French, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and the specialist Engineers programme here at SJR.
This proved to be an inspirational day for all and the college students who had the opportunity to meet new friends have continued to meet as part of a CAFOD leadership and charity group. College Chaplain, Martin Malone, said, “Much work takes place to aid transition between primary and secondary schools and we wanted to ensure that students from our Catholic partners were settling well into Sixth Form College. The time with the chaplains was thoughtful and Fr Kevin led the event exceptionally well and I would like to thank him for his efforts in leading our reflections.”
St John Rigby College recently became the first Catholic Sixth Form College to be judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted under the new inspection framework and, as such, has become the first choice college not only for pupils at WICEP schools but from a wide range of partner schools. Head of Religious Education at the college, Michelle McGlown noted, “Our Chaplains Day aimed to continue the excellent work that takes place in our partner schools. The joy of Catholic education is that we all share common values. Our aim at St John Rigby is to give each individual ‘roots to grow and wings to fly’. The roots are grounded in strong shared values and we were delighted when inspectors noted that the Catholic mission and values permeate all we do as a college. Students of the Catholic faith, other faiths or no faith at all work together in a supportive environment and make exceptional progress in their lessons and I would like to thank those involved in making the day such a success.”