Last week, the Castlerigg Team were busy working with the Chaplains in some of our diocesan schools. On Monday morning the team gathered at 6:15am to drive to the different schools. Andy and Paul were heading to Preston aiming for Corpus Christi and Our Lady’s, whilst Alice and Alex were bound for St Mary’s Blackpool. Sarah left the evening before, making her journey to Whitehaven to spend time in St Benedict’s. 

Throughout our week we had the opportunity to take part in the many different jobs that a Chaplain would do on a day to day basis, seeing what makes the role so unique. However, our first day was reasonably calm as we settled into our new environment, getting to know the chaplains and teachers of the various schools. Obviously, this new environment was very alien to us all, so our chaplains gave us great tours of the schools. We got to know the different corridors where all the various subjects were taught, leaving us all with throwbacks to high school days.

As the week progressed some of us had the opportunity to sit in some lessons, and have a chance to see what the students were being taught. Watching these lessons as an outsider was very interesting, as we could see how the students discuss the many different subjects that they learn. At St Benedict’s Sarah and Mr Teasdale helped to facilitate a year 7 RE lesson on the story of St Bega and why living a life with and for God is important today and to us personally. Sarah also had the opportunity to participate in a few year 11 classes looking at marriage and the family, by acting out the marriage ceremony in the chapel in order to further understand the symbolism within the ceremony. These proved to be rather engaging with Mr Teasdale’s references to Shrek, with the added bonus of lots of wedding cake! Sarah also managed to briefly meet some of the year 7 pupils who had visited Castlerigg Manor in October and hear their many memories of their retreat and what they had been up to since leaving us. It proved to be such a joy to watch faces light up as the students spoke about what their time at Castlerigg had taught them about life and faith.

Some of the chaplains set us tasks such as planning liturgies for staff and students, usually focussing on the weekly Gospel. Alice and Alex enjoyed Blackpool both in and out of school. They got involved at Christ the King (the local primary school) leading year 2 and 3 in reflection. They managed to see Blackpool tower lit up and visit several big supermarkets (very exciting as Keswick has only little stores)!

This week has been incredible and an amazing experience to work alongside our inspiring chaplains and seeing our young people in a different light. The chaplains and school staff do amazing work and we will continue to pray for them. A big thank you to Our Lady’s Preston, Corpus Christi Preston, St. Benedict’s Whitehaven, and St Mary’s Blackpool for allowing us to come and visit.

Castlerigg team – Sarah, Andy, Paul, Alice & Alex