Caring for the Whole School Community: a message from the Chaplain
My name is Mairead Hickey. I am the school chaplain in Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine. The ministry of the chaplain is primarily concerned with the spiritual care and pastoral needs of the school community. One of my main objectives is to accompany, witness and support students, staff and the wider school community wherever they happen to be at any particular moment through listening, compassion and support. By being present and available, I provide an open door where support can be assessed in a confidential and secure way for a variety of issues such as anxiety, self-esteem, self-harm, peer pressure, bullying, bereavement, grief, separation, friendship issues amongst others. I also give witness to joyful moments and special occasions.
I respond to the spiritual and religious needs of the students and the whole school community while respecting the denominational, religious and individual convictions of all. I facilitate and organise liturgical and sacrament celebrations within the school, such as prayer services and various masses throughout the liturgical year. (Opening of School year mass, Advent Reconciliation services, November Remembrance services etc.). I also organise retreats, individual and group prayer, meditation and reflective experiences. In my role as Chaplain, I also liaise with the local community at different times of the year. With the help of the student community we fundraise at different times of the year for local and international charities .For example, fundraising for St. Vincent de Paul, Team Hope, Trócaire, Down syndrome Ireland, Oxfam etc. Also students have participated actively in their own local Church and faith communities.
Pastoral care is centred on caring and noticing the overall wellbeing of a student. For me it’s is an outreach of sorts. The following picture illustrates this concept well
It’s very important that students have a listening ear and someone they can go to when they need support. I am available to students throughout the school week in the classroom and in my office. An inviting reflective space is available to students where they can meet with me. I have an open door policy whereby students can initiate a chat or make an appointment, stop me on the corridor, leave a note under my door, or speak to me during break or lunchtime, whenever they can. In addition to calling into the Chaplain’s office themselves, a student visit may arise when they are referred by a staff member or parent/guardian. I’m only one of the many members of staff here offering help and support, including the Principal, Deputy Principal, Guidance Counsellor, Year Head, Tutor, Subject Teachers and our very active Student Support Team–I liaise closely with all of the above. We meet students many times a week, and we do notice.
We am here for consultation and to listen to any concerns you may have about your son or daughter. We also have a professional in-house counsellor who comes in on Thursday to offer support to students who are experiencing turmoil or who are in need of additional support. This service is accessible to all and again is confidential and will always be with prior consent from you .In bringing your child to Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine, we will do our utmost to enable your son/daughter to be the best they can be in all areas of their lives. We will look out for students and offer support at difficult times.
If this is not a place where tears are understood,
Where do I go to cry?
If this is not a place where my spirits can take wing,
Where do I go to fly?
If this is not a place where my questions can be asked,
Where do I go to seek?
If this is not a place where my feelings can be heard,
Where do I go to speak?
If this is not a place where you’ll accept me as I am,
Where can I go to be?
If this is not a place where I can try to learn and grow,
Where can I be just me?
Name: Mairead Hickey
Address: Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine, Railway Road, Kenmare
Phone: 064 66 40846