With 200 years experience of educating young men, Clongowes is clear about its aims regarding formation. Cura Personalis (a concern for the individual person) remains a basic characteristic of Jesuit education, and in Clongowes particular attention is paid to the welfare of the boys entering first year. Teachers, Prefects, and Spiritual Fathers are seen as more than academic guides – they are closely involved with the lives of the boys and how they both live and learn. While they respect the boys’ privacy they are ready to listen to their concerns, share their joys and sorrows and help wherever possible.
In addition to the Prefect, each boy has a range of responsible adults to whom he can turn in moments of need:
- The Academic Year Head assisted by two tutors, takes responsibility for monitoring the academic progress of each pupil in a year group. He/she liaises with parents when necessary.
- The Spiritual Father is the boy’s confidante or anamchara. He is independent of the administrative structure of the school and is available to listen to the boy’s anxieties or worries, to encourage and to offer advice.
- Other members of staff, the Assistant Pastoral Coordinator in particular, play a valuable role in this regard.
The Pastoral Assistant to the Headmaster
The Pastoral Assistant to the Headmaster plays a leading role in the implementation of Pastoral Care in the school, especially the keeping of the Jesuit Ethos. For students this is encapsulated by retreats (including the Kairos Retreat), chaplaincy and social outreach work including:
- Our ongoing overseas project with the developing world (Lesotho in Africa)
- Pilgrimages to Lourdes and Taizé.
- Exchanges with Portora Royal School and The King’s Hospital.
- An annual Duck Push to raise funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital
- The Clongowes Special Children’s Holiday at the school.
The sacramental life of the school in relation to pastoral care is central and we have recently appointed a Director of Liturgy to take responsibility for this. We celebrate all the liturgical points of the Christian year from Advent through Christmas and Lent to Easter. We also mark Catholic Schools Week every January as well as individual Jesuit Saints feast days. Every morning begins with a short pause for Morning Prayer presented by a healthy mix of both students and staff.
Students are also encouraged to take part in the Pope John Paul II Awards and encouraged to engage with cultural programmes such as the Camino de Santiago and trips to sister schools in Eastern Europe.
The pastoral care of parents and staff is also important and is met through Parents’ Days, a Parents’ Retreat, Ignatian Pilgrimages and Staff Induction Days.