Anna Dunne is our School Chaplain. She supports both pupils and staff on pastoral and spiritual matters, produces resources for Collective Worship and assemblies, and works with various departments and curriculum areas.
Anna also acts as a link for our feeder parishes and other Archdiocesan organisations, as well as co-ordinating the different charitable collections that the school supports throughout the year.
Here she talks about her time with the school and how she has the best job in the world…
So, Anna how long have worked at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School?
"I joined Cardinal Heenan in the summer of 2000 as the school's first full-time lay chaplain and I've never looked back."
What did you do before you joined Cardinal Heenan?
"I studied Theology at Durham University and when I graduated I went to work at a Catholic residential centre in the Lake District. It was a fabulous experience and I enjoyed working with the young people that visited us very much. I found it incredibly rewarding. I learned so much in a short space of time and that's what led me to apply for this role."
How does working in a school compare to the work you did at the centre?
"At the centre I worked with groups for just a few days and then they'd be gone. Here at Cardinal Heenan I get to know our students over a number of years and see them grow and mature spiritually which is an absolute honour."
Can you describe a typical day in the life of the school Chaplaincy?
"There really isn't a set pattern and each day is completely different. I may regularly lead assemblies and meet other schools or representatives from the Archdiocese but my work is about people, so if a member of staff or one of our learners needs to talk then that's the most important thing for me in that moment. I have the privilege of having an overview of the whole school; I see people during their highest high and their lowest low. Sometimes it's difficult but it's always rewarding and I can't imagine doing anything else."
How does the chaplaincy link with the world outside the school walls?
"I work closely with other school chaplains, particularly my counterpart at Broughton Hall and with our feeder primary schools and local parishes. We also support a number of causes and much of that work is co-ordinated via the chaplaincy. We put together food hampers each Christmas, for example, and have raised funds for Zoe's Place, Nugent Care Society, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, the British Legion and Cafod."
What's been your career highlight since you joined Cardinal Heenan?
"It's impossible to pick a single time or event but generally I would say I'm most proud of our students and staff when we're facing tragedy or adversity. We're a loyal bunch and we look after our own. The way the whole school community pulls together in times of crisis to fundraise, collect, donate or support one another is wonderful. It's faith in action."
Do you enjoy your work with the school?
"I truly think I have the best job in the world."
The first prayer was written with the assistance of students, staff and governors and it is said each day in each lesson:
Help us to respect ourselves
and those in our school community.
Help us to believe in ourselves
and our God-given talents.
Help us to achieve our
full potential in everything we do.
Who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners now
And at the hour of death