At the heart of that provision lies the work of the monks, serving boarding house communities, and providing a touchstone for the Benedictine life we foster. Our rootedness in the monastic tradition is very precious, and makes Ampleforth the special place it is; the monks are valued as spiritual fathers, colleagues and friends. Students enjoy a wide programme of daily prayer, centredness on scripture, retreats, sacramental provision, spiritual accompaniment and a growing range of service projects. Students are encouraged early on to take up roles of spiritual leadership, in prayer and in service, not only sustaining them here and now, but preparing them for mission in the wider world. There should be something at Ampleforth for every heart and every schedule.
The central Chaplaincy exists to encourage the regular formation of the faith of the students, the voluntary participation by students in their faith, the Benedictine spirit of the school among students, staff and parents, the provision of ‘hospitality’ and the connection of students with the wider Church and world.
The sacramental life of the school is centred on the Abbey Church. At the Sunday Mass in the Abbey Church, students of different ages enhance the liturgy through serving, reading and singing. In addition each boarding house has its own Chapel and Chaplain and celebrates Mass during the week.
Year 13 students are trained and commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers. The Eucharist also forms the culmination of the different retreats offered to students, sometimes even celebrated outside.
Students are offered the chance to make their confession once a term in the Crypt of the Abbey Church. These Reconciliation services are organised by each house, with the monastery providing confessors, who use the newly glassed in chapels as confessionals. Students who are not Catholic have the opportunity at these services to see a priest for a prayer and blessing.
In each house a senior student is nominated to be a catechist. Catechesis is the action of the church that leads the faithful to maturity of faith. A minister of this sort of activity is called a catechist. Because of varied circumstances and multiple needs, catechetical activity takes on various forms. It means being involved in the spiritual formation of students, and at Ampleforth it means having a special role in preparing people for Confirmation; it’s a role of significant importance. Within the programme of catechesis and preparation for Confirmation the student catechist does most of the catechetical work with the confirmandi in their house. They do this under the direction of the central chaplaincy, being trained at the beginning of the year and preparing each session for an hour each week with the chaplaincy assistant. The house chaplain oversees their work and they support the house chaplain in many ways. They are helped to draw upon their own faith and experiences and they learn how to communicate the mysteries of our faith drawing upon the Bible, tradition, YouCat (the Catholic Church's youth catechism) and other resources.
"Whether at whole school mass, during house prayers or on retreat, you get a genuine sense of community and I find that to be very special" Maud, St Margaret's