Chaplains have played an active part in the life of Catholic Schools for many years.  Traditionally the Chaplain has been a priest who has celebrated Mass and carried out priestly duties under the code of Canon Law.

Here at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy we were one of the pioneers of Lay Chaplaincy in the country.  In recent times there has been a growing tendency to appoint lay chaplains, women and men, religious sisters or brothers or lay chaplaincy teams.

Chaplaincy at Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy is at the heart of our mission and the Lay Chaplain fills a pivotal role in the life of our school through leading liturgy to supporting the pastoral care especially of our students to liaising with our family of schools and parishes.

Another vital role is leading the Chaplaincy Team of students and staff in order that we as a school community can live our Mission Statement in all that we say and do.

Holy Mass is dedicated for the whole school community by a variety of Priests.  We gather for Holy Mass every possible opportunity, we welcome visits from our Priests, Deacons and Vocations Team.  We have Active Parish Ambassadors and Friends of Saint John Houghton Coffee mornings each term.

We are proud to share our Lay Chaplain with The Priory CVA and St Thomas of Hereford CVA and know we are working as one, as part of the Saint Ralph Sherwin CMAT.

For more news and activities follow NDCYS (Nottingham Diocese Catholic Youth Service – The Briars).

We Will Remember – Daily Prayer Focus for November

SJH Chaplaincy YouTube Channel

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It is a pleasure to support the young children who are preparing to make their First Holy Communion in Ilkeston Parish. Please pray for them and their families at this very special and important time.

If you would like more information about the Catholic Faith please contact Rachel or Father Paul Newman, no question is ever too small or too silly and we all need to continue our faith journey.

If you would like to support parish life Rachel would be delighted to be a link for parish and school.

The Rosary reflects Catholic teaching on coming ‘to Christ through Mary.’  We dedicate the Month of October to Mary.

Thank you to all the staff and pupils who have added their own prayer, story or reflection in our Mary book and a special thanks to our Year 9’s for allowing me to lead the Rosary during Tutor Time.

Year 9 will be leading Year 7 and 8 in prayer, with the Rosary at the heart of our intersessions.

Here in SJHCVA we take great care to support our Team Chaplaincy with prayer and meetings with Rachel and Father Paul.

The Role of Team Chaplaincy is to support the Tutor with the Catholic Life of the School, gather information to promote Collective Worship and support Rachel with Feast Days, Mass, and Liturgies.

Year 7 Team Chaplaincy


Year 8 Team Chaplaincy


Year 9 Team Chaplaincy


Year 10 Team Chaplaincy


Year 11 Team Chaplaincy


Please follow SJH Chaplain on Twitter and SJH Chaplain on YouTube.

Please offer your skills if you would like to present and reach out to students who maybe shielding or sick.

We are all asked to say our prayers and go to Mass.

Please keep the SJH Oasis Team in your prayers. These wonderful young people have chosen to put service before self, they promised to support our younger students and point them all in the right direction.

It was brilliant fun getting to know the Team during their training.

It was a pleasure to present the whole team with their badges and certificates.



Here at SJH we believe, ‘The Lord is close to the broken hearted’ and we have a small student Bereavement Team.

It is our honour to walk beside those who have suffered any loss or need quiet time.

Faith In Action Award

Saint John Houghton CVA introduce Ilkeston and Eastwood Parishioners to the Faith In Action Award.

Saint John Houghton CVA have taken the SYNOD process very seriously, we want to be part of the listening process and understand this is a process and not an event. When we reflected on the SYNOD logo we were grateful to see the Bishop in the middle – just where he should be – and SJH wanted to stand with the Parishioners.  After several meetings with Parish Ambassadors in the school and parishes we decided it would be a wonderful thing to offer the Faith In Action Award in the Parish.

Here at SJH we take the history of the school and move forward – leaving no one behind.

We met on Monday evenings, parishioners and pupils and we began with ‘Loving your neighbour is loving Jesus.’

Everyone received a warm welcome with Fairtrade cake and refreshments; each member received a folder, a journal, a private prayer message to open on a day they were not feeling the love and a several biscuits to take into their work place – simply to share the love and begin a conversation with the person they sit next to.

I was delighted with the impact of the first session: For each member to remember, to learn and believe God has a special love for them and noting can separate them from God’s Love.  We ended with praying the FiA prayer together.

Our second session for Faith in Action began with refreshments and choices.  Why not try LOAF next time you shop: Local Organic Animal Friendly and buy your need not your greed.

Why not try reading a Catholic Children’s Bible? We discussed the Old and New Testament and shared our favourite Scripture.  Reading the Bible is the best way to build your image of God!

The Faith in Action Group completed the sessions by being served a four-course meal. All they had to do was to bring conversation to the table. This was an opportunity to share ideas about their ‘final piece’ and to count their hours of service in school, parish and community.
On behalf of SJH community may I thank all the pupils, staff and parishioners who have taken the time to grow in faith, to make friends and put service before self.

I am delighted to say this is not the end of our Award but the beginning of a new adventure. We are planning a ‘Memory Walk’ and we hope others will come along and be part of this simple but effective way to Grow In Faith Together.!

The Faith in Action Award gave us a framework to feel God’s love in a powerful way.
We began with ‘We love because we are loved’ and it was a pleasure to set activities and reflections for members to take time to remember the love God has for them.

Our ‘Loving your neighbour is loving Jesus’ gave us the opportunity to relook at the work of CAFOD and Mary’s Meals and to share the new and support Parishes are giving to others. We have a lot to celebrate!

We took time to look deeper into the lives of Saints, to pray to St Joseph, to pray like Maximillian Kolby, to have faith like St Bernadette and for others to share the news of Blessed Carlo.

We spent time in prayer and forming our image of God through the scriptures and we could se God’s Servant leadership in Action.

Please enjoy some comments shared by a few of the group:

Jenny: ‘This was not what I was expecting at all! I have been inspired, fired up and just loved the whole of the award. I don’t want the Monday evenings sessions to end. Thank you so much for giving me this time to hear God.’

Jane: ‘This has really had an impact on me, I feel I belong to something so big and loved. I have learnt so much and met some beautiful people and new friends.’

Luke: ‘I am so glad I gave time for this award; it was hard to do but I am so pleased, it has changed me, deepened my faith and I feel I have given and learnt a lot. It was a really good thing to do. I will help you run it in my parish.’

Peter: ‘Wow, this was big stuff, I feel like I need to take it all more seriously now and want to live a better way. This is so huge and important, what has happened on these Monday evenings is big, it’s the stuff that matters.’

Have completed our journals, our plan for the final piece, we have counted up our hours of service and enjoyed every moment! We all hope you will take part in the next session. Please see SJH Chaplain for details. We run the Pin, Bronze, Silver and Gold Award.

One of our Faith in Action meetings ended with a fire and hot chocolate.  This was a beautiful evening.  We invited a Priest to offer Reconciliation.  It was a time to feel God’s love in a powerful way, to be refreshed and ready to walk again in faith and love.

May I take this opportunity to thank all who gave their time to this Award, it was a privilege for SJH to walk with you, we learnt so much from your service and faith. We are blessed to belong to such a wonderful community. God is good!

It was a privilege to plan and prepare a ‘Prayer Journey’ for the FiA Staff, pupils, and parishioners. This evening had a huge impact on all.
We were able to learn and share memories of our times in Lourdes and to pray the Holy Rosary together.

We were able to sit with a piece of Scripture and listen to what God might be saying to us.

We had time to be creative in prayer, to believe, ‘With God all things are possible’.
To unpack the burdens, joys, sparkles and love of the day and to offer them to God.