Catholic Life

Our Chapel

Our Chapel is situated in the centre of the Secondary site, a constant visual reminder to us that Christ is at the centre of our school community and activity.

Our unusual shaped circular chapel seats around ninety people and is a place of peace and refuge from our busy life for the whole community.  The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in our Chapel and its doors are open before school, break time and lunchtime for prayer. 

St Gregory the Great School Prayer

God our Father,

we ask you to bless us and our school.

Send your Holy Spirit to guide us on our journey and

help us to walk in your ways,

where together

we live,


learn and celebrate.

Through Jesus Christ your Son.



Brother Paul Coleman – Primary Priest Chaplain

The eldest of five children, Paul was born and brought up in a Christian household in Coventry. When he was a boy he wanted to be an astronaut and then in his teenage years wanted to be a scientist. But he was also a fan of St Francis, and when studying chemistry at Oxford University he realized God was calling him to be a Franciscan friar.

Having joined the Capuchin Franciscans in 1999, Br Paul completed his training at Greyfriars here in Oxford and was ordained a priest in 2006. Since then he has lived in Toronto, Preston, London, and Jerusalem, and has experience of prison ministry, working with the homeless, school chaplaincy, university chaplaincy, and youth work, as well as more mundane areas such as finance and management. After a blessed time walking the footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land, Br Paul is pleased to have been appointed as parish priest at St Edmund and St Frideswide Church here in Oxford.

Br Paul enjoys listening to music, especially country music and bluegrass and likes walking. He is a big fan of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and other writings of Tolkien, so now he wants to be Gandalf when he grows up. But people sometimes think he’s a Jedi!

“Underpinning  all the work for the catholic life of the school is the excellent work of the Chaplains.  Their ‘open door’ policy is a key feature of pastoral support and their enthusiasm, approachability and reliability form huge rocks on which the cohesion and strength of the school is founded.” (Sec 48 report)

Religious Life

“Provision for catholic life is extensive and comprehensive… there is an innovative and extensive approach which is much appreciated by students and impacts on their lives”

(RE & Catholic Life Inspection, Section 48 Report)

Central to a catholic school is its masses and liturgies:

“There is careful planning of Masses and evidence that they are becoming focus points in school life” 

(RE & Catholic Life Inspection, Section 48 Report)

Since the Mass is the source and summit of our faith, great importance is placed on these times of collective worship where all are included.

Mass and Liturgies

Secondary school students receive:

  • One tutor group Mass a year in the Chapel.
  • Year group Masses on Holy days of Obligation and special feast days such as All Saint’s Day, Ascension Day and the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.
  • Whole school Masses twice a year in the Sports Hall for our School Feast Day in September and our End of Year Celebration.

As with Primary, there are many special liturgies to mark important feast days of the Church’s liturgical year, including:

Remembrance Day, Advent and Lent Reconciliation, Ash Wednesday, and Foot Washing for example.  All of these services are, in part, prepared and lead by students.


Each week students receive year group Assemblies based on the theme of the Gospel for the following Sundays from a senior member of staff or a member of the Chaplaincy team.  As well as receiving whole year information form their Head of Year, students receive an understanding of Gospel Values and Virtues and how these can be lived out in their daily life.



 “Students from early years to KS5 develop and awareness of the importance of prayer.  Throughout the school there is respect for the quiet moments.” 

(RE & Catholic Life Inspection, Section 48 Report)


Retreats provide regular opportunities for students to stop, take a step back and ask life’s big questions.  Throughout the year all students have the opportunity to go on a day or residential retreat.

In the Primary School the following retreats are offered:

  • First Holy Communion Retreat Day.
  • Confirmation Retreat Day.
  • Weekly visits for the Year 3 pupils to our Parish Church of St Edmund and St Frideswise for prayer, meditation and sacramental teaching.

 In the Secondary School the following retreats are offered:

  • Year 7 Day Retreats (September)
  • Year 7 and Year 8 Alton Castle Residential Retreat (November)
  • Year 9 Soli House Residential Retreat (April)
  • Year 10 St Cassians Kintbury Residential Retreat (June)
  • Year 11 St Cassians Kintbury Residential Retreat (January)
  • Sixth Form St Cassians Kintbury Residential Retreat (October)
  • Sixth Form Taize Pilgrimage, France Residential (July) 

“Students grow in an understanding of the role of religion in their lives, and an awareness of their role within the community of the School.”

(RE & Catholic Life Inspection, Section 48 Report)