The pastoral care of schools is part of the identity of Catholic schools. Salvation of soul is the supreme law (Canon 1752); hence pastoral care is a major concern in Onitsha Archdiocesan schools.
In view of the above, all Catholic schools in Onitsha Archdiocese have a functional priest-chaplain that takes care of the pastoral needs of both students and staff. This chaplain, usually, is different from the manager/principal of the school. This is desirable so as to separate the external and internal functions according to the mind of the Church. Pastoral care of the school requires that the Holy Mass be celebrated regularly and daily for the entire school community where possible. However, it is expected that Holy mass should be celebrated in all schools at least twice a term at the beginning and closing.
Students of other denominations, are allowed to attend their own Church services only on Sundays, when there is a teacher to guide them in their going and coming. Students (school prefects alone) are not allowed as guides in this situation unless there are reasons to the contrary.Confessions are organized for students and staff at least twice a month and to be conducted/organized by the Chaplain. Where there is no priest-chaplain and the Principal, is priest, it is always advised that he invites another priest to help with the confessions.
Preparing students for the reception of First Holy Communion or Confirmation is a vital aspect of pastoral care. Hence the Principal or Head teacher enquires particularly from new students those who have not received First Holy Communion or Confirmation and assigns a capable person to prepare them for these sacraments. If the school has a canonically constituted chaplaincy, Holy Communion is being performed there otherwise, the Principal arranges with the host parish priest to have it performed in his parish. Confirmation is being performed whenever the Archbishop visits the school. Sunday recollection for students is being organized at least once a month. Educators have discovered that training in silence and meditation is vital to the overall maturity of students.
Retreats is also being organized at least once a year for students separately from that of the staff. Furthermore, spiritual consultation with the Chaplain is something that does assist students in finding answers to their personal and family challenges in today’s complex world. Apart from during retreat and recollections, this is also being done at any convenient time for the chaplain and the student ensuring non conflict with the general school program.
Furthermore, spiritual consultation with the Chaplain is something that does assist students in finding answers to their personal and family challenges in today’s complex world.