The National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) Project is a Commonwealth–funded initiative to provide pastoral support services in government, Catholic and independent schools. The New South Wales Government has been administering this program on behalf of the Commonwealth since 2015.
The program aims to support students through the provision of pastoral care services and the promotion of strategies that support the emotional wellbeing of students and the broader school community.
Pastoral care is defined in the agreement with the Commonwealth as “the practice of looking after the personal needs of students, not just their academic needs, through the provision of general spiritual and personal advice.”
The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is very fortunate to have a dedicated group of Pastoral Care Workers (PCWs) who make an invaluable contribution to the pastoral needs of students in our Catholic schools.
The witness of Christ present among us is evidenced by the work of the Pastoral Care Workers in raising the dignity and worth of many individuals who are experiencing hardship and are in need of special care. These workers provide a visible acknowledgement of the Catholic Church’s social teaching on a preferential option for the poor. These poor are not always in need of physical support but can often be faced with emotional or spiritual neglect. The one-to-one support offered by a Pastoral Care Worker provides a living witness to the Gospel story of the “Lost Sheep”.
The Newcastle-Maitland Diocese is fortunate to have the services of religious sisters who also provide pastoral care for students. They work closely with Government Funded Pastoral Care Workers to ensure a consistency of service and diligent attention to the wellbeing of our students.
Faithful to this vision, the pastoral care worker at St Patrick’s School strives to witness to the ever-present and active love of Jesus for all people, through practical care and concern for students, staff, families and visitors at our school, acting in accordance with school and diocesan policies.
Our pastoral care worker liaises with the school principal, coordinators, staff members and our parish priest, all of whom are committed to the same cause. The Pastoral Care Room (PC Room) is a place where all can enter for a “moment of peace” in an atmosphere of professional confidentiality, acceptance and hospitality. Materials and activities are available for students who seek “time out” from the rush of playground activities, from time to time. Pastoral care initiatives attempt to empower students through self-esteem, conflict resolution activities and behaviour modification techniques. Pastoral care at St Patrick’s School is an integral part of the mission of our school and the broader Catholic Church.