Distinctive Nature of a Catholic School
As a Catholic school, Jesus Christ remains central to every aspect of school life all pupils are educated in the beliefs and devotional practices of the Catholic church. Participation in daily collective act of worship remains at the helm of every morning and afternoon session, within RE lessons and at the end of each day. Every class prepares and leads Mass once a term, with parents, families and parishioners warmly welcomed.
The Catholic RE scheme ‘Living and Growing as the People of God’ is followed throughout the school. This is supplemented by work on the saints and stories from the Old and New Testaments, Circle time sessions and Personal, Social and Health Education. Children participate in special liturgies during the school year which are timed to coincide with events in the Church’s calendar.
Catechists from the Parish of St Maria Goretti work closely with school staff and families to prepare year 3 pupils for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion, whilst pupils in Years 5 and 6 prepare for Confirmation.
Relationship and Sex education (RSE) is taught formally in all classes and is integrated into Science and RE. Parents and carers are advised that, in desiring a Catholic education for their child, it is expected that all pupils will participate in RE lessons.
All pupils learn about other religions and cultures and are encouraged to show respect and acknowledgement for the beliefs of others through open discussion and shared experiences. This is reflected through the involvement of Muslim and Sikh pupils, both within school and the wider local community, who have worked with other schools by leading assemblies during Eid and Ramadan.
Year 6 pupils are given the opportunity to visit Alton Castle, an education centre which combines a spiritual retreat with outdoor activities. During Lent and Advent, liturgies take place during and after school. These prayer group sessions are led by staff and pupils, whilst after-school prayer sessions are led by a parish Catechist and pupils.
As a Catholic school, we at St Maria Goretti Catholic Academy are strive in promoting our values and virtues linked to the Gospels.
We achieve in love and faith in order to be:
Grateful for our own gifts, for the gift of other people, and for the blessings of each day; and generous with our gifts, becoming men and women for others.
Attentive to our experience and to our vocation; and discerning about the choices we make and the effects of those choices.
Compassionate towards others, near and far, especially the less fortunate; and loving by our just actions and forgiving words.
Faith-filled in our beliefs and hopeful for the future.
Eloquent and truthful in what we say of themselves, the relations between people, and the world.
Learned, finding God in all things; and wise in the ways we use their learning for the common good.
Curious about everything; and active in their engagement with the world, changing what we can for the better.
Intentional in the way we live and use the resources of the earth, guided by conscience; and prophetic in the example they set to others.
We are also devoted to promoting British Values which have been defined by Ofsted under four headings:
- The Rule of law
- Individual Liberty
- Mutual Respect and Tolerance of Those With Different Faiths and Beliefs.
Values and Virtues
- The Simple Angelus
- Creed (Profession of Faith)
- Eternal Rest
- Act of Contrition
- Hail Holy Queen
- Hail Mary
- Holy Holy
- Penetential Rite (I confess)
- Lamb of God
- Meditation start prayer
- Meditation Final Blessing
- The Memorare
- Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
Jesus, Mary and Joseph
we offer you our day.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
guide us at work and play,
Help us to love each other,
so that we may be,
on earth and then in heaven
your Holy Family.
For every cup and plateful
May the Lord make us truly grateful
End of Day Prayer
God our Father,
we come to say,
thank you for your love today.
Thank you for our families
and all the friends you give to us.
Guard us in the dark of night
And in the morning send your light.
Our school plays an active part in the life of the parish of St Maria Goretti. Pupils and staff celebrate mass in the school hall and at St Maria Goretti Catholic Church at various times during the academic year in which the parish and parents attend.
First Holy Communion - Parents Meeting
First Holy Communion - Information for Parents
Preparation for First Holy Communion and Family Mass dates.
Confirmation Enrolment invitation.
Our Lady and St Benedict Church,
Phone: 01782 534545
The Catholic Parish of Sacred Heart in Stoke-on-Trent
The Catholic Parish of SS George and Martin in Stoke-on-Trent
The Catholic Parish of St Gregory in Stoke-On-Trent
The Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Year of the Word
Mini Vinnies and Scripture Champions
Morgan and Courtney (to support FS)
Here at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Academy we raise money for charities throughout our school year. Please click on the links below to find out more about the charities we raise money for.
Other local catholic primary schools
Prayer is an integral part of our life here at St Maria Goretti. We share our prayers with our school prayers, through our Spiritual leaders, Mini Vinnie team, in Active worship, in whole school liturgies and in Masses held throughout the year.
By praying we are securing our relationship with God.
If you or your child has any prayers they would like to offer up to God you may place them in our prayer box in the office entrance.
During whole school liturgies the person leading the prayer will choose a prayer from the prayer box to share with the school. This helps the children build that bond as a community coming together in Christ.
Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee. He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of Christ.
According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, "Follow me." With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.
From Matthew we know of the many doings of Christ and the message Christ spread of salvation for all people who come to God through Him. The Gospel account of Matthew tells the same story as that found in the other three Gospels, so scholars are certain of its authenticity. His book is the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament.
Many years following the death of Christ, around 41 and 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow people that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way. It was an important message at a time when almost everyone was expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword.
It is thought he departed for other lands to escape persecution sometime after 42 AD. According to various legends he fled to Parthia and Persia, or Ethiopia. Nothing is recorded of Matthew's passing. We do not know how he died, if his death was natural or if he was martyred.
Saint Matthew is often depicted with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7, which reads, "The first living creature was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third living creature had a human face, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle."
Matthew was a tax collector and is therefore the patron saint of bankers. The Church established St. Matthew's feast day as September 21.
St. John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee and Salome, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. John was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry. He is considered the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos and the Beloved Disciple. John's older brother was St. James the Great, another one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. Jesus referred to the brothers as "Boanerges," meaning "sons of thunder." John is believed to be the longest living apostle and the only not to die a martyr's death.
John, along with Peter and James, were the only witnesses of the raising of Daughter of Jairus, and the closest witnesses to the Agony in Gethsemane. John was the one who reported to Jesus they had "'forbidden' a non-disciple from casting out demons in Jesus' name." This prompted Jesus to state, "he who is not against us is on our side."
John and Peter were the only two apostles sent by Jesus to make preparations for the final Passover meal, the Last Supper. During the meal, St. John sat next to Jesus, leaning on him rather than lying along the couches.
John was the only one of the Twelve Apostles who did not forsake the Saviour in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the cross when the Saviour made him the guardian of His Mother.
After the Assumption of Mary, John went to Ephesus, according to Church tradition. He later became banished by the Roman authorities to the Greek Island of Patmos; this is where he allegedly wrote the Book of Revelation. It is said John was banished in the late 1st century, during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering no injuries. It is also said that all those who witnessed the miracle in the Colosseum were converted to Christianity. Emperor Domitian was known for his persecution of Christians.
John is known as the author of the Gospel of John and four other books in the New Testament - the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. The authorship of the Gospel is credited to the "disciple whom Jesus loved," and John 21:24 claims the Gospel of John is based on the "Beloved Disciple's" testimony. However, the true authorship has been debated on since 200. In his Eclesiastical History, Eusebius states the First Epistle of John and the Gospel of John are agreed upon as John's. Eusebius continues to state the second and third epistles of John are not John the Apostle's.
In the Gospel of John, the phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved," or "the Beloved Disciple" is used five times, but is not used in any other New Testament accounts of Jesus.
St. John is called the Apostle of Charity, a virtue he had learned from his Divine Master, and which he constantly inculcated by word and example. The "beloved disciple" died in Ephesus after AD 98, where a stately church was erected over his tomb. It was afterwards converted into a Mohammedan mosque.
St. John is the patron saint of love, loyalty, friendships, and authors. He is often depicted in art as the author of the Gospel with an eagle, symbolizing "the height he rose to in his gospel." In other icons, he is shown looking up into heaven and dictating his Gospel to his disciple.
St. John, Apostle and Evangelist's feast day is celebrated on December 27.
Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of Cephas, is considered the first Pope. Despite his papacy, Peter had humble beginnings and became one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was ordained by Jesus in the "Rock of My Church" written in Matthew 16:17-18, which says, "Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man!
Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.'"
Peter was a native of Bethsaida, near Lake Tiberias and was the son of Jonah. He and his brother Andrew were fishermen on Lake Genesareth. The Bible chronicles when the brothers met Jesus in Luke chapter 5, which reads:
"Now it happened that he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats at the water's edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats -- it was Simon's -- and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.' Simon replied, 'Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.' And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled both boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, 'Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.' For he and all his companions were completely awestruck at the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon's partners. But Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.' Then, bringing their boats back to land they left everything and followed him."
Just like that, Peter followed Jesus and his life was changed forever. Though he was one of the first disciples called to follow Jesus and eventually became the spokesman for the group, Peter is known for his "little faith."
In Matthew 14, Jesus and his disciples came ashore, where a large crowd waited. Jesus healed the sick and by the end of the day, his disciples told him to tell everyone to go to the villages for food but Jesus performed a miracle and made five loaves of bread and two fish feed the group of five-hundred people. Following the miracle, Jesus told the disciples to take their boat to the other side of a nearby river while he sent the crowds away.
After he bid farewell to the throngs of people, he prayed by himself in the hills. As he prayed, the boat the disciples were on was experiencing rough waves and "In the fourth watch of the night," Jesus approached their boat as he walked on the water. When his disciples spied Jesus walking on the water, they were afraid but Jesus called to them and said, "Courage! It's me! Don't be afraid." Peter answered "Lord ... if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water."
Jesus told him to come so Peter began to walk toward Jesus on the surface of the water. It wasn't until he noticed the wind that he began to fear and cried "Lord ... save me!" Jesus touched him and said, "You have so little faith ... why did you doubt?"
This is one of many stories involving Peter and Jesus. Another famous story is Peter's attempt to save Jesus from the soldiers who came to take Him to his doom. As described in John 18:10-12, "Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?' The cohort and its tribune and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him."
Following the failed attempt to save Jesus, Peter was recorded denying Jesus, which The Saviour foretold during the Last Supper in Mark 14:18-31:
"And while they were at table eating, Jesus said, 'In truth I tell you, one of you is about to betray me, one of you eating with me.' They were distressed and said to him, one after another, 'Not me, surely?' He said to them, 'It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping into the same dish with me. Yes, the Son of man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born.'
"And as they were eating he took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. 'Take it,' he said, 'this is my body.' Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, 'This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many. In truth I tell you, I shall never drink wine any more until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.'
"After the psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, 'You will all fall away, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered; however, after my resurrection I shall go before you into Galilee.'
"Peter said, 'Even if all fall away, I will not.' And Jesus said to him, 'In truth I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.' But he repeated still more earnestly, 'If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And they all said the same."
Regardless of his claims, Peter did deny Christ three times. His denials were recorded in Mark 14:66-72:
"While Peter was down below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's servant-girls came up. She saw Peter warming himself there, looked closely at him and said, 'You too were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.' But he denied it. 'I do not know, I do not understand what you are talking about,' he said. And he went out into the forecourt, and a cock crowed.
"The servant-girl saw him and again started telling the bystanders, 'This man is one of them.' But again he denied it. A little later the bystanders themselves said to Peter, 'You are certainly one of them! Why, you are a Galilean.' But he started cursing and swearing, 'I do not know the man you speak of.'
"And at once the cock crowed for the second time, and Peter recalled what Jesus had said to him, 'Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.' And he burst into tears."
Matthew 26:69-75 and John 18:17-27 also tell the story of Peter disowning Jesus three times. Following Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, it was Peter who first entered the empty tomb. It was described in Luke 24:12 that when Peter heard Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, claim Jesus' tomb was empty, he "went off to the tomb, running. He bent down and looked in and saw the linen cloths but nothing else; he then went back home, amazed at what had happened."
1 Corinthians 15:3-7 describes how Jesus resurrected and appeared before Peter first. "The tradition I handed on to you in the first place, a tradition which I had myself received was that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried; and that on the third day, he was raised to life, in accordance with the scriptures; and that he appeared to [Peter of] Cephas; and later to the Twelve; and next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still with us, though some have fallen asleep; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles."
Following his resurrection, Christ came before his disciples several times. John:21:12-23 describes an instance when Peter is given three chances to admit his love for Jesus, and each time he says he does.
Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, 'Who are you?' They knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish.
"This was the third time that Jesus revealed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead. When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'
"A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.' Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.
"In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.'
"In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, 'Follow me.' Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them -- the one who had leant back close to his chest at the supper and had said to him, 'Lord, who is it that will betray you?'
"Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, 'What about him, Lord?' Jesus answered, 'If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.' The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, 'He will not die,' but, 'If I want him to stay behind till I come.'"
Jesus offered Peter three chances to follow Him and with the three confirmations of love, Peter was able to balance his three previous denials.
In the time following Christ's Ascension, Peter stood as the unquestionable head of the Apostles, which the book of Acts clearly describes. He went on to appoint the replacement of Judas Iscariot, spoke first to the crowds that had assembled after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he was the first Apostle to perform miracles in the name of the Lord, and he rendered judgment upon the deceitful Ananias and Sapphira, both of whom were stealing from church members and God alike.
Peter was instrumental in bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles. He baptized the Roman pagan Cornelius, and at the Council of Jerusalem gave his support to preach to Gentiles, thereby permitting the new Church to become universal.
There are so many stories about Peter that it is nearly impossible to fully encompass his deeds, but one story of note was when he was imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa but was able to escape with the help of an angel.
King Herod had begun to persecute specific members of the church and had James, the brother of John beheaded. The Jewish community was grateful for the persecutions so Herod continued and went after Peter. As described in Acts 12:4-11:
"As it was during the days of Unleavened Bread that he had arrested him, he put him in prison, assigning four sections of four soldiers each to guard him, meaning to try him in public after the Passover. All the time Peter was under guard the church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
"On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with two chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. 'Get up!' he said, 'Hurry!' -- and the chains fell from his hands.
"The angel then said, 'Put on your belt and sandals.' After he had done this, the angel next said, 'Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.' He followed him out, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision.
"They passed through the first guard post and then the second and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. And he said, 'Now I know it is all true. The Lord really did send his angel and save me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.'"
Each week in school we share the Wednesday Word with our families. Every Wednesday a 'word', inspired by the coming Sunday's Gospel, will be shared during whole school collective worship. The youngest child in each family will take home the Wednesday Word leaflet home each week to share with their family.
Wednesday Word Family Time presents an opportunity for even the busiest of parents to enrich relationships with their children through spending a very special 5 minutes together each week.