Beginning the New School Year
New school year

The beginning of the new school year is an opporutnity to ask God's blessing on the school community in the coming year and again to remind pupils, staff and parents of the identity and mission of the school.

The idea of formally marking the beginning of the new school year and the promotion of pupils from one class or year group to the next (the ascensio scholarum) has always been an important event in Jesuit schools.

Welcoming returning and new staff

If you celebrate a Mass for staff at the beginning of the new school year, the following reading and texts may be of help. They include a simple renewal of commitment to the ministry of teaching:

Texts and Readings for a Mass for Teachers for the new school year

The following prayer might be used for any gathering of teachers at the beginning of the new school year:

you call us together at the beginning of this new school year.
We ask you to send your spirit upon us that,
as the days and terms unfold,
we may be always mindful of your presence
and alert to opportunities to see and serve you in those around us.
We pray that we may teach well by the example of our own lives,
by our knowledge and love of learning,
by our gentleness and care of the pupils entrusted to us.
In all that we do and say,
we pray that, in building up the community of our school,
we may contribute to the betterment of society
and to the Kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ,
for your greater glory.

Some schools have the tradition of presenting a candle to each new member of staff, at a special Mass for staff or at the Academic Mass. The candle is a long-established symbol of teaching and education. The following is a suggested prayer to accompany the presentation of the candle:

[Names of teachers],
As we welcome you to [name of school],
we pray for you that God may bless you in each lesson and hour of the day,
that you may transform the lives of the pupils entrusted to your care.
Teach with love of learning,
with enthusiasm and truthfulness,
sharing with generosity your own learning and experience.
Act and speak with integrity and compassion,
forgiving as you would wish to be forgiven.
Learn with dedication and reverence,
reflecting on your own life.
Accept this light as a sign of your ministry as teacher:
a light to make known the truth.
All this we pray through Christ our Lord.

You may also wish to use the Christ the Teacher icon and prayer.
Christ the Teacher icon


Academic Mass

It is traditional in Jesuit schools to begin the new school year with a Mass for the whole-school. This is known as the Academic Mass and is a Mass of the Holy Spirit (celebrated with red vestments).

Resources, readings and texts for the Academic Mass


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