What will we do to mark……? Is it a Eucharistic Celebration or a Prayer Service? 

Set up a planning group.

I know that you would do it quicker on your own but you would miss out on the richness of other’s ideas. Don’t be maid to involve students as sometimes they think so far ‘out the box’ that it is energising. Just because another colleague has a reputation for being critical don’t exclude her – better to have her in than out. Begin the process with quiet prayer and then brainstorm. The Holy Spirit will show his colours if you let him. When all ideas are in stand back and see is there a pattern emerging or some common motif. Maybe come back to the detailed planning at the next meeting.

Inner Preparation

You cannot give what you have not got yourself. Preparing for a liturgy begins from within. Make space for your own prayer and spiritual nourishment everyday. Encourage those involved in planning to do the dame. Allow space at meeting for reflection.

Detailed Planning and Delegation

While Scripture is central there is no need to replicate Mass with a range of readings’. One reading can be very effective. Let that reading inspire the rest of the service. Delegate as much as you can such as the writing of intercessions, preparation of environment,’ printing of participation leaflet and co-ordination of music.

Create the Environment

Involve students and staff with gifts in the area of design, art and creativity in the preparation of the sacred space. This might mean converting an Assembly Hall into a place of prayer or a classroom into a scared space.

Body Language

Don’t neglect the possibility of hand movement by all present. Have a small group with comfort and ease move in prepared processional moments. Establish clear signals for posture during the service or Eucharist.

21st Century Aids

We live in a multi-media age. We may not have classic art, stained glass or sculpture so use image and symbol imaginatively.

Participation Leaflet

Involve students in design and preparation of leaflet so that all have a road map and a visual invitation to join in with prayers and songs.

Sensual Checklist

Tick all the boxes for use of all five senses in the celebration, Liturgy should be seen, touched, tasted, smelt as well as being heard.

Sound of Silence

Too often there is no space for reflection in our liturgies. Pacing is important. Don’t be afraid to pause – to be silent – to be still. Use a gong to introduce silence and once again to signal the resumption of the flow of the liturgy.

Practice makes Peace

Insist on rehearsing not only readers but all who have a part to play in the liturgy. A rehearsed liturgy is a relaxed liturgy.


We learn from everything we do. Don’t be afraid to check in with people about what worked for them. Don’t be put off by the cynics or the lazy. Never give up believing and hoping in the goodness of people and the power of prayer to touch and inspire people.