This article is written by students Christina Lauri and Christabel Borg
“Prayer Spaces in schools enable children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore life questions, spirituality and faith. Taking a broadly Christian perspective as a starting point, prayer spaces give children and young people an opportunity to develop skills of personal reflection and to explore prayer in an open, inclusive, creative and safe environment.”
Fr Reuben Gauci, Co-ordinator for Spiritual Development in Schools, made this comment to Newsbook.com.mt. He said that for this season of Lent, prayer spaces can be an opportunity for both adults and children to delve deeper into the meaning of our salvation.
Encourage personal reflection
The Prayer Spaces usually occupy a classroom-sized area that has been transformed for a few days or a week with a range of creative activities that encourage personal reflection on issues such as forgiveness, injustice, thankfulness, big questions, identity and stillness.
In some schools, teachers bring their students for a subject-lesson in the prayer space. In other schools, students are invited to visit the prayer space voluntarily, during their breaks and lunchtimes.
A group of altar boys and girls from the San Gużepp Ħaddiem of Birkirkara, took initiative and for this year’s Lent decided to create a prayer space in the church’s sacristy.
Fr Gauci told Newsbook.com.mt that the prayer space would generally include a card with instructions and some materials that can help the student to pray. One can express prayer of appreciation, for example, by drawing or writing on a piece of paper that will later be put on a board. Silent adoration to the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation were also included when it was appropriate.
Prayer Spaces in schools was promoted by the 24-7 prayer movement which started in England and spread to many countries around the world. Fr Paul Chetcuti SJ, who was responsible for the spiritual development in Church schools and Fr Reuben Gauci, who is responsible for the spiritual development in State and Independent schools introduced the initiative to Malta.
Today, a team for prayer spaces made up of educators in Malta, from all sectors of schools is formed and its’ aim is to promote prayer spaces in schools and also during, among others, Notte Bianca and the Skola Sajf Programme. For updates one can access Prayer Spaces Malta’s Facebook page.
A number of parishes also organise Prayer Spaces. The Birkirkara San Ġuzepp Ħaddiem Parish Church is organising them for the first time and the Spaces are open during the weekend throughout Lent.For further information one can visit the church’s Facebook page or call on 21483245.