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Chaplaincy at Thornleigh Salesian College

“Dear young people, let us not be satisfied with a mediocre life. Be amazed by what is true and beautiful, what is of God!” – Pope Francis

Thornleigh Salesian College is part of wider Salesian community in the UK and around the world. Built on â€‹the strong Catholic Salesian tradition and the educative system of St John Bosco we focus on the development of every child. Saint John Bosco based his model of education on the Preventive System, calling the young people to be “good Christians and honest citizens”. Our school, inspired by our founder, is a place to belong, to learn, to reflect and to celebrate.

What we do:

Chaplaincy is led by a team of staff in school and supported by the wider school community. The full time Chaplain Fr Saju John SDB is in the campus every day and is available to staff and students. Members of the Salesian community, led by Fr Saju John SDB, and other members regularly visit our school to partake in both prayer and social events as well as supporting with learning and sports activities. Our chaplaincy team, offer a variety of opportunities for our young people to grow in their faith, including:

Pastoral and spiritual support - Pastoral and spiritual care in the school is highly valued and pupils have access to many different services. There is always someone to help and support, especially at times of crisis. Besides the care they receive from teachers and year teams, the Chaplaincy space is always open to all pupils for an informal chat or a quiet word whenever it is needed. Following the spirit of St John Bosco, the chaplaincy is a vibrant and popular social space, it is a space were all are welcome, all are respected and all are listened too. At break and lunchtimes, the chaplaincy is filled with laughter as students and staff enjoy playing card and board games, socialising together and sharing stories of the day.

Celebration of the Sacraments - Chaplaincy is at the heart of the prayer life of our school, prayer and reflection is important to our community. All students have the opportunity to attend the celebration of Holy Mass throughout the year and experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation twice per year. Our beautiful chapel and chaplaincy room are perfect places for quiet prayer and also for joyful celebrations.

Liturgical Ministry - We encourage all to take a full and active role in the preparation of the prayer life of the school, particularly with animating the Liturgy as musicians, readers, dancers, actors... A well-prepared liturgy helps others to pray and come closer to God. Those who help prepare the liturgy offer a unique service to the rest of the school community and can develop a deeper awareness of what it means to pray as the Church.

Retreat programme and trips - Students of our school have the opportunity to take part in out of school activities and have a chance to visit both Thornleigh House and Savio House, the Salesian residential retreat centre. It is a most valuable and enjoyable time for pupils and staff who accompany them. They spend time getting to know each other and themselves a little better, as well as exploring their relationship with God. They do this through team building, reflection, prayer, and having fun. There are also opportunities to attend national Church events, such as Flame at Wembley Arena, and the national Salesian events.

Parish links - We value our parish links and very much appreciate the support and encouragement of the clergy. Fr. Chris Gorton and Fr Dermot Heakin are our deanery priests and who are regular visitors to the school and engages in the sacramental and liturgical life of the school.  Our desire is to continue and develop these links through our pupil’s involvement in the Faith in Action Award and other diocesan evangelisation initiatives. In the past couple of years Partnership Confirmation Programme for the deanery has been a great success. Over 60 candidates were confirmed last through this programme. Please see information about our local parishes below.

Justice and Peace – Chaplaincy plays a key part in raising awareness of issues of justice and peace both at home and overseas. We have regular charity fundraisers which support local causes, as well as CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development). We also encourage students to use their voice to call for change, offering opportunities to campaign and lobby our local MP and local government.

To find out more about the Salesians of Don Bosco and our mission visit 


Chaplaincy team 

Ms McKenna - Associate Assistant Headteacher

Fr Saju - Chaplain 

Mr Antonio - Teacher of RE

Fr Bob - Salesian Volunteer​ (Sixth Form)


Chaplaincy Events 2023

January 2023
• Don Bosco Day: Tuesday 31st
• Mission Week: 30th to February 3rd

February 2023
• Lenten Season
• Ash Wednesday: Wednesday 22nd

March 2023
• Flame 2023 - Saturday 4th
• Lenten Reconciliation Service for KS3
• Liturgy for Easter: Thursday 30th & Friday 31st
• Year 8 Savio Retreat: Group 1: 27th - 29th

April 2023
• Easter Liturgy (First week after the break)

May 2023
• Feast of Mary Help of Christians: Wednesday 24th

June 2023
• Year 9 Savio Retreat: Group 2: 14th - 16th
• Confirmation Retreat: Saturday 17th

July 2023
• Induction Day - New Year 7’s
• Confirmation: Thursday 22nd
• Final Assemblies