Chaplaincy News - March
It has been an extremely busy month in Our Lady's Chaplaincy department! Here is a round up of events written by Laura Wrenall in Year 9...
To mark the start of Lent, we have celebrated Ash Wednesday with a voluntary mass in the hall. The GIFT team have helped prepare the mass by preparing some artistic bidding prayers, dramatizing the Gospel and leading our music. This week we have also initiated our Lenten fundraising project, to help Cafod. Pupils and staff have made pledges to undertake during this season of Lent to draw closer to God, and they are displayed at the front of our school, as a daily reminder. Happy Lent everyone!
Today, in celebration of Fairtrade Fortnight, pupils from the Gift team prepared a coffee morning for staff. They only served Fairtrade products including bananas, cake, flapjacks, lots of chocolate and freshly brewed coffee. There was even a Maltesers challenge where staff had to choose a card with the role of someone from the banana produce industry. This card also indicated how many Maltesers they were entitled to, so we could all clearly see the injustice of people's wages, if we choose not to buy Fairtrade.
The coffee morning was a wonderful chance to get together and we are very proud of our Gift team in running the event and being a constant inspiration in their dedication to social justice.
Last week some students from Cathedral Primary and St Bernadette's came into OLCC to take part in some activities in celebration of Fairtrade Fortnight. To begin with, we started off by playing some icebreaker games such as Splat, Banana Split and Heads or Tails.
Many students were involved in different activities such as art, drama and even some dancing. In drama, students took part in a role play about the Good Samaritan. In art, students produced posters that read "Our pledge to Fairtrade". The posters were used later on during the day. Finally in dance, some choreography was learnt to a song called "Don't let me down", focusing on those around the world we have a duty to protect. After the activities, we enjoyed some lovely Fairtrade bananas at break time.
After break, everybody gathered into the Chapel for prayer. We opened with prayer and students then got the opportunity to perform their dance and drama piece. At the end of prayer, everybody got the chance to sign their name on the posters agreeing to support Fairtrade.
Finally, the morning finished by having a picnic lunch in the dance studio. Everybody shared Fairtrade food products and have a lovely time. I think it was a great way to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.
On the 11th March 2017, a group of pupils travelled to the SSE arena in Wembley to join 10,000 other young people at the National Catholics Youth Congress, Flame2017.
The day started extremely early (4:30am in fact!) as the very generous Mr Seddon drove the group to Salford on our school minibus. We were lucky enough to link in with Salford Diocese and travel the rest of the way down with them.
We arrived in London at 10:30am and the event began with song, drama, prayer and an opening address from Mike Pilavachi who inspired everyone gathered to really know our own worth. He used a memorable anecdote about the price of a bride in certain cultures; that even the most wonderful bride ever would cost 5 cows. And how that we, as children of God, have received a much greater price paid for us, in Jesus’ sacrifice.
The theme of Flame this year was 10,000 reasons to be thankful, inspired by a song from Matt Redman who sang live throughout the day. Many of his songs were very inspiring and were about becoming closer to God.
The event had a strong emphasis on social justice, with Cafod volunteers Ryan and Leah sharing about their time visiting refugees in Lebanon and Fr Augusto Zampini Davies encouraging us how to make a difference. Rise Theatre Group presented a wonderful drama focusing on the Refugee crisis and encouraged us all throughout the day to go to the front of the arena to have a close look at the refugee boat which had sailed from Lampedusa to London. This was a powerful imagery and really brought home the reality of our brothers and sisters across the world.
We were lucky to sit in the sun over lunch and meet up with Cardinal Vincent Nichols. There was also a powerful address from Cardinal Charles Bo, From Myanmar, encouraging us “Hope has no expiry date”, and to place our hopes in God’s hands.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols closed the afternoon by leading over 8000 people in prayer and adoration and it was a powerful experience to bring an arena full of people to total silence, before the presence of God.
It's fair to say all of the staff and pupils thoroughly enjoyed their experience at Flame. One student said, "It was a great atmosphere. It made me feel closer to God and has inspired me to help others". Another said, "It was a fun experience and brought young people together. Towards the end, nearly 8000 people put their phone lights into the air as a sign of hope- that was a memorable experience".
In light of attending Flame 2017, we would like to bring back a range of things from the experience to our school, parishes and communities. This includes "Different ways of praying and more acting and singing in liturgies" and to "bring young people together more". We would also like to look into ways that we can help and support the charities that we heard about during the event.
We would like to thank Mr and Mrs Seddon for accompanying us and also Salford Diocese for our lift. Special thank you must go to our local parishes for their kind donation of travel expenses, we are most grateful and you are definitely on our list of 10000 Reasons to be thankful to God.
This week we have been privileged to welcome into our school Fr Sunday. For many years Fr Sunday, a Ugandan priest, has helped our school take pupils to Uganda and has welcomed us into his community and helped us travel safely throughout the country. Fr Sunday has now been placed in a parish in Coventry and it has been wonderful that he has been able to find some time to visit our school and meet with the pupils he met over the summer.
Fr Sunday led assemblies on Monday and Tuesday sharing his life story and encouraged us all to be resilient. He reminded us that we need to first have a goal, and then work, with determination, to achieve it. He spent several days shadowing classes and sharing from his rich experiences. We and very grateful he took time to visit us, and we look forward to welcoming him again, soon.
This week we have helped our local Catholic Feeder Primary Schools celebrate RE week by leading workshops with their Yr 5 Pupils on the theme of ”Welcoming the Stranger".
Gift Team members from Yr 7-9 worked together to prepare and lead the workshop including leading icebreakers. We then looked at the Gospel story of the Good Samaritan with some impromptu dramatizations!
Yr 5 pupils then worked in newly formed family groups to complete different tasks and gain their visa. They had to prove they were fit and healthy with a physical challenge, race against time to complete an A-Z of English words for their education challenge. Also they had to work together to produce some shelters and to identify different types of food for their other challenges. Through all the fun challenges, the pupils excelled and the session was summed up by our very real challenge of ensuring we always welcome strangers to our countries, and in our classrooms. Pupils ended with a prayer moment, asking God our Father to help us always be welcoming to others in our daily lives. We are most thankful to all the pupils and staff in St Bernadette's, Cathedral, St Mary's, St Patrick's and Our Lady of Lourdes for their time, enthusiasm and commitment to following the ways of Christ.
This week, to mark International Day of Happiness, pupils and staff have worked together to produce assemblies on Mental Health Awareness, with particular emphasis on the effects of social media. We are most proud of our Sixth Form pupils who have shared their own personal stories on the anxieties social media can create, and to encourage other pupils to seek help if they are feeling stressed or anxious. One new initiative which will start from next week is Mindfulness Monday, where all pupils are free to pop into the Chapel for a bit of quiet in a calm and relaxing atmosphere. We hope to see some of you there!
We have lots of photographs from the month to share with you, please take a minute to look through using the link below....