Caritas in Action
Laudato Si' Week, 16th-24th May 2020
"You are called to care for creation, not just as people but as followers of Jesus!" (Pope Francis, 2015)
Laudato Si' week website:
Laudato Si' activities for children:
Explaining Laudato Si' for adults:
"The Human Family has received from God a common gift: Nature"
Pope Francis, 2018
Jeff from CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) came to talk to us about Pope Francis' letter to all Catholics around the world entitled Laudato Si' meaning, Our Common Home.
During our workshop, each class was asked to bring an item from a nature walk, these included sticks, leaves, flowers, pine cones etc. We thought about our gardens and what lives in them. We imagined what it would be like for huge trucks and lorries to come into our home and destroy it. Together, we shared how this would make us feel, many of us felt sad, scared and worried.
Jeff told us about the Amazon in Brazil, explaining that this is what is happening to the people and animals that live there. We thought about Pope Francis' letter, thinking about what we could do to help people to understand how to be stewards of God's earth just like he asked us to be.
During the season of Lent, we remember that Jesus' spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert and was tempted three times by the devil. Lent is a reflective time in the Church's liturgical year, where we remember Jesus' sacrifice. We make a special effort to give something up, to pray more and to help others.
For our Lenten appeal this year, our Dom Squad chose to support The Guide Dogs and The Catholic Children's Society. Following on from our work learning about Jesus' miracles, The Dom Squad decided that they wanted to help people who are blind just like Jesus did in the Bible.On Thursday, 5th March 2020, we welcomed two very special furry guests Valerie and Malbec, who helped us to understand about the important work that The Guide Dogs charity does to support people who are blind in our community.
During the assembly, two children were asked to cut a scone, butter it, cover it in jam and then put cream on top, all whilst being blindfolded. This helped us to understand how hard simple activities are for people who cannot see.
Each class will be completing a sponsored event to raise money for our Lenten charities, if we raise enough money we will be able to sponsor our own guide dog puppy!
Operation Christmas Child
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to show God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and together with the local church worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Stewards of Our World
"As stewards of God's creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family." Pope Francis, 2018
In school, we have been thinking about how we can be stewards of God's earth. We have been thinking about why it is important to look after God's world. What would you say to someone if you saw them damaging God's earth? How can we help others to look after God's world?
For Harvest, children and their families donated food for our local community. During Mass, Fr. Brian blessed the food and then it was boxed up ready for our Year 2's to deliver it to the local old peoples's home, William Crook House. Fr. Brian spoke to us during his homily about the importance of spreading the key message of, "shining your flame of faith". The good of each human person is intimately related to the good of the whole community. When one is hurt, all are in pain. Our communities must allow everyone to participate in society and share in the goods of creation- this means all of society working together, leaving no-one behind, especially the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
Catholic social teaching calls us all the work for the common good, help build a just society, uphold the dignity of human life and work for justice.
Our teaching at St Rose’s aims to educate our children not just in global issues of poverty but to gain a better understanding of social justice issues in our community and the UK.
We focus on seven themes which are woven throughout not only our RE teaching but our wider curriculum too:
Dignity of the human person
Family and community
Solidarity and the common good
Dignity of work
Rights and responsibilities
Option for the poor and vulnerable
In additional to our teaching curriculum, there are many opportunities for our children to have an impact on the wider community and experience putting Catholic social into action. Some of these opportunities occur at special times in the liturgical year, others are how we support each other with care and a smile each and every day at St Rose’s.
Each year, our Y2 pupils can choose to volunteer to become pupil ambassadors at school. This is not a commitment to be taken lightly! Our ambassadors sacrifice their own lunchtimes to support other children in school by modelling how to play together, showing younger children how to confidently eat their lunch and keeping the dining hall tidy. They also welcome new families and children to St Rose’s, giving them a tour of a school and helping them to get to know it better.
Since opening our ‘Whispering Woods’ forest learning programme at school in May 2019, our children have been utterly inspired by Pope Francis’ teachings in Laudato Si (On Care for Our Common Home). They have begun to develop a greater awareness of all God’s creation and in time will extend this to thinking of practical actions that we can take from the Gospel to help the common good and deepen our spiritual sense of our common home.
We celebrate our first Mass of the school year together for Harvest. Our community thanks God for all we have, as well as taking time to pray for those that have less than us. Before Mass, our community donates food to be shared with those in need. After Mass, our Y2 children, parents, carers and staff deliver our Harvest parcels. We give generously delivering the gifts to William Crook House. The elderly occupants are always thrilled to see St Rose’s children and to receive our kind offerings. We often spread some joy by singing them a song or two as well.
St Rose’s pupils attend our Parish annual Caritas Christmas event where elderly and lonely people in our local community come together to enjoy a delicious meal and great entertainment. They sing a selection of songs from their Nativity play during dinner time and spread a little joy. Afterwards, children who attend this event share their experiences with the whole school. They often explain that they know they have brought joy to people less fortunate than themselves because they can see smiles and laughter in the room. Experiences like this support our pupils to understand how they could bring joy to the world and how Jesus shows us what joy means in the world.
During Advent, our community thinks about how Mary and Joseph were from the poorest section in society. We ask all families to consider donating the money that one of their chosen gifts or an item of food this Christmas would have cost and donate this money to a chosen charity at school. We do not ask anyone to spend more or much, the idea is that families choose a present or luxury that your child/family will go without, and instead give the gift of hope to another child through charity at Christmas time.
Lent is a time for giving alms. During Lent, our children meet with different charities and choose who they would like to raise money for. This year, the children chose to support the Hertfordshire and Essex Air Ambulance Charity as well as The Catholic Children’s Society. Each class worked together to decide upon a sponsored fundraising event that they could hold in school. We had a Nursery cycling challenge, a fun run in Reception, scooting in Y1, a sponsored dance and mathematical Easter egg hunts in Y2!
It was so pleasing to see how the children have thought about the important work that our chosen charities do and how this passion led to them taking ownership of their fundraising. They have told us that not only have they enjoyed this experience, it has helped them to feel like they have made a difference to others. The children raised over £1500 from their events which was shared equally between the two charities. Our Y2 pupils wrote at length about this experience and how it had helped them to understand the impact of what they do for others.