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Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si is an “urgent challenge to protect our common home … to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change”. The Holy Father uses the words of St Francis of Assisi when he refers to our “common home”.
Over the academic year 2016/17, St Mary’s Hall has sought to respond to this challenge and we have involved ourselves in a number of CAFOD initiatives (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development). These encouraged the pupils to “love generously, live wisely and to think more deeply”.
As a result of these efforts, Bishop John Arnold presented CAFOD’s Laudato Si award to St Mary’s Hall, on Tuesday 17th October at a special assembly. SMH are the first school in the Diocese of Salford to receive the award. Also present was Steve Burrowes from CAFOD. The following is a summary of how pupils sought to “care for our common home”.
Lampedusa Cross prayers for refugees written by pupils in Prep, Elements, Figures and Rudiments (Years 3 to 8). CAFOD sent these prayers and messages of hope to refugees in the UK and abroad.
Laudato Si workshops with Prep and Elements (Years 3 to 6) focusing on the Hands On Altiplano Project in Bolivia. This helps many “in this community to install piping and a tap for irrigation; build a wormery, which will produce compost to give crops all the nutrients they need; and build a vegetable garden and a greenhouse, to shelter vegetables from the harsh environment”. (CAFOD)
At the beginning of Lent earlier this year, in a wonderful assembly from Upper Prep, we learned how CAFOD is helping the poorest to help themselves, through the “Big Fish” project in Zambia. SMH held a “Splash of Purple” day. The children were invited bring in £1 to wear home clothes which included something purple. This is the colour of Lent; it recalls the sorrow of Christ’s suffering and his kingship in the Resurrection at Easter. £262.50 was raised for the “Big Fish” project.
Bird or Bat box scheme (B.O.B) During Enrichment Week in June 2017, Upper Prep (Year 4) and many Figures pupils (Year 7) assembled these Bird or Bat boxes in the College DT workshop. As well as a conservation exercise, the B.O.B boxes are also used in the prisoner release scheme at HM Prison Rochdale, allowing inmates who are fathers to spend time doing something practical with their young children from whom they have been separated. Each box is sold for £10 (£2.50 covers CAFOD’s costs; and the remaining £7.50 from each box is then spent on gifts from CAFOD’s World Gifts catalogue supporting those in need, overseas. SMH raised £375 and this was used to purchase gifts including: Teach someone to read x 2, Fabulous football x 1, The goat that gives x 2, Healthy mum and baby x 3, Water for a family x 3 and Marvellous moo cow x 1.
William G, Alicia B, Noah P, Therese O’C and Jake W explained the impact that these gifts would have on individuals and communities around the world.
Produce grown in the Mission Garden here at SMH has been donated to the Samaritans at Clitheroe for local distribution and on a monthly basis, to the “New Neighbours” Burnley Refugee Project. The garden is overseen by Mrs Danielle Strain with the contribution of the pupils in the gardening/environmental club at SMH.
At the end of the assembly, an Oscar Romero Cross and Laudato Si certificate were presented to James W and Victoria H, our head boy and girl, who received them on behalf of the school. Later that morning, the Bishop and Steve Burrowes, CAFOD joined Upper Elements (Year 6) as they studied a selection of artefacts from the Stonyhurst Historical Collections followed by a tour of St Mary’s Hall.
Mrs C. McCullough SMH Lay Chaplain