St Augustine in Milton Keynes holds Mass of Creation

St Augustine’s Church came together on Sunday 14 July to remember and pray for our beautiful creation.  The wonderful CAFOD group organised it and Oliver Larkin – Parish volunteer writes:

After the Creation mass at St Augustine – Milton Keynes

“Recalling the words of Pope Francis we reflected on the damage we as humans have done and the need to preserve our planet’s richness for future generations.

Parishioners hear about caring for our common Home

With an introduction to the Mass led by CAFOD volunteers our bidding prayers and hymns reflected on the need to change. A talk was given at all the masses which helped us reflect on why we need to change and the impact particularly on our brothers and sisters around the world living in poverty.  We even included a powerful CAFOD video from the global family.

>>  See the creation celebration guide to help organise a creation mass

 

Our children also joined in considering our beautiful world in their liturgy groups – and brought up flowers as part of the offertory procession. As Mass concluded the children were invited back to the alter to take flowers to the most beautiful women in the Church! Mums went home beaming with their flowers as did one or two birthday celebrants!

We were keen that everyone got a chance to add their voice to a petition to our PM asking that the transition to net zero start now. Achieving net zero emissions will limit the worst effects of climate change on our health, homes and communities and people living in poverty around the world.  Many signed the petition and we will be sending it off to CAFOD to be added to the many others before it is handed in to 10 Downing Street!!

Parishioners from St Augustine Milton Keynes sign the CAFOD petition to the PM

>> Click here to sign the online petition

We rounded off the celebration with tea and coffee where people had more opportunity to discuss ideas and thoughts.  It was a wonderful day!”

A big thanks to Fr Francis, the choir, and CAFOD volunteers of St Augustine’s, Milton Keynes and all those who participated and signed the petition.

>> To find out more click here

 

St Margaret of Scotland Primary in Luton attend Mass Lobby of Parliament

On the 26 June many organisations joined force to lobby our MPs in London about Climate Change.  Many schools encouraged their pupils to join in too and St Margaret of Scotland Primary in Luton was one of them.  Our Education volunteer, Peter Haddon, writes:

Faith Ambassadors from St Margaret of Scotland Primary Luton attend the Climate Lobby “The Time is Now”

“Thousands and thousands of people descended on Westminster and in the midst of them were eleven Faith Ambassadors from St Margaret of Scotland Primary in Luton, led by super enthusiast RE lead, Caroline Forde.

The whole team were ready bright and early to make sure they could take part from the start of big events of the day. Cardinal Newman school in Luton kindly provided the minibus and off we drove.  We joined in the march of witness as we walked through Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall and into Parliament Square.

Throughout the day our little party attracted lots of attention from people delighted to see young children taking part.  We all know, and must feel concerned, that if we do not make urgent changes the beautiful planet we have enjoyed will have been permanently and severely harmed as we pass it on to these delightful children.

Having arrived at Parliament Square we walked on further to the schools’ area for the day – one mile over Westminster Bridge and along the river to Old Paradise Gardens, near Lambeth Bridge. Our young Lobbyists were great walkers as they strode on and took in the sights of the river side.  They were delighted to discover a great playground at Paradise Gardens as well as lots of varied informative tents with presentations from organisations working on the Climate Concern campaign.

We then headed back to the riverside where thousands of people were heading to locations set up for meeting with MPs.  We found our MP – Gavin Shuker and he engaged superbly with our pupils – maybe having a six year old daughter of his own helps?  Anyhow, he had a really good chat with our team, listened to the questions they had prepared carefully with Mrs Forde and responded thoughtfully and positively about what needs to be done.

Gavin Shuker MP listens to question put to him by our Faith Ambassadors on Climate change

At 2pm we had our next fun activity with all the thousands of people along the river and near Parliament making lots of noise to wake the MPs up! We had been invited to bring whistles and the St Margaret’s pupils blew their whistles for all their worth – entertaining and exciting but also very serious.

It was lovely to see CAFOD groups from all around the country who had made the pilgrimage to Parliament – we met groups from Brighton, Dorset, Lancashire and many many more locations – CAFOD getting the message through just as Pope Francis has asked us to.  Lots more ideas around from CAFOD about how we can make sure that our churches continually remember and respond to the impending disaster we should work hard to avoid – perhaps the simple matter of the Creation Celebration Mass set up for a Sunday Mass might be a very easy start?”

Well done to Caroline and to the Faith Ambassadors of St Margaret’s and to our Education volunteer Peter.  You were all a great witness and your presence was greatly valued.

>>  It is not too late to petition our the MP.  Just click here

 

CAFOD is supporting the RE ‘Come and See’ Curriculum at St Thomas Aquinas School

CAFOD offers a huge amount of really helpful learning resources and St Thomas Aquinas School Bletchley have been using some of these in the ‘Come and See’ RE curriculum around the ‘Universal Church’ theme this term.  Cathy Stormonth – CAFOD Education volunteer was invited to deliver some workshops and writes:

Year 6  The Work of the Worldwide Christian Family for the ‘Common Good’.

Pupils were asked ‘Is there a need for CAFOD?’ and given some shocking global statistics to help answer the question.  It made pupils reflect on their own lives and one pupil said, ‘I will make sure I do my best at school because I am very lucky to get a great education when so many other children won’t get the same chance!’’

Year 6 pupils also noted that there are 7.6 billion people in the world and 1.27 billion of these are Catholics. This prompted pupils to deduce that with numbers on this scale it might be feasible for the Catholic church to help and support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people globally – and of course they are right.

Teaching Assistant Mrs McQueen commented, ‘The year 6 children really enjoyed the CAFOD session, learning the various statistics about poverty in our world really opened their eyes to the magnitude of the problem. They are thoughtful and caring children and their answers to different questions showed me how deeply they think about issues that not only affect themselves but also others.’

 

Year 5 Stewardship of the World

Year 5 pupils had just started their RE module on ‘care for our common home’ around the theme of ‘Stewardship’ and it is linked closely to Climate Change.

What is Net Zero?   CAFOD are calling on the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. This means only putting the same amount of emissions into the atmosphere as we take out.

When the world we live in is changing because of climate change we need to speak up now to look after our world. Cathy encouraged pupils to join the CAFOD campaign to look after the world by becoming a Zero Hero and to try to make the local MP join in and do the same.

Pupils writing to their MP about Climate Change

Pupils were impressed when shown some Zero Heroes from Peru and how they are transforming their school and local communities.  They were made aware of the impact of global temperatures rising and were dismayed at how changes in weather patterns have caused both drought and flooding in different parts of the world.

 

Pupils finished their workshop by writing letters to Mr Iain Stewart the local Milton Keynes MP.  These letters were posted to Mr Stewart with a covering letter from the school Eco-Committee inviting him to come to school and work with our school on the Green Flag award.  So thirty Class 5L letters are on their way to Mr Stewart. We hope he responds soon. Mrs Jenna Greaves was very pleased how the workshop went as part of the school’s aim to be a greener and more eco-friendly.

 

Year 2  Focus on World Treasures – Water.

Pupils were asked to imagine what it would be like to live without easy access to clean water.  They watched a short film about how young girls spent all day fetching and carrying water walking miles with bare feet to a muddy waterhole. This means that they can’t go to school or play.  Pupils said that this wasn’t fair! and it made them feel sad. They were also concerned that the water hole had dirty water which might make people sick.

Pupils feeling the weight of water  some young girls have to carry for miles in certain countries

We had a practical session where pupils felt the weight of a water bucket that girls had to carry great distances and pupils were horrified!  Some of the pupils tried to lift up the larger adult water container that held about 20 litres of water and found it difficult to manage. It really made them treasure the fresh safe water they have to drink every day by simply turning on the tap.

Pupils heard how CAFOD had put a water tap with clean fresh water in a village in Uganda making such a difference to the whole community and many more children were able to go to school – especially the girls. Pupils cheered up when they heard that CAFOD was working with so many partner organisations worldwide to help local communities have access to deep wells which provide the fresh, clean and safe water families need to survive. Mrs Sue Mitten the class Teaching Assistant was pleased to see how interested pupils were in learning how important water is in all our lives.

Mrs Karen Hackett head of RE said ‘The children fully engaged with the videos and stories of real children from around the world and they are often surprised and concerned at how those children’s lives are so different to their own. The children were inspired to make a difference to the lives of their brothers and sisters in faraway places. Mrs Stormonth made it really clear as to how our small actions, kind deeds and loving prayers can make our wonderful world a much fairer place for all. Thank you’.

 

 A big Thank you to St Thomas Aquinas for inviting CAFOD into your school and to Cathy Stormonth for delivering these wonderful workshops.

>> Sign our online petition asking our PM to help tackle Climate change