“Faith in Action” day at St Paul’s School

CAFOD Education volunteers Ged Nolan and Cathy Stormonth were excited to be attending the St Paul’s School Faith in Action Day with students from other Catholic secondary schools – Thornton College, St Thomas Becket, St Thomas More and Cardinal Newman and guests from Pax Christi, The Columbans, Young Christian Workers, Northampton Youth Ministry Office and of course CAFOD!

Ged and Cathy with Bishop Peter at the CAFOD stall

An exhibition stand was set up with all the latest information from CAFOD including information about CAFOD’s work using our Learning hub, the ‘Power to be’ campaign, how to run a Lampedusa Cross refugee pilgrimage, some general fundraising ideas and specific fundraising for Autumn Harvest and Christmas World Gifts and lots on Climate Change and about Pope Francis’ message to everyone – Laudato Si’.

Bishop Peter addresses delegates at Faith In Action day – St Paul’s School MK

The ‘Faith in Action’ day was opened by the Northampton Youth Ministry with a reading, prayer and time for reflection. Bishop Peter, who was in attendance, greeted everyone and was promptly asked some searching questions by the Youth Worker about why he was there and what he hoped to achieve that day? The interviewer also asked the students the same questions with much hilarity when students gave some frank answers such as ‘I’m attending because I’m missing lessons at school!’

Ged Nolan – CAFOD stall

The CAFOD stand attracted students who browsed the resources and took some away. Ged and Cathy were able to talk to students and give them some ideas about community service and fundraising.

The students left to go to their class-based ‘Faith in Action’ sessions and this left the teachers, other staff, Bishop Peter and Fr Tony Brennan for the ’Professionals in Attendance’ session with CAFOD. Ged gave some tips for the ‘Faith in Action Award’ and also explained how well the Power to be assemblies and workshops were going as schools wanted to learn more about the importance of sustainable and safe energy.  They described how having access renewable energy, solar panels, in a town in Kenya has helped transformed the lives of the community.  Children have the chance of a better education as they are able to study for longer periods and are empowered to realise their dreams and ambitions.  All agreed that they wanted to explore this powerful campaign further and adapt it to their schools’ needs.

>> Sign our Power to Be campaign petition

A discussion about the importance of Laudato Si’ ensued and the ongoing refugee crisis.  It was a useful discussion and it was clear that all schools attending wanted to work with CAFOD next year and praised the high quality of CAFOD resources.  Cathy and Ged were very pleased to hear this and are looking forward to working with schools in the year ahead.

A big thank you to St Paul’s for inviting CAFOD to be part of the “Faith in Action” day and to Schools’ volunteers Cathy and Ged for supporting the day and raising the plight of those living in poverty.

If you are interested in being a schools’ volunteer please get in touch northampton@cafod.org.uk


Bishop Parker Pupils are Energised by the `Power to be’

During the year pupils at Bishop Parker School (Milton Keynes) have responded to Pope Francis’ invitation in his letter to everyone – Laudato Si’ to live wisely, think deeply and to love generously in protecting the world that God has entrusted to us all.  Pupils have been thinking about how they can live more simply and, in school, have been trying to :

  1. Be less wasteful with paper and recycling more
  2. Reduce water usage – turning taps off when not needed
  3. Reduce electricity usage – switching off lights when not in use.

Cathy explains the impact of climate change at Bishop Parker School

CAFOD schools’ volunteer Cathy Stormonth delivered two Key stage 2 assemblies about CAFOD’s latest campaign ‘Power to be’.  She explained how a Kenyan village came to life and flourished all because they had electricity generated by solar panels.

Year 5 pupils construct their sunray display

Students felt it was unfair that 1 in 6 people in our world don’t have access to electricity! The effect of this is that children are not always able to have a good education as they are dependent on day light to study and can’t realise their dreams and ambitions.

Cathy encouraged the students to be ‘lobbyists’ and to write persuasive messages to Melanie Robinson (the UK’s representative at the World Bank) to spend more of their energy budget on safe, renewable energy which tackles poverty, so everyone can have the chance to fulfil their God-given potential.

>> send a petition to the World Bank

Yr 6 pupils reflect on their messages to the World Bank

In the subsequent workshop, Year 5 and 6 pupils were shown the Laudato Si video clip which has the global statistics about the impact of climate change. Pupils were very concerned to know how the poorest people on earth who live on less than 70p per day are the most vulnerable.  If sea levels rise in the next 20 years with the increase in global temperature then almost 200 million people in low lying island communities are at risk.  One Y5 pupil said ‘We have to do something about this now’

In the Year 3 and 4 workshops pupils were shown a CAFOD film clip on Climate Change and how the increase in its effects have happened through global industrialisation and the burning of fossil fuels.  We discussed how the UK has experienced extreme weather changes in recent years and how flooding, droughts and the rise in global temperature are affecting us all.

Year 3 power to be display

Year 4 construct their Sun ray Display

Pupils constructed their giant sun displays with a superb range of comments about their feelings about the unfairness of people living in poverty not having access to electricity. They wrote many messages to the British representative at the World Bank to reconsider raising the financial aid budget for using renewable and sustainable energy sources – especially solar power. Each of the 4 year group workshops ended with a reflection and a prayer.

Assistant head teacher, Mrs Jane Shone, reported later how pupils were struck by some of the stark messages and statistics delivered. She said ‘it was a very thought provoking activity for the children. They are very keen to try and change things now.’

>> To find out more about the campaign and to sign the petition, go to our website

A big thanks to Bishop Parker for having CAFOD in to share with the students who were really impassioned to act. Thanks also to our education volunteer Cathy who did a fab job in raising awareness of the plight of those living in poverty.

If you are interested in being a schools’ volunteer please get in touch northampton@cafod.org.uk


Yr 6 at St Mary Magdalene Primary focus on Refugees

To end a very special RE week on Friday 19 May CAFOD’s Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth delivered two workshops at St Mary Magdalene School to two Year 6 classes.

Yr 6 hear about the plight of refugees

St Mary Magdalene School was blessed to have had the Lampedusa Cross (borrowed from the cathedral) in their school for RE Week. It has been the focus of some very special assemblies and work across the school.

CAFOD’s Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth explained to pupils about the refugee crisis. She did an exercise with them which involved matching statements about the refugee crisis to some shocking statistics.  Pupils saw a film featuring rescued Syrian refugee children in Greece who were waiting to be transported to Germany. They told about their dreams to have the chance of better and safe lives.

The Lampedusa Cross Pilgrimage helped pupils think about the refugees who were displaced from their homes and how their lives were shattered. Pupils showed solidarity with the refugees and were pleased to hear how CAFOD is helping to ‘welcome the outsider’ and look after them in Greece.

The session ended with a prayer and students wrote messages of hope for the refugees.

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The Lampedusa Cross

St Mary Magdalene should be very proud of their pupils who wrote some beautiful and heart warming messages. One of their teachers, Mrs Howell, has visited Syria herself and knows firsthand about the people and the country and said ‘I feel very emotional when I think about how desperate families are to leave their homeland to be safe and realise their hopes and dreams in Europe’.

Thanks to the students from Yr 6 and staff who were involved in the CAFOD session and a big thank you to Cathy for delivering a very thought-provoking workshop.


>> Find out more about volunteering in schools