Mission Week 2020
The week beginning 3 February was Mission Week at St. John Fisher and Thomas More.
‘With You Always’ The Chip Kendall band.
We had a variety of events taking place during Mission Week. Tuesday saw the visit of the Christian Rock Band ‘With you Always’. The event was a huge success with the team led - by Jude Buksh - creating a real buzz and atmosphere that could be felt around the whole school.
This atmosphere was down to the awesome songs and contemporary rock music played at high volume. As well as this, they added an important spiritual aspect. This was created by Jude, Chip, Jasmine and the other team members, who after each song played a fun game or spoke about their personal experiences and shared their strong faith.
The result was a perfect mix of faith with a focus on Jesus, and how He can impact on our lives when we are opn to His love. It was also a great deal of fun, enjoyment and fantastic music. The testimonies shared by the team were both powerful and moving. At times you could hear a pin-drop as their encounters with God were being shared, yet moments later everyone was on their feet with their arms in the air, singing worship songs.
It was amazing to see the impact on all pupils and staff who experienced a very different way of worshipping God and sharing faith. We are very grateful for their visit and hope they return soon.
A massive thank you to Jude, Chip, Jasmine and all the team.
Castlerigg retreat in school
During our Mission week we were fortunate to have staff from Castlerigg, the Catholic retreat centre in Keswick, join us for a day of reflection on ‘Living life to the Full’. A team of young people led by Sister Shienrose Agnes La Torre worked throughout the day with our Year 8 pupils. They led different activities such as ice breakers, games and reflections.
CARITAS is the official charity of the Salford Diocese. The Purpose of Caritas is ’to help the most vulnerable children, young people and adults in our communities and transform their lives and fulfil their potential’. On Monday the 3rd of February, as part of our mission week, we had a visit from Kathryn Ainsley who worked with all our year 10 pupils. The talk was well received and the pupils really enjoyed the presentation and discussions that took place.
The theme was on Catholic Social Teaching. We especially focused on the poor, vulnerable and homelessness in our society. We discussed.
· The Dignity of the Human Person.
· Family & Community.
· Solidarity and the Common Good.
· Rights & Responsibilities.
· Option for the Poor & Vulnerable.
· Dignity of Work.
Pupils were encouraged to get involved through the work of Caritas individually or as part of a group and follow Jesus’ teaching of ‘Love thy neighbour’. The school already has an active CARITAS team with ambassadors in year 7-9 and we are looking at ways to build on this further. Thank you to Cathy for her visit and we hope to see her again soon.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have designated 2020 as 'The God Who Speaks':
A Year of the Word to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini - Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’, and the 1600th anniversary of death of St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin.
As part of our mission week and to help mark this event a number of pupils spent time studying images of paintings created by the artist Peter Clare which reflect the Gospel of Matthew.
The pupils used the reflections of Father Dries van den Akker SJ to help them understand the stories behind the paintings. This enabled them write their thoughts or questions they had on paper which could then be shared with the other pupils.
The Refugee Crisis explored
We also looked at the Refugee Crisis and how the world is responding to it with Year 11 pupils.
We looked at this within the Christian context and examined how the Catholic Church is responding to those most in need. We considered our Christian duty to ‘Love our neighbour’ and ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’. The pupils enjoyed debating this issue and deciding whose responsibility it is to look after asylum seekers and refugees. We are especially grateful to Paul Gautlett, who is a founding member of the local organisation called ‘Pendle New Neighbours’. He kindly visited the school and worked with our Year 11 pupils. He shared with pupils his work with Syrian refugees in the Pendle area. The pupils very much enjoyed hearing about his work and how they provide furniture, clothing and support for 95 refugees and 49 asylum seekers in the Pendle area.
Pendle New Neighbours are a community group set up in March 2017 by 5 local residents following the arrival in Pendle of first 10 Syrian refugee families. Pendle New Neighbours volunteers welcome and offer friendly support to all refugees and asylum seekers in Pendle. They hold a drop-in centre every Thursday from 1pm – 3pm at Christ Church in Nelson in which:
- Holds conversational English sessions,
- Drinks and eats together!
- Plays games and supervises children,
- Introduces people to other refugees and asylum seekers,
- Helps with completing any forms,
- Helps with any problems
The pupils discovered how Christ himself was a refugee having to find safety for a time in Egypt to escape persecution in Israel. We learned about how Pope Francis is encouraging all Churches to open their doors to Refugees and how Bishop John Arnold the Bishop of Salford has launched a new initiative - REFUGEE DINE WITH ME.
‘It is a very simple but effective way of welcoming people into our parishes who have left their homes and families to seek refuge and safety amongst us. When people sit together to share a meal, especially people from different cultures and life experiences, there is an opportunity to share more than just food. They create what Pope Francis has called a ‘culture of encounter.’
The Right Reverend John Arnold. Bishop of Salford.
The day was a real success as it gave us the opportunity to inform our pupils about this crisis that the world is facing today and consider our moral and Christian duty to help those most in need.