Ambassadors reconnecting with their Mission during the Season of CreationThursday 3rd September 2020
Caritas Salford’s Kath Ansley writes to mark the beginning of a new school term
It seems very fitting that our young people are returning to school, after such a strange and bewildering period in their lives, at the start of the Season of Creation, which is a time for us all to reconnect with God, with our Common Home – the planet on which we live, and with each other. For our teams of young Caritas Ambassadors, this has particular significance as they will begin to re-connect with their special mission to put Caritas In Action in their communities.
Going back to school, they will be meeting up with friends and school staff whom they might not have seen in person for a long time. They will be getting used to new rules and routines designed to keep everyone as safe as possible. They will be adapting to having lessons in a classroom again. There will be so much new information for them to take in.
Yet we are confident that some aspects of school life will still be very familiar, such as putting Caritas – love for our brothers and sisters – into action by supporting those in need in new and creative ways. We have been proud to see so many fine examples of how young people have supported the vulnerable in their local communities during the pandemic, from taking part in the Cornerstone Big Sleep In at home to raise money and awareness for Caritas homelessness projects, to baking cakes for their local NHS staff.
We are very thankful that Caritas has been able to keep all its vital services to the most vulnerable up and running during the pandemic by being flexible and adapting quickly to changing needs. Those needs are not going to go away any time soon however. In fact, they are very likely to increase over the coming months. Caritas is certainly going to need to feel the full weight of its dedicated teams of school Caritas Ambassadors and supporters behind it more than ever to be the voice for those on the margins.
At a time when young people are feeling that so much is beyond their individual control, we now have a renewed opportunity to encourage them to become passionate and energetic activists for the injustices happening right on the doorstep. The time is NOW for exploring new ways (safely within the current Covid 19 boundaries of course) to put the social teaching of the Church, which pupils have been lovingly taught in school, at home and in their parishes, into real action by making a positive difference to others in their local communities and the wider world!
Ten Ways for Schools/Colleges to Encourages Pupils to Reconnect with their Social Justice Mission
Here are just 10 examples of how schools/colleges can encourage pupils/students to re-connect with their social justice mission:
- Organise a safe way for your Caritas Ambassadors, social justice team or equivalent and anyone who feels passionately about making a difference to meet/communicate at the earliest opportunity. Identify what is the biggest need in your local community which you want to support and where you can make an impact. You may wish to invite Kath Ansley from Caritas to join your meeting virtually by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write to your local MP to tell them what your school/college is doing to help others, what the priorities are for those in most need in your local community and to identify what action you want them to take.
- Raise awareness in school about Caring For Our Common Home, especially during this Season of Creation, by organising assemblies in your bubbles using the following Caritas resources. You can find them by clicking here and here.
- Choose Caritas for your school’s charitable giving focus for Advent 2020 &/or Lent 2021. Details available shortly. Caritas cannot run our services without the generosity of our schools who fund-raise for us!
- Do some research by visiting our website caritassalford.org.uk and decide which Caritas service/s you can support.
- Contact your parish and see if they would like to work with you on a local community or Caritas project.
- Organise a one-off fund-raising event for a Caritas service or project.
- Find out more about the Laudato Si’ Project at Wardley Hall. What more can you do in school to answer the call from Pope Francis in Laudato Si’?
- Keep a Caritas In Action Log in school of all the great things you are doing to help others and tell everyone! Please remember to ask your Head Teacher to share it with us by emailing email@example.com so that we can send you a Caritas Called to Action Certificate for your notice board and include your achievements in our Caritas Beacon newsletter.
- Ask pupils to write an article for the Beacon &/or Caritas website (and your local newspaper!) to inspire others about what the challenges have been in helping others during the pandemic, how you overcame them and your plans for taking social action now that you are back at school/college.
In the meantime, please be assured that our Caritas Salford family are keeping all staff and pupils in our prayers as they return to school/college.
Webinar for Staff Leaders of Caritas Ambassadors – MONDAY 21st SEPTEMBER 3.30 – 5.00 pm, led by Sr Judith Russi. A perfect opportunity for staff leaders of Caritas Ambassadors to come together virtually at the start of the school year to share practical ideas for developing the skills of their Caritas Ambassadors in school, at home and in their parishes. To register for a place on the webinar, please email Mary Scully firstname.lastname@example.org
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