Ask any child at St Thomas More’s Catholic School and we hope they will be able to tell you what the word “transformation” means – particularly if you say something about bees!
In our first assembly after half term children heard about CAFOD’s work in setting up bee keeping in Fort Portal in Uganda. How with a loan and some training, a small group have been encouraged to set up a bee keeping business. Bees we all know “transform” pollen into honey but the honey “transforms” lives – lives of families like Sylvanno and Benjamin – for the honey provides food, money, medicine and an income which helps fund books for schooling.
CAFOD came to thank the children for all their fundraising in the past. Particularly the money they had recently raised for the people of Haiti by covering a giant map of Haiti with coins they brought in. Money that CAFOD partners will transform as quickly as possible into emergency aid.
Family Craft Club
This though was not the beginning of the “transformation” story at school. We had a hint just after Christmas that CAFOD’s theme was going to be bees. So when we were searching for a theme for our Family Craft Club, we thought, why not bees and beehives!
Eight families met after school in Mrs Pedder’s class and, led by Julie Cleverly from Hampshire Learning, everyone embarked on the ambitious task of “transforming” willow and tissue paper into bees and clay into bee hives. Three weeks later both mothers and children were very proud of the results. They were now artists, and their work was going to be exhibited at St John’s Cathedral.
CAFOD Family Fast Day Mass
The reason the art work was going to the Cathedral was to take part in a very special celebration on Friday 26th Feburary for CAFOD Family Fast Day. CAFOD was celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Fast Day. That’s fifty years of families in England and Wales giving up some treats for at least one day in Lent to help other families across the world. After the first year they did so well they decided to do it again the next and that, we discovered, was how CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development started.
The bee keeping business being just one example how small sacrifices donated to CAFOD can help others, giving parents in Uganda and other parts of the world the means to feed their families and send their children to school -a fantastic transformation.
Not everyone from school could go to the Cathedral for the celebration but the school choir went along, joining Bishop Crispian and many other schools from across the county. The choir performed a special song they had learnt for the occasion” Believe” by Lyn Marsh. At the end everyone joined in with the African hymn ‘Siyahamba’ led by St Edmunds School Choir.
Reconciliation for Lent
Back at school the children found out more about the season of Lent. They started preparing themselves for the celebration of Easter, a time of forgiveness and yes, you’ve guessed it transformation. In a second assembly children reflected on times when they had not been the best people they could be and thought about things they could “give up” for a short time as an act of charity to help themselves and others. Everyone’s commitment to “give it up” has now been displayed as a great honeycomb of promises in the school library.
Transformation– in art- in music–in generosity of spirit – in the lives of families across the world. More than cars into robots!
Happy anniversary CAFOD from St Thomas More’s School!