This week, our Education Volunteer, Petra Wagenblast gave a special assembly to all the lovely pupils and staff at St Mary’s primary in Gosport for Harvest Fast Day. This Fast day, we’re asking young people to ‘Brighten Up’ to help build a brighter world for children in other countries.
Petra started the assembly by promising to share a little about the lives of two children – one here in the UK and one in El Salvador in Latin America. Both these children – Luke and Diego – have had their lives brightened up by living in peace with people.
But before Petra talked about Luke and Diego, she explored a little more about what peace really means, asking the children what they do to keep the peace. As the children knew, to have peace we all have to get on, be kind to one another and share. If we don’t do this and we fall out and argue with each other, then there is conflict.
Petra then asked the children to imagine what ingredients they might use in a ‘Peace Pie’ and a ‘Conflict Cake’. Two children came to the front and had to pull out an ‘ingredient’ from a mixing bowl, read it and then put it onto the correct tray.
‘Ingredients’ ranged from ‘being kind’ and ‘forgiving someone’ for the Peace Pie to ‘falling out’ and ‘fighting’ for the Conflict Cake. Petra then asked the children if they’d ever fallen out with anyone. Most of us have! But what’s important, as she said, is that we make up and we forgive the person.
As Petra said, those of us who have received the sacrament of reconciliation know how it feels when we admit we have done something wrong and know that God has forgiven us. Jesus taught us to be peacemakers. He said ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’. [Matthew 5:6] We try to follow the good example that our parents and our teachers give us and as children of God we look to Jesus to show us how to live our lives.
Petra then said that this is what Luke (from the UK) had done. He fell out with his friends one break time but made it up with them afterwards. He was a peacemaker.
CAFOD works with our partners to try to be peacemakers too. Petra showed the children a picture of Diego, a young boy in El Salvador in Central America. Diego lives in a part of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, that can be very violent. There are lots of gangs in the area. CAFOD is working on a peace-building project to help the community and children like Diego to live together in peace. Diego’s school runs lots of different sport, music and dance activities for children to join in and he plays the drums in a peace band. When he is doing so he feels safe.
Take a look below at a short film of Diego and his experiences of living in San Salvador.
Petra then explained to the children that we’re asking schools to join in and ‘Brighten Up’ this Harvest to help CAFOD to help other communities like Diego’s, find more peaceful ways of living together. Click on our special film about this below.
As Petra said, Luke, Diego and CAFOD are all peacemakers. Jesus was also a peacemaker. They all show us, that in order to be peaceful, we have to act. All the ingredients in the Peace Pie the children made were active so we need to show people love and to share what we have with others. Petra also reminded the children that forgiving each other and saying sorry can be hard but if we want to be peacemakers then we have to do these things.
She ended the assembly by asking all the children to give each other the sign of peace by shaking hands with the people next them and saying ‘peace be with you’. The children then said a special prayer, asking God to help everyone to work together to build a better and more peaceful world, where each of us can become the best person we can be.
Thank you so much to everyone at St Mary’s primary for all your fantastic support for CAFOD. Thank you too Petra for carrying out the visit. It looks like it was lots of fun!
Find out more about our ‘Brighten Up’ for Harvest appeal.