Brightening Up to Build a More Peaceful World

St Mary's primary Maidenhead Harvest Fast Day 2015Doesn’t everyone look fantastic!  A big THANK YOU to all the pupils, staff and parents of St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Maidenhead for wearing their brightest clothes this week to help build a brighter world for children in other countries.  You all look terrific!

Our Education Volunteer, Sue Hardman, was invited into the school yesterday to give a very special assembly.

Sue started 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 Sue talked about Luke and Diego, she explored a little more about what peace really means.  Everyone thought for a moment about children who are refugees from war torn countries and Sue explained how CAFOD works with partners to help people who are fleeing from countries like Syria.

She then asked 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.

Diego in El Salvador

Diego in El Salvador

Sue then asked the children to imagine what ingredients they might use in a ‘Peace Pie’. Two children came to the front and had to pull out an ‘ingredient’ from a mixing bowl, read it and then decide whether it was suitable to put into the pie.

‘Ingredients’ ranged from ‘being kind’ and ‘forgiving someone’.  Other ‘ingredients’ such as ‘falling out’ and ‘fighting’ were put in the ‘Conflict Bin’.  Sue 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 Sue 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.  The children said that forgiveness means ‘when someone says sorry and you say that’s OK’ and ‘when you give someone a second chance at being your friend’.

As Sue explained, 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.

Luke

Luke in the UK

Sue 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.

Diego 2

CAFOD works with our partners to try to be peacemakers too.  Sue 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.

Sue then thanked the school for joining our ‘Brighten Up’ initiative 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 Sue 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.  Sue 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, especially Headteacher Janice Laycock, for all your brilliant support for CAFOD.  We really appreciate all you do. Thank you too Sue for carrying out this great visit!

Find out more about our ‘Brighten Up’ for Harvest appeal.

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