Hello to everyone at St Paul’s Catholic Primary in Paulsgrove and thank you for giving our Education Volunteers, Isobel and Patrick Flynn, such a lovely welcome today at your special World Gifts assembly!
Patrick told us,
“Broad, beaming smiles welcomed us back to St Paul’s for our assembly as our helpers set up our equipment and started the music as the classes arrived. The music was augmented with the words of their entry hymn, ‘My Jesus, My Saviour’ on the screen. The angelic voices of the first couple of classes singing the hymn grew in volume and richness as the successive classes arrived and reached a crescendo as the whole school sang the final chorus.
“Mrs Were and all the children welcomed us and we began, as usual, by asking if anyone could remember what the letters C A F O D stood for. We were very impressed by the sea of hands that reached for the sky! So impressed were we, that we asked the whole school to tell us. (The roof is still on the school – just!)
“We then asked the children to think about any special gifts that they may have received in the past and, as we approach Advent, any gifts they would like to receive for Christmas. The children were then asked to think about a present that would make a real difference to someone’s life.
“Focusing on the Nativity story, Isobel and I then told the children that we were going to hear some stories from CAFOD’s partners which would help us build a Nativity scene. As we were doing this, some of the pupils were going to read passages of the Christmas story. Five children volunteered to read some short passages and they read them beautifully.
“The first passage focused on the donkey in the Bible story that carried something very special; Mary and Jesus. We then told the children that in Ethiopia, donkeys are a valuable asset for families. They are also often the only means of getting sick people to health clinics, many of which are miles away.
“We then looked at the next part of the story when there was no room for the Holy Family at the Inn. However, as Mary was about to have her baby, the family was allowed to stay in the place where the animals were, including the oxen.
“We explained that in Ethiopia, cows are very important and we shared the story of Afera, a young mother who lives in northern Ethiopia with her six children and her husband, an injured war veteran, who is unable to farm the land. CAFOD partners provided the family with a cow which gave birth to calves a few months later. The cows produce about 8 litres of milk a day which Afera uses to make butter to then sell at the local market.
“We told the children that the ‘Marvellous Moo Cow‘ is just one of many other World Gifts which people can buy and give at Christmas time to their friends and family. These gifts benefit communities in a range of countries across the world and make a real difference to the lives of the people who receive them.”
Thank you very much to everyone at St Paul’s for all their ongoing support and thank you to Patrick and Isobel for delivering this lovely assembly.