Pope Francis to the youth of today: ‘You matter and you are important’
In the last week of term, the Kenelm trust, Soli House team and visitors from America and Canada came to St Edmund’s to speak to students involved in Pope Francis’ Synod on youth. Last year our students had discussed what challenges and issues they face in today’s modern world as a child of faith. On this visit the team shared the Pope’s response to their questions and concerns in a new document ‘Christus Vivit’
The Pope highlighted the challenges that young people face offering this as a “letter from the father to his kids’. Pope Francis reminds us: ‘you matter and you are important, and the church think you are important’.
The students received feedback on the Pope’s message and the session finished with prayers and music.
We are now in the season of Lent. Lent is an opportunity for us to examine our conscious, pray more, acknowledge what we have, be thankful and be generous. In order for us to grow closer to the Lord, build up our relationship and discover anew the joy of a deeper conversion of the heart.
Our PRAYER is a sign of our hunger and thirst for God
Our FASTING is a sign of sorrow for our sin and an openness to conversion and turning back to God
Our ALMSGIVING is a sign of our gratitude, for we have received mercy, and through generous giving show mercy.
Here at St Edmund’s the students have an opportunity to enter into this Holy Season in many ways. Here are few examples;-
1. through prayer-
• all this week the 6 formers have been creating a prayer chain all Year 7 Tutor Groups
• some classes will have an opportunity to follow the ‘stations of the cross’ or spend time in the Chapel to share prayers
• every Thursday the school can attend Lightfever, for prayers in the Chapel
• every t.v. screen showing a daily extract from the Walk with me booklet
2. through Fasting
• on Friday’s there will be no meat served in the canteen
• the students will listen to an assembly on Lent and be encouraged either to give something up for lent or give something back
• the staff will become Guardian Angels and participate in acts of random kindness
3. through Almsgiving
• During the weeks leading up to Easter, each year group has been given their own week, to have the opportunity to raise funds for our 3 nominated charities: a local, national and an International one
We wish you all blessed journey through Lent as we hunger to become closer to our Lord
‘Lord, teach me to resist the temptation to doubt your love. Renew within me a sure and solid grasp of your loving plan for my life. May I grasp, in deeper measure, the depth of your love so I can walk with you day-by-day, knowing your peace in my heart. Amen.’
On Wednesday the whole school came together to prepare for the start of Lent by attending our Ash Wednesday Liturgy lead by Fr Mark our Chaplain. The choir, led by Mr Bard, was in fine voice leading us in hymns such as ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord’, ‘Father I have sinned’ and the Song of the Prodigal. On guitar was Mr Garrity and Saoirsa Kerrin, on Bass guitar was Jacob Cuthbert, on Drums was Jacob Creswell and our visiting pianist Martin.
There were readings of day and bidding prayers read by students from the different year groups. Fr Mark blessed the ashes, and together with the Eucharistic Ministers distributed the ashes while saying:
‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return’
The ashes are used as a sign of our repentance and are traditionally made from the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday
Lord, bless the sinner who asks for forgiveness and all those who receive these ashes.
May they keep this Lenten season in preparation for Easter
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
On Monday 4th March, five of our students, along with students from SS.Mary’s and John’s Catholic Primary took their Sacrament of Confirmation. The Mass was celebrated by the Rt Rev Bishop David McGough. Bishop David had spent the afternoon with the students talking to them about the strength of Holy Spirit.
The students renewed the promises, which were made on their behalf, by their godparents during baptism; and then Bishop David prayed for the candidates, while stretching his hands over them
Each candidate knelt before the Bishop with his or her sponsor. The sponsor placed their right hand on their shoulder while the Bishop anointed them with the oil of Chrism. During the anoint, the Bishop addressed each by his or her confirmation name saying, ‘Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit’
After the Mass they continued their celebrations in the church hall.
On Thursday 14th March 4 more of our students will be receiving their Confirmation at St Michaels Catholic Church in Penn, along with the students from St Michael’s Catholic Primary at 7 o’clock. The RT Rev Bishop MC Gough will be the celebrant once again.
The students have been working hard with Mrs Ferris after school and during their lunch to complete their spiritual preparation confirmation.
We ask that you keep these students in your prayers that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Two of our students attended a girls weekend retreat at Soli House. Here is Molly Kerins testimony of her time there.
Soli house weekend
During the 15th and the 17th of February Siwi and I went on a girls retreat to Soli House. The weekend was focused on our treasure, what is it, how we find it and how we use it. During the weekend we took part in multiple outdoor activities such as a scavenger hunt around Alton Castle, escape room and crate stacking. Additionally, we also had discussions about what we treasure in life and went to a mass on the Saturday evening where we all took part either through reading, singing or dancing. Over the whole weekend girls from all over the country were able to come together and discuss our faith and how we can use our talents to better our lives and the lives of others. I think that the weekend was an amazing experience and I look forward to going on another retreat soon.
For 3 days, 35 students from year 7 and 8 experienced the delights of Alton Castle Catholic Retreat Centre in Alton Staffordshire. The theme for the retreat was ’Who am I?’ The students were to consider how they view themselves, how friends view them, family and God.
‘He counts the Stars and Calls them all by name’ Psalm 147:7
They then faced a range of challenges, such as survival skills, archery, trekking and a climbing wall. They also looked at the three things we need to survive, water, food and shelter. This helped them look at what they are capable of and how to work as a team.
They had opportunities to pray and attend Mass Celebrated with Fr Thé Quang Nguyen in St John the Baptist Church, on the grounds of the Castle.
The weather was frosty, many layers were needed but fun was had by all.
In case no-one told you today, you are God’s work of Art,
Wonderfully made, knit together by the almighty,
Anticipated since the beginning of time,
You are called to a unique and specific purpose.
You are not rubbish, and you never were,
Because God does not make rubbish
It is time to be fearfully and wonderfully you!
On January 26th – 27th, young adults across the Diocese will be answering the call of Pope Francis and serving in mission projects over this weekend serving their local community. Following a weekend of mission, local groups will join together on Sunday evening at Ss. Peter and Paul in Wolverhampton to celebrate the closing Mass of World Youth Day, enjoy Panamanian food and tuning in to the Pope’s homily and the sights and sounds of Panama. All young people are welcome to join us. Please arrive at St. Peter and Pauls RC Church WV11RJ. at 6pm. Event finishes at 9pm.
The young people will be asking for people to sponsors them. All the money raised will go to Tabor House to support their project with homeless people. If you would like to sponsor the young people you can via parent pay at school.
Please keep in your prayers the 20 young adults, largely from parishes in disadvantaged areas of the Diocese, representing Birmingham in Panama with Pope Francis and the youth of the world!
Saturday 1st December was the Feast Day of our founder St Edmund. We marked the day with a celebration Mass for the whole community on Friday 3th November.
Monsignor Mark Crisp, our Chaplain was the celebrant at the Mass. He gave a great homily, helping us to recognise how lucky and privileged we are to be able to celebrate Mass together as a community without being persecuted for our faith, like people did in Queen Elizabeth 1 reign.
In 1580 Campion joined the first mission that was sent by the Jesuits, to minister to the Catholics of England, who were strictly forbidden to practice their religion. He preached at secret Catholic meetings in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Lancashire.
He was arrested by a spy at Lyford, Berkshire, on July 17, 1581, and taken to the Tower of London. When he refused, under severe torture, to recant his religious convictions, his captors invented charges that he had conspired to overthrow the queen. He was convicted of treason and executed. Throughout his ordeal, Campion exhibited religious zeal and great courage. Campion Hall at Oxford was named for him. He was canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Many of our pupils took part in the Mass, Alter Servers, and the choir, people taking the Offertory and readers from our 6th form. We especially give thanks to John Smith who stood in at the last minute, and expressed the Reading of from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, so eloquently. Which ended in:
‘ So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’
On Saturday 1st December, three of our 6 formers gave up their Saturday to hold a stall at St Mary’s and St John’s Christmas Fayre.
Over the week, they made different Christmas decorations such as sleighs, stars, candleholders and wreaths. On the day, they met the Mayor of Wolverhampton and his wife, who thanked them for supporting the community and said they were a credit to the school. Their stall made £40 for the church. Well Done to all who supported this event.
Samaritans- Operation Christmas Child
At the start of November each tutor group was asked to fill a shoebox for the Samaritans Charity-Operation Christmas Child, and again students and staff came up trumps.
Over 40 shoeboxes have been delivered. The boxes were filled with items such as hats, scarves, tooth brushes, toiletries, writing pads, pens, toys and a Christmas card. Each box also had to be sent with £5. A huge thank you goes to everyone who donated in any way, with special thanks to the 6 form Chaplaincy and Charity teams for all their hard work in collecting and putting the boxes together.
You have all made a difference to a child’s life this Christmas, thank you for your kindness and generosity, God Bless.