Chaplaincy

The Time is Now climate change lobby

Photos from Climate Change London 2019

4:30am seemed like a very early time to bee meeting at Blackpool North train station, especially as we met there before the station even opened. There was a sense of excitement in the air as a sleepy group of 6 students from St Marys' CAFOD group met together for our special day trip to London on Wednesday 26th June. We watched the sun rise as we boarded the train to Preston to meet the coach that would take us down to London to meet our MP's as part of The time Is Now lobby on climate change. We joined friends from Our Lady's Lancaster, St Mary's Brownedge and Thornleigh schools on the coach down to London and spent some time on our journey getting to know each other, creating flags and reflecting on the importance of the day.

When we got to London, we headed over to Church House for an inspirational interfaith service led by important figures from all religions. They spoke to us about the importance of climate change from their faith perspective. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, told us that "we are living in a bubble, believing that some technology or escape to another planet will be our solution" and that if we imagine the world as a tree, the human race is sawing off the branch we are sitting on". Quari Asim MBE spoke beautifully about the creation story in Islam and described climate change as a smoldering fire that is slowly burning into an unstoppable flame. Anya Nanning Ramamurthy, a Quaker, who has taken a lead role in the recent schools' protests on climate change reminded us that "We have God in us, and it's about time we started acting like it." And many of our students' favourite speaker, Vishpavani, a Buddhist teacher, told us "The climate has no religion. We breathe the same air. It is not left wing or right wing. And it doesn't care about Brexit."

Inspired by listening to such great speakers, our small group headed out to Victoria Tower Gardens to meet with our MP's and tell them how important climate change is to us. We first met Paul Maynard, who told us about his trip to the Philippines with Christian Aid to see the effects of Typhoon Haiyan. He said when he saw what had happened there, he was convinced: "We have to act," he told us. He said that our Catholic faith and in particular Pope Francis' Laudato Si should inspire us to set optimistic challenges that may be hard for us to reach, but we should strive for, and that we should be leading the world, setting an example by reducing our emissions and reaching Net Zero as quickly as possible. We spoke about the issue of rising sea levels in our town and the need for better flood defenses, and he set us the challenge of walking and cycling more, using less energy and wasting fewer resources.

Just after we said goodbye to Paul, the whole place erupted in noise. Nearly 12,000 people had gathered together that day to speak to their MP's, and every one of them had brought an alarm clock set to ring at 2pm. The message was this: time is running out for our planet. We need change, and we need it now! Our students were overwhelmed at the amount of noise that was made by everyone calling for the same thing- climate justice. We were even more surprised 2 minutes later when Steve Backshall from the BBC turned up just behind us for a TV interview! Our students were very pleased to be able to pose for a selfie with him!

We met Gordon Marsden, who told us about the new "green" apprenticeships he had created in the town and how he was against fracking. He asked us about what we do in school to reduce our carbon footprint and challenged us to make some noise by speaking to shops and shopping centres about the need for less packaging and more electric car charging points.

After such an intense morning, we spent some time at the schools zone, taking part in some activities and had a brief site seeing tour before heading home. We were even lucky enough to be given some free vegan ice cream, which was being handed out to everyone who came to the lobby!

Reflecting on our day during the journey home, Hanna said "It felt incredible just to gather with everyone and contribute. I believe that our MP was rather inspired by all the people who turned up, and I feel like he'll help and try to speak about climate change to the rest of parliament." Jess said "I am inspired to recycle more, to set an example so other people will copy." Kyla said "I am going to tell my family and friends: do the best you can to help slow down climate change." A message for us all, and one that the CAFOD group will be considering in our activities moving forward into the next school year.

Year 3 Open Air Mass and Procession

Year 3 Mass

On Thursday 20th June, St. Mary's hosted the annual Year 3 Celebration Mass outside in our amphitheater space. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing (and causing havoc with the candles and Altar cloths) and everyone was in fine voice for our celebration. Fr Jim, the Dean of Blackpool Deanery, celebrated the Mass alongside Fr Janusz, Fr Andrew and Fr Masaki, and the children were joined by teachers, governors and special guests.

This was a Mass with a difference: as it is the Year of the Eucharist, and in anticipation of the feast of Corpus Christi, we ended our Mass with a Blessed Sacrament procession through St. Mary's and Christ The King schools to Christ The King Church. It was wonderful to be part of such a fantastic celebration - a first for our community - and to see all the children from Christ The King school pause to watch us all walking by. We ended in Christ The King Church with Benediction surrounded by the wonderful flower carpets that children from all of our schools had worked hard to create. We were even given a prayer card to take home with a picture that matched the flower carpet design!

We had a fantastic time and a lovely celebration, and were very pleased to take part in such a special event to mark the Year of the Eucharist.

#shedeserves success at St Mary's

Yzabelle with her winning creation

Fairtrade Fortnight ran from 25th February to 10th March and after being inundated with artwork, stories about inspirational women and competition entries, the Chaplaincy team were able to put finishing touches to the Fairtrade board, filling it with student contributions. A lot happened over the course of the fortnight, kicking off with a makeover to our Fairtrade stall. This meant lots of new stock including iced tea, Dairy Milk and, the massively popular, 'Oh so scrummy' flapjacks. The competition to 'Design a Divine' was judged and the winning bar created, with Yzabelle (pictured here along with her winning bar and badge) being crowned the winner. She had the opportunity to sample her very own fiery chilli chocolate bar. Completed artwork from the 'Colour and Chat' group now adorns the walls and International Women's Day was marked with a moving tribute to our staff and student's favourite inspirational women being shared from the Chaplaincy twitter @SMCA_Chaplaincy. Yet another Fairtrade Fortnight success #shedeserves!

Fairtrade Fortnight End of Week 1

Fairtrade Fortnight Week One

This week we have been selling brand new lines of stock which included new flavours of Divine chocolate, iced tea and flapjack, at our Fairtrade Deli Bar at breaks. 'Colour and Chat' featured some very nice illustrations of a female cocoa farmer, which the students discussed as part of the Empowering Women #shedeserves campaign. Also involving the #shedeserves theme the students across the school were encouraged to think of one inspirational woman and share their thoughts on them. Lastly the pupils have been taking part in a competition called 'Design a Divine' in which the prize is have their winning entry made, wrapped and posted to Divine HQ! Good luck to everyone who has taken part.

Blackpool is a Fairtrade town

Fairtrade logo

Blackpool has been awarded Fair Trade Town for the second term running. Since becoming a member of the steering committee to get this award St. Mary's has facilitated most of the meetings and been a central part of the town team. Our Fairtrade Co-ordinator, Mr Gibson, has acted as Schools Representative. We will be working closely over the coming weeks to share not only what we are doing in Fairtrade Fortnight but to publicise the work going on in the town also.