Welcome to our Whole School Catholic Life page – Mrs David’s opportunity to share aspects of faith formation and our OLOL experiences that have an impact on a child’s perception of what Catholic Life is all about. At OLOL we ensure that Catholic Life infuses every aspect of our school day so that our work, our prayer, our curriculum and policies, our play is all rooted in personal faith development, and our school, parish and the wider life of the Church is greatly enhanced as a result.
Guild of St Stephen’s Altar Service Retreat 2019
Our 19 strong altar serving team spent a wonderful morning in retreat with Deacon Owen from the Vocations Office. Our servers from Year 4 to Year 6 make a commitment to serve in our Parish and School Masses and we wanted an opportunity for them to have special formation time of their own. Deacon Owen planned fun activities that explored the role of an altar server. The children had great fun.
Advent Family Prayer Service - Love
Our final Family Prayer Service was held this week on the theme of Love. It was great to be together in prayer and song as we draw towards the close of this Advent Season. Children made a family decoration for our Advent Tree and got to take them home. Special thank you to Mrs Anthony for her enthusiasm during these Prayer Services and to all families that have supported them. See you for more Family Prayer in Lent!
Mini Vinnies Carol Singing at St Joseph’s Care Home
Our Mini Vinnies and Choir continued their great works this Advent by singing at St Joseph’s Care Home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. As always OLOL children made us proud of their care, enthusiasm and joy at this opportunity to sing to and with older adults in our Catholic community. The school received a phone call from a Bishop at the Care Home complimenting the pupils on their wonderful singing and to thank them for teaching them some new songs. Well done!
You know Christmas is just around the corner when the Nativity performances start! We were well entertained this year by Year R and Year 1 who put on a hugely enjoyable version of the Christmas Story. Thank you to staff and children who worked so hard to make this such a wonderful experience for all who were able to watch it.
Advent Family Prayer Service – Joy
Thank you again to parents and children that joined our third session of Family Prayer on Friday. We thought ahead to Gaudete Sunday and what ways we can generate and share joy in our homes, school and parish. We shared the text of the Magnificat and each of us received a Joy Sticker to remind us all day to be joyful about our lives, our faith and the coming of our Lord!
CAFOD World Gifts Fundraising 2018
OLOL has a great affection for the work of CAFOD and twice yearly we take part in fundraising – at those important periods of penitence and almsgiving, prayer and service in Advent and Lent, we think about our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world and what they need. The children of OLOL had great fun this year choosing the events and gifts that they would raise money for with the World Gifts project and each class in school set themselves a total to aim for. With the last classes finishing their sponsored events this week we will have totals for you in January! We hope you have been able to follow the activities on our Twitter feed…
Our Choir and Mini Vinnies visited Trittiford Road Care home for elderly adults to sing Christmas Carols this week. What a wonderful gift to hear children sharing the good news through song and in doing so giving their time and talents in the service of God. Thank you to Mrs Anthony for organising this and playing her guitar.
Staff Advent Retreat – December 2018
At the midpoint of Advent we were blessed to be joined again by Dan Callow (One Life Music) for the first of our 3 x annual staff evening retreats. Dan prepared a wonderful Advent Retreat based on the theme of Peace for us, at just the right time for weary teachers! It was such a joy to be able to sit with colleagues to have this shared faith experience where we were able to pray, sing, read scripture, reflect on the key themes of this liturgical season and then have silence…
Our continued spiritual development means we are refreshed and better able to support the formation of the children in our care, and each other in our vocation. Many thanks to Dan for his gift to our Church.
Advent Family Prayer Service – Hope
To prepare for the Second Week of Advent we met for Family Prayer to contemplate Hope. What are our hopes during the season of Advent for others and ourselves? In his Letter to the Romans, St Paul tells us to “Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship; keep praying regularly.” Jesus is coming, we prepare; we make peace, we pray; we hope. Hope is a great gift in this season and we were able to think about the hope of ages as we looked at the symbols of the Jesse Tree and thought about the characters that bring those scripture accounts to life. Thank you again to our families for supporting family prayer at OLOL. It is a special coming together in our busy lives.
Whole School Advent Gathering – Led by Year 2
Year 2 planned a fantastic liturgy for the whole school to share, marking the First Week of Advent. They carefully explained through word and song, the real meaning of this liturgical season. It was super to see how confident the children were sharing scripture and prayer and the whole school is now really ready to celebrate Advent in the spirit of love, peace, joy and hope.
On 2nd December this year we were joined by Bishop Byrne to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation with 32 of our young people from Year 6 and the Parish of OLOL. It was a truly reverent yet joyful occasion, which showed us how much impact the gifts and fruits already have as the children read and sang with such confidence and understanding of what they were experiencing. The children were supported by Father Sean and Deacon Tim, as well as the staff body of Our Lady of Lourdes School. We welcomed the Choir to this special Mass and their singing made the celebration so much more! Thank you to our families for their support and guidance – the real journey of faith starts now as these young people take their faith and share it loudly and proudly for all to see and hear!
Finally got an opportunity to photograph our guitarists in action during Mass! This is a great act of service to the Church – Jesus sang Psalms and we know that when we sing or play in the liturgy we create another version of prayer. OLOL loves to sing!
“One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song”
Feast of St Andrew – November 2018
We went to Mass on St Andrew’s Day (as we do for each of the UK Patron Saints) and classes got into the Scottish Spirit with lessons about St Andrew and a lovely themed lunch!
Harvest Delivery to St Chad’s Sanctuary
The Mini Vinnies continue their social impact by visiting St Chad’s Sanctuary to deliver the vast amount of food and toiletries donated by the families of OLOL children. Such generosity is a constant source of pride to our school - we know that times can be difficult but when we ask for help, our families continue to share what they have with those in need. With the approach of Advent, the plight of the refugee is at the forefront of Christian thoughts – the Holy Family were after all refugees themselves!
Year 6 Reconciliation - November 2018
Year 6 children making their Confirmation this weekend came to a special Sacrament of Reconciliation Service at OLOL Church. Children, sponsors and their families took the opportunity to go to Confession. Confirmandi lit their hand painted candles before penance. It was a truly reverent occasion. The whole school community is praying for the children in Year 6 as they take this next step in their life long Catholic journey on Sunday!
Advent Family Prayer Service - Peace
We held our first Advent Family Prayer Service today and had a great turn out from parents and children wanting to start their Advent journey in the right spirit. The aim of the 4 Prayer Services will be to think about Peace, Hope, Joy and Love in the context of our active faith – what can we do this Advent to promote these fruits of the Holy Spirit in our school, our home and our community?
Red Wednesday – November 2018
On Red Wednesday the whole school dressed in red clothing to help raise awareness and show solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters all over the world, who are persecuted just for being Christian. Our Cathedral, St Chad’s, was lit in red all day to be a beacon in the city for Christians. IN each class prayers were shared and red candles lit, all peaceful and positive signs in a world of suffering – violence, oppression, torture and death.
We pray that love, compassion and courage replace fear, injustice and discrimination so that all who believe are free to practice, share and live their faith. Amen
Christ the King/Youth Sunday
OLOL invited children in Year 3 and Year 6 to attend Mass to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King which is also the day set aside to celebrate Youth Sunday. It was wonderful to see so many OLOL children at Mass in their uniforms, proudly professing their faith and being a sign of hope for the future of our Church – more important this year in light of the Synod on Young People (Heart Speaks to Heart). OLOL looks forward to hearing Pope Francis’ formal response next year but we know that whatever comes from his message will be all about how our young people are important and must be listened to!
“Every young person has something to say to others. He or she has something to say to adults, something to say to priests, something to say to bishops and even the Pope. All of us need to listen to you!” (Pope Francis, 2017)
St Chad’s Sanctuary
Our Mini Vinnies had a lovely visit to St Chad’s Sanctuary today with Mrs Anthony and Deacon Tim. They were delivering the huge amount of harvest food donations made by OLOL families, so that refugees and asylum seekers setting up home or passing through Birmingham might have more food to eat than their funding allows. The Mini Vinnie team were as curious and enthusiastic as ever and asked many great questions…we got a lovely tweet!
Diabetes Awareness Assembly
As part of our planned almsgiving we think about the groups and charities that most need our support and this year we were really happy to be able to raise money for Diabetes Research. One of our pupils has the condition and she led a wonderful assembly to tell us all about her illness and how it affects her daily life. We pray that the money donated by OLOL children will contribute towards finding a cure for the many people whose lives are affected by Diabetes.
Remembrance at OLOL #Thankyou100
At OLOL we take time to remember the dead from all conflicts. We held a special assembly this year as it has been 100 years since Armistice – the end of “the war to end all wars”. Unfortunately this was not the last time that people have engaged in war, violence and fear – it is something that continues in all parts of the world. Each class took time to think about conflict and peace in their own way using prayer and poetry.
Year 6 had a special Confirmation Preparation Mass on Remembrance Sunday and in Year 6 they have linked their liturgy to their History topic on WWII.
Tolkien Cluster Teacher INSET
OLOL is proud to be part of the Tolkien Cluster of schools – a collaboration that shares faith and pedagogy for the greater good of all of the children that attend our schools. For the first time this year we shared a Cluster Training Day so that teachers from all 10 Primary Schools and Bishop Challoner could share good practice. We started the day with a beautiful Mass at St Dunstan’s Church…
Mrs Anthony has made a fantastic display with the help of the pupils linked to Priestly Vocations – we prayed for the priests of our parish and the world to give them strength to continue in their good work for our Catholic Church…
Pupil Planned & Led Prayer at OLOL
Children at OLOL have free access to a special prayer and reflection area. It is common to find all ages of children in here during their break and lunchtime praying, reading bible stories, discussing an issue or acting out scenarios linked to a bible dice as seen today…
Family Rosary Session 2
It was great to see an increased number of families joining us for our second Family Rosary session in the school hall today. The children led the prayers beautifully and over time we hope these prayer sessions will inspire a love of the Rosary and confidence to use it daily for OLOL children. During Advent we will be holding Prayer Services for families each week.
Updating the Pupil Prayer Area
As part of our ongoing work to enhance Catholic Life we decided to give the Conservatory Pupil Prayer Area a little makeover – a new thick, warm rug instead of kneelers and cushions to sit on for prayer and reflection. We will do more work on this area over the next few months so keep checking to see what we are changing…
Family Rosary for October
During October we have started Family Rosary Sessions for OLOL families to have an opportunity to pray together with staff. The Rosary is a powerful prayer and we can pray it in parts or all at once, we can pray it at home, school, Church, in the car – wherever you are the Rosary can be with you. The Rosary is a wonderful time to reflect and think deeply about our faith. Our Lady asked for the Rosary to be prayed when she appeared at Fatima – she is after all Our Lady of the Rosary, this is how important this recitation is. We would love to see more families with us next week!
Father Sean’s 70th Birthday – October 2018
Sharing joy is an integral part of our Catholic Life together at OLOL and yesterday we were able to celebrate a very special birthday – Father Sean was 70 years old and we surprised him with two afternoon tea parties to give thanks for his vocation and the wonderful work he does within our Parish and School. Much food was eaten and children entertained Father Sean with celebratory songs both modern (Father Sean take on Baby Shark!) and slightly older from Father’s homeland of County Mayo (Green and Red of Mayo). It was a super day and we hope that Father Sean enjoyed the celebrations – he certainly looked surprised! We must never forget the gift we have in our Parish Priests who give their lives work and prayer to the greater good of the Church and our community.
St Vincent de Paul House Benediction
St Vincent de Paul House gathered in Church yesterday for their Benediction with Deacon Tim. It was a beautiful time for reflection and prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Deacon Tim spoke to us about what it means to help God with his harvest – a very simple message to us about our role in the universal Church as part of God’s family and how we all share a part in the Mission of the Church.
The Canonisation of St Oscar Romero
In our liturgical assembly today we talked about the life and work of St Oscar Romero. We celebrated his canonisation into Sainthood yesterday with 6 other holy people including Pope Paul VI. One of our House Teams is named after St Oscar Romero so this is quite a special occasion for the children and staff in that house.
Pope Francis announced that Oscar Romero was a martyr and he was beatified in El Salvador on 23 May 2015. Pope Francis said that all those who hold Archbishop Romero...
"as a friend in faith, who invoke him in as protector and intercessor, who admire him, should find in him strength and energy to build the kingdom of God".
Blessing our School at the start of the year…
Deacon Tim came into school to do his annual blessing of the classrooms.
Heavenly Father, lover of all, we praise you for giving us Jesus as our Saviour. He blessed the children who came to Him and welcomes those who come to him now. Look with love upon these children and protect them with your love. May they grow in age, wisdom and strength in your presence and in the sight of all. We ask this blessing, Father, through Your beloved Son, Christ our Lord.
House Team Benediction - St Teresa of Calcutta
Each month, one of our House teams has the opportunity to take part in Benediction. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a Monstrance and there is a period of silence when we are keeping watch before we say the Divine Praises.
Month of the Rosary begins at OLOL…
Here at OLOL we have a great love for the Rosary and it is a central part of our weekly prayer life. During October, one of two special Marian months, we increase this act of prayer as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and children have access to opportunities to pray the Rosary everyday this month in our special Prayer Area in the Conservatory or in class at a quiet time to suit. During the Year of Priests we keep the clergy and their vocation at the front of our minds in assembly and class based liturgy.
Little Way Week 2018
At OLOL each class has taken some time to think about Little Way Week (Mission Together) and how ordinary people like you and me can do extraordinary things through little acts of kindness. The children have been thinking about the life and work of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her acts of great love, the way she lived her vocation that she called her “Little Way”. This links so well with the messages we have been sharing this term about doing small things with great love. At OLOL being children does not stop our pupils from serving God through their acts of goodness towards others – our own OLOL Little Way! St Therese was a member of Mission Together and we can use their prayer to help us…
May all children in the world
Share love, Share friendship
and live in the peace of God’s love.
Now and forever.
St Thérèse of Lisieux, pray for us.
Macmillan Coffee Morning 2018
We continue to support this very worthwhile event each September with parents and children baking cakes and other treats for sale at “the World’s Largest Coffee Morning”. We welcome parents and parishioners to share food, tea and chat in our school hall. It is important for our children to find their social voice in all acts of human kindness...
Adoremus with Archbishop Bernard
In September we took part in a Diocese wide adoration with all of the 209 other Catholic Primary Schools. This was a wonderful occasion! Father Sean brought the Blessed Sacrament from the Church and in a time of prayer and reflection as we waited for His Grace, Archbishop Bernard to begin his service, we thought about the Eucharistic Congress and what it means to be gifted with the Eucharist in our lives. This was a very spiritual experience for the staff and children. Deacon Tim and Mrs Anthony represented the school and parish at the Congress.
All the, small things…September 2018
We started the School Year with a Liturgical Assembly all about our goals and aspirations and took inspiration from Mrs David’s broken toes and the words of St David and St Teresa of Calcutta who both spoke of doing small things well and with love to get the greatest impact.
Teacher’s Vocation – September 2018
In our first school Mass this year we asked our school staff to share their commitment to the school and children – a living testament to our vocation as educators and spiritual leaders in our parish and school community. It’s always a special moment when we declare this aloud to the whole school and parishioners that join our Masses.
World Meeting of Families 2018
This summer, the Pope visited Ireland for the World Meeting of Families and we are really lucky that an OLOL family was selected to represent this Deanery at that celebration of family life. Mr Martin (Principal at St Thomas Aquinas), his wife Mrs Martin and 3 of our pupils – Beatrice, Teddy and Cecilia attended and shared their amazing adventure with us all on Twitter.
Year 6 Leaver's Mass 2018
We start the year by looking back at the end of last year and remembering the wonderful Leavers Mass for our departing Year 6 children – they have left the school but they are always part of the OLOL family! On this special Mass we shared memories and stories while praying for these children to use the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit well in the lives moving forward.