Welcome to our Whole School Catholic Life page for 2020/2021 – 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.
It would be impossible to share everything we do at OLOL but these pages should be a sample of the Catholic Life we live daily. Please take a look at our Twitter feed (@ourladyoflourd1), individual Class Catholic Life pages and other pages on this section of the website too as they are filled with more active faith at OLOL.
Entries are made most recent first!
A very busy week in school as we get ready for the end of term. It was a real joy, in this third week of Advent, to watch the Year R Nativity today. I was certainly very proud at the end of the performance. You can watch it on the Catholic Life Video page but here are some photos of the cast! Great job by all of the staff involved, thank you!
I had such a lovely time in the hall with Miss Grant and Nursery this morning as they shared their Advent learning with me. They were very enthusiastic in their rendition of “Stay Awake, the Lord is Coming” and are mastering the signs to go with it. Have a look on the Catholic Life video page and catch them in action!
What a strange year it has been for us all but we hope we have managed to bring some normality to our children and families at OLOL. Our community of Faith and Learning continues to be strong. Mr Maye and I added the final touches to the stage today so that the Nativity could be filmed, and now OLOL feels very Christmassy indeed! The children and staff have loved having the lights up…a fitting replacement for the tree this year!
As part of our Advent preparations and celebrations, I asked the children to create a Laudato Si bauble that could decorate their Christmas tree. The aim of the bauble is to remind ourselves of the wishes of Pope Francis that we look after and protect our Common Home, this planet, so that many generations that come after us will have the opportunity to experience this beautiful world in the same way. This care for person, animal, plant and place is a core aspect of learning in our school and as ever, OLOL children did not let me down…so many wonderfully creative designs, it was hard to choose the winners. The ones in the photos are winners and every participant who received intentional merits in class for their deliberate actions to help us promote the future of the planet. Well done everyone! J
This week we remembered the dead from wars at Remembrance Sunday Mass, in our class based prayers and at a special assembly for Armistice Day. We learned about the impact of war, what sacrifice means and that casualties of war come from all races, all faiths, rich or poor, soldier or civilian. I set children the task to make a Remembrance Wreath for display...some beautiful work from OLOL children.
This half term we are Intentional and Prophetic in our learning and in our faith as we continue our journey in formation using the Jesuit Virtues (in the Catholic Pupil Profile) to support our development. How can we be intentional and prophetic between now and Christmas? We are intentional at OLOL because we commit to our work and play, we are deliberate and make good decisions, and we notice the world around us and use our conscience to be the best we can be. We are prophetic at OLOL because we are we do good for others and we talk about what is right – we are growing to be brave and stand up for others, being like a “Light for the Whole World”…
In this month of November, we remember the Faithful Departed – those we have loved and who have now joined our heavenly Father, also the strangers we never knew who have died and need our prayers to help them on their journey to heaven. We started this prayerful month of remembrance with All Soul’s Day Mass, live streamed with Father Sean. We have written prayers for the departed in our prayer journals.
Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they Rest in Peace. Amen.
At the Weekend we remembered All Saint’s Day and children were asked to think about the Saints that were special to them and the reasons why. I thought about this myself and it is hard to narrow down my favourite Saints since so many resonate with me in lots of different ways – from the Saint I selected to be with me on my faith journey at Confirmation to the Saints I have learned about, admired and tried to emulate during my personal and professional life. Think, which Saint would you choose as your favourite or the one that has given you most spiritual comfort and guidance…not easy!
This week we thought about St Margaret Mary Alacoque, on her Feast Day. When we think of her we think of her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion that stemmed from many visions of Christ where he revealed his love for us to her. In the visions, Jesus gave St Margaret Mary 12 promises for anyone who shared this devotion to his Sacred Heart – Can anyone find out about those promises? This week I set a lovely RE Task to create images of St Margaret Mary and of the Sacred Heart, you will see some here on this page. Thank you to parents for engaging in these tasks at home with their children to broaden their faith knowledge…
“Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.”
Today we celebrate the Feast of St Vincent de Paul with assemblies in class. Mrs Webb, our Mini Vinnies Coordinator planned the assembly for us and it was interesting to be reminded of his life and work, and the legacy we now have in the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Young Vincentians and of course, the Mini Vinnies. This year because of COVID our Mini Vinnies have not been as visible as usual and we missed the opportunity to attend the annual celebration Mass at Westminster Cathedral in June that we had enjoyed so much the previous year. Our Mini Vinnies have an action plan and will continue to support the community and parish by doing “a little good” (it seems like we are hearing this message a lot this year!
On 19th October we took part in Aid to the Church in Need’s campaign to get 1 million children praying the Rosary for peace and unity. It was lovely to see all of our children and staff engaging in this special prayer time to promote peace and unity, not only in the world but in our playground, our lessons, our homes, our parish… St Padre Pio said “When one million children pray the Rosary, the world will change.” and how lovely to have OLOL prayers as part of that change!
As a school we turned yellow today to raise awareness for Mental Health illnesses and conditions. On the immediate surface this might not seem to be about Catholic Life but it really is – if we follow in the footsteps of Christ we must show love and care for those who are ill in body and mind, we must offer comfort and relief for those who need it (if we can) and we must self-care our own mental health to reduce stress, anxiety and other triggers that make us feel unhappy and unwell.
We hope and pray that through good spiritual formation and a good Catholic Life, there is peace and mental wellbeing to be had. It is OK to not be OK sometimes, but it’s really OK to ask for help when you need it!
In these troubled times when people are isolated, reach out and be a listening ear to those who need you…in school, at home, at work and in our parish community.
Pray, meditate, read scripture, join the live streamed Mass with Father Sean, make spiritual communion when you cannot receive the Eucharist…avoid too much internet. Families who need support should pop over to our Mental Health pages on the website to get access to numbers and websites that may be able to help.
Our commitment to CAFOD is very important at OLOL but we are also very mindful that within our immediate communities, families are enduring hardships because of COVID. Each class this week was able to join in with the CAFOD Harvest Assembly and be reminded that we can all effect change if we do the small things – how many Saints tell us in their words, writings or actions that the “small things” are what will help us to change the world (St Ignatius, St Teresa of Calcutta, St David…can you think of anymore?). At OLOL, our small things actually turned into a big thing and families donated a large amount of food to be donated to Yardley Wood Food Bank.
On this date, a year ago, I was proud and delighted to be in St Peter’s Square in Rome to celebrate the Canonisation of St John Henry Newman. I was there to represent our school as the first English Saint was canonised in nearly 50 years. St John Henry Newman was a great theologian, a man who studied God and wrote many great books. He helped found the first Catholic University in Ireland. We know him well as he spent a large part of his life in Birmingham as an Oratory Father in Edgbaston. His life was dedicated to deep study and care for the poor and needy. My RE Task for this week was to get children to draw me fantastic pictures of St John Henry Newman, and as always OLOL, you did a great job!
For the Feast of the Holy Rosary (and for the entirety of October as we dedicate our thoughts to Our Lady), I challenged OLOL children to make their own special Rosary Beads at home and pray the Rosary with their families. As you can see from the photos, we had a large number of children take part, creating some utterly beautiful and purposeful Rosary Beads. Check out some of the class pages for more photos! I hope they become a centrepiece of family prayer for all of our children.
Pope Francis published his latest encyclical (a special letter from the Pope to all Catholic people, just like Laudato Si which we know very well at OLOL) on 4th October and it is called Fratelli Tutti. This is a letter about social teaching – the way we behave towards each other.
It is important that Pope Francis chose this date, the Feast of St Francis. This special letter is addressed to “All brothers and Sisters” – that means to all of us equally. Pope Francis has been thinking about our world and what we need to do after the COVID Pandemic is over to be a better place. Pope Francis reminds us of the Good Samaritan and calls for us all to be as one, to work together, to love each other, support and care for each other (and our planet), to welcome everyone, to help end discrimination – to be brothers and sisters really.
At OLOL we will try to faithfully follow the guidance from the Holy Father so that our school is a place of welcome and fraternity – friendship, togetherness and love.
Little Way Week (28/9/20 to 2/10/20)
Our Class Liturgies this week focussed on Little Way Week and the life & work of St Therese of Lisieux. Sometimes she is called “The Little Flower” and we know her as the patron of Overseas Mission. St Therese always imagined that she would follow the example of the missionaries and work overseas and as a child she joined the early version of Mission Together (part of Missio for children) to help her realise her dream. Due to her own ill health and subsequent decision to join an enclosed order, she never travelled to the countries she prayed so hard for. Prayer and an understanding that we can all do something small for others were her guiding ideas – and those small acts of kindness are the root of Little Way Week, a time for us to think about what acts of kindness we can do for others. She died in 1897 at the age of 24 and her feast day falls on the 1st October.
Education Sunday 2020 (13th Sept)
For over 100 years, the Church has a shared day of prayer and support for those involved in education. This year the theme for Education Sunday was, "A Learning People in a Time of Change". What a year we have experienced as educators and as global citizens finding our way through a pandemic. This Sunday provided us with a great opportunity to reflect of the importance of educators in our parishes, our schools and in the home.
Here is the Primary School Prayer for Education Sunday…
God, good Father, and guide,
Thank you that we are all together.
Together as a school, together as a Bubble, together as friends.
Help us to know who we are, and how to be together.
Thank you for our school rules and values.
We will do our very best to keep them,
and help others to do the same.
So that we can each live our very best life, together.
The World We Want - CAFOD Assembly 9/9/2020
OLOL has a great affinity with the Mission and active work of CAFOD and we hope to continue our commitment to their global fundraising efforts as we move into our new school year. Today we all took part in the latest CAFOD campaign assembly - a time to become informed, inspired and active thinking about the world we know and the world we want.
I am always proud of the active faith life of OLOL children, staff and families that allow us to play our part in supporting the Pope’s wishes for us to make change and show genuine care and protection for our Common Home - in our work and aspirations for the future of our School, community and world. OLOL children who have already achieved the Eco Schools Green award and begun our Rights Respecting commitment, made beautiful pledges today for a better world. Let us pray that our young people can finish what we have started and take the message of stewardship forward.
Nativity of Our Lady (8/9/2020)
Today was an especially important day at OLOL as we celebrated the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All classes and staff took part in a liturgical service led by Deacon Tim and took time to think about this most blessed child who would eventually be chosen to be the mother of Christ. Our Church only celebrates three birthdays - Jesus, John the Baptist and Mary (Why do you think this is? What do they have in common?) and so Mary’s birthday is a momentous liturgical occasion when we get a chance to think about her wonderful parents St Joachim and St Anne, her foretold blessings and then the gift given to her when God asked her to be the mother of Jesus.
Now is a great time to revisit the Marian prayers that we use in school and at home - Hail Mary, the Angelus, the Memorare...maybe sing our Parish hymn of praise to our Immaculate Mary...think about the continued intercession of Our Lady, particularly her appearances throughout the world. What can you learn about Mary?
Class Blessing Services (7/9/2020)
This morning our school shares an important annual tradition – our Class Blessing Services. A little different this year to reflect the times we are experiencing. Each class did their service together in their rooms and blessed their learning space with holy water blessed by Deacon Tim (who is unable to enter our bubbles at the moment). Each class will share their service on Twitter for you.
St Teresa of Calcutta - 5th September
Today I have been reflecting about the life and example of St Teresa of Calcutta, more affectionately referred to as Mother Teresa. Her faith-filled life of hard work, duty, selflessness, compassion and charity are a shining example to us all about how we can live our Catholic Life journey. We pray for her continued intercession during this time of pandemic.
Not all of us will have the courage and strength to do as she did, in the way she did, but let’s think about what we can do during this pandemic to be a beacon of hope and light to those in need - check in on the elderly or infirm (socially distant and safely), spare an item of food for St Chad’s Sanctuary or The Fireside, pick litter or make a change for the environment...
St Teresa of Calcutta is the patron of World Youth Day: https://worldyouthday.com https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=157&v=mEZGjL1akt0&feature=emb_logo
Season of Creation - 1/9/20 to 4/10/20
(Feast of St Francis)
As we start our new school year together, it is once again the Season of Creation - a time for reflection as we consider what is happening to our common home and what part we play in the preservation and restoration of the gift given to us. This planet was parts of God’s gift of Creation and in this time we play and act to ensure that as guardians of the world for the short time we are here, we do nothing to impact it negatively.
All children and families at OLOL should stop and think about the lifestyle they have and how this may contribute to the well being of our common home – we are not in positions of power and cannot make legislation about climate change, landfill, fossil fuel use etc. but we can do our small acts of faith and love for planet Earth each day and spread the word about what we do in God’s name and why…the Saints have regularly reminded us that the little acts are often the greatest when done with faith and love. Let us all take the time this season to make some small change for a greater good so that our children’s, children’s children and many generations thereafter have the joy of inhabiting God’s beautiful act of creation.
This half term we are CURIOUS and ACTIVE in our learning and in our faith as we continue our journey in formation using the Jesuit Virtues (in the Catholic Pupil Profile) to support our development. How can we be curious and active? We are curious at OLOL in our exciting curriculum and wider learning opportunities where we can see God in all things we do. We want all children to be curious so that they love to learn. We are active at OLOL because we are always looking for ways to act for change and make our school, parish, community and the world a better place. We do the small things every day that make big difference one day!
Welcome Back OLOL!
What a blessing to be back at school! As I walked around school today and visited each class to welcome them back, I cannot tell you how joyful it made me and the other staff feel to have our school family back together again. I won’t labour the trials and tribulations that have come with our experiences of pandemic but just say a big thank you to our families for their support of the school and their cooperation with the plans for the start of our new school year. Welcome back OLOL!