Dear Parents and Carers,
REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR
Sunday 14th November was World Day of the Poor 2021, a day when Pope Francis asked us to think about those less fortunate than ourselves. During Sing and Praise (Infant School) and Hymn Practice (Junior School) we reflected upon how we can use what we have: our talents, our resources, our time, our prayers to reach out to others and to transform the world around us. Our recent donations for Pact’s Operation Elf appeal show just how much we support others in their need. Many of us have Advent calendars, often with a treat hidden behind the windows, which help us mark this time of preparation for Christmas. Once again, during Advent we will have a reverse Advent calendar in school. As each door is opened we will put in items of food, unopened toiletries and Christmas festive food which will be distributed to those in our local area who are in need this Christmas. We hope you will support us in this outreach to others. We will be collecting donations of food up until Monday 13th December. As with the harvest donations, we are collecting tinned foods (soups, beans, vegetables, fish, meat), packets (pasta, rice, cereals & jars (sauces ) etc. as well as festive food such as chocolates and mince pies. These items should be brought into class where they will be collected by the Chaplaincy Team in the Juniors and Chaplain in the Infants who will then add them to our reverse Advent calendar collection.
We thank you in advance for your support and wish you a blessed Advent season,
Mrs M. Norbury Lay Chaplain
A massive thanks to everyone for your support for this appeal.
We raised a total of £1010 which will be converted into 101 x £10 gift cards for the residents at HMP Downview to give to their children during a pre-Christmas family day. A fabulous team effort.
In addition, one of the Chaplaincy Team's posters was so good that Pact used it to publicise the appeal nationally. Andy Keen-Down, Pact's CEO, was particularly impressed - see below. Well done Vincent!
24th November 2021
#RedWednesday is our chance to say ‘NO’ to Christian persecution and ‘NO’ to religious persecution and to use our voices to call for CHANGE. As a result of targeted violence, around the world, millions of Christians are now displaced or refugees. Countless numbers have been driven from their homes, lost their livelihoods and even their liberty and their lives because of their faith.
On Wednesday 24th November,we will come together for an age-appropriate assembly in school and will join with ACN and schools across the country in prayer for those affected by violence.
On #RedWednesday many local, national and international buildings are lit up red. Look out for these on the news.
You may be aware that there are two prisons in our local neighbourhood, HMP High Down and HMP Downview, both situated in Belmont. Many of those who are serving sentences in these institutions are parents and, at the time of writing this letter, there are 111,132 children in England and Wales who have a parent in prison. A key element of Catholic Social Teaching is to recognise the human dignity of every person and the call to reach out to those in need, no matter the circumstances. Pope Francis, writing in Fratelli Tutti says “No one can face life in isolation…we need a community which supports and helps us…” (FT 8)
Pact is the national Catholic charity supporting people affected by imprisonment and, this November we are pleased to take part in Pact’s campaign supporting prisoners to give a Christmas gift to their child. In previous years, Operation Elf has collected toys but this is not possible in these times of Covid restrictions. Instead, this year the elves will be collecting gift cards and we will be taking part by holding a CHOCOLATE RAFFLE.
To take part, we are inviting you to give a £2 donation to this appeal. This week your child will be bringing home an Operation Elf envelope. Please put £2 inside, seal the envelope with sellotape and return it to your child’s class teacher by 22nd November. These money envelopes will be put into the draw and the winning envelopes will be drawn out during Sing and Praise (Infants) or Hymn Practice (Juniors) on Thursday 25th November.
The money raised will be converted into £10 gift cards which will then be sent to Pact who will distribute them to the prisons in time for the family days. This will be the first time the family days have been able to run since the Covid pandemic struck in March 2020. Research shows that keeping family links helps to reduce reoffending by 39%. By contributing to Operation Elf you will be giving hope to those in prison, joy to children and contributing to the common good of all.
To find out more, visit Pact’s website: https://www.prisonadvice.org.uk/operation-elf
You may also be interested in Pact’s JustPeople workshops, more details here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1s2cCKmidNglrU4URFtNZtHTHPTtkWuo1/view?usp=sharing
Thank you for your support for these often forgotten members of our community. Please keep them and the work of Pact in your prayers.
Mrs M. Norbury
PLEASE HELP US FILL OUR HARVEST BASKET!
For our harvest celebration this year we will be collecting for the food bank at St. Philomena’s High School for Girls. We will be supporting this charity which benefits not only our schools’ community but local families as well. We would be most grateful if your child could bring into school a gift of any of the goods listed below. Items need to be in-date for 4 months. Pasta shapes, spaghetti, rice; Tinned fruit and vegetables; Tinned foods such as Baked beans, Spaghetti, Rice Pudding, corned beef, tuna or sardines; Sugar, coffee, tea, cooking oil; Breakfast cereals Ketchup, mayonnaise, soup; Biscuits, chocolate, jam; Toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shower gel, shampoo, deodorant, face/wash cloths Fr. Anthony from St. Margaret’s of Scotland, Carshalton Beeches, will celebrate our Harvest Mass on Wednesday 13th October, so it would be most appreciated if your donations could be brought into school by that date. However, we will be making our final delivery to St. Philomena’s High School after the Infant Harvest Mass on Monday 18th, so we will be accepting donations up until that date.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you once again for all your support.
Mrs. M. Norbury Lay Chaplain