Loving God, you made this beautiful world that we all share.
Help us to live simply,
and be thankful for all that you have given us
Help us to look after our earth,
So that everyone may enjoy it.
Help us to share with others,
so that everyone has what they need.
This year we have signed up, as a school, to take part in the CAFOD LiveSimply Award.
The LiveSimply award is an opportunity for Catholic communities - parishes, schools, religious orders and chaplaincies - to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.
The LiveSimply award is earned by communities and schools who can show how they have been living:
- in solidarity with people in poverty
- sustainably with creation.
During the course of the year, we will be taking part in a number of events, activities and projects to help us achieve the LiveSimply Award including supporting local charities, fundraising for CAFOD World Gifts, starting an Eco Stewards Group and celebrating events such as World Food Day.
Families, parents and carers can also take part in our LiveSimply Award by creating their own Family LiveSimply Pledge and sharing it at St Gabriel's Family Pledges
As the year progresses we will keep updating our LiveSimply page with news and pictures of the exciting work we have been doing so make sure you visit this page again!
You can find out more about the LiveSimply Award at Live Simply for Schools
Laudato Si Week 2023
Laudato Si Week is celebrated each May to mark the anniversary of Pope Francis’s encyclical (letter) also called Laudato Si.
Communities around the world celebrate Laudato Si Week so that we can acknowledge the progress we’ve made in bringing Laudato Si to life and to commit ourselves to further prayer and action for Our Common Home.
We have had a very exciting week celebrating Laudato Si Week 2023. We have planted seeds, gone on Creation Walks, created Laudato Si Superheroes, created an amazing Laudato Si Mural and much much more!
Below you can see a small selection of some of the exciting activities we got up to – but to see even more please visit our Laudato Si Padlet - https://padlet.com/willbright/laudato-si-week-2023-at-st-gabriel-s-unzwv8h5iw3jt6rh
Throughout the week we prayed with and for God’s Creation. On Friday we held prayer services where we shared what we had done during Laudato Si Week and then used St Francis’s Canticle of Creation to help us lift up creation and be inspired to act to help protect Our Common Home.
CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES
Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your
love, and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.
This May we are encouraging everybody to LIBERATE THEIR LAWNS by taking part in No Mow May!
No Mow May
We're inviting garden owners to resist mowing their lawns during May.
To take part and give wildlife a much-needed boost throughout summer, why not lock up your lawnmower for the month? Doing so benefits wildlife, provides more nectar for pollination, and can even store carbon underground.
We're giving away free signs that you can stick in your grass to show you are taking part!You can collect yours from selected libraries. Find the nearest library to you and more information about the campaign here.
At school we are joining in the campaign and have are our No Mow green space!
Freeing the wild areas will help feed pollinators and provide a space for nature!
Why not join No Mow May – find out more at https://www.plantlife.org.uk/campaigns/nomowmay/
May 2023 - Wild Area Update
Our St. Francis of Assisi Wild Flower Garden is taking shape. Our wild flower seeds have been planted!
By planting wild flower seeds we are hoping to help grow plants and flowers which will attract bees and other pollinators.
Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, are increasingly under threat from human activities.
Pollination is, however, a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems. Nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination, along with more than 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of global agricultural land.
Hopefully our Wild Area will help create a sustainable home for some of these amazing creatures.
Severn Trent Water – Super Sewers!
We welcomed a special visit from Severn Trent Water this week!
Lucy came into school to talk to us about Super Sewers and how we can all help to use water carefully and sustainably. In our assembly we learnt about:
- What is sewage and where does it come from?
- How we treat and recycle sewage, linking in with the water cycle
- What should we put down the toilet and the sink?
- The consequences of sewer misuse
- How a healthy sewer can contribute towards a healthy environment
Lucy explained that it was really important that we remembered that there are ‘Only Three Things that should go down the loo – toilet paper, pee and poo.’
Following our assemblies, we have made a commitment that we will ‘Only put the 3Ps down the loo and not pour any Fats, Oils or Greases down the sink to help look after our environment.’
This commitment will help us to Live Sustainably and to Work for the Common Good – If we all care and share for water then we can all have enough of this life giving resource.
CAFOD – Catholic Social Teaching Workshops
We welcomed Barbara from CAFOD into school to lead a number of Catholic Social Teaching Workshops.
Barbara talked to us about the different aspects of Catholic Social Teaching and how we could put the teaching into practice in our daily lives.
CAFOD World Gifts
As part of our Live Simply work, we have been finding out about and fundraising for the CAFOD World Gifts project.
In November 2022 were welcomed some special visitors in our assemblies. Peter and Barbara from CAFOD visited us to tell the children all about the work CAFOD do through their World Gifts project. World Gifts are a great chance to learn about our global neighbours, and also how we can help them by working together to build a brighter world.
CAFOD World Gifts - find out more
Following our CAFOD World Gifts assemblies, the children decided in their classes which World Gift they would like to raise money for.
The children then produced posters, cards and letters to share with family at home about the World Gift they have chosen.
Following our fundraising we managed to raise over £350 for CAFOD World Gifts!
This has enabled us to buy a Marvellous Moo Cow, TWO Terrific Toilets, a School Starter Pack and a Teach Some to Read pack!
A Marvellous Moo Cow!
TWO Terrific Toilets
A School Starter Pack
Thank you to all our very generous children, parents, family members and staff members for supporting us with our fundraising!
A Live Simply Advent and Christmas
This Advent and Christmas we are looking for different ways we can ‘Live Simply’ and help Care for Our Common Home.
One way we can live more simply is by looking at Christmas Card alternatives.
Did you know that if every child in a class of 30 wrote a card for all their classmates, there would be 870 cards written in just one class! For our school that could be more than 12,000 cards in total!
Nationally ONE BILLION CHRISTMAS CARDS are thrown in the bin each year – very often ending up in Landfill.
This year we are encouraging all members of our school community to – rather than sending individual Christmas Cards - look for a Christmas Card alternative.
You could write one class card instead of individual cards.
Donate to a charity or food bank instead of buying cards.
Draw a Christmas picture for friends on some scrap paper instead.
More suggestions for Christmas Card alternatives are attached to the newsletter email.
Live Simply Family Pledges
As part of our LiveSimply work this year, we asked children and their families to create their own 'LiveSimply Family Pledge!'
Over 30 families took part and made their own Pledge!
Our Family Pledges included:
We promise to keep our garden full of plants and flowers so creatures can enjoy it as much as we do.
To walk to school every day rather than driving in the car.
I pledge to help the environment, starting with growing my first apple tree, which I did with my grandad.
To help save water and turn the tap off when not using it. To recycle and donate my old clothes.
Living Sustainably and Living Simply - Live Simply Leaders
As part of our LiveSimply Award Action Plan we have a weekly LiveSimply Leader in each class.
Each week teachers choose a child to be the LiveSimply Leader for that week.
The LiveSimply Leader promote the idea of living simply, for other and creation and with others and creation.
The Leaders check that lights are switched off when the classroom is left empty, paper is put in the recycling bin, lead a prayer for creation during the week, encourage the class not to leave litter on the playground – anything that helps promote the ethos and drive of the LiveSimply Award!
Living Sustainably and Living Simply - Live Simply Eco Walk
On Tuesday 8th November our Live Simply Leaders took part in an Eco Walk around school. We looked for ways we are doing a good a good job looking after God’s Creation and how we could further.
You can find out more about our Eco Walk by looking at the power point we made!
Living Sustainably and Living Simply - Laudato Si Code
Following their School Eco Walk, the Live Simply Ambassadors created a Laudato Si Code to help us all Care for Our Common Home.
The Live Simply Leaders shared the Code with their class mates and we now have copies displayed all around school!
Living in Solidarity - CAFOD World Gifts
We were joined by some special visitors in our assembly this week. Peter and Barbara from CAFOD visited us to tell the children all about the work CAFOD do through their World Gifts project. World Gifts are a great chance to learn about our global neighbours, and also how we can help them by working together to build a brighter world. If you would like to learn more about CAFOD World Gifts please visit https://cafod.org.uk/Fundraise/World-Gifts
Living in Solidarity - Red Wednesday
On Wednesday 23rd November we marked Red Wednesday.
Red Wednesday is an annual event organised by Aid to the Church in Need. Red Wednesday aims to promote awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.
We marked Red Wednesday in school by wearing red and praying together for people around the world who are being persecuted or discriminated against because of their beliefs.
Thank you to everyone for taking part and, especially, wearing lots of very eye – catching red clothing! If you would like to find out more about Red Wednesday and the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please visit - https://acnuk.org/
October 2022 Update
We have started work on our LiveSimply Wild Area!
Our Wild Area will be an area where wildflowers, pollinators and other insects can grow and flourish.
One Million Children Praying the Rosary
This week (week beginning 17th October) our children took part in a special event called ‘One Million Children Praying the Rosary.’ This is an annual event, organised by Aid to the Church in Need, which encourages children across the world to pray the Rosary for world peace and unity. When we prayed the Rosary, during our Key Stage Assemblies, we thought particularly about all those children and families around the world who are affected by war at the moment. If you would like to find out more about ‘One Million Children Praying the Rosary’ please visit https://acnuk.org/resource/onemillionchildrenprayingtherosary/
The annual Season of Creation starts on 1st September and runs until 4th October – the feast of St Francis of Assisi – the patron saint of ecology and one of the inspirations of Laudato Si (Pope Francis’s encyclical On Care for Our Common Home).
What is the Season of Creation?
The Season of Creation runs from 1 September (World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation) to 4 October (the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) each year.
This ecumenical season is dedicated to prayer and action for the protection of creation. It is a time to renew our relationships with God our Creator, and with all creation, as we join together in prayer.
We give thanks for all that God has made, repent for the damage that we have caused and commit ourselves to take action to protect the earth our common home.
Throughout the Season of Creation events will be taking place across the world to celebrate and promote the key message of valuing, caring for and protecting our common home and all who live in it.
What is the theme of Season of Creation 2022?
The theme of the Season of Creation 2022 is ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’– the following link explains the theme - https://seasonofcreation.org/
Staff and pupils have been celebrating the Season of Creation in a variety of ways!
We held assemblies for each phase introducing the children to the key messages of this season.
Classes celebrate daily collective worship with One Life’s Dan and Emily using their OPEN for CREATION videos.
After CAFOD’s ‘Brighten Up’ national assembly, each class discussed ways in which they can live out their vocations and created Laudato Si’ pledges that pupils can do during this special season.
We have also built in opportunities to pray with and for Creation throughout the season.
Please see below for some examples of the exciting displays we created to celebrate Season of Creation 2022.
September 2022 Update
We are very excited to have received our LiveSimply Registration Certificate! This means that we are now ‘working towards becoming a LiveSimply School’