PRAYER LIFE

 19.6.14

Every class has the chance to lead to their own AltarDSC02786 DSC02787

Parents and guests follow the Blessed SacramentDSC02788 DSC02791

Well done to our fantastic Altar Servers todayDSC02792 DSC02793 DSC02794 DSC02796 DSC02797

Thank you for joining with us in prayer

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Our path to the final Altar

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Divine praises and Benediction

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Year 3 communicants escort the Blessed Sacrament back insideDSC02812 DSC02813

Before we all join together in “Our God is an awesome God”DSC02814 DSC02815 DSC02816 DSC02817

What a fantastic morning! Well done everyone!

12.6.14

Now that was a fun assembly and the teachers are enjoying tucking into a home made cake because of it! Our Bridgebuilder friends, Alex and Eugene, presented the Great Bible Bake Off. Ask your children what the message was!!!!

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Remember to persevere!

5.6.14  PENTECOST

Pentecost tricks with table tennis balls!

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We began assembly today singing ‘on this school your blessing, Lord’.

Christopher shared this weekend’s Gospel with us from John 20: 19 – 23

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We thought about how the Disciples knew that Jesus’ promise of a ‘helper’ (the Holy Spirit) had come true.

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We then experimented with blowing on table tennis balls suspended from a long stick. You couldn’t see the air that was being pushed but you could see the effect of it – the movement of the ball. You can’t see the Holy Spirit either but we can see its effect in the world. When you blow between two hanging table tennis balls, the effect is quite surprising as they move towards each other, rather than apart. This is due to a drop in air pressure when it hits a curved surface causing ‘lift’. Sometimes the effect of the Holy Spirit is amazing and quite a surprise – like when the disciples could actually speak languages that they’d never even uttered before! The HS spirit can do surprising things (sometimes unexpected) helping us to have the courage to do amazing things . We are never aline with the promise of the Holy Spirit: that’s God’s awesome promise to us.

We enjoyed singing ‘our God is an awesome God’, complete with actions.

Next we prayed for all of the children getting ready to make their First Holy. Communion over the next few weeks and asked the Holy Spirit to be with them.

There were plenty of birthdays to catch up on today and three sporting awards, including an exciting Golden Boot Award. We also had four grade 1 violin certificates to present. Well done – what skill, talent and determined effort we have at St Margaret Clitherow!

 8.5.14

We began assembly by singing ‘Because The Lord is my shepherd’ – what a beautiful tune!

Our ‘alleluia sandwich’ joyfully greeted this weekend’s Gospel based on the Good Shepherd’ (John 10: 1- 10)

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We dressed Dylan up as a shepherd – as a shepherd on Jesus’ day could be about the same age. We considered all that the shepherd needed to do and thought about how he would use his crook to protect the sheep; even laying down his life for the sheep if need be.

We thought about how Jesus did many of the shepherd’s jobs for his flock of followers, even laying down his life for us.

We then thought about our visit from Bishop John last term and remembered that he had a ‘crook’ called a crozier and has the job of looking after the Hertfordshire flock of believers!

We saw a picture of Pope Francis who told the Bishops and Priests to “smell like the sheep” – getting to know the flock by being with them!

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We prayed for Bishop John and Pope Francis and agreed to pray for all vocations at the weekend.

Who will you be keeping in your prayers this weekend?

We then decided that the followers of Jesus didn’t need to be super-heroes; we just have to be ready to follow. This prompted us to sing one of our favourite action songs!

Remember to share the Wednesday Word this weekend and pray for vocations.

“The voice of Jesus is unmistakable! He guides us along the path of life.” Pope Francis.

1.5.14

Assembly began with everyone listening to ‘Christ be my Light’ as we watched our first-born duckling jump around, excited to meet everyone!

20140501-165350.jpg Dipper then went back to his new home so that we didn’t scare him! We thought about the joy of new life and the miracle of the egg to duck journey! Such a great Easter symbol of new life and full of joy.

We sang ‘I will be with you’ (we may need to practise this one!) and after singing our alleluia, we listened carefuuly to this week’s Gospel – the story of the Road to Emmaus read for us by Rhianna.
We thought about times when we hadn’t seen Jesus in others.

Our prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus
Thank you for always walking with me and for coming specially to me in communion at Mass. Help us to see you walking with us at all times. Help us to see you in others and help me to BE you for others.
Amen.

We then learnt a new joyful hymn: ‘You shall go out with joy!’

Next for the photo competition winners. There were 6 highly commended: Tiffany, Ben, Christopher, Hattie, Chloe & Josh.
In 3rd place, Darcie with ‘Dog on sofa’;
In 2nd place: Holly with ‘Duck and ducklings’;
….. and in 1st place …. drumroll … Rian with ‘Dog & kitten’. Congratulations to all!

Next congratulations to our fantastic netball teams, both teams having represented the school so well yesterday at the netball festival at JHN (see yesterday’s blog for pictures).

We left assembly listening to ‘You’ve got a friend in me’, having just heard that duckling no 2 had entered the world!                                                                                                         See more of our ducklings on the live stream through our website twitter feed.

24.4.14

We don’t usually get together as a whole school on Thursday but Mr White couldn’t wait to Thursday to sing an alleluia!

Can you remember what alleluia means, coming from two Hebrew words?

Miss Holder led us in an ‘alleluia sandwich’ before we listened to the Easter Sunday Gospel from St John.

We then noticed that our Easter garden was based upon the Gospel passage that we had just listened to. What symbols can you see in it?

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We talked about the symbolism of the Easter or Paschal candle: the alpha and omega; the five wounds of Christ; and the fact hat it reminds us that Jesus’ light has come into the world.

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This reminded us that we had been preparing throughout Lent to be the best person we could possibly be and that now we had reached Easter that this had to continue so that we could be Jesus’ bright lights in the world.

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1.4.14 EASTER JOURNEY

Year 6 had a wonderful time this afternoon at St. Peter’s Church with our friends at Bridge Builders. The children heard about the accounts of key characters within the events of Holy Week. They were welcomed to the Passover table and then they visited the different characters.

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Judas Iscariot – the children explored the issues of friendship and betrayal.

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John – they heard about the events leading up to the Passover, the backgrounds of Jesus’ Disciples and taste unleavened bread and grape juice!

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Pontius Pilate – difficult choices were discussed and who can help using the network hand.

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Peter – they explored the feelings associated with betrayal and forgiveness. Some of the children even had their feet washed to aid their understanding of Peter’s feelings.

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Mary Magdalene – the children discussed how the despair of Good Friday leads to hope of new life at Easter.

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Joseph of Arimathea – an investigation took place in the empty tomb and the children looked at all of the evidence.

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Thank you to all of the volunteers that took part in the journey!

30.3.14 FUNDRAISING

Year 2 and 6 had a fantastic afternoon together, raising money for their Lenten charities. Well done everyone! You worked together brilliantly!

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We bought lollies to help raise funds! Well earned after all that bouncing!Image

28.3.14 SORRY…

Assembly – Thursday 27th March 2014

I had to ask everyone to forgive me as I’ve broken my Lenten sacrifice promise. Yep … On Tuesday I was tempted (and caught!) having eaten three packets of crisps!

The children were shocked but I had to be honest … and the consequences … well double the money in my CCSW box and I’ve asked the children to keep checking that I’m on track! We all make mistakes but the important thing is not giving up – there’s still time to make a difference!

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26.3.14

WEDNESDAY WORD BY DOMINIC

Today we went round to all of the classes in the school and delivered the Wednesday Word and performed a mini presentation to the children. We spoke to them about the healing that Jesus carried out.

It was really fun and it was great to see the little ones smiling!

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20.3.14 St. Patrick’s Day Assembly

We celebrated a belated St. Patrick’s Day today in assembly with an awe inspiring display of Irish dancing! We learnt about St. Patrick, who he was, what he did and his teachings about the Holy Trinity and the shamrock.

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18.3.14

WEDNESDAY WORD

Our Chaplaincy Team did a wonderful job explaining the message from the Gospel this week! Great interaction from Nursery to Year 6!

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13.3.14

It was wonderful to welcome Bishop John Sherrington to our school this morning.

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Bishop John celebrated a KS2 Lenten Mass for us. The theme was making ourselves the best people that we can be through our Lenten actions. Our dear friend, Father Frank, con-celebrated Mass with Bishop John and our Altar servers did a fantastic job! Well done!

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Beautiful singing!!!

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Time to reflect on the Word of God

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and to pray for those in need.

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During the offertory some special gifts were presented which helped us to think about our Lenten journey

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“We bring a map and a Bible. Jesus will show us the way during Lent.

We bring a magnifying glass to remind us that we need to search ourselves closely, looking at our everyday lives.

We bring a mirror to ask the question … is the person I can see, the best person I was created to be this Lent?

We bring a loving heart and our CCSW boxes, remembering that during Lent we make an extra effort woth our charitable acts.

We bring a telephone to show that we keep contact with Jesus during Lent through our prayers.

We bring our lives with the bread and the wine.”

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After Mass Bishop John wanted to see our beautiful grounds!

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As the infant children came out to play they were keen to meet our special visitor.

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Our younger children enjoyed telling Bishop John about the wiggly path!

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Bishop John joined parents, governors and parishioners for coffee in the library …

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… before vsiting our excited children in Year 2, Year 1, Reception and Nursery …Image

Year two asked lots of interesting questions of Bishop John. Bishop John explained the importance of his ring. Year 2 sang ‘I give you my voice’ complete with actions.

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Year one sang ‘From where the sun rises’ with actions and lots of wonderful movement.

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Nursery and Reception joined together and were very excited to meet Bishop John. They treated us to two songs, ‘Our God is a Great Big God’ and ‘God’s people aren’t superbrave, superheroes!’ Even nursery and reception had some fantastic questions for Bishop John including, ‘Is Jesus always by your side’;  ‘ How do you help Father Michael’; and ‘Why do you have a catching stick?’ Bishop John explained that his ‘catching stick’ was called a crosier and it was the sign that he was their shepherd.

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Thank you Bishop John for visiting us and we look forward to welcoming you again soon!

12.3.14

Yesterday we presented the Wednesday Word to the school. Our message to get across was to encourage each other. Many people asked questions and we were very pleased to answer them. We really enjoyed doing it and we’d love to do it again!

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10.3.14

Our Year 6 Chaplaincy Team have been working very hard this morning preparing their Wednesday Word message. They spent some of their time with Mrs King exploring the themes and messages of the Gospel and then they started working on their activities and presentations for the rest of the school.

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6.3.14 SECOND DAY OF LENT – ASSEMBLY

We began with a netball match report …… congratulations to our team: 22 – 2 demonstrates a team being the very best people that they can be – well done!

We reminded ourselves of the ashes that were placed on our foreheads yesterday – a sign that our special Lenten journey had begun.

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Did you notice the extra splashes of purple everywhere yesterday even on some of the adults clothes! Your prayers tables all look beautiful draped in purple. Watch out for a new dramatic purple addition to the hall over the next week!!!

We listened to this week’s Gospel according to Matthew and thought about how Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, coming to terms with and accepting His ministry which would eventually lead to His death and resurrection to save us, could be linked to our 40 days of preparation.

Mr White explained his temptations … yes …. crisps again …. I will be tempted every time I see the big box in the kitchen … and the packet on my desk …. but I am going to try to be really good this year …..

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I explained that I probably spend about £5 per week on crisps. That isn’t great for my health (or my wallet). By giving up crisps for Lent I will be doing something good for my body – you might even notice a slimmer, trimmer, faster Mr White over the next 40 days!

I explained that I would be putting my £5 into my CCSW box each week in assembly.

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We talked about what my £5 might pay for …. An icecream for a brother and sister who haven’t ever visited the seaside before; cereal for a hungry family for a week; a return bus ticket for a mum and a child who normally have to walk from one end of the town to the other to get to school; new socks for someone too embarrassed to take their plimsoles off at school. We discussed how this money might help someone living in Stevenage.

I explained that I would find it hard and admitted that last year I even failed on a few occasions and gave in to temptation! This year I pledge to give double my weekly amount if I fail in any week and I will be revealing how I have done in assembly each week. Keeping asking me how it is going! I need all the help I can get!!!!!

We don’t need to be heroic to be the best we are – God’s people aren’t super brave super heroes they just try to be the best they can be. We all enjoyed singing (very loudly) my favourite song about that!!!!

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Remember to fill up your CCSW bright stars boxes – my two youngest started tonight and they cleared my small change pot – they did ask me first though. Now it’s their turn to earn some of their own pennies for the box – how will you earn yours?

Let us all make a BIG difference this LENT …

Be the best you can be – shine your light brightly – don’t hide it!!!

5.2.14 WEDNESDAY WORD

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Here are two classes (Nursery and Year 6) that look so interested with the year 6 Wednesday Word presentation

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Here’s everyone in year 6 enjoying our quick quiz, it went down a treat in years 1,3,5,6 and Nursery!

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I think reception really enjoyed our puppet show as they were all laughing by the end of it. I know lots of classes enjoyed the quiz we did at the end of our presentation.

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WHAT DID YOU WRITE ON YOUR FOOTPRINT?

puppets Jesus, the devil and the angel. wdd wddd wdddd

LENT!!!!!!!!!

27.2.14

ASSEMBLY IT’S ALMOST LENT

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We began assembly listening to a lively version of ‘I Am’ by Marc James with the chorus …

Lovingly Created

You are wonderfully made

Faithfully I’ll walk with you

And never ever fail

This fitted perfectly with our theme of getting ready for Lent a time of preparation when we have to prepare ourselves to be the very best person that God created us to be, ready to meet the Risen Christ at Easter. The children sang ‘Freely Freely’ beautifully.

There is a long winding purple path that we will follow for 40 days …Image

… and we would need to pack our bag ready for the winding journey ahead.

So … what to pack?

  • A map and a Bible – stories about Jesus (WWJD?) help us to understand the paths that we need to take.
  • A magnifying glass – a reminder that we need to search deeply – looking closer at our everyday lives.
  • A mirror – a reminder that we need to check on ourselves – is the reflection I see the best person that God created me to be, wonderfully made and beautifully created for the work that he has entrusted to me?
  • A loving heart – we remembered that during Lent we must make an extra effort with opur charitable acts – we will be supporting Father Kakuba’s Kanyike Project in Uganda (work on building the nursery has already started I gather) and the Catholic Children’s Society of Westminster (don’t forget your pennies for the box!) We need to get thinking about our sponsored events.
  • A phone – a reminder that we need to speak to someone regularly during Lent – Jesus through prayer!

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We talked about our next week’s Mass for Ash Wednesday which would mark the start of our Lenten journey. I was moved by the children’s sensitive rendition of ‘Servant King’ – this hymn always makes me think of such a special season of preparation at St Margaret Clitherow; a time of change and growth taken so seriously by all.

We ended our assembly praying for our new Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

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There were many birthdays to celebrate today and lots of medals to share – we also congratulated everyone who took part in the Swimming Gala before half term. Well done, everyone!

Remember … it’s time to make those preparations; what will you do to make yourself the best you can be this Lent?

This week the chaplaincy team delivered the Wednesday Word to all the other children. All of the children listened really well and gave some brilliant answers. Altogether I think they really enjoyed it!

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14.2.14 HOLIDAY READING

Plenty of holiday reading for Mrs White this week!

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Well done Year 5 I am really looking forward to looking through these fantastic projects and DVD covers.

13.2.14

STAR OF HOPE ASSEMBLY

Pope Francis wants us to, ‘Be a Star of Hope Shining Brightly’

In assembly today Julie from the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) came to talk to the children about this year’s Lenten Appeal. She told the children about their work in the local community supporting families in need.

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The children came up with many inspired suggestions of how they could shine brightly. Collection boxes will be distributed after half term, please save your small change and help us to support local children this Lent.

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We ended our assembly with a rousing rendition of ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’ with actions too – thank you Mrs Woodford for guiding the way!

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12.2.14

Our wonderful Chaplaincy Team delivered the Wednesday Word this afternoon and shared the very special message with every class! Ask your child about it!

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2.2.14 REFLECTION IN YEAR 3

Year 3 have been working hard on preparing for their First Confession and First Holy Communion.

They shared a beautiful reflection last week, learning to examine their conscience.

We wrote down on a piece of paper, our bad choices. We then scrunched them up and placed them in a box to be thrown away later. We were now ready to make a fresh start in the knowledge that God will always love us and forgive us.

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6.2.14 SHINE YOUR LIGHT BRIGHTLY

We began assembly listening to a modern version of John Henry Newman’s Lead Kindly Light. After joining in with our school prayer everyone sang ‘Colours of Day’. We then played a game of hidden treasures – 6 seekers left the room whilst we hid 6 tiny shiny miraculous medals! The children then had to find them – finders keepers!!!

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We discovered that it was easy to hide tiny things but hard to find them …. especially in the dark! We also taked about the fact that there are just some things that you wouldn’t ever want to hide. We then listened to the Word of God from Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 5: 13 – 16) read beautifully by Holly.

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We then explored hiding a light under a bucket. We talked about the fact that Jesus wants his light to shine so brightly in us for others to see and that this was our role as modern day disciples. We discovered some of the things that we could do to make our lights shine brightly. We enjoyed singing ‘Walk in the Light’ before I set the children the task of being a bright light to other in school over the next week – miraculous medals would be available to those who were seen as bright lights – I hope I have enough! Before the end of the assembly I had already given out another 5 medals to Bright Lights!

There were lots of Birthdays to celebrate this week but no medals or cups!

Thanks to the Chaplaincy team – Youth Ministry, Production Team and Scripture Team. Thanks also to the Wednesday Word Team who have developed their ministry to include the delivery of a key message to each class when they deliver the Wednesday Word each week! You are all doing a great job!

5.2.14 HOW COULD YOU BE A BRIGHT LIGHT THIS WEEK?

Members of our Chaplaincy Team paid a visit to every class today. Their mission was to explain and deliver the Wednesday Word. Well done boys and girls, you did a great job! Next week we will have a new team delivering the message…who will it be??

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30.1.14

Year 5 have decided that inspirational people are all around us, you don’t need to be famous, you just need to do things that will help somebody else. We decided that we can identify lots of ways to inspire our friends at school, look out for our ‘Good Deeds’ film which will be ready soon. Josh and Oliver our fantastic directors have completed filming and our editors will be working on production tomorrow.

Today we researched inspirational quotes, each of us chose quotes that held a message we thought was important. Our Inspirational bunting looks great, there are some fantastic quotes that will serve to inspire us each day.

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17/1/14

Yesterday afternoon year 6 performed a phenomenal assembly! The assembly was about Jesus and His use of Building Learning Power! It was a fun assembly to perform and I loved interacting with the other children. As well as having fun I learnt a lot from this assembly, it made me think about how I could be more like Jesus. I hope we can do it again soon!
By Ella

Last week Year 6 were asked to write their own assembly about Jesus and His use of Building Learning Power. They worked together to complete the running order and write the entire script. Their next job was to distribute jobs, select items for the focal point, prepare role plays, prayers, readings and choose hymns and music. They were given a few sessions to complete it all and they collaborated incredibly well to produce a lovely assembly.

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The rest of the school were a fantastic audience, they participated, reflected, sat nicely and sang beautifully throughout the entire assembly! Well done everyone!
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The children ended the assembly with a message for the rest of the school based on Matthew 28: 19-20,
Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.

9/1/14 ASSEMBLY

The focus for our whole school assembly today was the Epiphany. We started the assembly by looking at a variety of gifts and deciding who we would give them to. The children soon worked out that some gifts would only be enjoyed by certain people! We thought about the three Kings and the gifts that they gave to Jesus. We also looked at the shepherds and thought about why they went to see Jesus.

Though they were so different, God wanted the wise men and the shepherds to see the baby Jesus, this shows us that God wants everyone to see Jesus. In God’s eyes, it doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor or what country we come from.

‘What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
Yet what I can I give him – give my heart.’
Christina Rossetti.
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20/12/13 PHOTOS TAKEN BY DARCEY

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19/12/13

Thank you Year 6 for a creating a beautiful liturgy this morning! Your readings and prayers have certainly prepared us during this Advent season.

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Assembly – Thursday 12th December 2013

I ought to start with an apology that this post is somewhat late – it has been a busy end to the week as the Christmas (or should I say Advent) preparations build!

Thursday began with a beautiful Advent Mass for our infant children and families. Even our nursery children stayed for part of the Mass!

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The children sang beautifully (as always) – beginning with the magnificent Advent Wreath Song and concluding with one that they sing with their whole bodies – ‘Make Way, for Jesus Our Lord’! Father Michael encouraged the children to think about the perfect gift that they could offer to Jesus; many great answers such as peace, love, honesty, care, faith and destiny (yes – all from our EYFS and KS1 children!) Before the final hymn Father Michael blessed the new stable (courtesy of the Merry family and a talented team of Carpenters at the Savoy Theatre, London!) and the Year of Faith Altar backdrop completed during LIFT week.

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In the afternoon the whole school gathered for assembly. The second Advent Candle was lit, using our Five Candles Prayer and we looked forward to thinking about the third pink candle which would be lit this weekend. We thought about why this Sunday was Gaudate Sunday and focused on rejoicing as we move over the half way preparation point; the time is near and the path is almost clear! The children were reminded to look out for pink (or ‘rose’) vestments this weekend as well as the pink candle!

We focused on Luke’s version of the Annunciation today as our Gospel passage, read carefully by Hugo. I asked the children to think about Mary’s “Yes” and what might have happened if she hadn’t agreed to get on with the difficult plan that God had created for her. We then thought about times in our lives when we were asked to do things and how we responded. The children’s task this week is to try really hard to respond positively when asked to help at school or at home. In this way our homes and school will be a happy hub of Christmas preparations.

It was a long birthday line today as we had to catch up on last week’s birthdays (as I hadn’t been able to get Mrs LaSala’s computer to produce the birthday list last week) as well as all of the birthdays that occur until the 5th January as I know there won’t be time in next Thursday’s assembly for birthdays!

Joe presented a match report for the football team, following on from last week’s netball report and Mrs Mather caused great excitement by talking about the forthcoming Dance Festival – many reply slips have already come in for Miss Hannah’s club! Three children also shared their swimming certificates – well done!

I was so impressed with how well Year 1 sat through both Mass and assembly all in the same day, that I awarded each of them a Headteacher’s Award! Well done to all of you!

Don’t forget to bring in a £1 donation so that you can sign a class Christmas Card this week - all of the donations will go towards the purchasing ‘World Gifts’ from the CAFOD catalogue for communities in need throughout the developing world. For just £30 we could buy the amazing gift featured in the video below …

Just think what a difference we could make this Christmas – thank you to everyone who has supported our charity efforts this year!

If you want to find out about other World Gifts from goats to greenhouses see the World Gift website.

Next week will be a busy and exciting time – Christmas plays for Year 1, 2 and KS2; a yummy Christmas dinner with all the trimmings; Christmas parties throughout the week and an end of term treat for all on Friday morning. I’ve even found myself a Christmas jumper to wear at some point this week – watch out for it!

Mr White.

THE ANNUNCIATION

Year 2 wrote some beautiful stories based on Luke’s Gospel today.  Well done Year 2! Fantastic illustrations too.

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5/12/13 WHAT I SAW TODAY

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The star is leading the way for us, Jesus’ path, to do the right thing.

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Amazing promises by Year 3, I hope you manage to keep them.

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We are waiting… Sunday will be the second Sunday of Advent.

By Grace Year 6

DO YOU HAVE A PRAYER PLACE?

In year 5 we created a special place in our mind that helps us to focus when praying – OUR PRAYER PLACE. Each one is personal and unique, we try to connect with God and God’s creations so our prayers are special and at the centre of our thoughts.

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3/12/13

A Christmas Journey

Year 2 followed a star to St. Peters to explore the Christmas story with “Bridgebuilders”. Dressed as shepherds, kings and angels we set off, excited to discover what was waiting for us at the end of our journey.

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Our passports were stamped.

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The shepherds were there and we asked them lots of questions.Image

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The Wise men told us about their journey.Image

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We met Anna and Simeon and they told us their story.

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We made decorations and crowns to take home to remind us of our experience.

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The final part of our journey. Mary and Joseph introduced us to Jesus.Image

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We were ready to journey back to school to spread The Good News.

Thank you to Mr D. you were a real star!

Today we had to get up very early and be in School for 7:45am as we were invited to take part in an Advent service at Westminster Cathedral. The Cathedral was amazing, it nearly made my eyes water! The special Advent service showed the Nativity from Joseph’s point of view, through acting and singing. There was a real donkey called Larry and a sheep called Little Sheep, they also had a camel called Humphrey although he was made out of paper mache, but it was just as good as a real one! I really enjoyed it and I would like to thank The Catholic Children’s Society for putting on such a wonderful event! Thank you!!

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2/12/13

Year 6 took part in a liturgy this morning with Mrs King in preparation for their new role as chaplains. They thought about what they could give to baby Jesus and placed their ideas in the cradle. Over the next two weeks they will be preparing their own liturgy to share with the rest of the school! Watch this space!!

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Assembly Thurs 21st November: Bridgebuilders share Moses’ Story

It was great to welcome Alex and her new friend the Rev Kate to assembly this afternoon. Our wonderful Bridgebuilder friends shared a lively assembly with us exploring the great Old Testament story of Moses.

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There were many props such as frogs, bugs and boils in Petri dishes! We were all encouraged to think about the small steps in life that we can take and how sometimes this requires courage and the knowledge that God is always with us. What relief for each and every one of us; at difficult times I always quote Julian of Norwich “all will be well” and certainly with the realisation of ‘God with us’ every time this is always the case. As I kept reminding the children last week during LIFT activities, God has a plan for each of us and one day we will understand it but for now we must just get on with it, assured of His help.

It was wonderful to see the children so engaged with active works of charity today.

Cake sales during and after school raised an amazing £220 today which will deliver much needed relief and comfort to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines who remain at the heart of our prayers in school each day.

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Launchpad, a Christian youth group, run by our friends at Bridgebuilders could be a great activity to join for children in Year 3 and above. More details are available at http://www.bridgebuilderstrust.org.uk/launchpad Postcards detailing the club are available from the shelf at the main office window – just take a look!

Friday 15th November – the final day of LIFT week … or is it?!

Friday – the final day of our exciting LIFT week and the Christian living and learning buzz has continued throughout the week. We began our final day together as a whole community in assembly with the backdrop of our wonderful mural behind the Altar (not quite complete but well and truly on the way!) This will be a living reminder of this Year of Faith and sets our new Altar, raised through the sales of our ‘Sing With Love’ CD last year, in the context of our living Christian lives – daily Christian living as a backdrop to the Holy Eucharist.

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The children came into assembly singing along happily to ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from Toy Story fame as well as another song with the same title from McFly!

We began of course by praying for the Filipino community. This is the prayer that we used, which utilises each of the key LIFT aspects:  LOVE, INSPIRE and FOLLOW TOGETHER …

Loving Father

We pray for our friends in the Philippines

That they may be truly LOVED by the world’s actions;

That individuals may be INSPIRED to be Christ – like                                                                                                                                   in their response to those most in need;

That we may all FOLLOW your path Lord,                                                                                                                                                     by clothing and feeding the needy at times of devastation like this;

And that TOGETHER, Lord, the world can act to bring relief                                                                                                                         to our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.

Amen

Next Miss Holder taught us a new peace song which she had written herself (Clitherow has Talent!)

The children considered the fact that last year Children in Need raised an amazing £27million for children in the UK and thought about all that such a sum could do. We decided that it was our duty to help those in need in our world, just as Jesus would and we found a few simple words from Matthew’s Gospel that helps us to understand this:

`For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.’

Little more needs to be added to that – we just have to do our bit for those in need, always remembering WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?)

And so to our charity efforts – today for Children in need where we managed to fill a large heart and the letters spelling out LIFT with coins (mainly coppers) to raise the fantastic sum of £130 which I am just about to pledge to the Children in need phone line! Well done everyone!

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Next week our charity efforts will focus on CAFOD’s disaster relief fund and we hope that a cake sale will raise enough money to provide some real practical support to those most in need in the Philippines.

After we left assembly there was soon a constant stream of parents to activities in Years 6, 3 and Nursery.

Nursery enjoyed explaining all that they had learnt this week and even sung a lively song for their parents.

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Year 3 shared activities relating Fair Trade, including a competition to design the new Fair Trade sock which will be on sale in the Sock Shop soon. Find out more about it here.

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Events this week have made it clear that we really must consider becoming a Fair Trade school, making a commitment to use Fair Trade products wherever possible. What do you think?

Year 6’s classroom was buzzing (and somewhat packed!) with children and adults sharing clay work, large scale LIFT poster designs, iPad film making and other exciting activities all whilst listening to some lively Christian music!

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It has been an amazing week. A real opportunity for us to focus on what it really means to live our Mission Statement at St Margaret Clitherow. And as I said to the children this morning, LIFT week may end today but LIFT (love, inspire and follow together) should continue throughout our Christian lives as long as we let it.

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Have you visited the Prayer garden this week? It has been wonderful to see it used so well. Next time you visit have a look at Year 1′s pebble message – they were very excited to be placing it there for everyone to read earlier today!

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It has been a week of prayer, song, dance, and so much creativity; a celebration of who we are and WHY we are and I will remember forever the raised hands every time anyone mentioned “LIFT”. It has been a week of noise alongside a week of absolute stillness. Beneath our Altar sits the words, “We are the Church, happy to be the children of God’s family” and that true Christian happiness and compassion has been witnessed over and over again this week. Hopefully, we are all better people because of it and our world will also be a better place because of your efforts in this week. We are blessed with a wonderful sense of community at St Margaret Clitherow and I am so proud to be a part of it with you! May I take this opportunity to offer my thanks to all of the staff for their fantastic creative efforts this week (everyone went the extra mile as always) and thank you especially to parents and children for joining in with us so enthusiastically. What a fantastic team! Make sure you decorate your LIFT cross with your family and display it somewhere at home to remind everyone how we must live. Thanks for sharing with me this week, through school and through the internet wherever you are.

Keep praying for us – we will be praying for you – and to our dear Friends in our school Filipino community, you have been in our prayers all week and will continue to be in them. This afternoon I represented the school community in attending a Mass for the Filipino community at the Lister Hospital.

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I was humbled by the beautiful singing (I’m not sure what the words of the hymns actually meant but the beautiful tone and peaceful harmony spoke to me of God’s loving care and His gentle surrounding love for each of us) and Father Michael spoke of the commitment of the whole community to our Filipino friends at their time of absolute need. May you and your families all be held in God’s loving embrace forever.

With love and every blessing to every member of our community, supporters & friends near and far,

Mr White x

Thursday 14th November – LIFT WEEK DAY 4

Another beautiful day!

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The Altar backdrop is really coming on now, hopefully by lunchtime tomorrow every child in the school will have had a chance to paint on it. The talented Mrs Ridgers-Latif has been really busy and will no doubt be working with further groups next week to finish it.

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It was lovely to walk around school this morning and see such a variety of activities, including our wonderful nursery children experiencing sharing a small plate of plain rice.

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I challenge anyone not to be moved by the inspirational You Tube clip that Year 6 watched (you can find it here) telling the story of Derek Redmond. The children used it to explore a Father’s love and to think about how even at the worst of times in our lives, God is there to hold us tightly and pick us up; what a comforting thought! There weren’t many dry eyes in Year 6, myself included!

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Year 2 were engrossed designing some beautiful brightly coloured Salvadorian inspired crosses and Father Michael enjoyed spending some time with Year 4 and their parents, ending with a blessing of everyone.

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This afternoon preparations were underway for our ‘Big LIFT assembly’.

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We began of course praying for the families in our community affected by events in the Philippines before moving on to some lively singing – ‘Our God is a Great Big God’ and ‘God’s People Aren’t Super-Brave Superheroes’. Even Mr Sloan, one of our Governors, joined in with the actions!

Eight pupils from Year 5 & 6 presented their moving dance to ‘You Raise Me Up’ and in its beautiful closing moments they released the balloons that they had been dancing around to a delightful cry of ‘ahhhhhhhh’ from all of the children!

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The netball club clearly enjoyed watching Mr W retrieve the LIFTed balloons using a step ladder and a long stick this evening!!!

Year 5 performed their beautiful new words to the tune of ‘Peace Perfect Peace’ and a brave Year 6 trio presented their LIFT song (complete with Garage band accompaniment) to the whole school. We were all delighted to hear and see Yr 1 performing ‘I wanna see Jesus lifted high’. Well done to everyone!

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Tomorrow we will be focusing on showing our love through fundraising for Children in Need – remember to bring your bags of coppers; and then we need to get on to organising next week’s cake sale in aid of the Philippine Disaster Fund.

We are all looking forward to an exciting final day of LIFT activities tomorrow.

God bless you all and your wonderful families!

Mr W.

Altar backdrop – looking great!

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13th November – LIFT WEEK – day 3

Another fantastic day when we have truly felt the Spirit alive and at work in our community. It was a busy morning – not only did we have Alex from the Diocese of Westminster Communications Team in to see what we were up to (watch out for an article in the ‘Westminster Record’ and on the Diocesan website!) but we also had parents in from Reception, Yr 1, Yr 2 and Yr 5 to share activities with their children. Thank you for coming in; I know that more parents are due to join us over the following days. If you weren’t able to come in, I hope that the blog is giving you an idea of the buzz around school this week.

I was amazed to see Reception children practising carrying water on their heads, completing their rain catcher designs on the fence, exploring water and shelters having found out what we need to survive.

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Year 1 and 2 both delighted their parents with prayers and lively songs – it was wonderful to see parents learning the actions to ‘God’s people aren’t super-brave superheroes’. You might even hear this in the Old Town Church at some point as Father Fred, who visited us this afternoon, has asked for a copy!

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Year 5 worked with parents and friends to explore Fair Trade in relation to bananas. There was certainly heated discussion and necessary negotiations when the different groups realised that they needed to reassign appropriate fees for each group as they had gone over the allowed 30p per banana!

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This has certainly got me thinking about Fair Trade and, as such, we ought to think about becoming a Fair Trade school, supporting and promoting Fair Trade products where possible. I wonder if anyone from the parents would like to take a lead on this for us? More information about Fair Trade is available here.

Yr 6 continued to focus on the theme of Inspiration this morning working with a curator from Hertford Museum to think about the life of a local Soldier Hero.

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Later on they also spent time helping the reception children to present their LIFT work and prayers. It is so wonderful to see our youngsters working so well together despite the age gap!

Yr 2’s frozen hand prayers still aren’t quite frozen enough and there is much excitement waiting for them to be ready (and that’s just Mrs Briscoe!) whilst Year 1 continue to work on their wonderful prayer stones and tiles.

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I joined Year 4 this lunchtime in the prayer garden and we a prayer chain to add to Year 3’s.

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Father Fred also joined us before accompanying me to our Catholic Parenting Group. The theme of today’s group was ‘How do children believe’ which prompted some interesting discussions. I promised this group a treat and so they joined us for assembly where after praying for friends in the Philippines Miss Holder taught us a lively version of ‘We are marching in the light of God’ in the Zulu language. We thought about how we are all called to be FOLLOWERS of Jesus and ended by offering ourselves fully through ‘I give you my voice’ complete with actions.

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I was touched especially today by the children’s prayerful nature – they are such a credit to you all.

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And here’s Miss Puccio, at the end of a busy day downloading the footage from today’s exciting activities, preparing for “LIFT” – the Movie!

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I wonder what tomorrow will bring?!

God bless, Mr White.

12th November – LIFT WEEK – day 2

Another fantastic day – so much has happened already, it is hard to think that we aren’t even half way through our exciting week yet! The children came into assembly listening to ‘Search for the Hero Inside Yourself’ by MPeople. After a period of quiet personal prayer for our friends in the Philippines, Miss Holder helped us to conclude our prayers with an ‘Amen Sandwich’ which everyone enjoyed! Today’s theme was INSPIRATION … So who is the hero? Who inspires us?

Jesus would tell us that we can all be INSPIRING to others if we LIVE his way – this doesn’t mean being a SAINT or being a SUPER HERO – it means being the person HE created each of us to be – his hands and feet on Earth.

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Jesus would tell us that we can all be INSPIRING to others if we LIVE his way – this doesn’t mean being a SAINT or being a SUPER HERO – it means being the person He created each of us to be – his hands and feet on Earth. We shared the Prayer of Teresa of Avila (1515–1582):

Christ has no body but yours,
                                                                                                                                                                       No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
                                                                                                                                                       Yours are the eyes with which he looks
 with compassion on this world,
                                                                                                          Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
                                                                                                                                    Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
                                                                                                                       Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
                                                                                                                                                  Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
                                                                                                                                                       Christ has no body now but yours,
                                                                                                                                                                No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
                                                                                                                                                                               Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

… And that all means that we have quite a task to get on with!

The children enjoyed finishing their assembly with ‘God’s people aren’t super-brave superheroes!’. I gather that some of the younger children will be teaching this, along with actions, to their parents tomorrow.

It has been great visiting classes today and their has been a real buzz to the learning.

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Getting creative with important letters to make important words that help our mission.

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Justice and peace superhero cartoons

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Tiles made about LOVE and with love

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The Altar backdrop progresses

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Who am I following?

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A definite theme of hands and feet today.

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I’m looking forward to seeing the how these ‘frozen hand prayers’ will be used tomorrow – a great idea Year 2!

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Mr White enjoyed a lively lunchtime prayer meeting with Year 3 – we drew our prayers and linked them together in a heart chain before making a human chain around the water feature whilst saying the ‘Our Father’.

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Year 6 used GarageBand on the iPads to produce LIFTED hymns – I’ve challenged one group to perform it in assembly on Thursday.

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Reflecting on connecting with our maker in Year 4 after a fun role play session.

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Widening our horizons and considering the lives of people across the world.

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A very special natural heart from our wonderful reception children.

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Be the hands of Jesus …..

And there is so much that I have missed today, no doubt … including nursery getting to grips with how heavy it would be to carry water over long distance (fortunately for them, the plastic milk bottles had tightly screwed lids!!!).

We have so much to be thankful for in the enthusiasm of our wonderful children, the commitment of our talented staff and the friendship of our wonderful parents. What a fantastic community we have – thank God!

PS Someone remind me to visit Nursery with the Superhero CD as I’ve promised that I’ll come and sing it with them tomorrow!

11th November – LIFT WEEK – day 1

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L.I.F.T. (Love, Inspire and Follow Together Week) week has arrived!

We began, despite the traffic gridlock in Stevenage this morning, with a theme of Remembrance. Whilst we waited for teachers and TAs stuck in traffic across Stevenage, the juniors gathered in the hall to watch images of remembrance from the Cenotaph and KS1 and the EYFS joined together in two groups to start their week.

Later, I was amazed to come into Year 2 and find them illustrating  a version of John McCrae’s beautiful poem “In Flanders Fields”. They were very proud when I to,d them that I first read this poem when I was in one of my final years at secondary school!

As I moved on to nursery, I found them making a white poppy wreath, focusing on a theme of peace.

Many of the classes this morning spent time thinking and praying about recent events in the Philippines. In fact, as the day developed, many prayers appeared in the hall devoted to our brothers and sisters in need in the Philippines. We now have a prayer focus in the hall for this intention which will be referred to throughout this week. I wonder if we could change the focus of our fundraising on Friday from Children in Need to disaster relief for the Philippines? You might have noticed the Philippines flag in the prayer garden this morning as a reminder?

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Year 3 and 4 have some time later this week to meet in the prayer garden and no doubt, just as in assembly this afternoon, we will remember our brothers and sisters in the Philippines in our prayers.

A select group of friends and parents were able to focus on planting in the prayer garden this morning, (fuelled by coffee and biscuits!) and Mrs White led our Year 1 children in groups to plant 300 bulbs (despite the rain) around the amphitheatre.

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It is wonderful to see our children being stewards of creation and we have asked Yr 1 children to protect these bulbs as they grow by reminding their friends not to climb on the banks of the amphitheatre!

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Some of the children brought the poppies that they had made to our Act of Remembrance at 11am. It was great to have some parents and governors join with us for this poignant occasion. The children (including Nursery!) observed a moving two-minute silence and then listened to the exhortation read by a Year 6 pupil before others planted a poppy cross in the prayer garden whilst we all joined in with the Lord’s Prayer.

The afternoon was full of lots of creative activities, including some Year 5 and 6 pupils working together with Mr White to choreograph a movement (as the boys prefer to call it!) set to the music of ‘You Raise Me Up’, ready for assembly on Thursday.

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It was during this session that Mr W received a message that the Dioceses of Westminster Year of Faith Communications Officer had been in contact and having seen our Tweets (@StMClitherow) during the morning, wanted to visit to see what we were up to and to write an article about us for the Westminster Record – how exciting! He will be visiting us on Wednesday morning!

Throughout the day, many children contributed to the first stage of the new Altar backdrop with Mrs Ridgers Latif.

This is what we are aiming for …

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The children have only worked on the background so far but it already gives a fantastic flavour of what is to follow. We hope that parents will also have a chance to contribute to it as the week progresses.

The day ended with a short assembly: a chance to gather together and share our first day. We prayed for friends in the Philippines. Miss Holder led us in a beautiful prayerful harmony, ‘Go now in Peace’. We then listened to what St Paul had to say to the Corinthians about Love and thought about what that meant for our school community. After we shared some of today’s activities, we then almost raised the roof through singing ‘Our God is a Great Big God’, complete with actions!

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I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

God bless you all – Mr White.

8/11/13 PRAYERS

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This is a picture of the prayers that the year 5 children wrote for their homework. We wrote prayers for the morning, prayers for the afternoon and prayers for the end of the day.

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We use these prayers to talk to God at certain times of the day.

Everybody worked really hard on these prayer and we enjoy reading them out and listening to the prayers our friends wrote.

By Oliver

Next week … watch this space … LIFT off!

I look forward to working with 8 children from Year 5 & 6 during L.I.F.T. week to present a dance based on this beautiful song, to be performed during next Thursday’s assembly.

Mr W.

Assembly 7th November: Lest we forget…

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Today’s assembly encouraged everyone to remember why we wear a poppy. We began by listening to Elgar’s Nimrod (Enigma Variations) as the children assembled and then we found out about Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’

For a You Tube video version of the poem click here

To listen to Elgar’s beautiful ‘Nimrod’ click here

We will observe our silence at 11am on 11th day of the 11th month on the Junior playground Perhaps some of your parents will be able  to join us? Perhaps you will visit the War Memorial on Bowling Green on Sunday at 11am or maybe you will be able to stay up late on Saturday Night to watch the Festival of Remembrance on BBC1. You might hear some familiar music or a poem that you recognise.

Whatever you do … wear your poppy with pride!

Countdown to LIFT week

Please pray for the success of LIFT week which starts on Monday 11th November …

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Lord, you LIFT us to new heights each day.

Lead us to be a living sign of Your LOVE in the World;

INSPIRING us to walk Your way

and FOLLOW on Your path,

TOGETHER as one.

Amen

You could even write your own prayer for LIFT week?

ENJOY!!!!

4/11/13  Hello Father Kakuba and Sister Joan!

It was great to see Father Kakuba in assembly yesterday! He always makes us laugh so much and we are happy to support the Kanyike Project in Uganda.

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We assured Father Kakuba that we would help him to fund the baking of some bricks to build a new nursery for the school in Kanyike. This will be one of our Lenten fundraising projects this year.

Father Kakuba thanked us for our support over the years and left us with a beautiful but unusual gift!ImageWe promised Father Kakuba that we would pray for the Kanyike Project throughout the year and especially next week during LIFT week.

23/10/13 FRIENDS

Who are our friends? What do we do with our friends? How do we show them we care?

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Can we see all of our friends? How do we talk to those special friends we can not see?

How does Jesus show us he is our friend?

18/10/13 OUR PRAYER TODAY

This morning our prayer centered around this video

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Seeing, feeling and experiencing God’s gentle and powerful presence in our world.

Each person identified particular moments in the video where they felt connected to God.

Later we played the clip with no sound and sang I the Lord of Sea and Sky – a truly magical moment!

17/10/13 OUR FRIENDS FROM BRIDGEBUILDERS

Today our friends from Bridgebuilders paid us a visit and taught us all about the importance of honesty! The children heard the story of creation and Adam and Eve, these stories helped them to think about being honest about a mistake and saying sorry. ImageImageImage

10/10/13 GIVE THANKS

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Today we had a beautiful whole school assembly giving thanks and reflecting on the Gospel reading we will hear in Church this weekend. We listened to Luke’s Gospel about saying thank you to God and decided that we must say thank you to God more often and that we can do this through prayer or singing.

We gave thanks during the assembly as we sang our wonderful harvest hymns in preparation for our Mass in a few weeks time. The children sounded fantastic and were challenged with a song with two parts, good job Miss H was there to guide us in the right direction!!

PRAYERS FROM OUR HEARTS

We worked together in our Prayer Garden today.

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Prayers straight from our hearts for special people who need them.

Hello all … I intend to post each week a few prompts that will help you to explain the theme of our assembly to someone at home …

So here goes, thinking back to last Thursday ….

ImageWhen I reached into my desk without looking, hoping to pull out a pen … “Ouch!” … the tiny pin head attacked me and an instant message was sent to my brain that coordinated an instant response … can you remember how this is like our prayers?

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We have been praying for peace over the past month’s assemblies but we still haven’t seen peace! Have our prayers been answered? Remember the bouncing ball – God sometimes answers our prayers (the ball thrown back)) in a way that we don’t expect; His response may be sent to someone else who is better placed to act and I may not even know about it!

ImageIt’s October, Month of Our Lady, and of course we asked Mary to bring our prayers straight to Jesus. Maybe you could spend some time this month learning to pray the Rosary? Let me know how you get on.

Does anyone want to lead a Rosary group that could meet in the prayer garden each week? Come and see me if you would like to.

You are all in my prayers, as always,

Mr White

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