Primary school students explore Laudato Si’ and join the Global Day of Climate Action

by James Trewby

Ahead of the Global Day of Climate Action on Friday 25th September, Columban Justice and Peace Education Worker James Trewby has been working with a local Catholic primary school, encouraging love of creation, prayer, reflection and raising awareness of the climate crisis that is affecting the environment and destroying the integrity of God’s creation.

James, based in the West Midlands, has led a series of exciting and engaging workshops for students at St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary school in Kingshurst, Solihull.

The students, ranging in age from 8 to 11 years, enjoyed an interactive Zoom meeting with Fr. Liam O’Callaghan, a Columban priest who lives in Pakistan. Fr. Liam explained to the students the significance of Laudato Si’ and how climate change is affecting people’s everyday lives in Pakistan – as well as teaching them the Sign of the Cross and “Happy birthday” (a surprise for the pupil celebrating her birthday that day!) in Urdu. He invited the children to be climate ambassadors and challenged them to think of small ways in which they, together with their families and their school community, can make changes to protect the environment and build a better world for all of humanity.

Students enjoy an interactive Zoom meeting with Fr. Liam O’Callaghan, a Columban priest living in Pakistan.

Following this live encounter with Pakistan, the pupils learnt more through a series of games and activities in a beautiful nearby park. These included quiet reflection to listen to the call of God, time spent sketching in silence to be “fully present with creation” and even loudly proclaiming a psalm across a lake!

Rounding up the workshop, students were introduced to the concept of solidarity and then created a number of colourful and informative banners to raise awareness of climate change and the importance of protecting God’s creation. These were shared with one another and will be used across social media to show Columban support of the Global Day of Climate Action campaign on Friday 25th September.

James Trewby, Columban Justice and Peace Education Worker explains, “In the Pope’s encyclical we are encouraged to care for our common home. This starts with appreciating creation – the sessions at St. Anthony’s have been so much fun, in such beautiful surroundings, but also put across important and challenging themes.”

James visits schools around Britain to help educators and young people explore the relationship between faith and action on social justice issues and incorporates various aspects of Catholic Social Teaching. In addition, the Columbans run workshops, assemblies and retreats for dioceses, parishes and community groups covering themes such as ‘Care for Creation’, ‘Exploring Mission’, and ‘Welcoming the Stranger’. For more information about what the Columbans can offer please email education@columbans.co.uk.

The school strike movement ‘Fridays For Future’ has called for a global climate action day. Scheduled for Friday 25th September 2020, demonstrations will take place all across the globe, whilst adapting for COVID-19. The Columbans plan to show their support of the movement and their latest campaign by joining the conversations on social media.

“Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations”

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ #67

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