James Trewby and the two new Faith in Action Volunteers, Juliette Bone and Tobi Oyedele attended Mass on Monday morning at St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham. Besides celebrating the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, the Mass brought to a close a two-week long educational programme that James has helped plan and deliver for Our Lady and all Saints Multi Academy Company (MAC).
Beginning at 10am, Bishop David Evans celebrated Mass along with Columban Director in Britain, Fr. Peter Hughes. A number of students from each of the 13 schools in the MAC brought with them artwork which their schools had created collectively and which symbolised our responsibility to care for creation.
Following Mass, Bishop David blessed the students outside the doors of the Cathedral as they set off on a short procession through the city centre to Victoria Square where they met with The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Muhammad Afzal and Councillor Waseem Zaffar. The students handed to them their letters of petition calling on the government to do more to tackle the climate crisis and discussed with them the importance of climate action within their schools and in the wider community.
Each school brought with them to the square a bicycle wheel which they’d created in school using recycled materials. When placed together in a particular arrangement, these bicycle wheels formed a stunning flower representing the beauty of God’s creation and the unity of the schools forming the MAC. The students also brought with them a selection of posters and colourful artwork calling for politicians to do more to fight climate change. Students from St. Anthony’s Primary School in Solihull gave a wonderful performance of a dance they’d choregraphed themselves and joined the rest of the MAC students in singing a hymn specially written by a local composer for the occasion.
The Columbans wish to say a huge thank you to all who contributed to the programme; to the members of the MAC who assisted with planning, and to the schools and the students who participated along with their parents, some of whom came to Victoria Square. A big thanks to Bishop David Evans, Cathedral Dean Fr. Tim Menezes and Columban Director in Britain, Fr. Peter Hughes for celebrating Mass and to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Muhammad Afzal and Councillor Waseem Zaffar for their willingness to attend the celebration. Thank you also to the musicians and the local composer who wrote our very own Season of Creation hymn.
The Our Lady and All Saints Catholic Multi Academy Company comprises of 12 primary schools and one secondary school in the Solihull, Birmingham and Warwickshire areas. By working collaboratively, each school benefits educationally from the expertise within the MAC as a whole and practically from the services procured and provided centrally which helps to shape the future of Catholic education.
The Columbans in Britain are particularly active in educating people about Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and our collective responsibility to care for God’s creation, our common home. James and his team deliver workshops, assemblies and retreats for dioceses, parishes, educators and young people, covering themes such as ‘Care for Creation’, ‘Exploring Mission’, and ‘Welcoming the Stranger’ and are thrilled to have collaborated with the MAC.