Our final Friday blog on Lenten works of mercy is from schools volunteer Penny Morse.
During Lent I have been visiting primary schools in the Clifton diocese, meeting children and sharing stories from Uganda in assemblies and workshops. In this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis e invites us to be living signs of Jesus’ love. This Lent I’ve really seen these living signs of love and mercy lived out through children’s actions.
Here’s a flavour of what I’ve observed these past few weeks.
A boy sits nervously on a chair covered with a purple cloth; a cardboard crown on his head. Listening intently to the parable I am relating, he mimes dividing the assembled school before him into two groups, the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He gestures to the sheep as I recount how they will be welcomed into God’s kingdom because of the way they showed their love for him, Jesus. They, in return, hold their hands up as a sign of incomprehension and I continue reading that as they showed love to other people so they showed love to Jesus.
This is the scene that I have seen repeated many times in recent weeks. Next we recall how Pope Francis has designated this year as the Year of Mercy and we think of other words that mean the same; kindness, love, compassion and we list the ways we heard love being shown in the parable. Next we look at photographs of examples where CAFOD partners have been living out love and mercy:
Clean water in Uganda – we learn about Guti, and how clean water has made such a difference to her life.
Clothes for refugees in Greece – we learn about how CAFOD partners are supporting families arriving in Idomeni on the Greek Macedonian border, and the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Kos and Rhodes with warm clothes, blankets, food and baby hygiene kits.
Making a splash this Lent
The children savour the phrase “corporal works of mercy” – they like new language.
Then they share with me the ways they plan to fundraise during Lent; a cake sale, a film afternoon, a pyjama day, a sponsored scoot – they are very excited.
We finish with a prayer in which we call to mind all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. As I leave the hall a Year 6 girl comes back in.” Do you think you could come and do some more on this with our chaplaincy group?” she asks. I nod and feel a great sense of job satisfaction.
It is true – even in these difficult times: “Young people are the church of today and the hope of tomorrow.” Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis has promised to make a gesture of mercy every Friday. We have committed to do the same during Lent. We invite you to join us by donating to our Lent appeal.