By Chardelle Lennard, Media Volunteer
To mark the Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis, a group of students of St Gregory’s Secondary School wrote some heartfelt messages of hope for our refugee brothers and sisters. Led by school volunteer, Maggie Melville, the students aged 12 – 17 engaged in activities and discussions concerning the refugee crisis.
Maggie first instigated an icebreaker, whereby the students matched up statistics with statements about refugees. She encouraged them to express how they felt about the portrayal of refugees in the media, seeing that some of the children themselves were refugees or knew someone who was. She also spoke to them about the Year of Mercy, Jesus’ call to us to ‘welcome the outsider’, and the Pope’s encouragement to all Catholics to go on a pilgrimage.
To conclude the day’s activities Maggie allowed the students to do their own ‘mini pilgrimage’ on the school’s grounds. A rose (courtesy of Maggie herself) was put at various stations by the students. They showed compassion and
understanding as they reflected on the readings. A candle was then lit for the final prayer and as they talked about their hopes and dreams for the future, they wrote their messages of hope for refugees.
There are so many ways anyone, especially young people can help in response to the refugee crisis. There are a number of resources and information on our site to help you.
You could write your own message of hope or organise a Year of Mercy pilgrimage in your parish.
If you are a school teacher, you could book a visitor to lead a similar activity by contacting us on email@example.com or 020 8466 9901. Or you can find activities to use with your pupils on our website.