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Catholic schools are being invited to honour St Francis Day with liturgy and reflection remembering our connection with the Earth and all that it sustains. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has provided online resources to help teachers and students celebrate it in early October.
‘We want people to connect with God’s creation, and from there be better placed – grounded – to make a fuller commitment to better care for the Earth and all that it provides – for ourselves and future generations,’ says Caritas Education Coordinator Catherine Gibbs. ‘We seek to encourage a sense of awe and deep reflection.’
Caritas is providing presentations using sacred and natural images, and suggested music. Accompanying notes will help teachers lead groups in prayer, music and reflection in a natural environment. In an echo of Moses before the burning bush, children are invited to ‘take off their shoes’ and feel the textures and surfaces around their feet on a natural surface .
St Francis Day falls on Tuesday 4 October, but schools are being encouraged to celebrate it at any time in the final week of Term 3, or another date that suits.
Directors of Religious Studies in Catholic schools have been alerted by email to the online resources, available under ‘Holy Ground’ here.
The idea was sparked by Nicky Chapman, who is promoting sacred reflection around St Francis Day in light of the environmental crises we face. She is also encouraging take-up in New Zealand of the St Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. This is an initiative of the Catholic Climate Covenant in the United States - a promise ‘to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change’.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.
For more information contact Martin de Jong +64-4-496 1782 or +64-21-909 688.