To mark the centenary of the birth of Blessed Oscar Romero, schools in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle are this year focusing attention on the life and martyrdom of the Salvadorian Archbishop. As part of their commemorations St John’s Catholic Academy, Bishop Auckland, organised a programme of events for their Year 10 students, inspired by Romero’s words ‘Aspire not to have more, but to be more’.
Missio, the Catholic Church’s official charity for overseas mission, was asked along to St John’s to take part. Romero’s links with Missio and his time as the charity’s National Director in El Salvador, were highlighted through presentations and workshops. Highlighted also to pupils was the powerful example set by Romero; to observe the world around them and consider their role within it, inspired by the Gospel and strengthened by faith.
St John’s chaplain, Mrs Emma Ramsey said of the day, “We wanted to provide our students with the opportunity to reflect on the paths they take, the choices they make, and the qualities needed for themselves and others to lead a truly fulfilled life. The students gained a lot from Missio’s input. They heard about what the charity does to enable those less fortunate than ourselves to have access to the things we take for granted.”
Missio was also invited to take part in St Anthony’s Girl’s Catholic Academy, Step Up To Life Mission Week, led by the Diocesan Youth Ministry Team. Inspired by the week’s theme – forgiveness - Missio facilitated workshops which explored the importance of mercy and peace in our efforts to build God’s Kingdom at home and overseas. Pupils engaged readily in discussion and activities; considering practical ways in which they can become missionaries of God’s love and producing on occasion some impressive visual representations of God’s kingdom. Built with the help of Missio’s red boxes.
Missio would like to thank St John’s and St Anthony’s for their welcome and support. Their missionary efforts bring to mind more inspiring words from Blessed Oscar Romero:
“Let us not develop an education that creates in the mind of the student a hope of becoming rich and having the power to dominate. Let us form in the heart of a young person the idea of loving, of preparing oneself to serve and giving oneself to others.”