On Friday 19th May 2017 children, teachers and staff came from schools across the diocese to celebrate the Catholic Care annual Good Shepherd Celebration at Saint Anne’s Cathedral Leeds with Bishop Marcus Stock.
During the period of Lent staff and children in schools are busy finding fantastic ways of raising money for Catholic Care. This year we have seen plenty of bun sales, sponsored spelling, ‘silly hair day’, and ‘eggstravagaza’ Easter egg raffle! Film night, splat the teacher! Themed ‘Saints’ day and a sponsored silence. This year Catholic Care have also introduced ‘Walk for the Good Shepherd’ a sponsored walk for schools to organise, walks have taken place across the diocese with children exploring their local areas and raising money for the Good Shepherd. Each child who took part also received a ‘I walked for the good Shepherd Sticker’.
The service commenced with the precession of banners around the Cathedral with more than sixty five schools taking part. The opening hymn ‘God is Love’ was beautifully sung by choirs from the Diocesan Music Programme.
This year pupils and staff from Holy Family Primary School, Armley, Leeds prepared and presented the liturgy. The school was led by Mr Peter. McQuillen Strong, Executive Headteacher and Acting Headteacher Mrs Rees.
Bishop Marcus addressed the congregation with his Homily on the Good Shepherd. The Bishop talked about how a good shepherd looks after his sheep caring for them tenderly and protecting them from harm. Like the shepherd Bishop Marcus explained we should care for each other, showing kindness and helping each other wherever we can. He asked all the children to be Good Shepherds.
This year during the presentation of cheques the children from Holy Family, Armley provided a wonderful presentation on the ‘Work of Catholic Care’ The children guided the congregation through the different Catholic Care service areas explaining the work undertaken in supporting adults with learning disabilities, our work with older people in the community, the support Catholic Care provides for people with mental health problems and our work with the refugee community. Finally some of the children talked about their own personal experience of being supported by the Schools, Children and Family Wellbeing Service, a very moving story.
The children from St Pauls Primary School, Alwoodley provided a wonderful selection of songs and hymns, keeping children and staff engaged with dance and actions.
After the service, children and teachers joined staff from Catholic Care in Wheeler Hall for refreshments and some lovely opportunities to have photographs taken with Bishop Marcus.
A huge thank you to all who attended and contributed to the appeal which will help us to deliver services to communities across the Leeds Diocese.