Praying for Peace
This year has seen some wonderful events at St Augustine’s Priory – the Arts Evening, the celebration Masses for our First Holy Communicants and Confirmation candidates, the Be Spirited Day, the skiing visit to Italy, the English Summer Garden Party, the school production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, the Sports Awards, the Summer Concert… the list is endless. It has been a productive and energising year on all fronts; whether academic, sporting, creative or spiritual.
However, we have all been only too aware of the events which have surrounded us throughout the year, including the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament in March, the Manchester Arena bombing in May, the London Bridge and Borough Market attack in June and the fire at Grenfell Tower in June.
Following the terrorist attack on London Bridge and in Borough Market on 3rd June our Faith Life Prefect, Elizabeth Kingsmill, led ‘One Minute for Peace’ in the Chapel followed by prayers on Thursday 8th June. The school stopped to participate in Pope Francis’ appeal for a minute for peace. Pope Francis said the initiative represents “a short moment of prayer on the recurrence of the meeting in the Vatican between me, the late Israeli President Peres, and the Palestinian President Abbas”. Their encounter took place in the Vatican Gardens on 8th June 2014, during which the three men prayed together for peace. The Holy Father said, “In our days, there is a great need to pray – Christians, Jews, and Muslims – for peace.” This was a time of stillness and quiet reflection for staff and students in the middle of a busy school day.
‘One Minute for Peace’ was not our only response to the situation. Following the attack on London Bridge, Ms Hagerty, Director of Priory 6, decided to launch a campaign to celebrate life and show solidarity at a time when the importance of life seemed to be so undervalued by the perpetrators of these crimes. What started as a Facebook campaign posting pictures of friends and family celebrating life using the #celebratelife as a thread, the campaign quickly took off at school the following day. Ms Hagerty enlisted the help of Upper IV girls and launched the Green Ribbon Campaign. The girls came up with the plan to tie green ribbons to the gates and railings of the school in order to show a public display of this celebration. As we were then hit by more bad news with the fire at Grenfell Tower and many schools took part in a Green for Grenfell campaign, we were also able to take part owing to the green ribbons still standing proud at the front of the school.
As we enjoy the holidays and rest that the summer brings, let us remember and pray for all those who have suffered and died this year.
‘Make peace, create peace, be the example of peace. We need peace in the world.’