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On a fairly wet Tuesday October 1st St Francis School Nailsea were gathered together with Bishop Declan to celebrate their 40th Anniversary. This day also happens to be the start of Pope Francis’ Extraordinary Month of Mission. The pupils and staff decided to take the themes of this month and incorporate them into their liturgy. When Pope Francis was speaking to young people he said; “ Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with the very future of his mission… Go and create a world of brothers and sisters!’  The overall aim of this month is to “ encourage all members of our Catholic community to recognise themselves as missionary disciples, working and praying together to share God’s love with everyone, everywhere.”  During the mass the Bidding prayers were read in different languages to reflect both the diversity of the school community and the diversity of the church as a whole. The prayers spoke of our need to be willing to share with others. During the offertory there was an explanation of the logo for the Extraordinary Month of Mission with pupils in national costume bringing up the gifts. After communion Bishop Declan helped the pupils officially launch our work during this month. We were reminded that we are all ‘Baptised and Sent’ to live and proclaim the Gospel. Missio encourages schools and pupils to use a ‘Mission Rosary’. The Mission Rosary is a special form of the prayer, established in 1951 by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Fr Sheen wanted to encourage Catholics to pray for the whole world, especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. Hence the Mission Rosary is made up of five different colours, each representing a different continent. A large version of the Rosary was brought forward. This was made by the staff and pupils of St Mary’s Swindon and brought to St Francis school today to be blessed by Bishop Declan. This Rosary will then form a focal point for prayer during this month with the schools of the diocese.  It will also be part of our Education mass with Missio which takes place on October 22nd at 7pm in Clifton Cathedral,  The colours of the Rosary represent continents they are :

Africa is represented by the green decade which stands for the forests and grasslands there. It represents life and growth and hope.

The Americas are red representing the fire of faith.

Europe is white because it symbolises the challenge Europe to bring about a renewal of our life in Christ and the joy this will bring.

Oceania is shown in blue for the oceans surrounding the islands there. We remember that water is a symbol of life, it reminds us of baptism and a new life in Christ.

Asia is represented in yellow. Yellow is the light of Christ in our lives. Also a colour of hope

After the Bishop had blessed the Rosary and the mass had ended the pupils then put some questions to Bishop Declan about the Month of Mission.

You can hear this below:

The Staff and pupils worked really hard to make this a truly special occasion and Bishop Declan congratulated them on their singing and their participation. The Month of Mission has begun!