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Mission Week 2024

Mission Week 2024

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What is Mission Week?

As a community which is “rooted in faith”, each year we come together for a week-long celebration of our Catholic ethos. Through special times of prayer, workshops, talks and activities, we are renewed in the Salesian spirituality which animates our mission. Mission Week takes place in the last week in January, to incorporate the feast day of our patron saint and founder of the Salesian congregation, St John Bosco (31st January).

Monday - Launch assemblies

This year’s theme was launched at the start of the week…Dare to dream! 200 years ago, at the age of nine, John Bosco had a dream which eventually shaped his entire life. He saw a multitude of very poor boys who were fighting and swearing. A Man of majestic appearance told him: “This is your field of work; with gentleness and love you will change them.” John was confused and cried and then a Lady, just as majestic, added: “Make yourself humble, and strong. At the right time you will understand everything.”

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the dream, and inspired by these words of Pope Francis, our theme for Mission Week is - “Dare to Dream”:

"I am inviting you to dream and to dream big – knowing that all the rest will be given to you in addition. Dream of open, fruitful, and evangelising Houses capable of allowing the Lord to show very many young people His unconditional love and to permit you to enjoy the beauty to which you were called. Dream... not only for yourselves and for the good of the Congregation but for all the young people who are deprived of the strength, light, and comfort found in friendship with Jesus Christ, deprived of a community of faith that includes them, and deprived of a horizon that holds life and its meaning. Dream... and help others dream!” - Pope Francis

Tuesday - Faith in Action Expo & Dan Sargansion

On Tuesday we welcomed visitors from charities and organisations all around the country to take part in our ‘Faith in Action Expo’. Year 7 and 8, 12 students visited each stall and were given a flavour of what each organisation does to put faith into action. Contributors included Mary’s Meals, Aid to the Church in Need, CAFOD, Caritas Salford, Laudato Si Centre, Salesians Vocations, Million Minutes and Urban Outreach.

Former professional rugby player Dan Sargansion spoke to our Year 10, 11 and Sixth Form students: I offer a story of my life that bridges the worlds of professional rugby and education. I suffered for the entire duration of my 12-year career, unconsciously at first, until it began unignorable. Having been able to overcome my mental health issues, I have been able to reflect and extract the lessons within the depths of my struggle, which I am now beyond passionate about relaying to younger generations. It was only the passing of my little brother, who was suffering deeply with mental health, that gave me the courage and enabled me to really look inwards and uncover my own insecurities, crippling doubts and low level of self-worth.  

Wednesday - Feast of St John Bosco

All lessons were cancelled on Wednesday as we celebrated the feast of Don Bosco! There was a real ‘oratory’ feel around the school, as classes took part in may different activities, including: Quizzes, Big Sings, Film time, silent disco, circus skills, leadership workshops (led by Bright Leaders), SDG projects, and team sports. Many Year 11 students enjoyed a day together at the Trafford Centre, while the Sixth Form had a well-being day, with many students opting to spend the day in the great outdoors! At the end of the day, the staff gathered together in the chapel with the Salesian community to celebrate Mass for the feast, and enjoyed some social time together afterwards. It was a wonderful celebration!

Thursday - Adventureman

On Thursday we heard from Adventureman! When it comes to inspirational speakers, real-life superhero Jamie McDonald not only overcame his own childhood illness but went on to complete some of the most ambitious and physically gruelling challenges ever attempted. These painstaking journeys helped him give back to the hospitals that helped him, whilst also raising money for sick children through his charity, Superhero Foundation – winning the Pride of Britain for ‘Fundraiser of the Year’.

Schools Honours Programme

In the context of this year’s Mission Week, Year 9 took part in the School Honours Programme. The Manchester Lieutenancy is composed of people who have given significant public service in one form or another. Our pupils engaged in sessions where they learnt about the Honours System, they listened to people who have achieved honours speak in assemblies and they worked in groups to create their own nominations. The intention is that they understand the system and will, one day, nominate someone they know who demonstrates British Values in their life. They may also consider what actions they can do to contribute positively to society and be nominated one day themselves. Our speakers were Steve McGuirk CBE QFSM DL and Saeed Atcha MBE DL. 

Friday - Closing Liturgies

Our week of Mission came to a close on Friday when we gathered in the sports hall for our celebration liturgies. The liturgy was prepared and animated by the students, including dancers, drama group, choir and instrumentalists. Our main speaker was John Pridmore - This former East End Enforcer turned evangelist visits students to tell of his remarkable conversion.The reformed Gangster, who nearly killed a man outside a London nightclub only to impress an underworld boss who was there . That was 20 years ago and he decided to use his experiences to help young people by showing them an alternative path to violence and using their gifts to help other. The liturgy concluded with a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as we brought Mission Week 2024 to an end in silent prayer, as one faith community.

The week was a real success, and most importantly, provided an opportunity for all members of the school community to ask: God, what is your dream for my life?