James, our second Step into the Gap ‘gapper’ based at St Mary’s in Blackpool takes a moment to reflect on his second half-term of work, and he looks ahead to his trip to El Salvador. He travels this week.
As the title of this blog may well suggest, the second term here at St Mary’s in Blackpool has come to completion and at the time of this blog being posted I am just at the start of the Lenten term. In a matter of days I shall be on a plane flying over to El Salvador, but scarily I can still remember that first train journey up to Blackpool on the 31st August!!!
The first 6 weeks at St Mary’s went like a bullet train, however those 7 weeks after half term leading up to the Christmas were a little quieter. A successful Harvest Appeal that brought in over £1000 was completed with the presentation of a cheque to our CAFOD Diocesan Manager, whilst in the wake of the disastrous Philippines typhoon the school put into place classroom collections and prayers were said for the people on a regular basis.
As always, prayer has been an essential part in the life of a Gaplain. I’ve led Morning Prayer regularly with form groups, as well Morning Prayer with staff in their morning briefings.
Finally the primary school visits have been going well, especially as I have been now talking about my impending visit to El Salvador with them writing fact files about themselves and them learning about the country that is El Salvador, and of course the person of Oscar Romero being of central importance.
As I have mentioned my visit to El Salvador is imminent and excitement is most definitely marred with trepidation. The experience in El Salvador will be amazing. The many different communities I shall be visiting, as well as the stories that I shall be collating, will lead to me having a real spiritual experience. El Salvador being steeped with the legacy of Romero is something I am really looking forward to especially after my time spent at Heythrop College with the strong Jesuit influence there.
After the first four months here at St Mary’s, my trip to El Salvador, I am sure, will not only be a fruitful experience personally, but also will lead to experiences I can share with the students and staff back at school. The more and more I reflect on life as a Gaplain, the more I am inspired by my secondary school’s patron, Richard Challoner to do ‘ordinary things extraordinarily well,’ and to share the extraordinary time I shall have in El Salvador and let it be known through the ordinary things I do back at school.
We know that James will soak in the beautiful countries of El Salvador and Guatemala and we’re really looking forward to hearing about his discoveries.
We’ll be following James’ travels here on this blog and also on Twitter. You can follow us on Twitter at @CAFODLancaster and keep up to date with the latest news as we get it.
Go well James : )