James stops to reflect on this term with Step into the Gap…….
The spring term is nearly over now at St Mary’s and, boy, has it been a long one!!!
The Easter holidays, which begin on Maundy Thursday, are slowly but surely approaching, and I cannot wait for them to come around. Not because I have not enjoyed this term, but rather it has been so busy I am just looking forward to a nice week off. It seems like the working world really has hit me!!! With all this in mind what has made me so tired?
Prior to the February half term I had an amazing trip with CAFOD to visit their projects in El Salvador and Guatemala for a month. For the majority of the time I was in El Salvador where I went to 3 places that CAFOD have a role in. Guarjila and Arcatao are both to the north of the country and both had been heavily devastated by the effects of the Salvadoran Civil war; therefore most of the work that CAFOD has there and what we saw had to do with the rebuilding of communities that were shattered by the effects that the war had. I also visited Puentecitos, a rural village to the west of the country in one of the poorest regions of the country. Not as badly affected by the war, CAFOD’s main support in Puentecitos was with regards to small scale and co-operative farming.
The experiences that I gained from these visits have meant that on return from Central America and after the February Half Term I have been able to share it with the students and staff alike of St Mary’s, as well as at my local primary schools. I have been into many RE and Spanish lessons and even the odd Geography class at St Mary’s where I shared my experiences to the pupils and staff. As well as also having the daunting task of presenting assemblies to 250 or so people, as well as also leading morning prayer in form groups.
It’s not only been at St Mary’s where I have been sharing my post-trip experiences but I also have done a few Q&A sessions at the primary schools where I have been grilled to the n’th by the pupils!
Away from the school environment I’ve been busy in a few parishes around the diocese sharing my experiences during the homily slot. I have had the long, but thoroughly rewarding journey to Cleator Moor, as well as also speaking at a few parishes in Blackpool. In June I shall be going to a few more parishes to share my experiences and shall look forward to that with great eagerness.
However I have not only been sharing my experiences of El Salvador this term, but also continuing with the normal everyday jobs of chaplaincy. I am looking forward now to the Easter break, catching up with family and friends, before returning to Blackpool for the last term term of Step into the Gap when the journey continues.