Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is rooted in Scripture, formed by the wisdom of Church leaders, and influenced by grassroots movements. It is our moral compass, guiding us on how to live out our faith in the world.
Our faith calls us to love God and to love our neighbours in every situation, especially our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Following in the footsteps of Christ, we hope to make present in our unjust and broken world, the justice, love and peace of God.
Modern Catholic Social Teaching is said to have originated in 1891 with the encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum. Since then, a wealth of teaching continues to give new life to the Scriptures and shape the Church’s response to our modern world. Pope Francis’ continues to add to Catholic Social Teaching with his own encyclicals including Laudato Si’ (2015) and Fratelli Tutti (2020) From these Catholic social teaching documents and encyclicals we derive core principles. There is no fixed or official list of principles and different organisations and writers include different ones. However, they will include the same ideas and beliefs and below is some examples of how St Mary's live out CAFOD's principles:
November 15th 2023 was Anti bullying week and odd sock day. Children were invited to wear odd socks on Monday 13th, with normal school uniform, to show that we are all different and unique and can celebrate the different qualities that we all have. The theme for this week was “Make a Noise about Bullying”.
The Common Good
In December 2023, our Chamber Choir partnered with Irish Community Services at their Christmas lunch and reading event. Their director sent the below email of thanks:
Year 6 also visited the Almhouses behind Eltham High Street.
Also, in October 2023, Faith Friends delivered harvest festival donations to the Sisters of Mercy so they could distribute the items to Greenwich Winter Night Shelter and GRACE (Greenwich Refugee Aid and Community Enterprise).
The Faith Friends is a chaplaincy group at St Mary's Catholic School Eltham that is dedicated to promoting the spiritual well-being of the school community. Led by a member of the RE team and a team of student leaders, the group provides a safe and welcoming space for students to explore and deepen their faith, and to develop strong connections with one another. Through a range of weekly activities and initiatives, the Faith Friends aim to foster a sense of community, compassion, and social justice among students, and to inspire them to live out their faith in practical ways. From weekly child led liturgies and prayer services , the group offers a variety of opportunities for students to engage with their faith and to develop their leadership skills.
Year 2 learnt about Patariki the Penguin and thought about how they can participate in their world. The children spoke about how they can recycle, reuse, grow more plants, drive and not walk to keep our world a lovely place. This was a sequence of lesson and here is some of the wonderful work they created.
On Friday 10th November, we participated in Do the Right Thing Awards – our award winning choir sung and 3 children got awards (1 current Isabella Robinson). 2 past pupils who left here last July (Lucas Edwards, Excellent Obasohan Oghagbon Tongo) also won awards.
St Mary’s School Council also ran board games at lunchtime for younger children, bringing different year groups together.
On 6th December, Mr Sims and Mrs Shallice accompanied the Faith Friends to Bishop Challoner School, Bromley, who hosted a retreat day led by their Senior Chaplaincy Team. The key words for the day were unity, friendships and Advent. The children were joined by children from St Joseph’s School, Bromley and Bishop Challoner School.
On 22nd September 2023, St Mary’s celebrated International Sisters of Mercy Day with a celebration Mass including students, parents and the Sisters of Mercy. This weekend marks the day that Catherine McAuley first opened the House of Mercy in Ireland. We were honoured to be visited by six Sisters who joined us in the hall afterwards for a gathering.
Children continued their generosity by raising funds on 29th September with an own clothes day for Morocco and Libya after the disasters that recently engulfed their countries. £580 was raised, donated to the British Red Cross.
St Mary's school council met with local MP Lauren Dinsdale to discuss changes they would like to see in the local area and what is important to our school community.
St Mary’s started a Gardening Club and have worked hard to increase biodiversity and encourage wildlife. Children have also been learning about the importance of looking after their environment.
Our School Council have also met with local MPs to discuss important issues, as well as our Chair of Governors Gary Farrelly and our head chef to tackle issues such as food waste and recycling.
Preferential Option for the Poor
For Christmas this year, our Faith Friends and School Council partnered with the Sisters of Mercy in our collection of gifts for needy families. The Sisters work with many charities and groups and this gave the opportunity to provide these families with small gifts for their children. The whole school community were offered the chance to contribute to this worthy cause, and if they wanted to could purchase a small gift to a value of between £1 and £10. The gifts were wrapped and labelled whether it was for a boy or a girl and the age range (3-5, 5-7, 7-9 or 9-11) to assist with distribution.