Faith in school communities made relevant when expressed through care and service

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Year of Faith: Little Way Week, 5 – 11 October 2013

Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, the bishop who has national responsibility for Catholic Education, has affirmed how witnessing to faith through love and service makes the Gospel message real and relevant within school communities.

Speaking in the run up to a national school’s initiative called ‘Little Way Week’, which invites staff and pupils to engage in a week of prayer and service from 5 – 11 October, he said:

“It can be hard for people to understand what the Catholic Faith is all about when spoken about as an abstract. When people see the Catholic Faith being lived and expressed through care and service of others, it becomes something that is real and life-transforming. It’s this emphasis that is at the centre of our forthcoming Little Way Week during which we are inviting members of school communities to express their love and concern for others through prayer and service. When people can see Christianity in action it is a powerful force for goodness and becomes a way in which people can see the person of Jesus Christ in their midst. I encourage as many members of the school community as possible to consider participating in this week-long celebration of the Faith which underpins the Catholic education system.”

Little Way Week is inspired by St Thérèse of Lisieux and her insight that a good way to grow in holiness and to witness to God’s love is through doing little things for God and others every day. St Thérèse understood profoundly that very few people are called to make big and radical gestures. The “little way” encourages people to do small acts of love and service to express their faith.

The initiative is being promoted in support of the Year of Faith in partnership by the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis and the Catholic Education Service. Rt Rev Kieran Conry, whose responsibility nationally is the work of evangelisation, said:

“During this Year of Faith, Little Way Week is something that everyone can do within and beyond our school communities. The emphasis is not on the scale of the act of service that we make, but the disposition of heart that we do it with. Prayer, of course, enables us to take these little steps of love and service, especially when we don’t feel like helping someone. It’s then that God gives us the grace and strength to go beyond ourselves. So I wish everyone taking part a very happy and joyful week, and do pray for the grace to go the extra mile to help and serve people.”

Among the Little Way Week resource contributors are: ‘Mission Together’ which encourages children in England and Wales to pray, fundraise and become missionaries themselves – children helping children; Wednesday Word which creates weekly Bible resources for families; the Bishops’ Conference Home Mission Desk; a team of Catholic primary and secondary school teachers; the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph; the Catholic Truth Society and Premier Christian Radio.

More information

Free resources are available online for download for primary and secondary schools. In partnership with Premier Christian Radio a national “Little Way” art competition is being run for schools: