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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. Different organisations and writers include different ones. However, they will include the same ideas and beliefs. At Divine Saviour we use the Caritas Rooted in Love principles. There will be cross over between these principles and our actions for global and local justice will often be in response to more than one principle at a time.

Caritas - Rooted in Love

Rooted in Love is a new project to support schools in their journey with Catholic Social Teaching. Divine Saviour started this project in September 2024 . 

As a school we are working to embed Catholic Social Teaching across the curriculum. To suplement this, each half term we will focus on a specific Caritas Principle. 

 

Autumn 1 - Care of Creation

The earth and all it contains has been created by God. It is a gift, given to all for the good of all. The resources of the earth are not infinite. They have been given to us and to future generations. How we have treated and continue to treat the earth has profound impacts on people now and in the future. Too often we have destroyed elements of the earth for a quick gain. At a General Audience in May 2014, Pope Francis described our destruction of creation as ‘like saying to God, 'I don't like it' ... Care for creation is care for God's gift to us, and it means saying to God, 'thank you, I am the custodian of creation, but to enable it to progress, never to destroy your gift'’. As stewards, or custodians, of creation we have a special role to play. How we care for the earth is another sign of how we are Christians, how we show God’s love in the world and put our love into action. In Autumn One we aim to introduce the children to the concept of caring for creation – what it means to be a ‘good steward’ and how they could look after our world. It is important that the children understand that the way we treat our common home affects everyone, in every country, now and in the future.

 

Autumn 2 - Option for the poor

The Church holds that we should all have a special focus on supporting, walking alongside, and sharing with people who are living in poverty. Pope Francis’s much quoted phrase about wanting ‘a poor church for the poor’ holds the Catholic social teaching principle of the preferential option for the poor at its heart. Although it includes the charitable support of the Church, both the institution and individual members, for those living in poverty locally and globally, it is also wider than this. The option for the poor includes talking with, and listening to, those who are living in poverty. It is not just thinking that we know what people want or need, but listening to people, sharing in their suffering, being the ‘voice for the voiceless’ when it is not being heard, whilst enabling the voice, the experience, the needs of people to be heard by others in our communities, society, and the world.

 

Spring 1 - Solidarity and Peace

Solidarity is a word which can be overused and little understood. However, it is fundamental to the way in which we treat one another. If we truly believe that we are all sisters and brothers of one another, made in God’s image and likeness as seen in the guideline of human dignity, then seeking the good of one another cannot be ignored. The quotation from St John Paul II is an ongoing challenge. Solidarity is not just feeling sorry for those who suffer. It is a commitment to action. “We are all really responsible for all” – all of us. Wherever we are. Whatever our age. Whatever our circumstances. We are all responsible for one another, those close by, and those far away. All of our actions have consequences locally and globally. From how we treat people we meet in the street, to the coffee we buy in the supermarket. It is how we live out Caritas, love in action.

Spring 2 - Community and Participation 

As human beings, we are called to live in community, with others, growing together and flourishing as a result. We are also called to get involved. At World Youth Day in 2013, Pope Francis challenged us: “Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.” We are called to be active members of society, our local and global community. Observing the reality of the world, remembering that first guideline of the dignity of all people, supporting one another and recognising how our gifts and talents could be used to the advantage of the wider community. We can’t just sit back and bemoan what’s happening, whether in our own parish and community, society, or the world. We are called to get our hands dirty, to get involved, to help build a better world. We’re all called to put love into action. These lessons help students to understand the role we all have to play in creating a fair society and strong communities. 

 

Summer 1 - Dignity of workers

The Church has long been a supporter of the right of people to work. Work is more than simply being able to earn money. It is about being able to support oneself, and one’s family. It is about finding a role and place within society, finding fulfilment and a sense of purpose and worth. It is also about people being paid a just wage and having adequate facilities to do the work they are tasked with, which is why the Church supports both the Living Wage and Fair Trade movements. In Summer One we aim  to introduce the children to the concept of having dignity in one’s work – what that means and how it should be maintained. It is important that the children understand being treated with dignity at one’s place of work should be a universal constant across all industries and sectors; there is no ‘minimum threshold’ of responsibility or wage that ‘entitles’ one to dignity at work. 

 

Summer 2 - Human Dignity

The dignity of every human person, whoever they are, is the starting point for the Church’s teaching around social justice. The Church clearly states that we are all made lovingly in God’s image and likeness. We are all sisters and brothers of one another. If we truly believe this principle, then we are challenged to firstly realise that we ourselves are made in God’s image and likeness. We are lovingly created by God. We are beautiful. This can be difficult for many of us to accept. What flows from this is that every person we meet - family, friends, neighbours, strangers, people on the other side of the world - are also made in God's image and likeness. They deserve our respect. They must be treated fairly. It is the underlying principle of all CST, so it is crucial for students having an understanding on living out the teaching of the Gospel in today’s society. 

Catholic Social Teaching in Action 2023-2024

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Building the Kingdom)

 All of the children at DSS were challenged to complete a project celebrating a woman who inspires them! All the work completed was displayed in the school entrance hall during the month of September. 

 Year One also created a beautiful display on their wonderful mothers and Year Four thought about Mary as a refugee and how we can 'welcome our brother and sister migrants and refugees with arms wide open' (Pope Francis) 

Lots of children chose to visit our prayer garden to give thanks for the inspirational women in their lives! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laudato Si 

Year Five have been busy writing  persuasive letters that can be shared in our school’s newsletter encouraging people to be better stewards of creation. 

One World, One Family

 “We have more in common than that which divides us.”

Jo Cox

In Year Six we have been reflecting on this quote. We thought about the following questions and then responded through writing and art. 

Are we all one human race, despite our differences and divisions?

We are all different, and all religions are different – but are we all the same too?

Can we all be united?

What holds humanity together?

Is it faith? Hope? Love? Music? Sport?

What threatens to tear us apart – racism, sexism, hatred, bigotry?

How can we conquer the forces of division? 

 

 

 

Leadership workshops

Mrs Wilson has been busy leading workshops with all of  pupil leadership groups (House Captains, Chaplains and Eco Team) . The workshops have been based around Pope Francis's call to 'step forward in love'. 

 1 John 3:18 "Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.' 

 Drop in and take a look at our whole school floor books to find out more about what we got up to!

A feel of Africa in Abbots Langley

This year we are celebrating Father Dido's 10th year of being a priest. We celebrated with a party - the parish and school managed to raise £3750 for Father Dido's school in Africa! 

 

Minni Vinnies - Project Starlight

At the moment we are working on a project called 'Starlight'. We are making Christmas cards and decorations for children who are in hospital over Christmas Time. Children from all classes have come in at lunchtime to help us make the decorations. We worked with our school chaplain Annabel to make sure everything was ready to be sent off in time for Christmas!  You can find out more about our project by looking in the big book!

Net Zero

The Eco Team are holding a competition to see which class can reach Net Zero at lunchtime! Each class will have a bin so that we can weight everyone's waste at the end of each lunchtime. We are doing this because many people in the world are hungry and we are just throwing away too much food! We need to be more aware and be good stewards of creation!

Participation and Care for Creation - Sensory Garden 

The Eco Team are hosting a competition to design a new sensory garden so that we can increase the bio diversity of our school and create new habitats for plants and animals on our school site.  The winning designs will be on display in the school library.

One World Festival 

On Tuesday 17th October Year Five went to the One World Festival at St Michael's School. This year's theme was 'Back together in Love'. We performed 'Feels Good' by Rend co. Kids. It was a great opportunity to share culture, creativity and respect with our Catholic community. 

All Saints Day Project - Building the Kingdom 

 

 Advent -The Common Good

Advent is a time of preparation, not just for Christmas, but for meeting Our Lord at the end of time. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus told us that he is already present with us - in the least of our brethren (Mt 25:31-46). We meet him regularly in the poor, the hungry, the needy, the vulnerable – people of various ages, backgrounds and cultures. Our challenge during Advent is to respond to Jesus in our fellow man with compassionate, generous and forgiving hearts and, as teachers, to guide our pupils in building up the Kingdom of God. 

Each KS2 class  created their own ‘See, Think, Do’ project to spread peace, hope, love and joy to our local community. 

Year Three painted rocks with Christmas messages of faith and peace. They spread them around the local area for the community to find and appreciate. 

Olivia said " As a catholic it is important to spread faith and peace during the season of Advent because we are responsible for each others peace. Christmas is not about presents, it is about spreading the love of Jesus.'

 

 Year Four delivered the joy of Jesus by supporting Dunelm's Christmas food bank project. A group of children went to Dunelm to deliver the gifts that they had collected! 

Year Five walked to Arden House to sing for their residents. We really hope that we brought hope and joy to everyone! 

Year Six have been supporting Father Dido's school. The children there are not as lucky as us and need equipment to help them learn. We hosted two film nights to raise money for Father Dido. We raised £230! 

Mini Vinnie Appeal 

Please help us to support the Food Bank.  We would like you do this because there are lots of families who wont have lots of lovely things for Christmas! - Take a look at the posters around school for more information!

Singing for Christian Aid

The school choir travelled to Hemel Hempstead town centre to sing for Christian Aid. We enjoyed this because we raised money for the lonely and spread joy and love to our community. 

Paul Tucker, Chair of Christian Aid in Kings Langley said 

We were delighted to have some of the children sing carols in the Marlowes on Friday. They sang with joy and enthusiasm and many who walked past commented on how lovely it was to see them. We are finalising the figures concerning the collection for Christian Aid, but it will be over £500, and we are grateful for that." 

 

Electric Umbrella - Kindness is not just for Christmas

We joined forces with the amazing Electric Umbrella and schools from around the country to help  spread some kindness this Christmas. Electric Umbrella came into school to film with our DSS and Breakspeare joint choir and we also joined in with the schools 'Zoom Sing Along' session!

Mini Vinnies - Peace in our world

This term we are trying to make peace in the world. We are trying to raise money to support those affected by war in Gaza and Ukraine. We are running a 'Words for our World' Reading Challenge in the Spring Term and all the money raised will be given to CAFOD. 

Catholic Social Teaching in Action 2022-2023

 Whole School Displays 

We started the academic year by asking each class to choose one CST principle and create a display about it. The aim of this project was to develop our community's understanding about Catholic Social Teaching.  

 

Pupil Leadership: Participation 

‘Each of us has a part to play, a gift to share, a service to of-fer, for building up the Body of Christ in love.’ Pope Francis, June 19, 2013

Mrs Wilson ran a workshop with our House Captains: 

 The Chaplains Weekly Mission

Each week our chaplain's set the school community a mission based on the week's gospel reading.  Members of our school community can choose to complete the mission and send in photos and reflections related to the week's theme.

  

 

Mini Vinnies

Our Year Five Mini Vinnies group come together to form a part of the St. Vincent de Paul Society England and Wales, a voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty in all its forms. Mini Vinnies meet to pray, discuss and support however they can to help make a difference in their communities.  Our Mini Vinnies truly turn concern into action as they use the simple formula of ‘see, think, do’ to find people in need and help them. 

On Tuesday 4th October we welcomed one of our school governors, Mrs Petrie (who is also an RE teacher at St Joan of Arc) to school when she came to lead a workshop for our new Year 5 Mini Vinnies team. We were joined by the Mini Vinnies teams from two of our ASCAT family of schools for what was a fun and productive session. The children explored the life of St Vincent de Paul (who started the society of which they are now part) , thought about ways in which they as individuals can  live out the mission of our school and began to plan their first charitable work for this year.  We were very proud of all the children who are taking their new role very seriously. Having worked very hard our Year 5s enjoyed leading their new friends out onto the playground for a run around at the end of the session! Our enormous thanks to Mrs Petrie for giving up her time to plan and deliver this session  - she inspired the children to come up with some amazing ideas of the good works they can do this year.

Year 4 Caritas Westminster Imagining Futures Project 

Imagining Futures is a new project for primary schools to celebrate Caritas Westminster’s tenth anniversary. This two-part project encourages students to have a positive, hopeful view of the future through collective imaginings, the creative arts, and social action.

Our wonderful Year 4 children  are undertaking this task of imagining, planning and developing ways of making their dreams for our future world a reality. 

 

Common Good during Advent 

Advent is a time of preparation, not just for Christmas, but for meeting Our Lord at the end of time. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus told us that he is already present with us - in the least of our brethren (Mt 25:31-46). We meet him regularly in the poor, the hungry, the needy, the vulnerable – people of various ages, backgrounds and cultures. Our challenge during Advent is to respond to Jesus in our fellow man with compassionate, generous and forgiving hearts and, as teachers, to guide our pupils in building up the Kingdom of God.

Each KS2 class created their own ‘See, Think, Do’ project.  Their corridor displays were based around their projects. 

 

KS2 Catholic Social Teaching Displays and Projects

 

 

Parish links: Chingulungulu, Tanzania 

 

 Laudato Si’

On Wednesday we began our day with an assembly in which we heard again the message of Pope Francis in his letter to the world, ‘Laudato Si’. This encyclical, written in 2015, still resonates as a profound invitation to us all to care for our common home. Our planet belongs to our children - it is their future and we are failing miserably to look after it. I challenged the children on Wednesday to send another letter to the world to remind everyone why we need to care for the home we all share. Please do read Nicolle’s letter - she is speaking to you, to me, to us all! Let us all do what we can to protect the gift that our beautiful, blue planet is.

CAFOD Catholic Social Teaching Workshop

During February Years 3-5 took part in workshops on CST led by  Jeff Pratley from CAFOD. They learnt about the principles of CST, listened to the letters of Pope Francis & talked about how we are all global neighbours working for the common good.   

   

 

 The Big Lent Walk 2023

We are challenging ourselves by taking on 'The Big Lent Walk'.  We will be walking at least 200Km in Lent to help fight global poverty! 

Click here to donate 

 The Big Lent Walk 2023

On Wednesday 29th March the entire school took part in a very rainy Big Lent Walk. We  walked up to church to watch Year 4's Easter Passion and then walked back to school (approx 2 miles).  By lunchtime we had walked an amazing 702km.

Total Distance covered: 1,088.2 km 

Funds raised: £418

     

  

Silver Stories

As human beings, we are called to live in community, with others, growing together and flourishing as a result. We are also called to get involved. At World Youth Day in 2013, Pope Francis challenged us:
Don’t be observers, but immerse yourself in the reality of life, as Jesus did.”

We are called to be active members of society, our local and global community. Observing the reality of the world, remembering that first guideline of the dignity of all people, supporting one another and recognising how our gifts and talents could be used to the advantage of the wider community. We can’t just sit back and talk about what’s happening, whether in our own parish and community, society, or the world. We are called to get our hands dirty, to get involved, to help build a better world. We’re all called to put love into action.  

One of the ways in which in which we will be 'putting love into action' is to  provide hope and joy to elderly and lonely members of our local and wider community, treating them with dignity and respect whilst improving the wisdom and learning of some of the wonderful children in our school.  We will do this through our  'Silver Stories' project which will begin in Summer Term 2. 

Click here to view our Silver Story page - we will up date this once we start the project! 

 

Catholic Social Teaching in Action 2021-2022

 Laudato Si’

The Eco Team wrote to Dean Russell our local MP as part of their work on participation and stewardship.

  

 

CAFOD Eyes of the World

We have been learning about how climate change is affecting the world's poorest communities. After finding out about the impact that climate change is having we joined CAFODs campaign to call on our government to keep the poorest people at the heart of their talks!

 

 

Science and RE Week: God's Planet

This week the children of Divine Saviour School have been very busy exploring our world in our science week on the theme of ‘God’s Planet.’ 

Everyday the classes have explored a different scientific concept related to our planet covering our oceans and seas, the polar regions and ice caps, why is climate change happening, global warming and what we can do to protect our Earth! We had a live streamed workshop on Monday with STEM ambassador Paula McMahon, an engineer, who spoke to our children about her area of science and how it is contributing to the fight against global warming. But everybody's favourite was definitely the visit from the Rise Theatre who’s play ‘God’s Planet’ our week was themed around. The message that we are responsible for our Earth and looking after it was definitely received and ‘Planet Heros’ are a plenty in our community! That our science week took part during COP26 was no accident and it is amazing just how well informed our children are and how much notice they have been taking of what is going on in Glasgow. CAFOD have asked us to make sure that the politicians know, ‘The Eyes of the World are Watching’ - Divine Saviour definitely is!

 CAFOD's Walk against Hunger

This year we are walking for our world and our brothers and sisters across the globe who are being badly affected by climate change. We raised an amazing £1,309.50! 

 

On Sunday 26th March the Parishes of St Saviours and Our Lady Mother of the Saviour walked together from the parish in Chipperfield to the parish in Abbots Langley to support CAFODs 'Walk against Hunger.'   

Stewardship

Our Reception children have been learning about Stewardship. They are helping to take care of our prayer garden with a little help from Mrs Webb

  

Assemblies

To help us put our call into action of making the world the best possible place it can be, and as God intended it to be when He gave it to mankind as a gift, we often revisit the 9 CAFOD themes of Catholic Social Teaching. In some of our assemblies we spend time reflecting on Sunday's Gospel or issues that are arising in the world and discuss, contemplate and pray for guidance on identifying how CST can enable us to understand the outward show or action of our Catholic faith that will impact on many aspects of our life and, in turn, lead us to making an impact on the world so it can be as God intended it to be.