Researched and written by Matty Maslen, CAFOD volunteer
CAFOD Leeds’ very own ex-gapper Madeline Woods is now the Chaplain for St Bede’s and St Joseph’s Catholic College (SBSJ), Bradford. SBSJ is one of the biggest Catholic school in the country.
Although she is still new to the post, Madeline has already managed to start a CAFOD group at the school. It currently has four members from Year 8, with more showing interest in joining. It formed quite spontaneously while on a trip to Revelation where the students talked to Madeline about their passion for the work of CAFOD especially around climate change and social justice.
SBSJ’s newly formed group are hoping to help the school achieve CAFOD’s livesimply award. This is awarded to communities who are able to show they have been living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation. In order to be granted the award, Madeline has been working to make the CAFOD group a space that will tap into the pupils’ desire to make the world a better place. The group is intended to help turn the members’ passion into action.
During this season of Lent, Madeline put up CAFOD Lent calendars in each form room in the school to encourage the students to pray, fast and give. She also sent out an SBSJ Chaplaincy newsletter before schools closed as part of the Covid-19 lockdown in March. The newsletter featured CAFOD and provided links to online resources for the students to access.
Although Chaplains are not classed as key workers, since schools were closed Madeline has been keeping busy. It is important to remember that it is not only the academic aspect of school life that has been disrupted by this pandemic. As she said: “We know that the job we do is essential in helping young people to practise their faith through this time”.
To help her school community through this strange time, she has been sending out prayer slides to all staff and students, and is currently creating a guide to the Bible for the students. The work that Chaplains around the world have been doing during this time when so many people are unable to access a Church is important to help people continue to feel connected both to their faith and to the wider family of the Church. Let us all remember that, as Madeline said: “There are many ways that we can live our faith in this difficult time”.
If you would like to see a video of some of the work Madeline has been doing at SBSJ then please click on the link below: https://sbsj.co.uk/chaplaincy-team