“The most important thing in life is not to do extraordinary things, but to do the ordinary things in an extraordinary way.”
St John Berchmans 1599-1621

This was the theme for our Feast Day, on Friday 26th November. Focusing our activities on what the boys can do to help others, we celebrated our Patronal Feast with worship, service, and art.

Father Michael came and celebrated Mass with Middle and Upper School, and helped during the Pre-Prep School Liturgy. Beginning the day with the celebration of Mass grounded the boys in thinking about the influence St John Berchmans has on us and why it is important to serve others. In the Gospel Jesus told us that when we serve the poorest people, we are serving God. This attitude to service cemented the day for all involved.

Read what the boys learned and did on this special Day of Service:

Human Right to Education

Mrs Goncalves, from the Friends of SJB, introduced the boys to the global Red Chair (La Silla Roja) Project, an initiative to highlight the millions of children around the world who do not have access to education.

Did you know that 12% of children around the world are missing out on education because of war, poverty, child marriage or climate change?

That is one child in every eight. Some boys from Middle School and all of Lower Figures got to paint chairs red which will go into every form room to highlight those missing education. Watch a video about the project here.

Flickr album: Red Chair project – St John’s Feast Day 2021 | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin

Supporting Refugees

Middle School also focused on supporting those people who are away from their families during this time. They sat under tables and reflected on how refugees must feel with only 5 minutes to pack up their entire lives and leave their homes and families behind. The boys thought about what kind of message and postcard they would like to receive if they were refugees and homeless. Using the tag #WhoWeAre the boys included orange hearts, the symbol of the #TogetherWithRefugees Association. These will be going to the Jesuit Refugee Service along with food and clothes donations so that refugees who arrive can see the cards and know that we care. The boys also made Christmas cards for prisoners supported by the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Flickr album: Middle School Christmas Cards for Refugees | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin

With your help, we have collected food and gifts which will be donated to the Jesuit Refugee Service UK to help those arriving settle in.

Did you know that refugees are not allowed to receive benefits or get a job in the UK?

They rely on food stamps and the generosity of charities working with them.

Sharing with those in need

Upper Figures (Year 7) spent the afternoon organising all of the wonderful donations that have been flooding in over the past few weeks. We received over 140 donations of toys and books which will be going to the Salvation Army in Addlestone along with some of the food donations we received. #addlestonesalvationarmy #beastar @AddlestoneSA

Some boys went with Ms Gillespie to Runnymede Foodbank to drop off a large number of donations and to see how they operate. They filled up an emergency box with rations for one person for 3 days and learnt about the people to which our donations could go. It could be family like yours or mine, fallen on to hard times.

In 2021, they gave out over 64,000 emergency parcels in the Runnymede area.

The boys asked very good questions and discovered how our support will help. If you would like to continue supporting them you can find out more on their website @RunnymedeFdbnk #StopRunnymedeHunger

Flickr album: Food Bank & Salvation Army donations on Day of Service | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin

Keeping our community clean and tidy

Rudiments (Year 8) followed the teachings of Pope Francis in Caring for our Common Home, Laudato Si’. They walked down to Runnymede National Trust and picked litter all along the riverside. They realised how easy it is to drop litter and not think about it, but how important it is to look after the environment for everyone.

Flickr album: Rudiments picking litter along the Thames | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin

We’d like to thank all SJB families for their support on this special St John Berchman’s Feast Day.