The Missing Piece
Many people, parents and children alike, will be glad to be back in school. Children can miss friends, lessons, playtimes, or simply the routine of school life. Being back at school can feel like pieces of a jigsaw coming together…but what if there is a piece missing?
In this first assembly of the school year, children heard a joke missing the punchline:
Children talked about how this unfinished joke is missing a vital piece: it isn’t funny!
Then they listened to the Gospel reading, where Jesus talked about unfinished things too:
Luke 14: 25 – 32 (Paraphrased)
Jesus spoke to the crowds of people:
“If you decided to build a tower or even a house, what would you do first?
Would you sit down and do some sums? Would you work out what materials you would need and how much it would cost to finish the job? Would you then check you have enough money to complete it?
“If you didn’t do all these things, maybe you would start to build and lay the foundations and then realise you were unable to finish the work. Perhaps people would make fun of you and laugh at your half-made house saying, ‘He started something he couldn’t finish!’”
Children learned that, through this Gospel, Jesus is giving us an important lesson about how we live our lives. The unfinished house that couldn’t be lived in and the unfinished joke that wasn’t funny remind us that we need to be careful that we don’t live our lives with a piece missing. That missing piece is the difference between living life to the full or not – so it’s really important!
Watch the Catchphrase style video linked below which gave children a clue about the crucial piece of our lives, the most important part of the jigsaw that we really don’t want to be missing:
Luke 14: 33 (Paraphrased)
“So, if you want to be my disciple, you need to leave
everything else behind and follow me.”
The Catchphrase video revealed Jesus’ important message: “Follow me” – and children learned that if we do choose to follow Jesus, He will lead us to the Father. God’s dream is for us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him by sharing His love with others. With the Father’s love, with Jesus to follow and with the Holy Spirit to give us strength and courage, children discovered that we can do what we are made for – live life to the full!
To finish off this assembly and help children prepare for the school year ahead, children listened to a guided meditation about Jesus’ invitation to follow Him. Why not listen to it again with your child here:
- Listen to the meditation with your child and discuss what the jigsaw puzzle of their lives might look like, e.g. what do the different pieces represent? Are they all the same size or are some pieces bigger (more important) than others? Are there any pieces missing, or pieces they want to remove from their jigsaw?
- If applicable, talk with your child about when you first said ‘Yes’ to Jesus, and the journey that decision is taking you on.
Our Pilgrimage to Walsingham
In January 2022, pupils embarked on the Ten Ten Year of Pilgrimage, a virtual journey involving different ‘stopping places’ with the purposes of growing in Prayer, Penance, Solidarity and Charity. If this is your first encounter with the Ten Ten Year of Pilgrimage, do take a look at this article (http://tentenresources.co.uk/the-hub/yop-launch-jan/) from back in January when it all began.
To take a look back over the journey children have been on so far, and where the new school term is taking them, watch the Pilgrimage Guides video here:
During the assembly, children learned about Walsingham where nearly a thousand years ago, a holy woman named Richeldis saw Our Lady in a dream, who took her to her home in Nazareth – the actual place where the Angel told Mary she would be the Mother of God’s Son – and asked her to build a copy of the holy house in Walsingham! This special place, now known as ‘England’s Nazareth’, became a shrine for Our Lady and an important pilgrimage site.
Children watched a drama exploring the history and significance of Walsingham, which lead them to the Slipper Chapel, where pilgrims would end their journey with a barefoot walk along the Walsingham Way. In the Slipper Chapel they discovered this statue of Our Lady:
Children were invited to become detectives and look for clues in the statue. For example:
🤔 What does it tell us?
Mary is a Queen
Jesus is the King
Jesus sitting on Mary’s lap
Mary is the Mother of God and she presents her Son to the world
Jesus is holding the Gospels
Jesus is the Word made flesh
Mary’s triple lily sceptre
A sign of sovereignty and purity
Mary points to Jesus
Jesus the Son of God, He is the way, the truth and the life
Two pillars on either side of the throne
Represent the Pillars of the House of God – the Church.
The arched back of the throne
Represents the rainbow – the sign of the covenant with God
Seven rings on the throne
Represent the seven Sacraments
Jesus with hand outstretched
He is blessing Mary, His Mother
In this assembly, children then heard the Gospel where Mary was visited by the angel:
Luke 1: 26 – 38 (Paraphrased)
Mary realised the stranger was a messenger angel. She did not know what to do or say. Should she be afraid?
The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God loves you and He has chosen you for a special honour: you will become the mother of God’s Son – the chosen one.”
Mary was puzzled. “I don’t understand,” she said, “I am not yet married.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come to you and God will make this possible. All things are possible for God.”
Mary trusted in God. She listened to all that the angel said to her. Then she simply said, “Yes… I will do whatever God wants.”
Children learned that:
- Mary did an extraordinary thing for God and people honour her because she said ‘Yes’ to God and became the mother of God’s Son, Jesus.
- Mary responded to the Angel with the word “Fi-at”. This is Latin for “Let it be done”. It shows that Mary totally and immediately accepted God’s plan for her.
- Mary shows us a great example: she listened to God and trusted in Him.
- We can follow Mary’s example by listening to God in prayer and saying ‘yes’ – ‘Fi-at’ to whatever God has planned for us.
See what the Pilgrimage Guides had to say at the end of this assembly:
- Help your child/ren to recall learning from the assembly by showing them the Our Lady of Walsingham statue and discussing the clues/meanings together.
- Remind children that God’s dream is for us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him by sharing His love with others. Discuss with your child/ren how we can say ‘yes’ to God’s plan for us each day.
At the start of this new school term, why not pray together with your child this prayer of recommitment to following Jesus:
You also might like to pray together the Hail Mary:
full of grace
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death.