Hundreds of children join Arundel & Brighton’s Good Shepherd celebration at Worth Abbey

July 8, 2024

School pupils process through a congregation of school staff and children wearing many different uniforms, carrying handmade posters

Pupils from our diocesan family of Catholic schools journeyed to Worth Abbey last week for the annual Good Shepherd celebration, led by Bishop Richard. The theme for this year’s Good Shepherd service centred on Pope Francis’ Year of Prayer for the 2025 Jubilee, with students invited to create an artistic representation of the Our Father prayer for presentation during the liturgy, written in the languages spoken by their school community. Speaking during the celebration, Bishop Richard said:

“Today we celebrate that every member of our diocesan family, and everyone around the world has just one Father - Abba Father - this one loving God who draws us together as His people and wants us to be His.”

The Good Shepherd offers primary and secondary pupils across Sussex and Surrey with an enriching opportunity to explore and celebrate the Catholic faith as a diocesan community, with children of all ages and backgrounds sharing their gifts and talents. This years’ service included a Gathering Song led by students from St Joseph’s Specialist Trust in Cranleigh, with readings and reflections from Annecy, Seaford; St Edmund’s, Godalming; Our Lady Queen of Heaven, Crawley; St Joseph’s, Haywards Heath and with the singing and musical accompaniment provided by the Brighton and Hove Deanery Choir, along with our Choral Directors.

Diocesan schools fundraise throughout the year in support of Mission Together, the children’s branch of Missio, the Catholic Church’s official charity for overseas mission. This year’s combined fundraising efforts saw a cheque for £5,766.18 - the largest ever – presented to Fran Thomas, a representative of the charity during the celebration. Speaking on behalf of Missio, Fran said:

“Thinking of other people is giving your heart and sharing your joy. Helping other people is so important. Life is difficult for everyone at the moment, but you and your families have shown great generosity, and have helped 20,000 children around the world who are experiencing war or poverty. Your help will contribute to people’s dignity and education - helping others to have a better future. You are children helping children and we thank you very much.”

Bishop Richard added:

“Today we celebrate that God has asked us to act and our schools have responded. Thank you for being the people that you are - people who answer the needs of others, people who do their best to respond to what God asks us to do each and every day of our lives. May the will of God our father always be done through each one of us.”