Celebrate Grandparents in your Catholic School and/or Parish!

Grandparents’ Week: 21st – 28th October 2018

As a Diocese we are working to encourage our parishes and their schools to raise the profile of grandparents and to support them in their role.

In many families grandparents are playing a more significant role; helping with childcare, providing stability in fractured families and passing on the faith. The current generation of grandparents have a wealth of knowledge and experience and a desire to plant in their grandchildren a seed of faith where parents may have lost interest or have fallen away from the church.

It would be wonderful if during this week your school and or parish could do something to celebrate the gifts that grandparents bring; start small and have grandparents (and willing grand “friends”) visit one class/year group or go large and involve the whole school and invite the parish. There are many within the parishes who would welcome the opportunity to become an honorary grandparent – either where families have deceased relatives or where they simply live too far away. This provides a wonderful opportunity to strengthen parish ties or establish new ones.

This week could be a time:

  • When children could celebrate their achievements by proudly showing their grandparents what they do in school.
  • Where children work with their grandparents on a project in a variety of curriculum areas
  • When children share experiences in common such as First Communion and explore changes.
  • Where children learn from their grandparents drawing on their wisdom and knowledge.
  • When children teach their grandparents new skills for this modern age.
  • When children thank their grandparents by celebrating with them and spoiling them.
  • Where children lead a parish celebration in honour of their grandparents.

There are lots of ways to involve grandparents into the life of your school or parish.

Several websites exist with abundant ideas;

Here is an idea of what some of our schools and parishes did in previous years;

  • A celebration of Grandparents incorporated into a School / Parish Sunday Mass by including bidding prayers for Grandparents.

Primary school children given Grandparent related homework tasks:

  • Writing poems /prayers about grandparents.
  • E.g. project for the half term; asked to interview their grandparent(s) focussing on life changing events, world events and advice for the future.

Grandparents invited into school whether as a whole school event or on different days for different classes, each teacher doing something on their own. This included;

  • School tours (with a special welcome from each class).
  • Grandparents joining their grandchildren to experience a wonderful creative curriculum experience.
  • Concerts.
  • Afternoon tea.
  • Reading prayers/ poems children had written about their grandparents.
  • Grandparents reading stories.
  • Craft/ cooking sessions with grandparents.
  • Bookmarks made for and presented to grandparents.
  • Nursery play sessions with grandparents.

Special invitations to grandparents to attend session during High School Mission week.

Let your imagination run riot to mark this week in some way!

We would welcome any news or photos of your events and would be delighted to assist if you wanted any further help or support.

A Grand Day Out 2016

The first Welsh Provincial Grandparents Pilgrimage took place at Belmont Abbey, Saturday July 16th.

It is important to recognise that families come in all shapes & sizes; each one is unique, no two families are ever the same. Therefore the ways of supporting and the involvement of grandparents will vary from family to family.

In many families grandparents play a significant role; helping with childcare, providing stability in fractured families, financial support and passing on the faith.

It was hoped that this event would provide grandparents the opportunity to share their faith with their grandchildren and families in a fun and relaxed environment; no pressure, no obligation just families sharing a day together and celebrating the roles of Grandparents in our families today. To read the full report of the day click here.

All the UCM Mothers who came enjoyed their day at Belmont.  The grandchildren who came with us, also, had a lovely time. They  enjoyed the bouncy castles, face painting and games.  It was a lovely ending to the afternoon when we celebrated mass in the Cathedral.  I was asked by one of the Mums ‘Was there going to be another day out at Belmont because her husband enjoyed the day so much, he wants to go again.

In confidence, Jo, I was quite touched to be asked this as this person has had problems and, as far as I know, doesn’t go out much.  So I was really happy this day meant so much to him. I think he is a catholic but hadn’t been to mass for quite a while.  So the Holy Spirit moves in mysterious ways.  I was going to tell you this when I next see you but just in case I don’t make the next meeting (I am in the process of trying to book a holiday but not sure what date it will be) thought I would mention it now.

Would like to congratulate you and the others who helped in any way, for organising a lovely day to remember.  I know it was a lot of hard work and probably worry for you but you got there in the end. Well done.

UCM Mothers

It really was a very grand day out for all those families who came together from the three dioceses of Wales to Belmont on Saturday, July 16th.  There was something for everyone to enjoy, no matter what their age, from toddlers to grandparents. The monks of Belmont Abbey had provided us with a beautiful setting which could be explored, and a totally relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in which families had the opportunity to share such fun activities as the bouncy castle, face painting, picnics and races, while also preparing prayer balloons, making handprints on an altar cloth to be used at the Mass concelebrated by the three Welsh bishops, and joining the rosary procession. 

Even the weather worked well for us, being warm and sunny.  All the hard work by the Family Support Workers and Family Life Commissions produced a wonderful day for our Catholic families to share their faith in a relaxed and fun environment. Hopefully, those who were lucky enough to be present this year will spread the word to encourage even more to come together if this wonderful occasion is repeated.

Ann Ballard

I am pleased and not surprised that you have had some very positive feedback about the day.   The numbers were a bit disappointing – perhaps the emphasis on grandparents / grandchildren made people feel that they could only come if they could bring either!  I know the reasoning behind it, but perhaps a family day would work better, especially if people have to travel quite a distance.  Having said that, the abbey seemed pretty full for the Mass!    I find it difficult to comment on other activities having spent the time in the parish centre!   

We didn’t have a lot of takers, but those who came seemed to really enjoy what we had to offer.   I think some only found us when they came to find the toilets!    Another time we should think of putting up a large poster to advertise where we are and what we have to offer.   It was clear from the reaction to the balloons etc.- after Mass that there was a good atmosphere and enthusiasm for the earlier activities.   

I hope you felt the day was worthwhile and would be prepared to consider something similar again.   

Brenda WardeEducational Department - Belmont Abbey

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