Something that has struck me very much in my job in school is how many of our students have been affected by death. The death of a friend, a neighbour, or of a family member. This becomes very obvious in the month of November, a time when we make space to remember those who have died.
Every year, during the month of November, I try to take all class groups in my school to give them a chance to remember loved ones. We go to our prayer room, do a simple ceremony, and the students record the name of whoever they want to remember in a book of intentions. And every year it amazes me how many names are recorded. It amazes me how many of our students have been affected by loss.
Whenever the book of intentions isn’t being used in the prayer room, it stays in a prominent space beside the main office in the school, for visitors and staff to record names of their loved ones.
It’s a simple thing to do, and it means a lot to those who take part in it. Some students may cry, some may just go very quiet, all give a huge amount of respect as they recognise what their friends are going through.
So, tomorrow when I go into work, one of my first jobs will be to prepare (with the help of students) the spaces that we will use to help each other in remembering those who have died. For me, the coming month is one of the most important times for our students in the year.
In parishes across the country, people remember their dead in different ways. It may be a book of remembrance displayed in a church, it may be by having intentions read out, it may be by making an effort to visit the graveyard and spend some time there.
As we remember those who we have lost, We pray that they may rest in peace, and we hope for a bit of comfort for ourselves.