Last Thursday, 75 Children from Catholic and Jewish schools gathered for a day of interfaith encounter and charity. The students worked together out the parish hall of Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate parish in Mill Hill to assemble 400 'Vinnie Packs'.
The day celebrated the twin occasions of Mitzvah Day and World Day of the Poor, which both fell on Sunday 17th of November. Mitzvah Day is a day in the Jewish Calendar set aside for good works, known as 'Mitzvahs'.
The day was the largest schools event for Mitzvah Day, with pupils from St Joseph's Hendon, St Anthony's Schools for Girls, Bishop Challoner, Cardinal Pole, St Albert the Great, Pope Paul Catholic Primary School, Jewish Free School, Sacks Morasha and Etz Chaim attending.
Vinnie Packs are an initiative of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP). The packs contain items of winter essentials for the homeless. The SVP distributes these packs to anybody who needs them across the UK. Siobhan Garibaldi from the SVP was instrumental in the success of the day, providing the materials and engaging the pupils.
Some of the packs from this 'Mitzvah Day' are to be distributed to the North London Synagogue Asylum Seeker Drop-In.
Pope Francis in the Mass for World Day of the Poor said "the poor reveal to us the riches that never grow old, that unite heaven and earth, the riches for which life is truly worth living: the riches of love". This sentiment was reflected throughout the day. Pupils wrote heartfelt notes to be included in the packs with words of compassion and encouragement:
"Dear receiver, this pack is complete with lots of stuff to keep you warm. I hope that you wake up feeling refreshed and with many people around you. Let the angels help you. - A person who cares."
"Dear reader, I hope this kit and letter brightens your day! Today has been the best day ever for you and me. Speak out, stay safe and good luck!"
The day was jointly coordinated by Caritas Westminster, Mitzvah Day and the Society of St Vincent de Paul. In attendance were Lady Daniella Pears, the Interfaith Coordinator for Mitzvah Day, its interfaith Advisor, Rabbi Jeff Berger, as well as Parish Priest of Mill Hill, Fr Eugene Curran CM and Sister Anthony O'Rourke of Saint Joseph's Convent.
More pictures will be coming soon on ICN's Facebook page.
Mitzvah Day: https://mitzvahday.org.uk/
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