“In their weakness, a saving power…”

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/launching-world-day-poor-francis-says-no-christian-may-disregard-serving-themImagem: The Catholic Reporter


 On the 19th November, by the invitation of the chief of the Catholic Church, we are celebrating the “World Day of the Poor”.

      In Portugal, each parish chose to open a special space and time, for anyone who may wish, to come freely and spend some time together, all different groups of people, just having a light meal and talking to each other, just deepening human links.

     At the same time, on the backstage, intense campaigns are collecting offers in species or money to support vulnerable families and help them to live  Christmas and through the whole new year, at least until spring, where the campaigns start over again for Easter.

     According to the site “Our World in Data”, along the past two hundred years, extreme poverty has been progressively decreasing in intimate connexion with improvement in health and the expansion of global education.

     However, they are also aware that “living conditions well above the International Poverty Line can still be characterized by poverty and hardship.”

    That’s precisely the case in our country, striving with external debt, high unemployment rates, thousands of people living with minimal salaries, with 40 hours of labour per week, 2,6 million people on the risk of poverty and, only this summer, 418 thousands hectares burned mostly in criminal fires. 

http://www.paroquiadecascais.org/content/view/39808/1/Image Author: João Pinto

     What can we do? First, there’s a lot we are already doing all over the world. Not enough, though. Secondly, then, we must simply enlarge our common actions and multiply our solidarity initiatives.

    Today, the seventh week of the Students Blogging Challenge, Miss Sue W has published the awesome initiatives of young people like Mahica Halepete who created a foundation aiming at contributing to end extreme poverty as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Miss Sue herself gives us some precious and easy tips to contribute locally.

     Our small parish in – Cascais – is engaged in dialogue and support with the martyr town of Erbil, in Iraq, with whom we exchange visits and help to rebuild their clinic.

      The 29 November, our solidarity Foundation AJU will held its Christmas fair, at a central hotel, to gather funds for the 350 families it supports trough several projects on a daily basis.

https://www.facebook.com/fundacaoaju/photos/a.387710261282085.91831.387710131282098/1467202813332819/?type=1&theaterImagem: AJU Facebook

      In our school, all the campaigns, along this school year, will support three centres in Cape Vert (from where hurricanes are blown), mainly poor schools whose buildings are too old and have no adequate resources.

     Just a drop in the ocean, that makes a difference to our brothers, the Poor, and, according to Francis, it makes a difference also to each of us, as

“In their weakness, a “saving power” is present.”

     “What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes.

So we must seek what really matters, and the courage to love, not in words but in deeds”. (1)

     (1) Pope Francis on “the World Day of the Poor


An Exercise for Creative Writing

dois alunos escrevem na oficina   Imagem: Oficina de Escrita

      Some days ago, a Science Teacher asked on Twitter about the eventual interest of an exercise of creative writing that consists in writing by alternate paragraphs, with our students, or to invite them to do it in pairs. I’ll explain here how I do it, as it became one of my students favourite ways of writing

 I learned to write in this way in the children’s book “Quero ser Escritor” (I want to be a Writer), which offers a wide variety of exercises to enhance creative writing. 

  • First, we create together a very “light” prompt – just the general ideas, to preserve the “effect of surprise” this kind of writing provides.
  •  Than we start writing, but must change our notebooks at regular intervals; usually I wait for students to give me the signal. If both writers are students, we agree upon a certain time interval and I warn them when they must change notebooks.
  • Each co-writer is supposed to read the other’s paragraph and to continue his line of thought.
  • When writing with the teacher, Students may be confronted with a paragraph that is out of their immediate “writing-context”, as it is spontaneously more complex and more elaborated; as they must continue the line of thought expressed in the sentences, the adult’s paragraph operates like a model that usually impels young students to structure their sentences more carefully and to enrich their vocabulary.

 I’ve tried this exercise with short narratives – even at “three hands” – and although they usually turn to be very funny, the writing level remains simpler and the vocabulary tends to show less variety.

    This year, in our school, we are working a global theme concerning values: “To be +”. Its abstract and reflective nature makes it easier to alternate paragraphs by different authors.

    In both ways, there is a special empathy and genuine communication growing between co-writers.


With a Guest Blogger: “Being Humble”

 Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash

  Photo by Vittorio Zamboni on Unsplash   

   This post has been written “at two hands” in alternate paragraphs, with my Guest Blogger:   Margarida CC, 6th Grade.

     Being Humble is an attitude that must be worked out every day: as a cork on the water is constantly pushed to the surface, so we suffer from a natural tendency to become the centre of everything.

    Being Humble may include:

  • Being kind to others;
  • To be aware of ourselves: thus we keep in contact and know more about ourselves.
  • Others get more attention, they feel that someone else understands them.
  • It isn’t enough to be tender and friendly, you have yet to share actively your gifts with others, as a painter shares his pictures, a teacher shares his wisdom and a priest shares his faith.

     As any other value, we may train humility in very simple ways, on a daily basis:

  • To wait five seconds before speaking when a discussion becomes too hot.
  • While engaging in a dialogue with someone, to make a conscientious decision to listen more than to talk.
  • To appreciate the presence of others by raising non-intrusive questions, thus helping others to show the richness of their perspectives.

    To be humble is also to be able to say honestly which attitudes we don’t approve in others without  needing to hurt anyone.

Margarida CC and Ines

Text written “at two hands” according to the book “Quero Ser Escritor” by Margarida Fonseca Santos and Elsa Serra