Today, our girls and boys celebrate “Every Child’s Birthday” with the Sisters at each of their schools worldwide.
Birthdays are special milestone moments for every child. Birthday parties, with presents, cake and candles are customary for so many children, the chance to remember the anniversary of their birth, celebrate and make new memories.
For the boys and girls who come to our schools, a birthday celebration is an unknown luxury. Many of the children have never received a birthday gift or may not even know their birth date or true age. Living in extreme deprivation means families cannot afford birthday celebrations, for them daily survival is their challenge. So our 15th August birthday celebrations at school have a special significance.
Each year on 15th August with the help of our supporters, we ensure every child in our care at school (that’s 20,000 children) can celebrate their birthday. Every child receives a small individually wrapped gift, and enjoys a celebration party, with some special treats, cake with candles and sometimes ice cream.
Its a day of undiluted joy for these children. They look forward to it for months before and talk about it for months, sometimes years afterwards – making memories that last them a lifetime.
This year we invited Cardinal Vincent Nicols, Archbishop of Westminster, to give the boys and girls a special prayer of encouragement on their birthday. The attached message is being shared with every child in our schools worldwide today.
WESTMINSTER, LONDON, SWlP lQJ
15 August 2022
I was pleased indeed to be invited by one of the trustees of the World Villages for Children, Clare Bamberger, to share a prayer with you as you celebrate ‘all the children’s birthday.’
On such an important occasion, it is only right that you should receive a gift! Indeed, your education is such a very precious gift. It is truly God-given. It is a gift to be nurtured and to be shared with others as you journey through life. May you always feel the love of Our Blessed Lord and be inspired to reach your full potential.
A few years ago, in 2016, Pope Francis told young people at the World Youth Day that: ‘Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives. When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things.’
Never underestimate the power of prayer, of sharing your concerns and your joys with God. And, most especially, do not forget to thank God for all his gifts to you, your education being a very important one, one that will enable you to become ‘capable of truly great things’.
Dear Lord, Thank you for being with me as I journey through, life. Thank you for the Sisters of Mary and for my teachers who give me the benefit of an education. Please give me the courage to grasp the opportunities that come my way so that I may fully embrace the gifts that I am given. And, to readily share those gifts with others. Please always hold me in your immense love and joy through every stage of my being. Amen.
May Our Blessed Lady pray for you. With every blessing and a very Happy Birthday!
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
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