Leader’s notes for involving children in the CAFOD Advent Service

If you would like children to be involved in the Advent Service, perhaps you could approach your Parish Primary School, children’s liturgy group or youth group. Please see these suggestions for how children can easily get involved by acting out the story of Kunja and Sufan as it is being read. Spend time before the service explaining the story.

Information about CAFOD’s work in Pakistan can be found at:

cafod.org.uk/emergencies

Resources for primary schools can be found at caford.org.uk/primary

Resources for children’t liturgy can be found at caford/org.uk/childrensliturgy

Suggestions for props:

Blankets, toys, clothing items, little pots to signify family possessions. Bamboo sticks, blankets, cushions etc to make dens, which can signify rebuilding.

A. Instructions for the first part of the story

Sitting in a group clost together, one of the children points to something in the distance, and then they quickly gather together possessions to carry (perhaps a favourite toy, a blanket) adn they quickly travel to another part of the Church, looking behind them as they go. The reach another part of the Church and stay tehre.

Reader 1: My name is Kunja.

Reader 2: And I am his wife, Sufan. We live with our nine children in a village in South West Pakistan.

Reader 1: At the end of July 2010 there were torrential monsoon rains across huge swathes of our country and more than 18 million people were affected by the floods. We didn’t want to run from our village, and leave our home.

The main road into our village was on an embankment. We hoped that it would act as a dam, protecting our home from the floods. But late one evening in August 2010, water started gushing across the road.

Reader 2: It’s hard to describe how we felt as we gathered our children – five girls and four boys – and fled, clutching as many of our possessions as we could carry. We knew that within just a few hours, our house, our animals, our land and almost everything we owned would be underwater.

B. Instructions for the second part of the story:

The readers, who should now be in the middle pews of the Church, come out to the front to read the next part of the story. While it is being read, the children get up, and take their bundles slowly back to where they had first been sitting. They stare at the ground, as if they cannot believe their eyes. But then other children come in and hand the “family” items, such as buckets, blankets, clothes, bamboo canes (to be put aside, used for the next part) the children wrap themselves up and look happier. They then all sit down again as the reading comes to an end.

Reader 1: The journey to higher ground was very dangerous, but, like millions of others, we had no choice but to flee. We eventually reached the town of Dera Marad Jamati, where relatives agreed to give us shelter. We knew it would be weeks before it was sage to go home.

When we returned home more than a month after the floods first hit, we were astonished by the extent of the damage. Our house was just a pile of mud. All we had were two trunks of clothes.

Reader 2: But by the end of September CAFOD’s local partners had visited our village and given us vital equipment – blankets, mosquito nets and buckets. All the items we were given were usefl, there is nothing we don’t use.

C. Instructions for the intercessions

The children could come up to the front witha  a prayer each that they have written, or you could use those suggested in the liturgy outline.

D. Instructions for the third part of the story:

The readers come to the front of the Church to finish the story. The children have bamboo sticks (like garden canes, string and cushions, maybe items such as pots and pans) and while the story is read out they work together to create a little den and mime cooking and eating food.

As the reading comes to an end, the children finish building and sit by their den.

Reader 2: We started building new shelters with kits of bamboo, reed matting and plastic sheeting. These are not just temporary: we are now starting to adapt them into permanent houses, by building mud-brick walls.

Reader 1: This is good news for me, as I am a mason! Things are bad at the moment as there is not much work about. But soon, I’ll have a lot of work, because people will start to rebuild.

Reader 3: With the help and solidarity of people like you and your community, through your prayers, gifts and actions, Kunja and Sufan have been able to pick up the pieces after one ofhte works catastrophes of recent times. Now they can rebuild their lives.

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