All Hallows Catholic College has marked one hundred years since the start of the Great War with the opening of The Pax Christi Peace and Memorial Garden in the grounds of its campus. A Peace Pole bearing the words ‘May peace prevail on earth’ in many languages was ceremonially processed into the garden and the Right Reverend Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury then blessed the garden with a sprinkling of Holy Water. Following the ceremony all the guests were invited to scatter poppy and wild flower seeds to recall the flowers which brought red colour to the battle fields after the fighting.
Matt Jeziorski representing Pax Christi, the International Catholic Peace organisation said, ‘It is wonderfully encouraging for all of us at Pax Christi to see a school taking up the challenge of pe
ace-making in this way. All Hallows stands as an example to other schools seeking to put their faith into action’.
The blessing was also attended by the Head teachers and children from partner primary schools, and members of St Albans parish Justice and Peace group.
On an atmospheric morning with fog looming over the garden the design had added poignancy. At the heart of the garden is a re-creation of a first world war trench, a reminder of the harrowing experience of being in a trench and going ‘over the top’ into conflict.
Railway sleepers lining the trench remind visitors of how the trenches were strengthened and of the trains which took people away from families with the hope of a reunion and safe return.
Sandbags, filled with concrete, form the seating and a curved display wall provides a place for information, stories, poetry and prayers to be found from the period or written by students.
Principal, Tony Billings said ‘All the curriculum subjects are linked with the project and the garden will be a major part of All Hallow’s annual November Remembrance Liturgy. The garden also provides a resource for partner schools. The project has been achieved as a result of the support of our local housing association, Cheshire Peaks and Plains who commissioned an inspirational landscape gardener, Mr. John Tilley, to work with our students on the design. It will leave a legacy for many years to come. ’
Words and images from All Hallow’s Catholic College