St Marie’s Catholic Primary School in Sheffield is celebrating the start of a new Mini Vinnie group. The Mini Vinnies are part of the Youth apostolate of the SVP aimed at children between 7 and 11 years of age. Mini Vinnies gather together to pray, think about ways to help others and organise activities to this effect. The group was formed in December and had its commissioning ceremony in January.
The group needs certain positions of responsibility – chair, secretary, treasurer, just like an adult SVP conference – and at St Marie’s they were randomly selected and got to choose which role to take. In addition they have pupils taking the lead on communication, fund raising and ideas.
To date the group has turned their concerns into actions quite organically. Just before Christmas the Mini Vinnies sang at a local care home. The group decided it would be lovely to bring Christmas cards for the residents with them. Pete Delamere, a member of the adult conference at St Vincent’s, also visited the group and told them about a lady he knew who would really benefit from a card. They decided to send a card for her too. After returning from the home, the children were able to talk fondly of their visit, having noticed the joy from those they had given cards to and felt they should contact the home. One child (on the communications team) went home and typed a letter to the home, saying they’d love to come and sing again.
With the commissioning ceremony a success, the Mini Vinnies at St Marie’s are looking forward to being active in 2020. They have mentioned a litter pick and the Ideas Committee is working on other potential activities.
The Mini Vinnies require guidance and support from adults and St Marie’s is blessed in having 3 key figures; 2 members of staff, Bernie Twomey and Katie Healy, as well as Pete Delamere who is a regular in school helping out in a range of ways.
The Mini Vinnies bring an added dimension to what a pupil might experience at school and certainly offer opportunities to promote their faith, for example through building community and parish links and cross-generational opportunities. It looks like being an exciting year for the Mini Vinnies in 2020.