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Pope Francis sends letter and blessed crucifix to St Edward's Primary School

By Chloe Holmwood

An Island school which invited the Pope to an anniversary celebration is overwhelmed to have received a response from the Vatican.

St Edward’s Primary School in New Road, Sheerness celebrated 150 years of Catholic education on Sheppey in November with a Sunday Mass followed by a party.

While planning the celebration, Year 6 pupil Iqra Begum decided to send a letter to Pope Francis to ask if he wanted to attend.

Staff and pupils had a surprise message from the Pope

Head teacher Sara Wakefield said: “We sent the letter off to Rome, just before the October half-term, not thinking anymore about it.

"The next thing, an embossed envelope turned up from Vatican City.

"Inside was a letter, together with a photograph of Pope Francis and a blessed crucifix.

"I couldn’t believe it. We just assumed it was a nice sentiment to invite him to our party, we didn’t actually think we would get a personal response, which is so nice.”

In it, Edgar Peña, substitute for general affairs of the Secretariat of State at the Vatican, spoke for the pontiff.

Head teacher at St Edwards Catholic Primary School, Sara Wakeford, with pupils Alex, Iqra, Naomi, Veronica, Demi-Leigh and David with their letter from Pope Francis
Head teacher at St Edwards Catholic Primary School, Sara Wakeford, with pupils Alex, Iqra, Naomi, Veronica, Demi-Leigh and David with their letter from Pope Francis

He said Pope Francis appreciated the letter adding: “With the assurance of his prayers for you and the entire school community, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The school called a special assembly to read the response to the children.

“They kept saying ‘wow’,” Mrs Wakefield said.

“They were as shocked and excited as we were.”

The letter has now been framed, along with the photograph and crucifix, and is set to be displayed in the school’s entrance foyer.

The Vatican sent the school a photograph of Pope Francis and a blessed crucifix
The Vatican sent the school a photograph of Pope Francis and a blessed crucifix

Mrs Wakefield said: “We are a very family-orientated and inclusive little school.

“What’s so lovely is that 30% of our children are Catholic, but every single child was so excited.”

The school marks its 90th anniversary this year with a celebration on July 5.

Ex-pupils wishing to attend should call the school.

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