Posted by: CESEW | 14/09/2010

Widgit order of service now available

The Christian Education Centre have kindly produced a Widgit version of the order of service for ‘The Big Assembly’ for students with special educational needs. You can access this by clicking here and downloading it from the Widgit website.

The order of service matches that in the copies of ‘Magnificat’ now available in parishes and as a pdf online here. This is the full order of service for ‘The Big Assembly’ and includes the words to all of the hymns that will be sung on Friday.

 We’ll also be publishing the pdf of the specially commissioned order of service for ‘The Big Assembly’ participants online soon. This has more information about our lead participants and includes special welcomes from the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP and the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP. However, if you want to practise the hymns before this publication, don’t forget that the lyrics are available online here and the music can be found in most hymn books!


3 days to go!

We now have just three days to go and you may have seen that lots of regional papers have covered ‘The Big Assembly’ recently. A selection of links to various articles can be found below.

‘York children to watch Pope Benedict XVI live on big screen at Knavesmire’ (York Press)

‘Twickenham gears up for Pope Benedict XVI visit’ (Richmond and Twickenham Times)

‘Catholics join in excitement of Pope Benedict’s visit’ (BBC North West Wales)

‘Pupils to meet the Pope thanks to their work with Gambian school’ (Plymouth Herald)

‘Big Assembly beckons for Dumfries’ Papal delegates’ (Dumfries and Galloway Standard)

‘Nailsea schoolchildren prepare for Papal visit’ (Nailsea People)

‘Maria Fidelis school to sing for Pope’ (Independent Catholic News)

In addition Holy Rosary and St Anne’s choir were featured in last week’s Times Educational Supplement. Click here to read the story in full.

Maria Fidelis choir’s appearance on Songs of Praise can now be viewed online. Click here to watch it.

Members of ‘The Big Assembly’ team were interviewed behind the scenes at St Mary’s University College for LBC Radio yesterday. The photos are now available online (click here) and the interview will be broadcast later this week.

Have your school’s plans for ‘The Big Assembly’ been featured in local news? Let us know via the comment box below!

Posted by: CESEW | 13/09/2010

More on those goodie bags!

If you want to find out a bit more about what will be in the goodie bags, and to see some photos as they are constructed, click here to visit the St Mary’s website and watch the progress!

Posted by: CESEW | 13/09/2010

4 days to go! Work begins on site

4 days to go!

Some of the team were down on site at St Mary’s this morning and the site is rapidly being transformed into a venue fit for a Pope! You can see from the photos below that the stage has been erected and trackway has been put down on the running track to enable to Popemobile to travel around it when the Holy Father arrives at ‘The Big Assembly’.

Every participant at ‘The Big Assembly’ will also receive a goodie bag when they arrive, the contents of which have been donated by St Mary’s University College, Cafod, the Catholic Association of Teachers in Schools and Colleges and various local businesses. The contents of the goodie bags have begun to arrive today – starting with 4000 bottles of water! Geraldine Davies from St Mary’s has kindly co-ordinated the organisation of the goodie bags and her team of helpers will begin to put these together later this week. You can see Geraldine unloading the bottles of water below.

5 days to go!

The team are all looking forward to this Friday and the last push is really on to make sure that ‘The Big Assembly’ is a big success! Over the course of this week we’ll be joined on site at St Mary’s by all of the different people who have been working over the months to bring ‘The Big Assembly’ together.

One of the key people in this is Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP. Bishop McMahon is not only Bishop of Nottingham, but he is also the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales and the Chair of the Bishops’ Department of Education and Formation. As such he takes a special interest in education on behalf of all of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales and so he will be the Bishop who welcomes the Holy Father to ‘The Big Assembly’. You’ll see him on stage telling us a bit about ‘The Big Assembly’ during the warm up on site if you’re coming to St Mary’s as a participant on the day, and everyone will be able to watch his welcome live during the webstream of ‘The Big Assembly’ via

Don’t forget that one of our choirs, Maria Fidelis, will be on Songs of Praise on BBC1 at 7.20pm (this is slightly earlier than the time originally published). You can watch a preview online here and you’ll be able to watch the programme on BBC iPlayer for a week after the broadcast.

6 days to go!

Those of you who were listening closely to Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ message to schools yesterday will have heard him say that ‘The Big Assembly’ with the Holy Father will also mark the start of the Year of Catholic Education across England and Wales. This means that our celebration of Catholic education will not just last for one day next Friday, but in fact will go on for a whole year.

You may already have heard about plans in your own Diocese to celebrate this, or you might be planning something yourself. ‘The Big Assembly’ team have lots of ideas and if you’re a headteacher you’ll be hearing about some of the national plans for celebrating this special year over the coming months. However, we’re also keen to hear what you might be planning, or if you have any suggestions for what we could all do to help our celebrations to continue. Let us know using the comment box below!

Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ message to schools is now available to watch online. Just click here to watch it again.

Don’t forget that the Archbishop has set every school three things to do in this last week before ‘The Big Assembly’:

1. Find out some more about Pope Benedict XVI, about John Henry Newman and about the theme for ‘The Big Assembly’, ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full’. You can use the resources on this blog to help you – just click here

2. Prepare for next Friday! Invite your parents, parishioners and local community to your school to celebrate ‘The Big Assembly’ with you next Friday.

3. Pray for the success of the Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.

Our web team are working to resolve the streaming problems that some schools encountered this morning. We’ll be doing more tests this week to make sure that the live feed works next Friday – so please make sure you all tune in!

Posted by: CESEW | 10/09/2010

Web streaming this morning

Thanks to all those schools who have let us know that they had difficulties accessing the web stream this morning. Our web team are working to resolve these so that the broadcast will run smoothly next week!

1 week to go!

Don’t forget that Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be speaking live to every school this morning from10.30am online at Just click on the green box on the website to watch the webcast.

If you’re unsure whether your school can access the webcast, check out our post from yesterday where we gave some more info about the requirements needed.

Posted by: CESEW | 09/09/2010

Some more information about the live streaming

We’ve had a few emails from schools who are worried they might not have the correct software to enable them to watch the live stream of ‘The Big Assembly’ or Archbishop Nichols’ address to schools this Friday. Below you’ll find some more detailed information about the stream, which should enable you to make sure your school is able to access the stream.

The live and on-demand webcast is accessible via The feed to Archbishop Nichols’ address will be available from 10am Friday 10th September. The address itself will start at approximately 10.30am and last for 10-15 minutes. 

If you have any difficulties accessing the webcast here is some more information: 


It is being streamed as Flash video and you will require broadband Internet access.

Make sure there are no restrictions (firewall or otherwise) on allowing certain media types through (flash video)

Please enable Firewall/DNS exception to allow for papal visit domain: 


Please ensure that you test the feed as soon as possible before the address starts

You will have a re-size option on the media player to allow full screen and for those who are using projection or larger screens for group viewing this is a good option.

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