St David's Day

In short...

Themes: St David's Day; the patron saints; St David (Dewi Sant); devotion.

Summary: This assembly is ideal to schedule on - or shortly before - St David's Day (1st March). St David is 'Dewi Sant' in Welsh. He lived during the 6th century and was a native of Wales. There are many traditional stories about David recorded in the Buchedd Dewi ('Life of David'). One of the best-known of these features in the video clip: how David restores the eyesight of his aged tutor, Paulinus.

Resources: the framework to download / print (pdf) and a slideshow titled Which patron saint..?, in which each image is a clue to the saint's identity.

The video

The video clip tells the popular story of how David heals the eyesight of his aged tutor, the monk Paulinus. It is the 6th century and David and the other young monks are looked after by their tutor, Paulinus. One day Paulinus's sight begins to fail and shortly after he goes blind. Paulinus prays that one of the young monks will be able to restore his eyesight.

One by one, each of the monks places their hands on Paulinus's eyes - without success. Then it is David's turn - and when he takes his hands away Paulinus finds he can see once more. But Paulinus's joy is tinged with sadness: he knows that David will lead an extraordinary life and that it is time for David to leave and go out into the world.

Duration: 4' 10"

End of speech: '...the very one where St David's Cathedral now stands.'

Video questions

  • What is the name of the monk who is David's tutor? (Paulinus)
  • What is the first sign that Paulinus's eyesight is failing? (He struggles to read the words of the Bible)
  • What does Paulinus pray for once he has gone blind? (That God will allow one of the young monks to restore his eyesight)
  • Which of the monks is the last to touch Paulinus's eyes? (David)
  • Why is Paulinus a little sad after David has healed him? (He is sure that David will soon leave the monastery)

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
document
Slideshow: Which patron saint..?
image
Voxpops video: What is a saint..?

Suggested framework

1. Entry music
You could choose to do an internet search using the terms 'Traditional Welsh music'.

2. Introduction
Ask pupils what they think a ‘saint’ is? Gather responses. You could also play the Voxpops video ‘What is a saint..?’ - see ‘Key links’ - to give the assembly some inspiration. If your school is associated with a particular saint, what do the children know about them? Once pupils have explored what a saint is ask what a ‘patron saint’ is. Gather responses. Explain: ‘A patron saint is someone regarded as the special protector of a country or place…or perhaps a type of profession or activity. Each of the four countries that make up the UK and Ireland have a patron saint and each of them has their own special saint’s day. One of those special days is today will be happening soon. But which is it? Perhaps we can decide by looking at these pictures… Display the gallery ‘Which patron saint..?’ Continue: 'St David lived in Wales about 1500 years ago. There are many stories about David’s life and we’re going to find out about one of them now…'

3. The video
Play the video. The duration is 4' 10" and the final words are: '...the very one where St David's Cathedral now stands.'

4. After the video
You could use the Video questions (above) to help the children focus on details of the story.

5. Time to talk
Lead a discussion about the story and the character of David. You could ask:

  • Why do you think David's touch restored Paulinus's sight?
  • What was different about David?
  • How did Paulinus know that David was special?
  • What qualities do you think David had that made him worthy of becoming a saint?
  • The story ends with an event called a 'miracle'. What other miracles are the children aware of in stories?

6. Opportunity to sing
If your assembly is to include a song this would be a good time for it. Suggestions from BBC collections below.

7. Opportunity for reflection
Make sure the assembly is quiet and listening carefully.
We've been thinking today about St David and about St David's Day - a special day when people choose to remember St David's achievements...
David told his followers: 'Do the little things you have seen me do'...
Think to yourself about that might mean...
What little things can we all do that, however small, are actually important things..?
What 'little things' can you do today to make a difference, like St David..?
For a friend...or a family member...or for someone else..?

8. Opportunity for prayer
Use your usual form of address ('Dear God', 'Lord Jesus', etc) and:
Thank you for the life of Saint David.
Thank you for giving him such courage and wisdom.
Help us to remember all the remarkable things he did in his life...and help us all to do the 'little things' that make a really big difference.
Amen.

Suggested songs

Song: 'Praise Him' (Come and Praise, no 40. Vocal version)