SAINT BRIGID FEBRUARY 1st

May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunlight Shine upon you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and be warmed and also a friend. And may the light shine out of your eyes, like a candle set in the window of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm. And may the blessing of the rain be on you – the soft sweet rain; May it fall upon your spirit so that all the little flowers may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air. And may the blessing of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star. And may the blessing of the earth be on you – the great round earth; May you ever have a kindly greeting from them you pass as you’re going along the roads. May the earth be soft under you when you rest upon it, tired at the end of a day, and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lie out under it. May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be off from under it so quickly, and up and off, and on its way to God. And now may the Lord (and Lady) bless you and bless you kindly Amen.

A Prayer to St Brigid of Faughart.

Brigid Patroness of the Irish and woman of deep faith

We salute you as with Patrick you helped the Irish come to faith in Jesus.

Your love for the Master drove you to be an apostle of the faith.

Your compassion for the poor and sick knew no boundaries.

People recognised in your heart the Light of the world. Your love for all creation drew wild creatures to trust you .

You were always a woman of action more centred on people than bricks and stones.

A woven cross of reeds helped a dying man grieve for his sins resulting in forgiveness and reconciliation.

Encircle us with your cloak of charity and help us all find a renewed faith in Jesus our common Master.

Help us reach out to the Christ we meet daily in the faces of those in need who approach us for comfort, help us to seek their Blessing upon us as we wash their feet and try to bind their wounds.

Mary of the Irish show a mother’s protective care to all who call upon you in need. Help us always to care for our beautiful planet Mother Earth.

Brigid of Faughart, pray for us.  Amen.

CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK 2023.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Wednesday 18 January and continues until 25 January.

The theme this year is “Belonging: Praying for Unity amidst Injustice”. Following dialogue between the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches, the resources for this year have been compiled by the churches in Minneapolis. They seek to challenge us in how we witness to Christian Unity in the midst of turmoil and racism in our world.

Here in Ireland, this year of 2023 marks two important anniversaries of key events of the journey towards Christian Unity. This year is the centenary of the formation of the Irish Council of Churches and it also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ballymascanlon Meetings between the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches on the island of Ireland in 1973, a structure that is now the Irish Inter-Church Meeting.

Today, these are the bodies for inter-church dialogue in Ireland as we continue to work together for peace, reconciliation and social justice. As we know, that work is unfinished; sectarianism is still, sadly, a major problem in communities and political life in the north while the growth of racism is increasingly evident across the island. The current cost of living crisis and the effects of the war in Ukraine add to this turmoil.

It is in this context that we mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year- giving thanks for the progress made by the Churches at various levels over the decades but seeking to place our continuing journey of witness to Christ’s desire for unity alongside his radical call to discipleship and social justice.

Please find attached a hard copy of the resources. Further resources can be found on the ICC website Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 – Irish Council of Churches and Irish Inter Church Meeting (irishchurches.org)

So let us journey onwards with a reconciling vision of hope, singing together an anthem of “be-longing”: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:5-6).”  Amen.

Address by Archbishop Eamon at St Annes Cathedral Belfast

ADVENT & CHRISTMAS RESOURCES 2022

Tonight we begin the Season of Advent. Below are some resources you may wish to download to use with students.

For Lectio or Taize Prayer

Advent resources and events 2022 A list published today by ICN

I will add more as the weeks unfold.

ASSEMBLY RESOURCES

I came across an article for grownups about the meaning of Advent from a number of perspectives. I cannot recall where or who wrote it. It is worth a read as we enter these 4 weeks together.

Cafod has some great Advent Resources for schools this year.

MISSIO also has a series of useful materials for younger students.

SOME CHRISTMAS RESOURCES

Children love to colour and write a birthday message / Card for Jesus. See attached. This could be placed on Christmas night or morning by the crib at home, or the parish crib, or school crib.

CSW 23 Catholic Schools; Walking together in Faith and Love.

CATHOLIC SCHOOL’S WEEK 2023  

Our theme for this year is ‘Catholic Schools: Walking together in Faith and Love’.  During this week, we celebrate how Catholic Schools help all our young people to achieve their full potential and journey together with the Lord in faith and in love. We will focus and pray using the story of the Disciples walking together with the Risen Lord on the Emmaus Road.

ARCHDIOCESE OF ARMAGH CELEBRATIONS:

This year we hope to have a downloadable video for class or school in-house celebrations and /or assemblies. In addition, we are planning two Armagh Diocesan Liturgical Celebrations. It will be great for folk to return to gathering as a Diocesan Faith Community.

  1. Tuesday, January 24th Led by Archbishop Eamon St John The Baptist Church, Drumcree Portadown starting at 11.30 am.
  2. Seinn will be celebrating on Wednesday, January 25th at The Redeemer Church, Ard Easmuin Dundalk starting at 11.30 am. Archbishop Eamon will speak and participate.
  3. “A movie entitled The Letter was recently released which focuses on Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si and the impact of climate change and many other environmental issues.  The theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week is “Walking together in faith and love”.  The Armagh diocesan Youth Commission is hosting showings of The Letter to highlight the need to walk together with all of creation in Faith and Love. 
  4. Barbican Centre Drogheda – One Showing which will take place on Wednesday 1st February 2023.  10am – 1pm
  5. Market Place Theatre, Studio – Two Showings on 23rd January 2023 1oam and 2pm A further showing will take place in the Market place Theatre on the evening of the 23rd at 7pm for young adults.  This showing will be available for booking with the Market Place Theatre”

NATIONAL RESOURCES

Reflecting on the theme, and on the process of synodality, the writers for Catholic Schools Week 2023 identified three features of synodality helpful to exploring ‘Walking Together in Faith & Love’:

• Communion
• Participation
• Mission

The resources will reflect on these features within the overarching theme and will make use of scriptural reflection on journey, prayer, student voice, and (spiritual) wellbeing.

DAILY THEMES:

Monday: Walking Together in Faith

Tuesday: Walking Together in Love
(In our school community, themes of inclusion)

Wednesday: Walking Together to Celebrate – Grandparents’ Day
(Celebrating those who help us on the journey of faith, themes of inclusion of the elderly in society – Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly 2022)

https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2022/06/29/pope-francis-message-for-the-world-day-for-grandparents-and-the-elderly-2022/

Thursday: Walking Together to Transform our World
(Themes of environment – Laudato Si’ – and Mission)

Friday: Walking Together in Hope

There will be a November ‘turning to’ remembrance moment.

NOVEMBER MOMENT:

Catholic Schools Week – November: Trusting God, Trusting Life, Trusting One Another – Post-Primary Resource

Links to resources below.

http://www.ccmsschools.com

More details and other events will be posted shortly as information comes to us.

Please find below posters and flyers, and resources for primary, post-primary, and Prayer & parish resources.

Posters
In Irish
In English

Primary flyers:
In Irish
In English

Post-Primary flyers:
In Irish
In English

Post-primary classroom resources:
Monday:
Gaeilge – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – pdf
English – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – PowerPoint
English – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – pdf

Tuesday:
Gaeilge – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- pdf
English – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- PowerPoint
English – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- pdf

Wednesday – Grandparents’ Day:
Gaeilge – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – pdf
English – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – PowerPoint
English – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – pdf

Thursday:
Gaeilge – Thursday – Walking to Transform our World – PowerPoint
English – Thursday – Walking to Transform our World – PowerPoint

Friday:
Gaeilge – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – pdf
English – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – PowerPoint
English – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – pdf

Primary classroom resources: 
Junior and Senior Infant resources
Gaeilge
English

1st and 2nd Class resources
Gaelige
English

3rd and 4th Class resources
Gaelige
English

5th and 6th Class resources
Gaelige
English

Prayer & Parish resources:
Gaelige
English

One Million Children Praying the Rosary

ACN is again inviting parishes, kindergartens, schools, and families to join in the annual prayer initiative A million children praying the Rosary, which will take place on 18 October, the Feast of St Luke this year. The purpose of this prayer campaign is to pray for peace and unity throughout our broken world while encouraging children and young people to trust in God during difficult times says the president of ACN, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.

The ACN webpage offers free materials for those praying in parishes, schools, children’s groups and families. The free information pack contains instructions on how to pray the Rosary, short meditations for children on the Mysteries of the Rosary, and an Act of Consecration to Our Lady for children.

The origins of the prayer initiative “A million children praying the Rosary” date back to the year 2005 when a group of children was seen praying the Rosary at a local shrine in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, and some of the adults who witnessed the scene were reminded of the words of Padre Pio, who once said: “When a million children pray the Rosary, the world will change.

Since then, the campaign has spread rapidly and become a worldwide phenomenon.

New book by Fr Paul Clayton-Lea for fans of CS Lewis and lovers of Co Louth !

C.S.Lewis and the “Wee” County   Paul Claton-Lea

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) believed that interest in his books would quickly fade when he was gone. Sixty years after his death and 200 million copies later he has, for once, been proved mistaken. While his influential works on English Literature, Christian apologetics and science fiction remain popular it is his beloved stories for children, the Chronicles of Narnia which continue to keep him firmly in public view. His wonderfully imaginative landscape and gift for storytelling owe much to his Irish origins. Ireland was his constant holiday destination throughout his life. Thanks to a long relationship with Janie Moore whom he called ‘mother’ the ‘Wee’ County of Louth where she had been brought up became an important refuge for him and his brother Warren. Those previously unexplored links are addressed in this anniversary tribute to the creator of ‘Asian the lion of Narnia, son of the Emperor-Beyond-The-Sea.

Father Paul Clayton-Lea spoke to our Religious Education Community some time ago. I know you really appreciated his input and great sense of humour then. He has always had a huge interest in CS Lewis and I am delighted he has written a new book developing that interest alongside his love for Co Louth.  I thought you might to like to know this has been published recently and you may wish to read it. 

978 1 91622 347 9 

Paul Clayton-Lea is a priest of the Archdiocese of Armagh in Ireland.

A graduate of St Patricks College, Maynooth, and Fordham University New York

he has worked as a teacher, college chaplain, and parish priest.

He is currently editor of Intercom magazine, a Catholic pastoral and liturgical resource.

His previous publications include,

In the Light of the Word – Family Life through the Lens of Scripture (published by Veritas 2018)

Pass it On – Ronan Drury 1924-2017 with Maria Flood (2019).

Synodal Process Update (ICN)

The Irish Bishops’ Conference published the National Synthesis of the Synodal Process today, Tuesday 16 August. The publication of the National Synthesis is the fruit of a wide-ranging process of listening and consultation drawing on the syntheses produced by the 26 dioceses in Ireland, as well as those submitted by religious congregations and other interested groups across the Church in Ireland since Autumn 2021.

The National Synthesis will be forwarded to Rome as part of the worldwide synodal process of listening and discernment launched by Pope Francis in October 2021 and which will culminate in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 2023.

Bishops’ statement of welcome on the completion of the National Synthesis

We are pleased to publish the National Synthesis document prepared by the Steering Committee of lay faithful, religious, priests, and bishops which were appointed by our Conference to lead us along the synodal journey.

The Process

Since October 2021, tens of thousands of Catholics across Ireland have been engaging in prayerful listening and reflection on the theme chosen by Pope Francis: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.” In June 2022 there was a unique and wonderful National Synodal gathering in Athlone which was followed by a moving ritual in the sixth-century ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise. In a prayerful atmosphere, we heard feedback from the hundreds of conversations that had taken place across Ireland, and from the many submissions that had been collected. Despite the constraints of COVID-19, the process that we have been following in these past months represents a modest but significant first step in developing a synodal style of consultation about the future of the Church in Ireland and around the world.

The Synthesis Document

The National Synthesis document points to many challenges for the handing on of the faith in this country, including a need for inner healing and hope, especially among those who have suffered abuse by Church personnel and in Church institutions. It acknowledges and reflects on the impact in recent decades of a major decline in the practice of the faith, and in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. There are calls for greater transparency, participation in decision-making, and accountability within our parish and diocesan church structures. The importance of a renewed connection with the energy and gifts of young people is emphasised. So too is the need for fresh models of responsibility and leadership which will especially recognise and facilitate the role of women, as well as men. Our listening process has identified the need to be more inclusive in outreach, reaching out to those who have left the Church behind and in some cases feel excluded, forgotten or ignored. In an era of transformation, like Peter we have heard a call to “put out into deep water” (Lk 5:4).

In publishing the National Synthesis document, the Irish Bishops’ Conference invites the whole People of God in this country to study its findings carefully and prayerfully. It is important that, in all our deliberations, we journey together in communion, because as John the Evangelist underlined so much, it is the beauty of Christian communion that attracts people (1 Jn 1:1-4). It is our missionary communion that speaks most eloquently to our sisters and brothers today of the hope that comes from encounter with Christ and the joy of the Gospel. We recognize we need a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As Pope Francis has written, “What is under discussion at Synodal gatherings are not traditional truths of Christian doctrine. The Synod is concerned mainly with how teaching can be lived and applied in the changing contexts of our time… What characterizes a Synodal path is the role of the Holy Spirit” (Let us Dream, pp. 84-85)”.

The Continuing Synodal Pathway in Ireland

The Church in Ireland is committed to the ongoing Synodal Pathway which we announced in March 2021. This will entail a further phase of much deeper listening and a more widespread reaching out. Perhaps the greatest learning will emerge as we reflect on what these tentative first steps along a Synodal Pathway have taught us about who we are as the Catholic Church in Ireland, and why we are this way. It is in this deeper reflection that we will prayerfully discern what the Holy Spirit is revealing to us about the kind of pastoral conversion and new evangelization necessary to nurture new life and growth in the Church.

Conclusion

We are most grateful to the Synodal Steering Committee and Task Group and to all who participated in the Synodal Process at parish, diocesan and national levels. We commend our National Synthesis document to the next phase of the synodal journey of the universal Church as it moves towards the meeting of the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2023.

Read the National Synthesis of the Catholic Church in Ireland Synodal Process here: https://synod.ie/

Season of Creation 2022

Pope Francis’ Message for the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – to be held on 1 September 2022 – was published on 16 July. It has been a unique time that has seen various parts of the world devastated by the fires that have destroyed much of the planet’s green areas. 

” In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much is always present. He does not abandon us, He does not leave us alone, for He has united Himself definitively to our earth, and His love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to Him ” ( Pope Francis Laudato Si Par 245)

This World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, as well as the entire Season of Creation, which, from 1 September, will stretch until 4 October, can be a time of prayer, but also a time of serious conversion of attitudes and habits. 

Popes Message to read in full.

The European Bishops, join the appeal launched by Pope Francis, inviting all Christians to be spokesmen for these demands of the Planet, whose voice reveals “a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home”. 

May the Lord hear this cry and grant mankind a new heart, capable of showing compassion to the whole of creation, so that concrete gestures may be put in place to allow all creatures to return to praise the Creator and us to join in this “‘grandiose cosmic choir’ made up of countless creatures, all singing the praises of God”.

Christian leaders from across the world came together on Wednesday to officially launch the 2022 Season of Creation, the annual ecumenical celebration that unites the world’s 2.4 billion Christians in prayer and action for our common home.

The leaders reflected on the need for all Christians to truly “Listen to the Voice of Creation,” the theme of the 2022 Season of Creation. God’s creation moans ever louder and suffers more every day amidst the ongoing climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

A handbook for this year can be downloaded from this address.

Season of Creation

Season of Creation celebration guide 2022

Season of Creation resources are supported by an ecumenical steering committee and a coalition of partners from around the world, including A Rocha International, ACT Alliance, Anglican Communion Environmental Network, Christian Aid, European Christian Environmental Network, Laudato Si’ Movement and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

This year’s theme is ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’ and a celebration guide is available to download from the Season of Creation website.

CAFOD

CAFOD has Season of Creation resources including marking the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September, care of creation prayers, creationtide intercessions and joyful mysteries of the rosary for the care of creation.

Catholic Church in Ireland

Resources are provided by the Laudato Si’ Working Group, with the same theme as the international Season of Creation group (see below) of ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’.

Materials include: Sunday liturgy notes; a weekday prayer service; Season of Creation brochure (also available in Irish); a tree planting resource; Creation walk stations; an Earth Day prayer service; a video reflection; and a Brother River meditation.

Download Season of Creation resources from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference website.