Coping with the Pandemic.


Join Declan in praying the Jesus Prayer for our world, and all its People as we cope with this pandemic.

The Jesus Prayer is an ancient Christian Prayer form, based on the words of the Blind Man asking for help from Jesus.

Traditionally you begin it by repeating the Phrase often in the presence of a Holy Icon.

Jesus is reputed to have lived for 33 years on this Earth.  So it is repeated 33 times.

This practice was used in the very early Christian Church and was a favourite of the Desert Fathers and Mothers in Egypt.

I believe it was used even earlier back as far as the time of the Apostles.

It is sometimes known as ” the Prayer of the Heart”.  What starts in the mind slowly deepens from the head into the heart or soul.

It is a very powerful way to pray.  Please try it. Some people use it with prayer beads or ropes with 33 knots.

This is not essential.  Sit and join me and allow God to fill your heart with His peace.  God Bless you.



Many will be in lockdown living with family members.  This is not always easy.  The lovely prayer attributed to St Francis is a way to help us live in these unusual times.  We are each called to try to be true instruments of peace as we follow the example of Jesus our Master.  Join Declan in praying this lovely prayer. Indeed it might become a family morning and night prayer.  Don’t go to your rest in an angry mood.  Make peace.  God Bless and love you  .


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.


Many of us who are isolating are spending time walking or working in our gardens if we are lucky to have one.  Perhaps a byproduct of this prolonged time in isolation is a growing awareness and appreciation of the beauty that God surrounds us with each day.  Perhaps we have taken this gift for granted in the past busy lives we led.

Take a few moments to pray with Declan as you view this video.




Join Declan in praying for ten minutes before Jesus The Bread of Life.



This prayer uses Holy Scripture from the Gospel of John and also the Litany Pope Francis used at His prayer during the Holy Week Urbi et Orbi message and Prayer this year.


Lough Derg will host one-day retreats

On this Sunday (May 24) and next Wednesday (May 27)  St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg will host one-day retreats by live stream at:   See the attached poster for details. 



Pentecost Novena: 

These nine days between Ascension (when celebrated on a Thursday) and Pentecost Sunday are traditionally a vigil of prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Cork Scripture Group has forwarded the attached novena reflections by Sean Goan (beginning today, May 21) as we pray, day-by-day,  that the Spirit will renew our lives.  

Full texts download here .

Pentecost Novena_Cork Scripture Group



This programme gives families of every kind the opportunity to become stronger by working and reflecting together. The programme consists of four sessions and the resources here will guide you through each of them. Any family can participate, the family in the home, in the classroom or school or community group.







The resources linked to each of the four sessions are designed to provide parents, teachers or group leaders with all they need to organise and run the programme. In addition to Session Notes and other downloadable materials, there are short films to guide leaders as they prepare to work with their particular “family” group. In addition to being aids for preparation, the films can also be used during sessions if you wish.

Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for the Fifth Sunday of Easter: the Way, the Truth the Life

“Our forced seclusion and restricted personal freedoms have certainly reminded us all that we are not invincible and are far from in control of everything; we are dependent on others and on God“ – Archbishop Martin

It’s amazing how certain words and phrases in the Sunday readings seem to speak directly to us, as if it was planned that those lines from the Bible were chosen especially for today.  But then, the scriptures are the inspired Word of God – God speaks to us in and through them; they never lose their freshness or relevance to our lives.

Today, the words that leap out at me from the lectionary are “trust”, “hope”, “life”, “love”, “truth”.

As we continue to struggle through the months of lockdown, it can be difficult to keep our spirits up. The words of today’s psalm are certainly worth praying, over and over: “May your love be upon us, O Lord as we place all our hope in you”.

There are also comforting words in today’s Gospel reading, especially for those who are sick and suffering; those who have been admitted to hospital and feel isolated from family and friends.  Jesus speaks memorable words of comfort: “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God still and trust in me”.  I think these words would also be very helpful for our A-level and Leaving Cert students who might be feeling anxious about what happens next. “Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God still and trust in me”.

I notice in today’s First Reading from Acts of the Apostles, that the early Christians wanted to ensure that the preaching of the Word of God would be accompanied by practical outreach and charity towards the poor and disadvantaged.  No one was to be neglected in the daily distribution of food for the needy.  That is why the apostles appointed deacons like Stephen, Philip and others to ensure that the vulnerable would be nourished not only with the Word of God but would also receive food and essential daily supplies.

In recent weeks I have been impressed by the generous outreach of so many of our parishioners who have volunteered for community distribution of groceries, medicines and friendly calls to those who live alone.  Earlier in the week I had an opportunity to meet with our local Knights of Malta, to hear about their work, to bless their ambulances and to pray with them for the protection of our carers and health workers.

Our parishes and dioceses have now begun to draw up their plans and “roadmaps” for a return to collective prayer as soon as it is safe to do so.  It has been very difficult for us not being able to gather together in our beautiful church buildings. We’ve had to rely on spiritual communion.  For this I draw strength and inspiration from the words in today’s second reading which speak about our being like “living stones” making up a “spiritual building” and Christ being the cornerstone of that building.

It is also helpful to hear in the Gospel what Jesus told His friends when they were struggling to cope with the news of His pending departure from them. They asked: ‘How will we know the way?’ Jesus said:

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.

On RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland earlier this week I heard an elderly couple being interviewed about their experience of being cocooned – cut off from their family and loved ones.  It was moving to hear them speak about the daily webcam broadcasts from their local parishes, describing them as being their “lifeline”!

It strikes me that, as the Covid-19 crisis rolls on, we are all beginning to reflect a little deeper, searching for our roadmaps forward, our “lifelines”. Government announcements say that we’re headed for a ‘new normal’.

I wonder what will be my ‘new normal’?  Will I have learned anything from this crisis?  How will it have changed me?

I am sure that many people are growing closer to God through this crisis, realising perhaps that the way they have been living their lives has been unsatisfying at a deep level.  Our forced seclusion and restricted personal freedoms have certainly reminded us all that we are not invincible and we are far from being in control of everything; we are actually quite dependent – on others and on God.  Life is precious and fragile; love and family is fundamental to our safety and well-being.  Not only is our physical health important, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual health.  They all need to be nourished if we are to truly ‘keep body and soul together’.

As we continue our journey through lockdown and sketch out a way forward, the readings of today’s Mass certainly contain much food for thought and nourishment: words of inspiration like: ‘trust’, ‘hope’, ‘life‘, ‘love’ and ‘truth’.

And they all come together in Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Amen.


Archbishop Eamon Martin invites grandparents and grandchildren to pray for each other, to

share and record their ‘2020 vision’ stories


Archbishop Eamon Martin has welcomed Pope Francis’ message for the 54th World Day of Social Communications which will be celebrated on Sunday – the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  The theme of Pope Francis’ annual message for this year reflects on the power of storytelling: ‘That you may tell your children and grandchildren’ (Ex 10:2).

Archbishop Eamon said, “During this time of COVID19 restrictions, many grandparents have mentioned how much they miss the physical company and affection of their grandchildren – especially their hugs!  The relationship between the generations is a favourite theme of Pope Francis which he reiterates in his communications message for 2020.  The Pope often speaks of the bond that exists between younger and older people and for his communications message this year he particularly focuses on the importance of sharing stories across the generations.

“The theme of Pope Francis’ message reminds us that ‘from childhood, we hunger for stories … stories influence our lives … [although] not all stories are good stories’.  By choosing his theme from the Book of Exodus, the Holy Father underpins how memories and storytelling are precious in our lives and in all the best communications. The telling of stories – inspired by faith, hope and love – is also hugely significant in the handing on of faith from generation to generation.

 “When I attended the Youth Synod in Rome in 2018, Pope Francis surprised us by hosting an evening when young and older people who came together to learn from each other and at which he launched Sharing the Wisdom of Time.  In the preface, he says ‘the Lord wants me to say: that there should be an alliance between the young and old people.’  The Pope explains that this cooperation entails sharing experiences of older people, heeding their advice and creating a strong bond with the new generations who are hungry for guidance and support as they prepare for their future.  This spirit is exemplified in this year’s communications message:

‘In an age when falsification is increasingly sophisticated … we need the wisdom to be able to welcome and create beautiful, true and good stories.  We need courage to reject false and evil stories.  We need patience and discernment to rediscover stories that help us not to lose the thread amid today’s many troubles. We need stories that reveal who we truly are, also in the untold heroism of everyday life.’

“Encouraged by Pope Francis, this weekend I invite grandparents and grandchildren to share their own stories – over the phone, on social media or video call – of how they are coping during this coronavirus crisis.  Perhaps  young people could record and capture this moment for the future.  In years to come, when we look back on 2020, we will be sharing with future generations the story of how the world had to pause, to stand still.  Hopefully, we will be able to relate the things that we learned from this pandemic experience.  Perhaps we will speak of ‘2020 vision’ in a new way, that 2020 was the year we learned to appreciate more each other – our family, our elderly, our friendships, our front-line workers, our clergy – and all because we had to spend some time apart.

Archbishop Eamon concluded, “I strongly encourage everyone to read this year’s uplifting Communications Day message by Pope Francis and to reflect on the power of ‘the story’ in our own journey, and on those around us, especially during this restricted period.  As Pope Francis says, ‘The history of Christ is not a legacy from the past; it is our story, and always timely.  It shows us that God was so deeply concerned for mankind, for our flesh and our history, to the point that he became man, flesh and history.  It also tells us that no human stories are insignificant or paltry.’”

Other resources

Trocaire has compiled the following reflection based on a recent statement of Pope Francis:   “The pandemic reminds us there are no difference or borders between those who suffer. We are all frail, all equal, all precious. May we be profoundly shaken: Now is the time to eliminate inequalities and heal the injustice undermining the health of the entire human family!”

Daily Church Liturgy?  There’s an app for that.  Give us this Dayis resource for personal prayer published by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota.  It contains texts for a shorter Morning and Evening Prayer, for Mass with daily reflections, a commentary on Scriptures, as well as prayers, hymns and colour images.  The GUTD app is available by searching for Give Us This Day at the Apple and Google stores in you Apple/Android device.  These beautifully presented resources  are normally (in non-pandemic times) available as a printed booklet.  The app in currently available free of charge for a 60-day trial.  To download a PDF version of the current booklet: visit or GUTD.netand select ‘Digital’ in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Then download the full PDF colour edition on the right-hand side of the browser.  

My Planet My Pledge: Youth Work Ireland has developed an online activity pack on climate change and the environment. The My Planet My Pledge activity pack was originally developed as a workshop session, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been adapted to be delivered as an online resource. The pack contains activities to support young people develop skills and knowledge to enable them to live an environmentally friendlier life and to support them recognise their responsibilities and abilities to become advocates for the environment and climate change. The pack is available at

Young Philosopher Awards: Ethical questions are important not only in our everyday interactions with others, but in the use of technology, how we conduct ourselves at school and at work, how governments and institutions undertake their duty and conduct their practices, and how we plan for the future as well as reflect upon past actions. The UCD Young Philosopher Awards are inviting young people to create a short project on any ethical questions that they think is important or relevant in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries. The best entries will also be published on the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life website and the IYPA website. Find out more here>>

The Religion Teacher website offers lots of free printable student worksheets on Lent/Sunday Readings which Parents could use at home with students?

Junior Cycle RE Once again, here is the link to last Thursday week’s JCT RE webinar and resources in case you couldn’t link in:


Youth Work at a Social Distance Zoom resources

Below are some resources we wanted to make you aware of:

Attached is 24/7 Prayer’s resource for helping young people to pray that we highlighted on the call. Thanks to 24/7 for developing this!

We highlighted a resource called Rock Solid TV made by Youth For Christ. It is brilliant and you can find out more at the below link!

Do check out Alpha’s Webinar series as a fantastic resource for you, your youth, their parents, and your church!

Scripture Union Ireland have just launched a part of their website called SU+ where they have been releasing fantastic resources. Link is below


COVID-19 Praying with Young People[1]


Scripture Union – Light My Path Series is settling into a program now for the next 8 weeks. During this time they will make available for streaming all the parts of the NUA Film Series along with exclusive SU+ devotionals. This is completely free and suitable for all ages. To subscribe visit

Messenger Publications – The following message has been forwarded by Donal Neary S.J., editor of the messenger of St. Anthony:  “The Messenger is still being printed and distributed monthly. However, some may find it hard to access it. Thus, we are offering a free digital subscription for three months. If you would like to receive this, please send an email to, with message digital.”

Messenger publications can be ordered at


Sr Deirdre McKenna RSM who is a social worker with the Southern Health Social Care Trust in NI along with her colleagues has created some helpful short videos on helping to respond to living and dying issues during the current COVID-19 situation. From the videos I have watched, these are very good resources and I commend them to you. The following link will take you directly to the video clips:


Teacher Welfare – Some practical and timely advice for teachers during this difficult time.

and for the students


A good read to cheer you up

‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ is a beautiful, illustrated, heartfelt book filled with characters each of us can relate to in some fashion. The conversations held between the Boy, and the friends he finds along the way, are a reflection of truths many of us have forgotten — how to be gentle to ourselves and others. How to love without limit. (Author: Charlie Mackesy)


Also Read


“How does one become a butterfly,” Yellow asks pensively. “You must want to fly so much That you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”


Love this :

Coronavirus Letter To Humanity

The earth whispered but you did not hear.

The earth spoke but you did not listen

The earth screamed but you turned her off.

And so I was born…

I was not born to punish you..

I was born to awaken you.

The earth cried out for help…

Massive flooding. But you didn’t listen.

Burning fires. But you didn’t listen.

Strong hurricanes. But you didn’t listen.

Terrifying Tornadoes. But you didn’t listen.

You still don’t listen to the earth when.

Ocean animals are dying due to pollutants in the waters.

Glaciers melting at an alarming rate.

Severe drought.

You didn’t listen to how much negativity the earth is receiving.

Non-stop wars.

Non-stop greed.

You just kept going on with your life..

No matter how much hate there was..

No matter how many killings daily..

It was more important to get that latest iPhone then worry about what the earth was trying to tell you..

But now I am here.

And I’ve made the world stop on its tracks.

I’ve made YOU finally listen.

I’ve made you take refuge.

I’ve made you stop thinking about materialistic things..

Now you are like the earth…

You are only worried about YOUR survival.

How does that feel?

I give you fever.. As the fires burn on earth.

I give you respiratory issues.. Has pollution fill the earth air.

I give you weakness as the earth weakens every day.

I took away your comforts..

Your outings.

The things you would use to forget about the planet and its pain.

And I made the world stop…

And now…

China has better air quality.. Skies are clear blue because factories are not spewing pollution unto the earth’s air.

The water in Venice is clean and dolphins are being seen. Because the gondola boats that pollute the water are not being used.

YOU are having to take time to reflect on what is important in your life.

Again I am not here to punish you.. I am here to Awaken you…

When all this is over and I am gone… Please remember these moments..

Listen to the earth.

Listen to your soul.

Stop Polluting the earth.

Stop Fighting among each other.

Stop caring about materialistic things.

And start loving your neighbours.

Start caring about the earth and all its creatures.

Start believing in a Creator.

Because next time I may come back even stronger….

Signed:   Coronavirus


Written by: Vivienne R Reich







Our Holy Father Pope Francis speaks to all Families ahead of Holy WEEK




Text of Holy Father’s talk

The official translation of the Pope’s video message is below:

Dear friends, good evening!

This evening I have the chance to enter your homes in a different way than usual. If you allow me, I would like to have a conversation with you for a few moments, in this time of difficulty and of suffering. I can imagine you in your families, living an unusual life to avoid contagion. I am thinking of the liveliness of children and young people, who cannot go out, attend school, live their lives. I have in my heart all the families, especially those who have a loved one who is sick or who have unfortunately experienced mourning due to the coronavirus or other causes. These days I often think about people who are alone, and for whom it is more difficult to face these moments. Above all I think of the elderly, who are very dear to me.

I cannot forget those who are sick with coronavirus, people who are in hospital. I am aware of the generosity of those who put themselves at risk for the treatment of this pandemic or to guarantee the essential services to society. So many heroes, every day, at every hour! I also remember how many are in financial straits and are worried about work and the future. A thought also goes out to prison inmates, whose pain is compounded by fear of the epidemic, for themselves and their loved ones; I think of the homeless, who do not have a home to protect them.

It is a difficult time for everyone. For many, very difficult. The Pope knows this and, with these words, he wants to tell everyone of his closeness and affection. Let us try, if we can, to make the best use of this time: let us be generous; let us help those in need in our neighbourhood; let us look out for the loneliest people, perhaps by telephone or social networks; let us pray to the Lord for those who are in difficulty in Italy and in the world. Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love. This is what is needed today: the creativity of love.

We will celebrate Holy Week in a truly unusual way, which manifests and sums up the message of the Gospel, that of God’s boundless love. And in the silence of our cities, the Easter Gospel will resound. The Apostle Paul says: “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him Who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor 5:15). In the risen Jesus, life conquered death. This Paschal faith nourishes our hope. I would like to share it with you this evening. It is the hope of a better time, in which we can be better, finally freed from evil and from this pandemic. It is a hope: hope does not disappoint; it is not an illusion, it is a hope.

Beside each other, in love and patience, we can prepare a better time in these days. Thank you for allowing me into your homes. Make a gesture of tenderness towards those who suffer, towards children, and towards the elderly. Tell them that the Pope is close and pray, that the Lord will soon deliver us all from evil. And you, pray for me. Have a good dinner. See you soon!



Holy Week is an important time for us as Christians, but this year we are unable to gather to pray and reflect because of the pandemic.

This site has gathered activities that will help you and your children move through the week thoughtfully, prayerfully, and also with some fun.

Pick and choose from the options based on the ages of your children and what appeals to you.

Ideas are listed on the most relevant day, but you can do them whenever you would like.

What is most important this week—especially during this unsettling time—is for you to be present to your children, say you love them, talk to them about faith, and pray with them.

PLEASE Check out this link for super resources

Access the activities for each day with the links below or the menu at the top of the page.  Materials on this site for

Palm Sunday

Holy Thursday

Good Friday

Easter Sunday.


Also Please checkout Armagh Prays for Holy Week prayer resources

Bishop Michael speaks to us





Holy Week @HOME Family Retreat    This is a superb pack to print off and use at home this Holy Week. Something for everyone at home.

Palm Sunday

The Last Supper Activity Pack

Anointing Feet



The Resurrection of Jesus wordsearch



Holy week retreat from

A Plan of the week



Another way of participating in Holy Week :

Join Fr Denis Mc Bride well know scripture scholar and retreat master for HOLY WEEK REFLECTION

Hosted by Redemptorist Publications view Fr Denis here


Coming next week

Wednesday 8th April 2020, another free audio resource by Redemptorist Publications, in which Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R. accompanies us through the services of the Easter Triduum. You will hear to prayers, readings, psalms and the Gospels of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil.



MASSES on LINE  Full list of parishes with Mass times.



Litany prayed by Pope Francis last Friday – could be used as a prayer at Veneration of Cross on Good Friday Solemn Liturgy

Litany of Supplication used by Pope Francis



A prayer composed by Fr. Donal Neary, SJ

Be with us Lord, in times of darkness: may you be our light;

In times of isolation, may we support each other,
In times of illness, heal each one.
Be with our nurses, doctors and all medical staffs,
And all who keep life going at this time,
Those who care at home for the elderly
and look after our children,
And those who look out for the poor.

Remember Lord in your kindness, all I remember this day,
Especially those away from home.
Father God, Brother Jesus, Mother Mary,
Let me not lose hope in your love, now and always.
Holy Spirit fill us all with serenity and hope.

Veritas, the publishers of the Grow in LoveReligious Education programme used in Primary Schools has opened up its website to public access for the duration of school closures.  Families can access the class material relevant to their own child’s / children’s class / classes. 
Each year has a section on Holy Week and Easter listed among its ten-or-so themes, with video clips and other materials linked to the the Pupil Textbook.  .
The web address is:
In the box asking for your email address type:  trial@growinlove
Password:  growinlove



Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing by Pope Francis RTÉ News Now tomorrow at 5.00pm

Archbishop Eamon Martin welcomes Friday’s extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing by Pope Francis


  • Blessing to be broadcast live by RTÉ News Now tomorrow at 5.00pm


“Pope Francis’ blessing will be an opportunity to avail ourselves of Divine Grace.  I encourage everyone to watch this special broadcast” – Archbishop Eamon

 Tomorrow Friday, 27 March, at 5.00pm Irish time, the Holy Father Pope Francis will preside over an extraordinary global celebration (Statio orbis) of prayer.  It will take place on the sagrato of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in from of the façade of the church.  The ceremony will consist of readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving his Urbi et Orbi (to the City [of Rome] and to the world) blessing.  During this prayer ceremony the Pope will grant to participants all over the world a plenary indulgence in the context of the Coronavirus.


Evening meditation from Pope Francis March 27th

Pope Francis offered a meditation on the crisis facing the world, reflecting on a passage from the Gospel of Mark (4:35-41). Calming of the Storm.

“For weeks now it has been evening,” said the Pope. “Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice it in people’s gestures, their glances give them away.”

In this situation, he said, we feel afraid and lost, like the disciples whose boat was in danger of sinking while Jesus slept at the stern.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that we are all on the same boat, said Pope Francis, and so we call out to Jesus. The disciples ask Him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”

To read the full meditation download this pdf .

Pope Francis Urbi et Orbi Corona Virus   (With Gospel Reading)

Pope Francis Urbi et Orbi Corona Virus


Trying   to cope with it all …   Read the following thoughts

Covid19 Way of the cross

Lockdown Bro Richard Hendrick OFM

What is the Corona teaching us Bill Gates


Teachers in NI may be preparing online work for students at home.

Susan has shared the Fully Alive Texts in digital form as PDF .  You may find these helpful to draw upon.

You can put the Fully Alive books upon their VLE’s. Also Workbook and Activity Book for each year

You can download these from here


Fully Alive 1 screen res


Activity Book

Fully Alive 2 screen res



Fully Alive 3 screen res

Fully Alive 3 Workbook

Fully Alive 3 Activity Book


All teachers may find the following a help ……

36 Online Lesson Plans with embedded links to Other Resources, e.g. YouTube links, Songs etc.

GSR in the Classroom.  This site hosts excellent lesson plans, encompassing good discussion questions, stories, testimonies,  scripture passages, suggested actions, links to Youtube clips and concluding prayers on the following topics:

Lent (6 lessons)
Environment (6 lessons)
Human Trafficking (6 lessons)
Migration (6 lessons)
Race Relations (6 lessons)
Vocations (6 lessons)

Each lesson follows Tom Groome’s approach of going from life to faith to life.  There are also great cross-curricular links within RE and with other subjects, e.g. geography, business, history.

Everything you require for a lesson (some could cover two class periods) can be found in one downloadable handout (pdf), which you can email to your students pre or post-lesson if you wish.  Links to YouTube clips are also embedded further limiting demands on you.  There is also a teacher guide for each lesson (clearly written by an experienced teacher) but given your own formation and experience as an RE Teacher and the quality of each handout,  you may not require this.

To source these lessons plans, teacher guides etc. go to:


Checkout also



Do go on line a check these resources from Tom

Dear RE teacher,

We are aware of the increased pressure on RE teachers at this particular time to gather resources for their students. Accordingly, we have decided to provide free access to the resources on our Soul Seekers website: . Please find the details below:


Password: SS2020Veritas!


CORONA VIRUS – Some nice prayers and thoughts to keep us going !! KEEP SAFE DEAR FRIENDS

‘The Church – showing Solidarity and Compassion in a time of Social distancing’ – Archbishop Eamon Martin

In the midst of all the talk of “social distancing” and “self-isolation”,    I find myself reflecting this weekend on two consoling images from the scriptures: the first is of a good and gentle Shepherd; the second, of a loving and caring Mother.

Read Archbishops Eamon’s Homily for the 4th Sunday in Lent.

‘The Church – showing Solidarity and Compassion in a time of Social distancing’ – Archbishop Eamon Martin


Resources above for praying the Liturgy at home.
In this challenging time when many of us are unable to attend Mass in person, here’s a great way that you can pray together as a family.
“As Christians, we try to find the connection between challenging times and God’s will. Maybe this is the jolt we needed, individually and as a society, to remind us that life is a fragile gift. The experience may increase our empathy for those for whom anxiety and vulnerability is every day. This week it was reported that the reduced economic activity in China has actually saved between 50-75,000 lives, owing to the reduction in air pollutants over the past three months. Maybe the pandemic will lead humanity to address other serious issues, such as climate change, having shown that a common purpose can only be achieved when all countries work together.”  Dr Ger Condon D A
Prayer Intentions for this Week:
  • For the Church, that it may be a sign of hope in this time of crisis; may all who follow Christ bring the light of his love into the world.
  • For those sick with the Coronavirus; for those who are isolated, or have lost their jobs as a result of the economic crisis, that they may have the help they need to find healing and new life. 
  • For doctors and nurses, that they may be strengthened in their good work as they imitate the goodness of Christ who brought healing to the sick.
  • For scientists who are working on a vaccine and other treatments, that they may have the gift of understanding and wisdom to reach this goal.  
  • On this mothers’ day, we pray with gratitude for all mothers.  Like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, may they see God’s will in all that they do and stand by their children at all times.
  • For those who have died, especially … That they may dwell in God’s house forever

All holy Father, you have shown us your mercy and made us a new creation in the likeness of your Son.  Make us living signs of your love.  Through Christ our Lord.


A daily Meditation Exercise.

We encourage you to sit in stillness for ten to fifteen minutes and open your heart to receive God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.

This spiritual exercise will deepen your awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart and give you confidence that the Spirit will be with you in everything you do to make Christ known.

  1. Centre yourself; sit upright, two feet firmly on the floor; breathe rhythmically with deep breaths, in and out, from the abdomen; clear your mind of all preoccupations.
  2. Bring yourself to bodily stillness.
  3. Now welcome in your heart this gift that Jesus has for you: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
  4. Quietly repeat those words of Jesus and hand over to him all worries or trouble.
  5. You may find it helpful if you mention or name to God a specific area where you need healing or forgiveness.
  6. Now be still for some time in the presence of God as you welcome the Holy Spirit into your heart.
  7. As you are about to finish your time of prayer, focus again on your breathing while you relax in God’s presence.
  8. Bring yourself gently back to your daily concerns.

May you receive that peace of Christ each day.

Exercise excerpt taken from Talking about Jesus £4.95


This beautiful prayer was written by an Italian priest who is self-isolating at the moment and very sadly lost his own brother a few days ago to Covid-19…

I’m staying at home, Lord!

I’m staying at home, Lord! And today, I realise, you taught me this, remaining obedient to the Father, for thirty years in the house of Nazareth, waiting for the great mission.

I stay at home, Lord, and in Joseph’s studio, your keeper and mine, I learn to work, to obey, to round the corners of my life and prepare you a work of art.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And I know that I am not alone because Mary, like any mother, is in the next room, doing chores and preparing lunch for all of us, God’s family.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And I do it responsibly for my own good, for the health of my city, for my loved ones, and for the good of my brother, whom you have put beside me, asking me to take care of him in the garden of life.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And in the silence of Nazareth, I pledge to pray, to read, study, meditate, be useful for small jobs, in order to make our home more beautiful and more welcoming.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And in the morning, I thank you for the new day you give me, trying not to spoil it and welcome it with wonder, as a gift and an Easter surprise.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And at noon I will receive the greeting of the angel, I will make myself useful for love, in communion with you who have made you flesh to live among us; and, tired of the journey, thirsty, I will meet you at Jacob’s well, and thirsty for love on the Cross.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And if the evening takes me melancholy, I will invoke you like the disciples of Emmaus: stay with us, the evening has arrived and the sun sets.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And in the night, in communion of prayer with the many sick, the lonely and all the caregivers, I will wait for the dawn to sing your mercy again and tell everyone that, in the storms, you have been my refuge.

I’m staying at home, Lord! And I don’t feel alone and abandoned, because you told me: I’m with you every day. yes, and especially in these days of confusion, O Lord, in which, if my presence is not necessary, I will reach everyone, only with the wings of prayer.



School Resources
For lesson materials check out
Co Louth School RE Resources:
Ciara Dunne from Veritas has been in touch to say that the second volume (second of two) in the Soulseekers series for Junior Cycle RE is in production for next September.  The current Volume 1 is for 1st Years; ( I left a copy for you in your school) the new book will be for years 2 and 3.  Soulseekers fulfils the criteria for Junior Cycle RE set out by the new NCCA specification.  It is also rooted in the Catholic tradition and is especially suited to Catholic schools.  Veritas is offering free access to the online element of the programme to teachers who make contact with Ciara  ( or on 0857564689).  Ciara will answer your queries and forward you an access code which will allow you review the excellent  website.
Ger Condon kindly sent me this    Thanks a million Ger :
Crises carry within the seeds of opportunity and conversion:

1.  While “social-distancing” and “self-isolation” sound negative, they can be interpreted positively, as ways of coming home to ourselves.  We can spend more time in reflection and prayer, and thinking about our priorities. 

2.  “Wash your hands”   – as you do so say one Hail Mary

3.  Churches remain open – make visiting the church part of your new routine.

4.  Learn a new skill or revive an old hobby: a language, a musical instrument, or perfect a new signature dish for the family table.

5.  More time for reading?  Dust off that book on theology or religious education you had been meaning to “tolle, lege”; “Take up and read” (Augustine)

6.  Spend more time in your garden and in the great outdoors.  Recognise the face of the Creator in the beauty of creation. 

7.  Spring-clean and declutter– donate what you do not need to charity.  

Prayer Intentions:

1.  For people around the world, as we come to terms with the Coronavirus – for the victims that they will quickly recover, and for the doctors, nurses and support staff that the Lord will strengthen their good work and keep them safe. 

3.  For people who thirst for love and for purpose in their lives.  May they see in Jesus the living water of God’s presence; giving them new heart and purpose.  

4.  For our school or parish, particularly for the vulnerable and elderly people of our district; that we may look out for one another and support those who are most in need.  

5.  We pray for those who have died.  We remember …  may they be raised to new life in God’s kingdom of peace and mercy. 

Bon Mot: If you cannot do great things, do little things with great love. (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Paidir tradisiúnta:  Dia idir sinn agus an t-olc. 

Powerful reflection by Sr Maud Murphy entitled  ” The Challenge of Corona ” Download below

Dr Kieran O’Mahony from has started putting up short talks on the Sunday Scripture readings via Zoom technology.       

Attached also is his weekly Lenten resources with lots of interesting links.

Another recent online resource that some people have found useful for joining in to prayer with others on-line is the Taize Community each evening at 7.30 live at

🌈 🌍🎵🌷 ❤💚🧡💛💙 🌷🎵🌎🌈
The most beautiful words I’ve heard yet to inspire & fill your lungs with love. ❤
“Yes, there is fear.
Yes, there is isolation.
Yes, there is panic buying.
Yes, there is sickness.
Yes, there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again. 🎶
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.🌷
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.🌈
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary😇
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way🌍
All over the world, people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.❤
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.🙏
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.❤
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing. 🎵
Brother Richard Hendrick, OFM
( Capuchin Franciscan Monk )
March 13th 2020
Stay safe everyone 💜🙏💜

POPE FRANCIS PRAYS TO MARY, Health of the Sick ….

The Pope offered a prayer to the Virgin Mary on Wednesday afternoon, in a video message to mark the Diocese of Rome’s day of prayer and fasting for the coronavirus emergency.

The video was broadcast at the opening of a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the diocesan vicar, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love near Rome.

In his prayer, Pope Francis calls Mary “Health of the Sick”, adding that she kept her faith firm as she stood near the Cross as Jesus suffered.

“You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need. We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.”

The Pope also said we seek refuge under Our Lady’s protection, knowing that she will help us “conform ourselves to the Father’s will”.

An English-language translation of the Pope’s prayer is below:

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,

with steadfast faith.

You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide, so that,

as you did at Cana of Galilee,

joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the Father’s will

and to do what Jesus tells us:

He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,

through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.



Watch video




Irish Episcopal Conference Prayers

When we cannot attend Mass, we can still make an Act of Spiritual Communion, in which we express our faith in Christ and in His Presence in the Eucharist, and ask Him to unite Himself with us. The basic elements of an Act of Spiritual Communion are an Act of Faith; an Act of Love; a desire to receive Christ; and an invitation to Him to come into your heart. There are various popular prayers to accompany an Act of Spiritual Communion, eg:

My Jesus,

I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you.

Never permit me to be separated from you.




Extract from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.



Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,

that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,

implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence,

I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.

To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,

despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer.  Amen.



So beautiful from Pope Francis:
“Tonight before falling asleep
think about when we will return to the street.
When we hug again,
when all the shopping together will seem like a party.
Let’s think about when the coffees will return to the bar, the small talk, the photos close to each other.
We think about when it will be all a memory but normalcy will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.
We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us. Every second will be precious.
Swims at the sea, the sun until late, sunsets, toasts, laughter.
We will go back to laughing together.
Strength and courage.
See you soon! “#Papafrancesco
#restateacasa #pope #popefrancis ❤🙏


Hope and Love.  Four Candles.  ( Not the Fork handles joke !! )


1. Holy Week -Tuesday




ST PATRICK’S DAY some resources for school use.


Here are some resources you may wish to use with students.

St Patrick Day Play Assembly 

Celtic Saints – Patrick

Profile of St Patrick

St Patrick – a Reflection


St Patrick & social justice

Blessing of Shamrock pdf


Utube video  ” The true story of St Patrick”

.Discover the true story of St. Patrick told by the two archbishops of the Roman Catholic and Anglican St. Patrick’s cathedrals in Armagh, Northern Ireland.



Saint Patrick’s Day message from Archbishop Eamon Martin

  • Archbishop Eamon to celebrate Mass for Saint Patrick’s Day at 11.00am in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, which will be live streamed on webcam

This Saint Patrick’s Day, Ireland – like many parts of the world – is coming to terms with the Coronavirus.  Many people are anxious about what lies ahead.

Like others in society, our parishes have been introducing restrictions to help keep people safe, especially those who are most vulnerable.  I invite you to join me today in praying the beautiful prayer of Saint Patrick, known as his “breastplate” prayer, in which he invited Christ to surround him with love and protection:

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right, Christ at my left,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

The coming weeks and months are going to bring challenges and uncertainty for all of us, as we are reminded of the fragility of human life and of our dependence on one another and on God.

This is a time for an outpouring of the works of mercy towards the sick and vulnerable, and for a spirit of generosity and self-sacrifice, compassion and charity in Ireland, and across the world.  It’s hard for people not to be alarmed, but it’s worth remembering that we are never completely isolated or alone.

This is also a time for prayer.  Pray for the virtues of patience and perseverance and for the composure to overcome any temptation to despair.  Do your best to spread calmness – not panic; serenity – not turbulence; solidarity – not selfishness.  Reach out to neighbours and relatives who may feel troubled or alone.  Even a simple phone call can make a huge difference.  Work to ensure that hope and compassion will prevail.

In turning towards God for protection, as Saint Patrick did, I ask for your prayers in particular for our brave and selfless health workers and for the medical scientists who are searching for a vaccine and better treatments.  Pray that government and public health authorities can make wise judgements and decisions about how to limit the impact of the virus, especially on the most vulnerable.

In Ireland we have a strong tradition that God is at our side in time of trouble.  It remains important to keep reminding ourselves and others in the coming days that we are never completely isolated: Christ is beside us, before us, behind us, on our right and on our left, beneath us and above us.

Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, pray for us.

Dia idir sinn agus an t-olc. – “God between us and all harm”.



Praying at Home with St Patrick




Talking about the Lent/Easter Sacred Space:

Purple is the colour used in the church for lent. It has two meanings – purple is used to denote the penance (sacrifice) we do to prepare for something special and it is also the colour of royalty. The soldiers dressed Jesus in a purple robe when they mocked him as a ‘king’.

The hessian cloth shows the desert, where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights preparing for his ministry. Our 40 days of Lent imitates this time. The cacti help to create a desert scene.

The stones represent one of the temptations that the devil put before Jesus in the desert. He challenged Jesus, that if he really was the Son of God, he could turn the stones into loaves of bread. Jesus resisted the temptation.

The Eiffel tower represents another temptation. The devil told Jesus if he really was God’s Son, he could jump off a high tower and angels would help him fly. Jesus resisted the temptation.

The crown represents the third temptation when the devil promised Jesus that if he followed him, he would make him king of the whole world. Jesus resisted again.

The donkey reminds us of how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The cross made out of dried palm leaves reminds us that people waved palms like flags and cheered Jesus as he arrived.

The chalice reminds us of the Last Supper when Jesus changed bread and wine into his own body and blood and said “Do this in memory of me”.

The purse with silver coins reminds us how Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and was paid 30 pieces of silver.

The cockerel reminds us of how Peter was so afraid that he denied that Jesus was his friend. He did this 3 times before the cockerel crew.

The cross reminds us how Jesus died on Good Friday on the hill of Golgotha.

The angel carrying the cross reminds us of the angel who told Mary Magdalen and another Mary that Jesus had risen from the dead.

The lamb reminds us of how the Jewish people would sacrifice a lamb at their Passover feast, to make up for their sins. Because Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins, he is often called the Lamb of God.

Eggs are symbols of new life and the wooden egg here is decorated with Christian symbols to show that the resurrection of Jesus means that there is a new life for all of us, even after death.


For a lovely Ignatian prayer meditation entitled “Following Jesus into the Desert” use this link

Following Jesus into the Desert




This year our Annual Religious Education Teacher Community will meet on Tuesday 23rd June in St John the Baptist College, Drumcree, Portadown.

This Annual Gathering has proved to be very successful in helping to meet the personal, spiritual and professional needs of teachers of Religious Education in our Archdiocese.  It also affords an opportunity for RE teachers and HODs to build networks for support and to exchange ideas and resources.  Being part of this community helps build a strong sense of support, belonging and identity.  We hope to commence at 9.45 am with Taize Lectio based Morning Prayer,

Full details can be downloaded here.

Annual RE Community Day 2020

Reply slip 2020

Our Annual Armagh Community Day Programme

  1. 45 am           Arrival & registration    (Declan )
  1. 00 am          Taize Lectio Morning Prayer   (Declan)
  1. 40 am           Coffee break

11.00  am            “Living the Gospel as RE Teachers”     Mrs Joan McCombe

12,15. pm             Pure in Heart      Marie Cummins and team

1.00 pm                Lunch break    (Light Lunch Provided)

1.50 pm               Sharing resources and issues.

( Bring 15 copies of one resource you used and found good )

2.10 pm            “ The Fifth Gospel  –  Learning from the  Holy Land itself ”

. Fr Paul Clayton Lee.

3.30 pm               Evaluation and Closure.


I really hope as many of you as possible will come along.

I realise the Co Louth schools will be on Summer Holiday by then but maybe a few may make it north to join us all.



“Lent,” Pope Francis said, “is a time in which to turn off the television and open the Bible.”

During his teaching for the weekly Audience the Pope reflected on the 40 days spent by Jesus in the desert as He prepared for His public ministry and said that, in a sense, it is a time for us to imitate Jesus and seek a place of silence, where we are free to hear the Lord’s word and experience His call.

“In the desert one hears the Word of God,” he said, “one finds intimacy with God and the love of the Lord,” noting that Jesus taught us how to seek the Father, who speaks to us in silence.  For many of us, it is not easy to be in silence as we live in an environment that is “polluted by too much verbal violence,” by so many “offensive and harmful words” which are amplified by the internet “ Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and connect to the Gospel,” he said.

“It is the time to give up useless words, chatter, rumours, gossip, and talk and to speak directly to the Lord,” he said, it is a time in which to dedicate ourselves to an ecology of the heart.

Following on from our CSW Tree planting and Sprout Pencils now is a chance to get more involved in saving our Planet  Mother Earth. .


The Laudato Tree Project is Ireland’s contribution to the Great Green Wall – an incredible global initiative to plant 8,000km of trees, spanning 13 countries, right across Africa and to establish a mosaic of greened areas in the Sahel region south of the Sahara.

While the trees you help us plant in Africa will combat the destructive impact of climate change, we must also practice what we preach. So, as a statement of intent that we are serious about tackling climate change and meeting our own greenhouse targets, your generous donations will also help plant trees in Ireland – a country with one of the lowest forest coverage levels in Europe.

The Laudato Tree – Be part of something amazing


A competition being run by Trócaire at the minute called Game Changers (runs to 20th April) where students are invited to create a card, board or video game that explores Climate Justice, Human Rights or Sustainable Development Goals.

These 22 groups of young people, their teachers and Trócaire staff then came together to enjoy a hugely energetic and colourful event. On the day, the judges were wowed by the standard of gameplay on show but the final say on who took home the title went to the entrants themselves.

‘Children are hope’ – a new book by Pope Francis for children

‘Children are hope’ – a new book by Pope Francis aimed at children. I bambini sono speranza

I Bambini sono speranza (Children are hope) is the of a newly published children’s book composed of short and simple statements by Pope Francis that encourage sharing, acceptance and love.

The materials have been selected by Father Antonio Spadaro SJ, director of La Civiltà Cattolica magazine, and the book has been illustrated by Sheree Boyd who illustrated the Dear Pope Francis book for children published in 2016 which so many people loved.

Introducing the new book, Cardinal Tagle said that “where there are no children, there is no future.”

The book, he said, is “a breath of fresh air” as it is full of images of joy, energy and life. He shared that it reminds him of his own childhood in the village of Imus in the Philippines, where the family had no television set and where every evening his mother would read books to the children.

In the book the Pope speaks directly to children, choosing words that invite them to be generous, to not be afraid to cry, to do good in life, but also to smile and to dance for joy.

“You and I can make the Earth a more beautiful place” and “the best way to win a conflict is not to start it,” are amongst the Pope’s words chosen to make up the text of the volume.

On page one Pope Francis says “When I see a child like you, I feel so much hope in my heart”; next to it is a mirror in which the child sees his or her own reflection.

” Children are hope ” is “a special little book with a universal message to make the world a better place.”


Another book aimed at young people owes its origins to extracts from Pope Francis@ letter Christus Vivit.  Called “CHRIST IS ALIVE” £1.50 copy

Pope Francis calls all those aged 16-30 to throw themselves into life, to love, to create community, to care for our sisters and brothers who suffer, to build a better world and get involved as Jesus did.

Chapters include the following topics

The booklet is produced by Synod Fruits.

Check out this  You can order online.  Much more fascinating resources to be gleaned on this website.