RETURNING TO SCHOOL 2020 – A Led Reflection for Class bubble Group

Given the restrictions regarding large groups assembling during this COVID Pandemic I have written a short reflection to replace the normal prayer services that call for readings and prayers of the Faithful. This might be read by teachers after relaxing the class group playing some gentle music in the background.  It is very important to recognise all that students had to contend with during lockdown. Some students may wish to speak with form teachers or pastoral care/chaplaincy teams after the prayer time.

2020 Back to School      A Class reflection Prayer

Dear Lord, as we return to our school community this year, we find ourselves in a new world situation due to the presence of the Pandemic. Our new world is marked by wearing face coverings or masks, by being very careful to keep a safe distance especially to protect vulnerable people.

Many of us have mixed feelings returning to class.  Some of us may miss the freedom of being at home, others may be anxious about catching up on work missed or lost because of lockdown. Some may be nervous about being with others again.  Others of us may be glad to have a normal timetable in our day again, whilst some may be excited to be back with class friends once more.  Lockdown for many young people was a lonely time when they were unable to be close to their friends. Loneliness may have been a part of lockdown for them. Some of us may have lost family members to this virus and now miss and mourn them as they leave a large gap in our hearts and lives.

Lord as we start a new school year please bless us all. Help us to know that you are with us and that we are not facing this world on our own.   In Jesus’ Holy Name, we raise up our Planet Mother Earth with all of its peoples asking you to bless and protect us all.  We know many wonderful people are in danger and may be sick with this virus.  Some countries have few resources to help themselves.  Move the hearts of world leaders and richer countries to come to help them.

Lord, bless our school community and help us all in our work and school life this new year. Help us all to be careful and kind and thoughtful. Help us to look after the wonderful planet you have given to us as our home. Bless our Parents, Families and Teachers. May we all have a wonderful school year ahead.

We make these prayers in faith to You, Blessed and Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen

Declan 2020


A prayer in the time of pandemic:

Almighty God, we pray to you through Christ the Healer,

for those who suffer because of the Coronavirus across the world.

Grant them comfort, healing and hope.

Give wisdom to governments; skill to healthcare workers and scientists 

as they seek answers to the pandemic.

We remember those who have succumbed to the virus 

and those who mourn the loss a loved one.  

May they find strength in the new life that was revealed to us in your Son.

Help us to live in serenity and peace in these days of uncertainty. 

This we ask in the name of Jesus, our Lord, Amen.

To download in Microsoft word click below.

2020 Back to School

Beatitudes for Teachers

Icon of Christ and His Friend

Life is for living

Open my eyes and ears

Some more resources from Justin that you may like to use:

Beginning of School Year – Staff Prayer

Beginning of School Year – First Year Prayer Service

Beginning of School Year – Student Prayer Service

My friend Dr Ger Condon sent me a short reflection

Each September, students and teachers alike, have to put a brave face on their return to school, this year with the added discomfort of a face-mask.   However we have already learnt much from the past few months on how to stay safe while also leading a normal life.  
Arturo Sosa SJ, the superior general of the Jesuits, lists the following silver linings to the situation:
  • The global reach of the pandemic reminds that we share one world, one humanity.
  • It is impossible to respond to the pandemic alone; it is only through solidarity that the virus can be defeated.  
  • The courage and generosity of the “frontline workers” and the progress towards a vaccine by scientists shows all that can be done when humanity is mobilised to fight for a good cause.
  • The pandemic has brought about much soul-searching, reflection and pause-for-thought.  It has renewed the search for meaning which is the prerequisite for religious faith.
  • The Church has made much better use of social media than heretofore, building new channels for communicating the Gospel.
Trocaire has produced a new resource for this year’s “Season of Creation” (September – mid October) based on the 2015 encyclical of Pope Francis Laudato Si (On the Care of our Common Home)  
While the resource was written for parish groups, it could work equally well in Second level schools, especially senior cycle – really in any group motivated to address the ecological crisis.  The resource illustrates the key concepts of the encyclical with events from the past five years, including the current pandemic.    Seven Power-points make up the module, along with ancillary resources.  Note the speaker’s information that accompanies each slide.
A Teacher’s Prayer

Help me to be a fine teacher, to keep peace in the classroom, peace between my students and myself, to be kind and gentle to each and every one of my students.

Help me to be merciful to my students, to balance mercy and discipline in the right measure for each student, to give genuine praise as much as possible, to give constructive criticism in a manner that is palatable to my students.

Help me to remain conscientious enough to keep my lessons always interesting, to recognise what motivates each of my students, to accept my students’ limitations and not hold it against them.

Help me not to judge my students too harshly, to be fair to all, to be a good role model, but most of all Lord help me to show your love to all of my students.


Paidir  do   Mhúinteoirí

Cuir ar mo chumas múineadh le heagna mar cabhraímse i múnlú na haigne.

Ullmhaigh mé chun múineadh le fírinne mar cabhraímse i múnlú coinsiasa.

Spreag mé chun múineadh le fís mar cabhraímse i múnlú na todhchaí.

Cuir ar mo chumas múineadh le grá mar cabhraímse i múnlú an domhain.

“Dealróidh na saoithe mar loinnnir na spéire, agus iad siúd a theagasc an fhíréantacht do mhórán mar reanna neimhe ar feadh na síoraíochta.”

Being selfless leads to new life and leaves our world in a better state.

Lord, when I am hungry, give me someone in need of food;
when I am thirsty, send me someone needing a drink;
when I am cold, send me someone to warm;
when I am grieved, offer me someone to console;
when my cross grows heavy, let me share another’s cross;
when I think only of myself, draw my thoughts to another. Amen.

Mgr Colm Curry recently wrote

In recent days, many children and young people have made a new start to a very different academic year. Over the past six months they and their teachers have coped with unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic: we now pray God*S protection and guidance on all of them as they lace into the months ahead.

A long time ago, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote: “The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.” During the past few weeks there has been so much controversy about results and points and places, you might get the impression that the educational system is only about academic achievement and has very little to do with the kind of suitability for a way of life that was once described as “vocation”. Producing top guns in Science. Maths and English is undoubtedly very important, but sometimes we might wonder if our young people are being adequately equipped for living – do they ha\e the resources to use and develop the gifts they will need as people? What do they know about the world around them, and more significantly, the world within them? Have they a sense of wonder and appreciation for the higher things in life? Do they have some thought for the hungers of the human heart, the longing for completion that only a spiritual perspective can give? Are they aware that we don’t have here in this world a lasting city, but that we are merely pilgrims towards a greater destiny* That’s a big agenda, but in some respects, it’s what true education should be about. For that reason, I like the following:


A Teacher’s Prayer

I want to teach my students how to live this life on earth,

to face its struggles and its strife and improve their worth.

Not just the lessons in a book or how the rivers flow,

but how to choose the proper path wherever they may go.

To understand eternal truth and know what’s right from wrong

appreciate the beauty of a flower and even sing a song.

For if I help the young to grow in wisdom and in grace

then I shall feel I’ve done my bit and helped them find their place.

And so, 1 ask your guidance, Lord, that I may do my part for character,

for confidence and serenity of heart.


With every blessing for the year ahead. Monsignor Colum.



Subject: Response to Junior Cycle Rel. Education Enquiry


I have had enquiries from teachers concerning Junior Cycle Religious Education textbooks and workbooks, i.e. in light of Covid 19 guidance that students should not share books at this time.

Regarding the provision of Junior Cycle Religious Education in Catholic Schools the only publication fully in line with the NCCA implementation guidelines that has the approval of the Council for Catechetics of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference is the Veritas publication Soul Seekers (

This publication also meets all NCCA guidelines regarding the teaching of RE in Community Schools, Designated Community Colleges and ETB schools. Veritas are among the companies that brought out a First Year book and workbook last year and followed up by publishing a separate book and workbook for Second and Third Years this summer. ( I have purchased and supplied a copy of this for each Co Louth School  Declan )

It is important to note that the company has given a commitment to arrange swap outs next year with schools who purchase Soul Seekers, i.e. when they publish one book covering all three years.

In short they are not rushing toward a final product but working with us toward the best desirable outcome.  Naturally this takes time.

Please note that the new Soulseekers series (written by Tom Gunning for Veritas) is now complete with the publication of the second volume (for Years Two and Three) and its attendant workbook.  A sample copy has been sent to each school.  It is available from Veritas here:

Of the six textbooks written for the new NCCA specification, the Soulseekers series was written specifically for Catholic schools and  designated colleges.  It also meets the standards of the NCCA specification and prepares students for either the exam or non-exam routes for the specification.
Veritas will “swop out” the existing two volumes series for a revised one-volume text (with workbook) for the next academic year.  [“Buy First Year and Second/Third Year textbooks in 2020 and we will replace them in 2021 with one book covering all three years” – Veritas]


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