A School Prayer for All Souls Day @ 3pm on Nov 2nd. Could be prayed on School Address system or in Class bubbles.

I have edited together a Prayer service for Schools to pray on the public address systems or perhaps in Class bubbles. I have edited two or three services we used in the past and included an edited version of the Prayer of Pope Francis to Our Lady during the Pandemic. I hope as many of you as possible will use it around 3 pm so that we all are united in prayer on the Feast of the Holy Souls. Take care and please remain safe. Bless you and your great work. Feel free to tailor this to your own situation. Blessings Declan

Archbishop Eamon speaks to 3rd Level Students.

Homily for Mass for the Dedication of Studies at the Catholic Chaplaincy, Queen’s University Belfast


A stand-out memory for me of life in university is that first day in College – with all its nervousness and anticipation; wandering and getting lost among historic buildings, libraries and lecture halls; student cards, clubs and societies; new faces the promise of making new friends.

I’m very conscious that this year’s Dedication of Studies Mass is taking place in a very different context: with social distancing, sanitising and face covering; webinars and blended learning; studying and socialising from a laptop in Halls or at home.

I know that university communities are sharing in the anxiety, disruption and uncertainty that has marked these months of pandemic.  A first year psychology student told me recently that this is not what she or her friends were expecting from College. “It doesn’t feel real”, she said.  And it’s upsetting for her that young people are being stigmatised for the spread of Covid19.  At times the irresponsibility of a few has perhaps tarnished the image of all.  But my experience of young people since the beginning of the pandemic has been of your generosity and self-sacrifice, your volunteering to help the elderly and isolated, your stepping up to serve in the retail and hospitality sector – not to mention the many students of medicine, pharmacy and nursing who have supported our health workers and carers on the so-called ‘front line’.

Many of you have shown great resilience and are making personal sacrifices to keep safe your parents,  grandparents, and other vulnerable family members. These are stressful times for us all, and I am aware of the support and encouragement that you are quietly giving to each other, especially to friends and others who are fragile and struggling to cope, either mentally, physically or spiritually.

This time two years ago I was in Rome with Pope Francis for the Synod on Young People. I remember coming home from the Synod with a strong sense that the primary vocation and mission of young believers in Christ is to reach out to other young people and invite them to share in the joy and hope that comes from friendship with Jesus.  Pope Francis put it beautifully when he wrote after the Synod:

“The Lord is calling (you) to enkindle stars in the night of other young people” (CV33). As “members of the Church”, he added, you “must dare to be different, to point to ideals other than those of this world, testifying to the beauty of generosity, service, purity, perseverance, forgiveness, … prayer, the pursuit of justice and the common good, love for the poor, and social friendship”.

Yesterday in Assisi, the beatification took place of a young Italian schoolboy, Carlo Acutis, who did just that.  He dared to be different.  Carlo had a strong sense that every young person should use their unique gifts to change the world for the better.  Although his own life was cut short by leukaemia at the tender age of sixteen, he was already well known as someone who loved God deeply, who cared about the poor and who used his talent with computers to help build up faith.  Carlo once remarked that young people easily fall into the trap of consumerism and, although they may want to be different, they end up just like everyone else. “We are all born as an original” he once said, “but many people end up dying as photocopies”.

Perhaps that is one of the dangers of youth nowadays – to find yourself slavishly conforming to the banal uniformity of fashions and expectations that others have decided for you.  An alternative is to realise that you have a unique calling from God, a personal invitation to follow Him.  God will provide all the graces, gifts and skills that you need to say ‘Yes’  to His invitation and help you discern what particular service he is asking of you in the world.  Saint Paul certainly took up the challenge.  He wrote to the Philippians: “I am ready for anything anywhere … There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength”.

It is sad, however, that so many people turn down God’s invitation in their lives – perhaps being too distracted or too self-absorbed – to hear the gentle voice of the Good Shepherd who walks beside them.

In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, the king is furious that those invited to come to the banquet and celebrate with him, were totally disinterested and even treated his invitation with disdain.  It reminds me of something else Pope Francis wrote to the young people of the world after the 2018 Synod:

“Dear young people, make the most of these years of your youth. Don’t observe life from a balcony. Don’t confuse happiness with an armchair, or live your life behind a screen. Whatever you do, do not become the sorry sight of an abandoned vehicle! Don’t be parked cars, but dream freely and make good decisions. Take risks, even if it means making mistakes. Don’t go through life anaesthetised … Please, don’t take early retirement” (CV143).

This evening’s Mass is for the Dedication of Studies.  It is worthwhile asking: for what, or to whom, do we tend to dedicate our studies?  Of course there are many worthy causes, for example, to achieve our full potential, to make the most of our chances in life, or, to earn the best possible qualifications for future advancement.  Some will commit long hours of research this year in the hope of adding to the body of knowledge in a particular field, or achieving an international breakthrough in science, medicine or technology. Others will dedicate their efforts in recognition of teachers, parents or sponsors whose sacrifices made it possible for them to reach university.

In this Mass, we dedicate the coming year of study in thanksgiving to God, being mindful that all our gifts spring from God, and that these gifts are given not just to improve our own chances but for the betterment of others, the improvement of the world and for the building of God’s kingdom.

The peculiar ending to the Parable of the Wedding Feast speaks of someone turning up to the banquet unprepared, without a wedding garment, as if they had taken the invitation totally for granted.  Down the centuries scripture scholars have pondered what this ‘being without a wedding garment’ might signify.  Saint Gregory the Great suggested that, even though the guest had faith enough to get himself in to the wedding feast, he lacked the essential wedding garment of love or charity.  In other words, he kept his faith to himself.  He was not prepared to ‘give it away’ in love and charity for others.

It is a privilege to have the opportunity of education at Third Level.  It is a special invitation to use wisely our God-given gifts.  God expects much of those to whom He has given much. Your challenge is to use your talents generously – to change this world for the better; to be ever mindful of our neighbours throughout the world who are poor; to show compassion towards the vulnerable; to remain alert to the marginalised or forgotten.

I ask the Lord to bless each one of you – students and staff – who make up the community of Queen’s University Belfast; that the Good Shepherd will guide you along the right path this year, especially those who feel lost in the darkness and uncertainty of these Covid19 times.  Stay safe.  Pray safe.  Be leaders in taking care of yourselves, your families and of each other.  Amen.


To Whom shall we go ? Gospel of St John

“To Whom Shall We Go?” Seeking Jesus in The Gospel of John

Four-Part Course with Sr Pam Thimmes OSC Hosted by Drumalis Retreat & Conference Centre over 8 Zoom Sessions in 2020 and 2021


028 28272196 Mon – Fri 9 am – 5 pm

About the course:

The Gospel of John goes its own way in its portrayal of Jesus’ origins, ministry and engagement in life in the world. One scholar has referred to it as the ‘maverick’ Gospel, others note the role irony plays in Jesus’ interactions with various individuals and still others note the prominence women play in the Gospel. Our study will look closely at the community from which this gospel comes, the images and symbols they employ to understand Jesus as the Word made flesh, what that means for developing Christianity and for our faith lives today, what discipleship means and costs, and how the Johannine Jesus, from the cross, gives us to each other. Come and see!

About the Facilitator: Sr Pam is a Poor Clare sister living at the Poor Clare Monastery in Faughart, Co Louth. She teaches Scripture in each of the Drumalis Adult Faith Development programmes and in the Permanent Diaconate programmes for several dioceses. Sr Pam is also an experienced and popular spiritual director and retreat leader, as well as a working photographer.

The cost of this course is £120 per person.


Part I Sat, 24 Oct & Sat, 31 Oct 2020 (by Zoom) – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Part II Sat, 21 Nov & Sat, 28 Nov 2020 (by Zoom) – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Part III Sat, 23 & Sat, 30 January 2021 (by Zoom) – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Part IV Sat, 20 & Sat, 27 March 2021 (by Zoom) – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Rosary Month October

ACN Ireland October Campaign “One million children praying the Rosary can change the world”

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Ireland invites parishes, schools and families to participate in the initiative on 19th October of “One Million Children Praying the Rosary”. The focus of the prayer campaign is worldwide unity and peace. This year provides a very special context, because never has there been such a worldwide healthcare and economic crisis. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, President of ACN International states that: “the entire world has been and continues to be exposed to an invisible virus that has brought death to hundreds of thousands of people and devastating, economic and social consequences.” In a letter to the children he said that in difficult situations like these it is very important to work together and help one another. “But we must also not forget that the biggest help of all comes from God”.

ACN provides a leaflet for prayer in parishes, children’s groups, or families. It contains instructions on how to pray the rosary, child-friendly reflections on the mysteries of the rosary and a child consecration to the Mother of God. To order the materials or signing up for the Campaign or more information, please contact 00353-01-8377516 or visit

“When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change.” (Saint Padre Pio)

Drumalis Workshop

As part of the celebrations of the bicentenary of the birth of Elizabeth Prout, the founder of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, Drumalis is pleased to host a series of lectures during the year 2020-2021.  Speakers include Dr Sr Gemma Simmonds, Professor Amy-Jill Levine, professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University and Dom Christopher Jamison, author, broadcaster and Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation.
The first of these lectures will take place by Zoom on Thursday evening, October 22nd at 7 pm.  It may be of particular interest to those who are interested in Ignatian Spirituality. The speaker is Dr Sr Gemma Simmonds who will talk on the subject ‘Hope in a Time of Pandemic‘.   ‘Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love’ (1 Cor. 13:13)   Love may be the greatest thing, but without hope neither faith nor love can flourish.  What is hope?  How do we practise it, and how do we hold on to hope in a time of pandemic?  How can we experience God in all things and help others to do the same?    Theologian and spiritual director Gemma Simmonds reflects on these questions from within the Ignatian spiritual tradition and invites you to share questions and explorations around the virtue of hope.

We would be grateful if you would bring this to the attention of anyone who might be interested.
To make a booking, please phone Drumalis during office hours.  Our number is 02828 272196.

REVISION OF FULLY ALIVE The Bible Lessons 9-15


Dear Colleagues, I hope that you are all well and staying safe.  Please find attached the next set of pilot lessons for Year 8 pupils. Lesson 10 has a short video that tells the story of Ruth. Lesson 13 is optional and not suitable for lower ability pupils. Please come back to me with your comments and suggestions. Kind regards, Susan