We work in the area of religious education offering support and teaching resources to post primary school RE teachers. We specifically help with the faith development of the Catholic school communities in our support areas.
Credible Catholic is a new Religious Education programme made available for senior cycle non–exam RE by the Council for Catechetics of the Irish Episcopal Conference.
It is designed for use in Catholic Voluntary Secondary schools in Ireland. An earlier version was written and produced by Fr Robert Spitzer SJ and the Magis Centre (California, USA) in 2018 and has been almost entirely re-developed for the Irish context, in line with feedback from RE teachers and theological advisors in Ireland.
Credible Catholic aims to stimulate discussion, encourage reflection and critical thinking, foster religious literacy, help build community, and nurture faith, and in doing all of these things, to promote student well-being. It is an optional resource that will be very helpful to teachers of Religious Education.
I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time. Saint Patrick, Confessio
I seemed to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.Saint Patrick, Confessio,
I am the sinner Patrick. I am the most unsophisticated of people, the least of Christians, and for many people I am the most contemptible…I was taken into captivity in Ireland – at that time I was ignorant of the true God – along with many thousand others.This was our punishment for departing from God, abandoning his commandments, and ignoring our priests who kept on warning us about our salvation.. .St Patrick, Confessio
Archbishop Eamon sent school principals a letter today outlining the Trocaire Lenten Campaign. I know our schools do amazing work each Lent to support the work of Trocaire. I have extracted some of the Archbishop’s points to keep you updated and to help you plan this years’ campaign locally in your school community.
Trócaire relies heavily on the contributions that are donated during Lent, through the generosity of parishes and schools, to fund their core work. Despite the many pressures facing people and parishes, I am greatly encouraged by the ongoing generosity that enables Trócaire to continue their lifesaving and life-changing work in up to twenty countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America.
This year’s Lenten campaign highlights how Covid-19 has impacted communities in Zimbabwe, a country that was already facing significant challenges due to climate change and food insecurity. Trócaire relates the story of Thandekile and her two children, daughter, No matter, and son, Forward. We hear about how Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the family and how Thandekile shows courage, hope and strength in the face of these challenges. To help engage with their work, Trócaire has made available on their website (www.trocaire.org), excellent resources for schools, youth groups and parishes.
Ournew Development Education Resources 2022, “Brighter Futures”are available to download here.
Resources are available forEarly childhood, Primary, Post Primary and Youth. These resources will help you explore the effects of climate change and Covid 19 on food security, and they are rooted on the Global Goal 2 “Zero Hunger”. Learn about the Sustainable Development goals, Zimbabwe and Trócaire’s work through interactive lesson plans, photos, animations and our latest Development education board game “Harvest for the future”. Please feel free to share the resources with anyone else you think might find them useful.
Resources are available for use in Early Childhood, Primary, Post Primary and Youth educational settings. These resources explore the impacts of Climate Change and Covid-19 on food security through the lens of SDG2 – Zero Hunger. Find interactive activities, lesson plans, photos and videos that explore the SDGs and food security, and that tell the story of No matter and Forward in Zimbabwe. Play our latest board game, “Harvest for the Future“, with your class or youth group and join us on the #GrowwithTrocaire challenge!
A Lenten Prayer:
Loving Jesus, as I place on my forehead the sign of your saving cross you say to me, “repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Walking into Lent my heart is set on you.
May my fasting fill me with hunger for you,
may my prayer draw me deeper into your presence,
may my acts of charity bring your love to my home and community.
Lord of life, grant that by turning back to you in these 40 days I will re-awaken the joy of my Easter faith;
for you raise me up from fear and despair
and call me to hope and trust in God who is with me always.
Archbishop Eamon’s Lenten message is entitled ” Never take peace for granted ”
Please download to read for yourself.
Being in the wilderness for 40 days. Interesting Utube video for Ash Wednesday
In 4 minutes, we see Jesus hopeful, determined, bored, anxious, playful, longing, despairing, lonely, curious, exhausted, angry, tempted…a full range of emotion, most of which our teens experience in tidal waves every single day.
watching this video together and asking open questions
Imagine being totally alone for 40 days; no friends, no devices, no connection. What would be the hardest part?
What do we think about Satan or Evil?
Why are the apple, the snake, and Temptation red when everything else is black & white? (Also, will he notice the other slight color, when the angels appear?)
What is Temptation and where does it come from?
I wonder if Jesus ever wished he’d gone ahead and turned the stone to bread?
3. Lenten Reflections in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
On each of the Tuesday evenings during Lent, a guest speaker will join in St Patrick’s Cathedral at 7.30pm to help us reflect on each of the following themes. People may wish to join in person or via St Patrick’s Cathedral Webcam.
Tuesday 5 April “Care for oneself amidst the challenges of life”. (Stephen Donnelly)
Stephen has worked in the field of mental health for 30 years. A former mental health nurse, he’s now employed by the Western Health and Social Care Trust as team lead for the regional trauma network and as a specialist Psychologist Trauma Therapist. He has delivered numerous courses/programmes on positive mental health and well being. He resides with his family in Omagh, Co Tyrone and is a keen GAA enthusiast.
Tuesday 12 April “Grief – a process that’s experienced one day at a time”. (Paul Mallon)
Originally from Co Tyrone, Paul is a counsellor in private practice in Armagh City. He also works with businesses and public sector organisations and is currently the resident counsellor in Southern Regional College, Armagh. Having previously worked in engineering, he works as an Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner. He has contributed EFT meditations to the recently launched “Sibling Grief Club”, a local support group website for the bereaved.
A weekly email on the readingsfrom www.tarsus.ie. The reflections come in four formats (PDF, audio, portable and YouTube — the YouTube reflection is an alternative exploration of all three readings). This is a free online service and to subscribe click here. To given an idea, at the bottom of this email is the edition for the first Sunday of Lent this year. The email goes out each Monday @ 8.30 a.m.
The Tarsus Scripture School offers biblical programmes online following the church year. For Lent and Easter 2022, our programme is entitled: “And their eyes were opened and they recognised him” Jesus, prophet, martyr, Risen One in Luke-Acts. It consists of 9 presentations, 1 webinar and 1 meditation: all for €30 per household/community. Click here to register.
Finally, the Irish Messenger has been publishing a series called Hearers of the Word on the readings for Advent/Christmas, Lent/Holy Week, Easter/Pentecost. The series is now complete with the 8th volume for Lent and Holy Week and the 9th volume for Easter and Pentecost. The recent review in Intercom is a good guide to what’s on offer in these books.
Archbishop Eamon Martin and Bishop Michael Router invite you during February to take part in the consultation for the Universal Synod of the Church. Your response, and the responses of various groups and organisations, across the archdiocese, will be very helpful and will contribute greatly to a listening process that is taking place around the world. To help you take part in the process the Synodal Core Group in the Archdiocese of Armagh has organized a virtual consultation that will broadcast twice a day 3pm and 8.30pm, Monday to Friday, from the 7th February to the 25th February on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Webcam. The presentation lasts 45 minutes and it can be accessed through the Armagh Parish Website at www.armaghparish.net/cathedral-webcam, on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch/S3scX2xCX0Y or on the www.armaghprays.com
I recently emailed Rel Ed Heads regarding a possible approach with 6th Formers or members of Staff.
“I was asked if I had an angle on looking at the Holy Father’s plan to open up the way decisions and discernment happen in our Church. At present, there is a process of consultation taking place. It might be worth considering opening this to senior students and staff members.
As we leave January behind us We see longer days and the first stirrings of buds and bulbs!
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing; The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy, Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning, Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy, Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated in schools across the island of Ireland from Sunday 23 January – Sunday 30 January. The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2022 is ‘Catholic Schools: Living Life to the Full’.
Primary National Resources Follow links from Doc attached.
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place each year on 27 January. Although everyone is facing challenging circumstances, the need to mark HMD locally has never been greater, with recent times seeing a rise in identity-based hostility. HMD provides an opportunity for schools and communities to reflect on how they can make a better, safer future for everyone by learning from the past.
The following resources and ideas may be all you need to get involved. Any activity would be great as even putting up a poster in the school reception area can raise awareness and have an impact. The scope is endless, but the following are things you could do:
have a time of reflection or prayer in a service/assembly maybe including a life story of a survivor or victim
A prayer for Holocaust Memorial Day Loving God, we come to you with heavy hearts, remembering the six million Jewish souls murdered during the Holocaust. In the horrors of that history, when so many groups were targeted because of their identity, and in genocides that followed, we recognize destructive prejudices that drive people apart. Forgive us when we give space to fear, negativity, and hatred of others, simply because they are different from us.In the light of God, we see everyone as equally precious manifestations of the Divine and can know the courage to face the darkness. Through our prayers and actions, help us to stand together with those who are suffering, so that light may banish all darkness, love will prevail over hate and good will triumph over evil. Amen
CHURCHUNITY WEEK 2022
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an annual initiative of the World Council of Churches will take place from January 18-25. The theme for this year’s prayer is “we saw his star in the East, and have come to worship him” (Mt2:2) The Magi came from a distant land and gave the homage to Jesus that was reserved to God.
This years’ resources have been prepared by the Christian Churches of Lebanon, where Christians hold on to a hopeful attitude despite social conflict, the Beirut explosion of 4 August 2020 and the pandemic. There are resources for this week at:
NEWS FOR TEACHERS Knock Reopens to School Retreats:
“We are delighted to announce that the Youth Ministry at Knock Shrine will resume school retreats throughout 2022. School retreats are available to both primary and secondary schools and offer students a meaningful, spiritually uplifting day to reflect within themselves and experience quality time with their fellow students. Retreat programmes are flexible and can be tailored to suit your group’s needs or time limitations. If you would like to plan a school retreat, please get in touch with a member of our Youth Ministry team:
Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality in Dublin has re-released videos from last year for Advent 2021. The free material is offered to support people who wish to take a day or a few days retreat in their own place. The reflective talks are followed by some pointers for thought and prayer and guided prayer sessions are also offered. Click here for the Advent videos ».
Epiphany : A Simple Classroom Blessing ( From Jesuit School Resources)
The Kings arrive in each classroom, accompanied by children carrying lights/candles, and announce their arrival by ringing a bell or singing the first verse of We Three Kings.
A reader reads from the gospel of Matthew (use the symbolism of reading from the Bible book instead of from a sheet of paper):
After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came from the east. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
The kings take around the gifts of a sweet for each child.
Then the chaplain (or one of the kings) takes chalk and marks up the blessing on the door of the classroom. (If it is difficult to do this on the paint of the door it is an idea to use a strip of black sugar paper attached to the top of the door or above it).
20 + C + M + B + 19
The prayer is spoken as the chalk marks are made above the door:
The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, followed the star to where Jesus was born two thousand and nineteen years ago. They did him homage and offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
May Christ bless this classroom and all those who teach and learn in it this year. May it be a place of joy and peace. Amen.
Then the chaplain blesses the classroom and the people in it by sprinkling holy water. And the procession of kings departs for the next room. (Don’t forget to include the staff room and offices too!)
“Week of Witness” will take place from Sunday 21 Nov – Saturday 27 November 2021. During the week, we will remember all who have given great witness to their faith in the past and those who continue to give witness today, and all who will continue to give great witness in the future.
On Wednesday 24th November (Red Wednesday) Archbishop Eamon will celebrate a special Liturgy in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh at 7.30pm. As part of the Liturgy, the Archbishop will speak with two young people who give great witness to their faith today.
Aidan Forker is from the Parish of Loughgall, Co Armagh, a teacher in St John’s Primary School, Kingsisland. A well-known sportsman who plays with Maghery GAC and he’s also a member of the Armagh Senior Football Panel. He’s married with two sons.
Ciara Donnelly is from the parish of Eglish, Co Tyrone, a teacher of Mathematics in St Catherine’s College, Armagh. Ciara is also a well-known sportsperson who plays camogie with her local club in Eglish and she’s also a member of the Armagh Senior Camogie Team. She also plays Ladies Football with Killeeshil GFC and is engaged to get married next year.
People are invited to wear something red on the evening as we remember all who have given and all who continue to give great witness to their faith today.
After the Liturgy, Archbishop Eamon will launch a new book in The Synod Hall titled “In His Master’s Footsteps – The Way of the Cross in the company of St Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop and Martyr” edited by Canon Benedict Fee.
Every year Aid to the Church in Need hosts the Week of Witness, a week of campaigning and prayer for persecuted Christians around the world. Red Wednesday is the central event of the Week of Witness.
By ACN Ireland
Red Wednesday is a day to gather and draw attention to the plight of those who are persecuted and oppressed for their religious beliefs. Cathedrals, churches and public buildings around the world will light up in red to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Red Wednesday is an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic charity dedicated to the support of suffering and persecuted Christians. This year, Red Wednesday will take place on the 24th of November.
Christians are the most persecuted people in the world
It is clear that the persecution of Christians is reaching a crisis point. In terms of the number of people involved, the gravity of the acts committed, and their impact, not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the worst forms of persecution.
The purpose of Red Wednesday is to join together and raise a strong voice in support of the persecuted who are unable to speak freely, and who look to us – their brothers and sisters in Christ – to speak on their behalf.
How can I get involved with Red Wednesday?
Pray: Prayer is the bond that unites us in love and solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffer and are persecuted for their love of Jesus. Join us in praying throughout November for persecuted Christians. You may also want to offer a Mass for the Persecuted Church. 100% of Mass offerings are sent to poor priests who will celebrate Mass for your prayer intentions.
Donate: By making a donation to Aid to the Church in Need you are helping us to fund projects that support Christians that are being persecuted, oppressed or are suffering. Each year we receive 7500 requests from around the world but we can only help with about 5000 requests due to a lack of funds.
The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2022 is ‘Catholic Schools: Living Life to the Full’. As we look forward to and begin our preparations for celebrating CSW2022, it is important for each of us to remember those who have gone before us in the hope of the resurrection promised by Jesus.
Ahead of the celebration of CSW2022 a November Moment is offered to both Primary and Post Primary Schools. These resources aim to assist primary and post-primary schools with activities and lesson ideas for November – ‘The Month of the Holy Souls’, the month in which we remember the faithful departed.
More than most years, this November will be especially poignant as we remember all those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of this, the Moment of November recalls to us God’s love for us, a love that conquers all things, even death. The November Moment also encourages us to examine the role that remembrance has played and continues to play for us as we journey through the Covid-19 pandemic.
To download this year’s Resources for Primary and Post-Primary Schools click here