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


In the words of Fr James Martin SJ

“Remember you are still part of a community … Many things have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.  Love is not one of them.”


Dear Colleagues,

Veritas had produced a short video ‘Coronavirus: A Global Pandemic’ and I wrote these three lessons to go with it. Lir in Veritas has done a bit of design work to make them look more attractive. It includes lesson notes and templates. You are invited to send these out to your Heads of RE for use in schools. I will send the video via We Transfer shortly. They could (with minor tweaks) be suited to quite a wide age group. They give the students an opportunity to reflect on the past few months and consider, in the context of faith, what important lessons we can take from the experience. Please feel free to pass these on to anyone who might use them to help our young people.

I hope that you are all keeping safe and well.


NI Covid Lesson Templates[4512]


Video  Download from   See link below:




The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.

The season starts 1 September, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations..

This year, amid crises that have shaken our world, we’re awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other.

During the season this year, we enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, that requires radically new ways of living with creation.


Creation Time 2020

We have known for decades that this time will come. We have been made aware of the rapid extinction of beautiful and unique creatures. Thanks to the honest and disciplined work of climate scientists, we know (unless we fall victim to fake news) right now, that our lifestyle is unsustainable, and our dominant philosophy of ‘permanent growth at all cost’ carries the seeds of the destruction of the life that God called good.

Over and above the foolish stewardship of land and resources, yet closely allied to it, is the crisis of values, and of spirituality; a twisted and self-deceptive view of ‘profit’. The whole Christian family now has an unprecedented opportunity and calling: to bring together mission, justice, stewardship, and study: to bring out of our ‘treasure’ the determinative priorities and values that are so different from those piloting Creation towards catastrophe. And above all, to take note of, and act on, and trust in, the worth we are given (each and all of us) in Christ. The worth and encouragement we may give to our neighbour, and our fellow creature, in partnership, rather than exploitation. May we cherish and be empowered by the knowledge of our enduring and transforming worth in the sight of God. Even if, until now, we have indeed pursued ‘worthless things’.

You can download all the resources as individual weeks or as a complete set.

Our writers are drawn from a variety of church backgrounds and pastoral contexts, so do not expect that they all speak with one voice or perspective. We all share, as Pope Francis as said, a ‘Common Home’, and offer this work in trust that there is no one whose contribution is not vital to the healing partnership of Christ with God’s Creation.  The God of the Bible’s tendency, observable in these readings, to ‘bring the baddies on board’ should steer us to a conciliatory approach, rather than a blame-game, fruitless denial of the crisis, or a complacent acceptance of the principles, whilst reserving exceptions for ourselves.  The bottom line, is the love for your neighbour, as yourself.



Video to watch.

The Season of Creation is explained by Noel Bradley, Laudato Si Derry. Noel is from Buncrana, Co. Donegal …

Columban Missionaries video about this season 2020

Pope Francis invites us to join the Season of Creation






Dear All,

I hope the new school year has begun well for you and that everyone is adjusting comfortably to the new routines in school life.

We now have the first set of lessons of the revised Fully Alive 1 online programme ready for you.

The materials for piloting consist of:

  • The designed version of Lessons 1 to 3, which consist of two sets of PowerPoint slides for each lesson: (1) the slides which the teachers will display for the students, and (2) these same slides with wraparound teacher notes, providing teachers with step-by-step instructions for using them.
  • A Word version of the teacher notes for Lessons 5 to 8, along with the PowerPoints that accompany these lessons. These materials have not yet been designed.
  • Worksheets for all lessons, which may be printed off as required.
  • A Glossary of the key terms used in Lessons 1-8.
  • A link to the Interactive Bible Library resource, which is referenced in the teacher notes.
  • Three separate audio files for items referenced in the lessons (a poem for Lesson 1, a song for Lesson 6, and a story for Lesson 8).

As was said in our recent zoom call, pilot material is never fully designed because of the possibility that significant changes will need to be made following piloting. However, in this case, because teachers have not used an online programme in RE before, we thought it would be important they would see what a finished version of the programme would look like.

Please emphasise to your teachers that their feedback on these lessons is essential and that you will be in touch with them to discuss their use of the lessons and any changes that they think are required.

Finally, please feel free to display this material on your website so that teachers can access it, or to use any other means by which you usually communicate with your teachers.

Best wishes,        Maura Hyland

Download from here.  It would be prudent to download to your own laptop so as to avoid any C2K issues that might arise.  Declan 

  1. Bible Rap

2   Farewell Fearghal

Fully Alive 1 Glossary (L. 1-8)

Fully Alive 1 teacher Lessons 4-8

Fully Alive Worksheets Lessons 1-8

Fully Alive Worksheets Lessons 1-8[1]






Lesson 4 The BibleLesson 5 The Old Testament

Lesson 6 The New Testament

Lesson 7 Finding Our Way Around the Bible

Lesson 8 The Bible Is the Inspired Word of God

We Learn We Grow

Bible library

This is a zip file and you will need to download it completely.  Follow Susan’s instruction to operate it.


Hope this gets you all started.  Blessings from Susan and Declan


Part-time Theology Course accredited by St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
Do you want to learn more about your faith?

If you are interested, why not consider joining our Theology programme.  The course takes two years with one night per week and two weekends over the academic year and is accredited by St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.  There are no educational entry requirements, and completion of the course is based on submitted work and does not include sitting exams.  Our Theology course will be continuing this year with predominantly online classes, starting on 8th September.

If you are interested and would like more information, contact Milanda on 00353 429336393 or (9am – 2pm). All are welcome.

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]


St Mark’s Gospel 2 Session Zoom Programme by Dr Pam Thimmes OSC

These sessions may be of interest especially to RE Teachers of GCSE Religious Studies and also to Junior Cert Religious Studies Teachers. Offered by Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre on Saturday 19th September for Session 1 and later on Saturday 17th October from 10 am until 12,30 pm via Zoom.

Download full details here

Gospel of St Mark Two Themed Sessions

Session I:  Identity of Jesus in the Gospel

Saturday, 19 September from to am -12:30 pm

“The Gospel of Mark is a carefully conceived and artfully integrated narrative that is, in fact, a gripping drama filled with intrigue, confrontation, startling surprises, desertion, death, and resurrection.”       (P Thimmes, OSC)

While the origins of the Markan Cospei remain mostly in the shadows of antiquity it Is clear that the oldest of the four canonical gospels is dominated by the question, “Who do you say that I am?” This question is key to understanding and living from the Gospel. Prom the beginning of the Gospel (1:1) through the immediate post-crucifixion claim by the Centurion at the cross (1539) Jesus’ identity remains a primary concern. Those who surround the Markan Jesus struggle with their own expectations of him in the face of

Session II: Jesus the Teacher

Saturday, 17 October from 10 am • 12:30

It is clear that the oldest of the four canonical gospels frequently portrays Jesus as a miracle worker. Throughout the Cospel Jesus heals, exorcises and multiplies food; each action is a teaching moment. There are more miracle stories In Mark than any of the other Gospels. Miracle working is the teaching vehicle that defines who Jesus is and what is required for discipleship.


Dr Thimmes, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, is a Poor Clare sister, who holds a B.S.Ed. from Ohio University In English literature, MAs from Canisius College and Vanderbilt University in Religious Studies, and was awarded a Ph.D. Irom Vanderbilt University in Biblical Studies

Cost kept  to a minimum to facilitate Teachers and schools.  £40 all in for two Sessions or £25 per single session.




Online Resources for those preparing for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation


The Sacrament of First Holy Communion

The Archdiocese of Armagh has commissioned a series of videos to help the children of the Archdiocese to prepare for First Communion. 

The video series explores the Mass and its importance in the life of the Church.

The Sacrament of Confirmation

The Catechetics Council of the Irish Bishops Conference has commissioned iCatholic to produce a series of videos entitled ‘Come Holy Spirit – Preparing for Confirmation’.