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’.


Catholic Communications Office sent this on today.

We have just published the resources for the Season of Creation 2020 on the home page of

We would be grateful if you could circulate the following link to parishes for their attention:

This year’s resource pack includes podcasts, liturgical resources, a leaflet, prayers and reflections, recommended reading and information on the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. 

The resources have been prepared by the CCO, the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Council for Catechetics, Trócaire, the Council for Justice and Peace and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development. They will be added to between now and the beginning of this year’s Season of Creation on 1 September. 

Some Resources:



Quotes from Pope Francis

“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.”

“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”
“Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.”
“We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us.”
“The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.”
“Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”



The Novena to St. Oliver is promoted by the Parish of St. Peter, Drogheda. The resource includes a theme for each day along with a prayer and a short commentary based on each theme. It is suggested that it could be used this year from 23rd June leading up to the Feast on 1st July. Alternatively, a Triduum could be held from Monday 29th up to the Feast on Wednesday 1st. Such a Triduum would coincide with the reopening of some of our churches for public Mass. The commentary (first paragraph of each daily theme) is optional and may be used as an added resource for each day or as a basis for a homily. The St. Oliver Festival Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Michael Router at the National Shrine of St. Oliver in Drogheda on Sunday 5th July at 4.00pm and will be accessible by St. Peter’s Parish website, (St. Peter’s Church webcam). 

Download for use.

St. Oliver Novena 2020



Checkout this for information

St Oliver Plunkett – Martyr and Peacemaker


The Story of St Oliver Plunkett




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.



Declan explains this wonderful Holy Icon, a copy of the famous Rublev Icon and prays with it.

The core of Christianity is the belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Take 10 minutes to pray before this lovely icon.




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.



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!”

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]


The writers of the senior cycle RE programme The Backpack have recently added these “relaxation tracks” to their website.  There is a shorter and a longer form – You can access them at the following link:

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


Emotional Wellbeing during the Covid-19 Pandemic – Video

In conjunction with Fr. Dermot McCaul, SMA, the diocese has produced a short video on emotional wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The video is intended to offer guidance around issues of emotional wellbeing and mental health during these times.  It also gives some sound and practical advice on how each of us can navigate these challenges and indeed flourish beyond this period.  Fr. Dermot suggests five daily actions and activities that can help:


  1. Reduce and limit Media and Multimedia interaction
  2. Exercise Daily
  3. Make time for daily prayer
  4. Develop and maintain a daily routine
  5. Whilst honoring social distancing protocol engage with family and friends


The video can be accessed at the following link:


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.”








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!



Greetings dear Friends.  Given the circumstances we find ourselves in I am postponing our planned Annual Gathering of the Rel Ed Community.  I do so with great sadness.  I just cherish that special Day and love seeing you all together.  I imagine this coming Academic year starting in September will be a very strange time.  Students will be coming at different times and days with learning at home to facilitate safety within the school environment   Our planned day will be something to return to whenever we get settled back into a new way of being school communities.  I will discern a time when we have coped with the stress and changes that will have to take place.  Can I urge you to try your best to get a good rest when school ends.  The weather has been such a blessing so far.  I hope you will get time to chill and recharge.  Do continue to watch out, be careful and remain safe and well.  God bless and love you all.   Declan

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.