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
I wanted to draw to your attention a new website with free downloadable resources for Religious Education. It’s called ‘Missio Ireland’ and aims to promote awareness of the work of missionaries overseas and in particular ‘World Mission Sunday’ which is on the 24th October this year. The address is: https://missio.ie/I’ve attached some of the resources that it offers relating to October as Mission Month and World Mission Sunday. This includes a poster, a Booklet with lovely reflections for each day of October, a Mission toolkit, and a Children’s Resource with a useful Activity Calendar. I would encourage you to explore the website and the amazing and uplifting stories that are there that really bring home the importance of the work of missionaries. They have a section just for schools. The daily reflections/prayer service could be used in an assembly or during class for prayer time. If any of your schools has an overseas project in place already, they could use photographs or videos of this to highlight the work of student/staff volunteers overseas and perhaps do a special assembly/display during the month of October.
This year’s Day for Life will be celebrated in Ireland on Sunday 3 October. In the context of the recent proposal to introduce assisted suicide, both in Ireland and the UK, this year’s Day for Life message invites Catholics to consider a more positive and compassionate response to the care of people who are in the final stages of life.
Resources in support of the theme attached as follows:
The text of this year’s message in plain text
The text of the pastoral message in PDF format for printing
A set of prayers of intercession
Two web and social media images we are using to promote this year’s day and theme
Three visuals of pull quotes from the pastoral message
The Crocus Project is an annual initiative of the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland to commemorate the victims of Nazi persecution in World War II. The Crocus project is confined to one group per school, and takes a few classes concerning the persecution of the Jews in the Second World War. Participants sow bulbs in the school garden/ lawn in the shape of the Star of David. The application form, for delivery of the bulbs in October is available at: https://hetireland.org/programmes/crocus-project/
Triduum of Prayer to St Joseph To mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis has proclaimed this year as a Year of St Joseph. A special Triduum of Prayer to St Joseph will be celebrated in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 October. Mass on each of the days will be celebrated at 8am, 10am and 7.30pm. Let us ask St Joseph to intercede for us and our families.
Tuesday 12 October
7.30pm Mass: Celebrant: Archbishop Eamon Martin
St Joseph, a family man and protector of all families, a man who models for us the family’s call to holiness.
We invite families to join on this day, to ask St Joseph to intercede for all our homes and families.
Wednesday 13 October
7.30pm Mass: Celebrant: Bishop Michael Router
St Joseph, a worker and the patron of all craftspeople and workers. He laboured for God and we too are called to labour in love.
We invite all workers and especially craftspeople to join on this day for a special blessing of our hands.
Thursday 14 October
7.30pm Mass: Celebrant: Monsignor Colum Curry
St Joseph, the dreamer, an example for everyone and especially our young whom Jesus teaches never to lose the ability to dream, to take risks and to take on difficult tasks.
We invite all who have dreams to join and especially young people and expectant mothers who have dreams for their child and their children.
Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of St Joseph Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil. AMEN
Look Up: Programme for Transition Year: Veritas is delighted to launch this exciting new Religious Education programme for Transition Year students.
Key features of Look Up!
· The key content for students is presented on PowerPoint slides, to be shown on the class whiteboard.
· The information on the slides is supplemented by artwork that spans a variety of media and traditions.
· The accompanying Teacher Notes, which may be viewed in the ‘Presenter Notes’ viewing panel on the teacher’s own screen, include commentary and discussion questions on each slide, as well as additional activities and exercises to supplement and support the information on the slides. These notes also contain resources for the guided prayer reflections that are offered at the close of each lesson.
· Videos, music and interactive content can be accessed directly from the slides.
· The content covered is inclusive of all the major world religions.
· The teacher resources are provided on a USB stick.
· The accompanying student journal is designed to accommodate students’ personal reflections on content studied. It also contains worksheets and a Glossary of key terms.
Teacher USB stick and sample Student Journal is available from Veritas at a cost of €30. For more information on Look Up! contact Veritas (01) 8788177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Tuesday, 14 September at 11.15am, Archbishop Eamon will lead an online Opening School Liturgy from St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
Parents, Guardians, Grandparents and other family members are encouraged to participate by following the link below, as we pray for all the children who have returned to school for another academic year.
“This webinar series is an opportunity for people of all traditions to engage with our shared history” – Archbishop Eamon Martin
The Northern Catholic Bishops have announced that they will host an online webinar series of historical talks marking the centenary of Partition and the establishment of Northern Ireland. These talks will be led by Dr Éamon Phoenix, political historian, columnist and broadcaster, who will be joined by a number of academic historians from the North and South over four Monday nights from 13 September to 4 October 2021.
Welcoming the announcement of the webinar series, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said, “This webinar series is an opportunity for people of all traditions to engage with our shared history. The presentations, expertly put together by Dr Éamon Phoenix, will allow for the story of the coming into being, and development, of Northern Ireland to be examined and analysed while critically assessing the role of the Churches, and others, in that respect. On behalf of the Northern Bishops, I invite those with an interest in Church, society, politics and history to join us in helping to unravel further this complex and sometimes contentious story.”
“We are grateful for the funding we have received from the Northern Ireland Office and the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will enable the sharing of untold stories about important aspects of our history and to help bring the community together at this important moment.”
From next week, the programme of talks will be delivered online via Zoom over four Monday evenings from 7.00pm – 9.00pm, as follows:
Monday 13 September 2021:‘The path to partition and the creation of Northern Ireland 1900-1922’ with Dr Éamon Phoenix and Ann Donnelly of the Northern Ireland Screen drawing on the historical newsreels of the period.
Monday 20 September 2021: ‘A difficult birth: political background and sectarian violence 1918-122’ with Dr Alan Parkinson, Jim McDermott and Dr Éamon Phoenix.
Monday 27 September 2021: ‘The formative years: the Catholic Church, the nationalist minority and the Northern Ireland state 1921-25’ with Dr Mary Harris, Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick, Dr Sean Farren and Dr Éamon Phoenix.
Monday 4 October 2021: ’The Catholic Church, Northern Nationalism and the Unionist State from the Boundary Commission to the Welfare State and the Troubles, c. 1925-75’ with Dr Mary Harris, Dr Russell Rees and Dr Éamon Phoenix.
Each week’s webinar will include a question and answer session. The aim is to facilitate a respectful, cross-community discussion on this key historical period, its legacy and consider its lessons for a society moving forward post-conflict.
Each of the webinars are free of charge but registration is required in advance by email to email@example.com. The Zoom link will be sent out in advance of each webinar.
This course will explore Laudato Si and the Challenges of Biodiversity and Climate Change.
€100 for full course
Women in the Bible: Our Mothers in Faith
October 7, 14, 21, 28 (Rosalie Moloney)
The diverse women of the Bible offer us inspiring examples of Faith in action. This course invites us to follow in the footsteps of some of these remarkable but very human characters: from Ruth and Naomi and the mothers of Genesis to the women of Jesus’ parables and the female leaders of the early Church.
€100 for full course
Celtic Spirituality: What is it? Has it any significance for life today?
November 3, 10, 17, 24 (Michael Drumm)
There is a lot of talk today about Celtic Spirituality. But the question arises – what exactly is it? Does such a spirituality exist? Is it anything more than romantic nostalgia for a dead past? Who were the Celts? Can we access their spiritual insights? During this course some characteristics of Celtic life will be identified which might legitimately form the foundations for a renewed Celtic spirituality today.
€100 for full course
Exploring the Synodal Pathway: The Ongoing Reception of Vatican II
November 4, 11, 18, 25 (Janet Forbes and Oonagh O’ Brien)
This course will explore the upcoming Synod as the continuation of the Second Vatican Council with a particular focus on the Spirituality of Synodality; the participation of all especially young people and the need for structures and resources to support the local church.
Janet Forbes and Oonagh O’ Brien featuring Sr Nathalie Becquart and Rafael Luciani.
2021 marks the 6th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment entitled Laudato Si’: On care for our Common Home. This anniversary was celebrated throughout the world and in Rome in May 2021.
This year, as in previous years, the Season of Creation will be celebrated from 1st September – 4th October. It is an opportunity to give thanks to God for the gift of creation, to explore the rich content of Laudato Si’ and decide on what actions should be taken locally to care for our common home.
The theme for the Season of Creation this year is “A Home for All?: Restoring Our Common Home”.
We are pleased to bring to your attention Liturgical Resources for use during the Season of Creation which will be celebrated from 1st September – 4th October 2021.
An Introduction to the Season of Creation, and Earth Day Prayer Service and a Prayer Service for Wednesday 1st September 2021. This could serve as a Prayer Service in the parish, or as a resource for an ecumenical gathering with other churches, or at the opening of the school year, or during the weekday Mass.
Resources for the Sundays between 1st September and 4th October 2021, covering a Penitential Service, Notes for a homily, Prayers of the Faithful, a post-Communion Reflection, and the Dismissal at the end of Mass.
An outline of practical actions that parishioners might take during the Season of Creation which includes a ritual for tree planting.
A Season of Creation Leaflet for parishes containing information on biodiversity initiatives and other activities.
In addition to the Resources, you will also find, later in August, Podcasts on the website of the Irish Episcopal Conference relating to the Season of Creation.
After the Season of Creation there will be a meeting in October of world leaders in China for a UN Biodiversity Conference (known as COP 15) and another UN meeting on Climate Change in November of world leaders in Scotland on (known as COP 26).
In preparation for these UN meetings there will be a petition known as the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition available at http://healthyplanetandpeople.org/ for dioceses, parishes, and individuals to sign. It is envisaged that this petition with signatures will be presented by Pope Francis to the Presidents of these upcoming UN conferences.
The Season of Creation, of course, should be celebrated in a way that adheres to the Government Guidelines concerning the Covid-19 crisis during 1September – 4 October 2021.
Finally, you may wish to know that these Resources have been prepared by the Laudato Si’Working Group of the Council for Catechetics. We hope you will find them helpful and, of course, you should feel free to adapt them to suit the local circumstances of your parish and schools.
A prayer for our earth from Laudato Si’ All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.
A Christian prayer in union with creation Father, we praise you with all your creatures. They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love. Praise be to you! Son of God, Jesus, through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes. Today you are alive in every creature in your risen glory. Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light You guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell in our hearts and you inspire us to do what is good. Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you. Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty. Praise be to you! Amen.
Meadow Meaning – A Reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick OFM Cap
Shhhhh… Look… Listen… Even the blades of grass Even the flowers you dare to call weeds Even the light fast lives of tiny buzzing beings hear the call of Divine love and give them selves totally to grow towards the light. And what of you?
Forest Faith – a reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick Ofm Cap
When the edges of my mind fray, and the golden sacred thread seems pulled, gathered, caught upon the briar of my broken being, and my hearthome holds too much behind its ancient doors so there is no breathing space at all, I take myself to the woods. For there I become not young, but small again and feel the rising ocean tides of sap lull me at last into the deep greening rest of soul only the old tall ones know the sky touchers, earth drinkers we call in our dull infant speech, simply Trees. So I place my foot upon the winding path and dew the way with tears and sometimes even blood, until their windleaf song sounds soul deep, and slows and halts me long enough to feel their verdant canopy of calm, and I greet them then, as the keepers of the way they are; the blessed Beech and noble Holly, the Oak and Ash and Thorn, grey brown brothers and sisters of the branching dance of being. Their familiar oldness a reminder of my passing place in all this; they leaflean down to teach me once again the way of prayer as being and being as prayer, allowing the holy breath to play along my spine as within their trunked tallness while standing through the shifting seasons they grow slowly, imperceptibly, always, until flower and fruiting follow in their turn, then the seeming fall, asleep asunder for awhile, as my life now flutters, cast upon the winds lost in wildness, a wintered leaf, dry and brittle, but here in their stately shadows daring to read the scripture of their state, and hear their prophecy proclaimed in stillness; that old roots dig deep and deeper still, that branches bend so not to break and that there is a joy in storms when yielded to. So for a while I breathe the sylvan air and greet the great and green, these guardians of natural grace, and then when I have walked long enough to become reminded, rewilded and rehomed in heart, I bow in thanks and leave the woods to plant their sainted seeds throughout my world and life; to feel a forest grow within and make the faith feathered one a home.
Pope Francis on Caring for Our Common Home
“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. Click here for resources on the Care of Creation from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The following resources are offered for use in dioceses, parishes and in the home, during the Season of Creation 2021:
A weekday Prayer Service for the Season of Creation 2021 – This ecumenical resource could be used to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Creation on 1 September in an ecumenical setting, or as a resource that could be used for the celebration of the Eucharist in parishes, or at any other time between 1st September and 4th October, feast of Saint, Francis of Assisi. We have prepared it for a formal church setting or for use out-of-doors.
An Earth Day Prayer Service – This beautiful service was compiled by Balally Parish, Dublin to celebrate Earth Day in 2021 but could be adapted and used as part of any Season of Creation event. It includes a reflection by Father Dermot Lane.
Acts of Love for the Season of Creation 2021 – PowerPoint with practical suggestions for each day of the Season. With many thanks to the Care for Creation team at Bonnybrook Parish Dublin for sharing this resource with us.
Season of Creation Prayer 2021 – A Video Reflection which can be used for meetings, prayers, on social media or in parishes with PowerPoint accessibility. (see below for video)