May in the Jubilee of Mercy                  20080308_108

Archbishop Eamon wrote recently

In my Pastoral Message for the Year of Mercy, I indicated my wish for schools throughout the diocese to participate in a Rosary Crusade; this initiative has grown into the Rosary Relay. My vision is to unite the pupils of the Archdiocese of Armagh in prayer during the month of May in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

My intention is for the young people across the Archdiocese, in their classrooms, to pray together a decade of the Rosary at 12 noon each day during the month of May.  The aim of this Rosary Relay is to engage the pupils and staff in the mysteries of our faith and to be part of what Pope Francis has described as an ‘extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal’ in this Year of Mercy.

To assist schools, rosary resources will be available on the diocesan website at  I am grateful to Méabh Carlin and Hannah McCauley, who, along with the expertise of iCatholic, have produced professional, child-friendly, engaging and spiritual videos of the Mysteries of the Rosary.

The schools of the diocese were contacted in February and invited to participate in the Rosary Relay during May.  I am delighted with the response from our schools; to date we have despatched 19,000 rosaries as well as 19,000 rosary prayer cards in readiness for 1 May. Many children will also bring their own rosaries into school.

To support the praying of the rosary see some resources attached to download for use with classes.

How to pray Rosary

Prayers of the Rosary


Reflections, Prayers and Meditations.

Here are some resources to help us all relax from the stress and business of daily living and in stillness come to know the God who loves each of us beyond our wildest dreams or imaginings.


Prayer for Strength John XXIII

Pope Francis Prayer for Jubilee.

The Jesus Prayer With Icons


A Prayer to St Moninne





This time of year is cold and dark and for many depressing.  This 3 minute film shows us the beauty to found all around us in nature even in the cold of winter.





Some prayer services and resources for class and personal use in Lent and Easter.

Check out earlier years on right hand side for further materials.


Lectio for Sundays Lent 2016

Ash Wed & Lenten Services inc Penance Services and Stations of the Cross

School Liturgy for the Distribution of Ashes


Ashes and Penance in Lent

Trocaire Service for Lent &  Care for the Earth

Mary takes us through the Stations of the Cross

We Have This Treasure – Holy Thursday Meditation

Pope Francis has issued his wonderful letter for Lent 2016. download text for personal reading or class discussion.

Lenten Message of Pope Francis 2016

Archbishop Eamon has sent this Letter for Lent 2016 to all parishes.

Year of Mercy Pastoral Lenten Letter from Archbishop Eamon – Leaflet Format




The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will run as usual from 18 to 25 January.

The theme this year is ‘Salt of the Earth’.

Salt of the Earth image





The 2016 material was prepared for worldwide use by the Christians of Latvia, and adapted by the Britain and Ireland writers group, based around the verses 1 Peter 2:9-10. Peter’s first letter is an encouragement to the newly baptised to live holy lives and to answer the calling shared by all the baptised to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord.

Today, Latvia is a crossroads where Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox regions meet. Because of this unique location, it is home to Christians of many different traditions, but no single one of them is dominant. Gathered together by the Archbishop of Rīga, members of a variety of church communities and projects in Latvia were asked to reflect on the chosen theme and the experience of their work.

The main service is inspired by the verses from Peter’s letter and Jesus’ metaphors of salt and light which are important cultural themes for Latvia. Each of the days has been prepared by one of the diverse Church communities. The 8 Days are linked principally by the experience of being a Christian in Latvia.






Yes the supermarkets and shops have all their Advent Calenders, Christmas Cards and Decorations out for sale. Sad in many ways as the weeks leading directly to Christmas are so special in the Christian world.  We can get so exposed and used to seeing Christmas stuff  all around us that by the time the real Christmas arrives we can be tired of it all. The danger of the commercial robbing us of the spiritual is very real.  To help with this the Lectio pages for the 4 Sunday Gospels of Advent are worth reading and praying along with.  In the coming weeks I will add more resources below.  You can also check the back posts for November each year for other resources for Advent and Christmas.   Take care.

Advent Lectio 2015          Page with Gospel and refections for each Sunday.

Advent_2015_Lectio_Resource-1     Inter diocesan resource for 4 Sundays of Advent 2015.


Blessing and Prayers for Advent Wreath




Carol Service (Academy)

Christmas Carol Service St Joseph’s Donaghmore


Some video explanations of Advent.

Not quite sure about the relationship between Advent and Christmas? Check out Busted Halo’s two-minute video that describes why we celebrate Advent and wait to celebrate Christmas.



The season approaches. Get in the spirit. Banish the anxiety and embrace the preparation. Let’s celebrate together the Advent



Advent is a time of waiting, hope, and anticipation. We pray that this video will help you understand the meaning of Advent as we celebrate Jesus’ birth and look forward to a second advent, when Jesus comes again. Explore the story of our Savior and God’s plan for us. May you have a blessed Advent as you wait for Him.











Catholic Schools Week 2016

Catholic Schools Week 2016 will take place from Sunday, January 31 to Saturday February 6.

The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2016 is Catholic Schools: Challenged to Proclaim God’s mercy“.

Catholic Schools Week is an all-Ireland annual event which invites Catholic schools to give expression in a special way to the ethos of Catholic education.

It is a celebration of Catholic schools throughout Ireland, North and South which acknowledges the tremendous contribution that our Catholic primary and post-primary schools make not just to Irish society, but to the mission of the Church.

Catholic Schools Week 2016 will take place from Sunday 31 January to Saturday 6 February 2016 on the theme “Catholic Schools: Challenged to Proclaim God’s Mercy”.

It is hoped that this theme will help contextualise the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016.

This year, for the first time, resources will not be mailed to schools, but are available for download here.





Corporal-and-Spiritual-Works-of-Mercy    PPT.

Jubilee-of-Mercy   PPT.



We are all witnessing appalling scenes throughout Europe these days as unfortunate refugees try to get to safety and a better life. Christian justice and mercy calls us all to action. We cannot just stand on the sidelines.

The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the worst the world has seen. Nearly 4 million people — mostly women and children — have fled to neighboring countries, and 7.2 million more have been internally displaced. Civilian life in Syria was devastated by the civil war that began in 2011, but tension in the country has long existed. Katie Couric explains in “Now I Get It.”

Look at this utube video.




.Download for class use

Article onTrócaire Refugee Resource      Great introduction for Students.


Refugee Crisis : A Letter from  Archbishop Eamon Martin

Download and read Pastoral Letter  and Prayer:

Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Eamon on Refugee Crisis

A Prayer for Refugees
Almighty and merciful God,
Whose Son became a refugee
And had no place to call his own;
Look with mercy on those who today
Are fleeing from danger,
Homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
Inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
And guide the nations of Europe towards that day
When all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen.


Pope Francis inaugurates Jubilee of Mercy

“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.
The Holy Year will open on 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This liturgical feast day recalls God’s action from the very beginning of the history of mankind. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil. So he turned his gaze to Mary, holy and immaculate in love (cf. Eph 1:4), choosing her to be the Mother of man’s Redeemer. When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive. I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.”


Listen to Hymn for Year of Mercy:



The image and its meaning:

The logo and the motto together provide a suitable summary of what the Jubilee Year is celebrating. The motto Merciful Like the Father (taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) invites us to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure ( Lk 6:37-38). The logo – designed by Father Marko Rupnik SJ – presents a small theological summary of the theme of mercy. In fact, it shows an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul showing that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation ending in our redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to show the deep way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of all people and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life. One particular feature  is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man he carries. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, meditating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.

The scene is expressed within the mandorla (the shape of an almond), a shape quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death. The depth of the darker colour suggests the never changing love of the Father who forgives all.


Logo Mercy



Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy

Jubilee of Mercy Card   Resources for the Jubilee. Penal Crucifix & Jesus Prayer






CARING FOR OUR WORLD LAUDATO SI – Pope Francis & Caring for our World

do908 laudato si' b

I was so thrilled to get my personal copy of this wonderful encyclical ” Laudato Si ” by Pope Francis.  Every paragraph nourishes the soul and sets challenges for us.

Below I have attached a pdf of the full text so you can download it to read for yourself. I suggest there is much in it that senior Students would find of great interest and challenge. I will attach further materials as I find them. The Irish Episcopal Conference produced and excellent pastoral letter “The Cry of the Earth” with an excellent resource for prayer and worship entitled ” Glas” ( Irish for Green !) containing assemblies and projects to work on.

Trócaire have a number of very good resources on Climate Change
See also their advertisement for their Take the Climate Change Challenge – which involves senior students participating in a weekend taking place at the University of Maynooth on 26-29 November 2015.  This weekend is for young people who are concerned about the effect that our changing climate is having on people and communities around the world, and want to find out how to get involved in tackling climate injustice in the developing world. The weekend costs £25-00 and the closing date for applications is 16 October 2015 – so need to hurry!  See more details at:


In order to raise awareness and understanding of what Climate Justice is and to encourage action to achieve it the SMA has initiated this Campaign which is being used at all SMA events and in all SMA Houses during 2015. It asks individuals to promise or pledge to be better stewards of God’s creation. People are asked to promise to take greater care of their own environment where they work or live and to use energy, food and other everyday materials more carefully.

Putting a thumbprint on a Pledge Sheet and reciting the Pledge (see below) is the formal act or sign of this commitment and all who do so also put their thumbprint on a Card which they keep as a reminder of the promise they have made. The Card has the pledge text on one side and practical suggestions on simple actions to care for the environment on the other side.

Thumbprint Campaign Pledge

Lord God, I pledge to take greater care of my environment, to do what I can in my own home and place.
I promise to use your gifts wisely and carefully, mindful that what I do today is affecting our world, the lives of others far away and generations yet to be born.
I place my thumbprint here as a sign of this pledge and I ask you for the strength to put it into action in my life and in the example that I give to others.
I make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

.Thumprint Picture

SMA Thumbprint Campaign For Climate Change

Pledge Cards (4 per page)     Down load and print off for students to get involved.  Register with SMA

see webpage

.mark_poster     Down load to display in school

prayer-ls     Pope Francis’ prayer from Laudato Si.

prayer_service     Could be used after viewing the video.

Please find attached a poster from the SMA Justice Office inviting you to participate in the International  Day of Prayer for Climate Justice which takes place on Sunday 1 November. Please join with the SMA family in this intention and circulate this to anyone with an interest in this critical issue for the global community at this time.

International Day of Prayer for Climate Justice poster

Brill video to explain campaign



Have you seen   The Poverty and Justice Bible: Catholic Edition

1,635 pages, paperback

Almost every page of the Bible speaks of God’s heart for the poor, concern for the marginalized, compassion for the oppressed, and God’s call for justice. This unique bible visually highlights more than 2,000 passages that speak of poverty and injustice.

This is an excellent Bible for everyone who wants to take Pope Francis’ challenge to reach out to the poor seriously, and especially social justice groups, youth, and young adults. Challenging the notion that the Bible is a dusty, outdated rulebook, it shows that, on the biggest issues of our day, the Bible got there first.

  • Clear and accessible NRSV text
  • Highlighted verses to clarify your understanding of God’s passion for social justice.
  • A unique 56-page study guide to support your individual research and group discussion.
  • Practical suggestions on how you can make a difference in the lives of the poor and the oppressed.



Arch Bishop Eamon at Knock recently said ….

“In recent weeks I’ve been reflecting on Laudato Si (Praise Be), the recently published encyclical of Pope Francis about care for the earth – our common home.  In it Pope Francis describes the ‘cry of the earth’ because of irresponsible plundering and pollution of the world’s goods and resources.  He also speaks about the ‘cry of the poor’ who suffer most because of the deterioration of the environment.  He questions: ‘What kind of world are we leaving to our children and our grandchildren?’
In Laudato Si I can hear today’s successor of Saint Peter sounding like his ancient predecessor, once more calling on Christians to be ‘a people set apart’.  Pope Francis wants us to commit to living a prophetic lifestyle – one of moderation in our use of the earth’s resources.  The Holy Father calls us to reject the thinking that amassing things and pleasures can give lasting joy to the human heart. Instead, Pope Francis says: ‘learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and creation; realise how much all of us on this planet need each other; be at peace with who we are and what we have and own; savour each moment of every day; and, as Saint Therese recommended, do the little things well and with love, where possible making do with a little less.’
Typically, Pope Francis is never depressing even though he is addressing such a complex and perplexing global problem. He says: ‘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 … No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to His grace at work deep In our hearts.  I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours.  No-one has the right to take it from us (LS205)’.
( Homily at Knock Shrine  Feast of the Assumption 2015 )
Senior Religious Education :
Students might be encouraged to read some of the published reactions and reflections that have come since the Holy Father published his document. The Tablet in England had a whole series for weeks where people were invited to respond. Makes exciting and challenging Reading.
Check out the excellent Book  ” Praise be to You ”  Edited by Prof Eamonn Conway and journalist Cathal Barry.  This is a companion and study guide to the encyclical. It is available direct from the Irish Catholic. see their website.      priced €12.99

Top 10 Things You Need to Know about Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’


More Resources :

Canticle of the Creatures  : Christian Concern have this beautiful powerpoint on the Poem of St Francis ” Laudato Si


glas-resource    Brill book for reflections, Assemblies and prayer.
View video to go with GLAS