“A ROOM AT THE INN” – Pastoral letter on homelessness in Ireland – Senior Students Justice Study perhaps.

A Room at the Inn? looks in depth at the root causes of the housing crisis and offers solidarity with anyone experiencing homelessness.  The dignity which, as Catholics, we recognise in every person, must be reflected in the reality of life in our society.

Key findings of A Room at the Inn? are:  

  • housing be recognised as a human right and that it should be safe, affordable and appropriate;
  • the provision of housing cannot be left solely to the market;
  • housing should not be treated as any other commodity;
  • housing policies should recognise the rights of families and seek to bring about greater equality in our society;
  • action must be taken to increase the supply and reduce the price of housing;
  • the private rental sector needs to ensure fair pricing and security of tenure in the context of its recent growth at the expense of home ownership and social housing;
  • cooperative housing should be encouraged and supported with the introduction of a new ‘Cost Rental’ sector which focuses on actual cost of providing housing and not profit;
  • taxation be considered for vacant sites; close tax loopholes and use compulsory purchase powers to utilise potential sites which lie undeveloped for a lengthy period of time;
  • the making of enormous profits through land speculation in housing developments and in maintaining high rents is particularly damaging to society;
  • the accommodation needs of the Travelling Community and of asylum seekers must be addressed in a housing strategy;
  • housing provision should take account of environmental sustainability and the use of proper building standards to ensure quality of living for occupants;
  • housing provision should take account of rural and urban development policies;
  • housing policy should be committed to ensuring that those employed in the construction sector can work in safe, secure and fair working environments;
  • energy poverty is widespread in Ireland and many are living in substandard or in minimal standards of accommodation;
  • the absence of adequate housing occurs as a result of governments prioritising other objectives over the provision of housing which is necessary for the dignity of the person;
  • an absence of an adequate and a secure home for children will impact on their life in terms of education, employment and health;
  • allowing a continuation of the disparity between those who have adequate and affordable housing and those who are poorly housed or without a home will create a divided society;
  • There needs to be an open debate about how public policy can serve to reclaim housing from global markets so that its primary and essential purpose is realised.

Please see the following link to the full text in pdf of A Room at the Inn?


A great example for us all is the life and teaching of Mother Theresa now a Saint.

She experienced a second calling in her life and chose to go and work with the poorest of the poor.

Watch this video of her story.


Pope Francis encourages us to live the Beatitudes. He says

“The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card. So, if anyone asks: ‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives. The word ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’ thus becomes a synonym for ‘holy’. It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness.” {GE, 63-4)

Living these are a true challenge for us all.  Pope Francis continues

“If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian! ” (GE, 98)

My good friend Aidan Donaldson has recently written about the new Beatitudes mentioned by Pope Francis in Sweden

In his own beatitudes, he tells us that this is what this path to happiness and holiness looks like:

  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

(Beatitudes announced by Pope Francis in Sweden 2016)

For more on this read “The Beatitudes of Pope Francis, A manifesto for the modern Christian ”  By Dr Aidan Donaldson  Published by Veritas   9781 84730 850 4









The Bishops of the world are meeting in Rome this month with Pope Francis together with observers to discuss the theme of Young People, Faith and vocational discernment.  Archbishop Eamon and Bishop Donal McKeown are attending this month long synod.

.Pope Francis noted: “The theme, an expression of the pastoral care of the Church for the young, is consistent with the results of the recent Synod assemblies on the family and with the content of the post-Synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Its aim is to accompany the young on their existential journey to maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they discover their plan for life and realize it with joy, opening up to the encounter with God and with human beings, and actively participating in the edification of the Church and of society.”


This video explains what the synod is all about.



In October 2018 Catholic Bishops from around the world will meet in Rome to focus on how the church helps, guides and accompanies young people as they grow in faith and discern the part they can play in shaping the future of the Church.

The participants will take part in a Synod of Bishops meeting in the Vatican to discuss and debate the subject in question. In 2018 the theme is: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.  It is the fifteenth Ordinary General Assembley of the Synod of Bishops.

Ahead of the Synod, a preliminary outline document called a Lineamenta is prepared and distributed to all concerned for comment. Based on the responses to this, a working document – the Instrumentum Laboris – is released globally and acts as the basis for discussions at the Synod.

When gathered in Rome, the assembly examines the proposals, or propositiones, put forward by members and passes those that receive approval to Pope Francis. The Pope uses these as a guide for a post-synodal apostolic exhortation – a papal document often written following a synodal gathering of bishops.

The final version of the preparatory Working Paper for this synod is attached here.  Young people from all over the World met with Pope Francis and this document has been drawn up to form the basis of the work at the October Synod.

Download and read this doc.

Youth Synod working doc

This document was drafted by the young adults who participated in the Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome and was presented to Pope Francis on Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018.

Irish Episcopal Conference discusses Synod.

Synod of Bishops in Rome on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment

From today until 28 October Pope Francis will host a Synod of Bishops in Rome on the theme: ‘Youth, faith and vocational discernment’. 

The Synod is an assembly of bishops from around the world, gathered with the Holy Father, to share their wisdom and experiences in the common pursuit of pastoral solutions which have a universal validity and application.  Taking place every three years, this will be the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.  Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the President of the Bishops’ Conference and Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry, chair of the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, are representing the Irish bishops at the Synod.

As part of the preparations for the Synod, bishops met with representatives of youth ministry from around the country to discuss key themes arising from a web-based consultation which they undertook with young people.  This involved feedback from 2,500 respondents. 

Arising from this information, bishops noted positive examples and obstacles facing young people regarding their faith and growing up in the contemporary world, such as:

–          young people face many challenges including peer pressure, mental health issues and from social media;

–          young people are passionate about justice, equality and fairness, and desire to be listened to even when their opinions are not in line with Church teaching;

–          many young people want to learn, experience and have a greater role in their faith, but sometimes struggle in achieving this; and

–          the positive experiences of chaplaincy services, pilgrimages and other dedicated national and international youth encounter events.

As they reflected on the importance of this year’s theme for the contemporary Church, and on the responsibility placed upon the Synod Fathers, bishops asked the faithful to join with them by praying the Prayer for the Synod by Pope Francis.

Lord Jesus in journeying towards the Synod,

your Church turns her attention to all the young people in the world.

We pray that they might boldly

take charge of their lives,

aim for the most beautiful and profound things of life

and always keep their hearts unencumbered.

Accompanied by wise and generous guides,

help them respond to the call

you make to each of them,

to realize a proper plan of life

and achieve happiness.

Keep their hearts open to dreaming great dreams

and make them concerned for the good of others.

Like the Beloved Disciple,

may they stand at the foot of the Cross,

to receive your Mother as a gift from You.

May they be witnesses to your Resurrection

and be aware that you are at their side

as they joyously proclaim you as Lord.



Pope Francis in Ireland

Donna kindly sent these on for others to use.

Following his recent visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, you could start each RE class on Pope Francis.
1. First clip – some general background
2.  A Powerpoint emphasising some key teachings/ideals of Pope Francis
3. A short review of the Papal visit to Ireland
Archbishop Eamon to hold Mass of Thanksgiving:

One week on from the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, the joy of that wonderful occasion together with the visit of Pope Francis continues to ring out in my heart!

During these days there has been so much positive feedback from those who participated in the events at Armagh, the RDS, Croke Park, Knock and Phoenix Park.  None of all this could have happened without the support and contribution of our organising teams, helpers and priests, including yourself.

I invite you to a Mass of Thanksgiving in St Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh on Wednesday, 26September at 7.30 p.m. and afterwards to a cup of tea in the Synod Hall.  This is a simple opportunity to acknowledge the graces we have all received from the World Meeting of Families and in particular, for me to say thanks to all those who helped at diocesan level to make the World Meeting such a success.

When you have some idea who will be attending, please let Sharon Dunne know.  The diocesan choir who helped provided the music in the RDS and Phoenix Park will be singing at our Mass on the 26th – the joy of love, a joy for all God’s family!

I look forward to seeing you there.

With every blessing and kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Eamon Martin      Archbishop of Armagh




Full texts of talks and homilies of Pope Francis Translated into English were published in The Tablet last week.



Veritas are to bring out a colour booklet as well see below.

As expected we have had a lot of interest from customers wishing to have a copy of all the homilies, speeches and addresses during the Apostolic visit of His Holiness to Ireland on the Occasion of the 10th World Meeting of Families

We are pleased to inform you that we are currently putting the final touches to Pope Francis in Ireland, a full colour commemorative publication containing pictures of the event alongside transcripts of all of these key moments during the recent visit.

The book is available to pre-order on veritas.ie and in all of our Veritas stores and will sell for €4.99.

If you would like to order multiple copies of this book for use in your diocese please contact Áine Curran and we would be happy to arrange a bulk discount for you.

Finally, on behalf of all of the staff of Veritas I would like to thank you all for your support and encouragement of our team at the RDS who found the entire occasion to be full of positive energy

Aidan Chester

Director    Veritas.




1.    A Prayer Service for 1st September 2018. This could be used for a prayer service in the parish or an ecumenical gathering or at the opening of the school year.


2.    Resources for at least one or some of the Sundays between 1 September and 4 October 2018, covering a Penitential service, Homily notes, Prayers of the Faithful, post-communion Reflection, and the dismissal the end of mass.

2.-Resources-for-Sept Sunday-Eucharists

3.    Resources for the feast of St Francis on 4 October 2018

3.-Prayer-Service-St Francis Oct 4th


4. Donna sent me this reflection based on Simon Peter saying ” To whom shall we go ?”


5.Donna kindly sent me the St Ciaran’s Mass and a link to utube video…

Video for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be glad), on the call to holiness in today’s world.

Download the text from the Annual School mass…..










Welcome back dear friends and colleagues.

Some of you have kindly shared assembles for the Start of the new Academic Year and some prayers gathered from the internetAs we start back it is worth recalling some key principles under pinning Religious Education in our Catholic Schools.

Religious Education in Catholic Schools:

In the life of faith of the Catholic school, religious education plays a central and vital part. At the heart of Catholic education lies the Christian vision of the human person. This vision is expressed and explored in religious education. Therefor religious education is never simply one subject among many, but the foundation of the entire educational process. The beliefs and values studied in catholic religious education inspire and draw together every aspect of the life of a catholic school. We are committed to classroom RE, then, because all pupils have the right to receive an overall education which will enable them, in the light of the faith of the Church, to engage with the deepest questions of life and find reasons for the hope which is within them (1 Peter 3.15). Religious education is, then, the core subject in a Catholic school.

Excellence in religious education, then, will be characterised by a clarity of succinct religious learning objectives and of key content, by appropriate methodologies, rigour, richness of resources, achievement of identified outcomes and accurate methods of assessment. Classroom RE will be a challenging educational engagement between the pupil, the teacher and the authentic subject material.

When classroom RE displays these educational characteristics, then its specific contribution to the life of the Catholic school, which as a whole is a catechetical community, becomes apparent. Then the complementarity of the various roles which contribute to the life of the school is also clarified: the role of the leadership of the school as a catechetical community, the role of the chaplaincy of the school and the partnership in the religious life of the pupils between the school, the parishes and the families. All these have a part to play in the handing on of faith and its expression and exploration in daily life.

The importance of the teacher of RE cannot be exaggerated. We are most grateful to all those teachers who, week in and week out, have contributed to the religious education of pupils in our schools. We recognise the difficulties that are faced in this task, especially in a society like ours which does not encourage the natural religiosity of the individual, nor offer popular support for faithful adherence to the practice of faith. We salute the generosity of our teachers who have brought not only a love of their faith to their teaching but also a deep concern for the well-being of every pupil. We offer them every encouragement and support as they strive to develop their professional expertise in this vital subject. We also salute and thank the senior management teams and governors of our schools for their work in fostering our schools as communities of faith. We encourage them to give every possible support and importance to the RE departments and coordinators. A Catholic school which promotes the best possible teaching of religious education is fulfilling its true purpose.


Start of Year Resources:

Prayer for First Staff Meeting of the School Year

Starting a new school Year – Collection of Prayers

Beatitudes for Teachers

The Road ahead

Some Assemblies kindly given to us by Sr Marjorie (St Patrick’s College,  Keady)

Year 8 Assembly

Year 9 Assembly

Year 10-11 Assembly

Years 12,13,14 Assembly


Life is for living

The Canticle of Brother Sun

The Station



More Assemblies.


Assembly Beginning of the School Year

Back To School Assembly

Getting started back to School

Start of School Year Service

Blessed are U who are called to teach





The Irish Jesuits have for some time a special section within their monthly journal “The Sacred Heart Messenger” dedicated to helping the mininistry of religious education in schools.  Each month has a pull out resource with a special theme.  All back issues can be reviwed at


They have a special section for busy teachers where lesson plans and other resources can be located.


For utubeand other online resources check out


Sometimes we are asked for resources about Catholic School Ethos.  Recent work has been done by the Down and Conner Trustee Resource Group.  Other materials can be accessed from the Catholic Schools Partnership.

Useful  Links

D&C Trustee service  Contact  Joan at  email    dctrusteeservice@btconnect.com


Some lovely Staff prayers and tips for the start of the school year on Le Cheile site.


There are many brilliant RE resources for use throughout the school year on









POPE FRANCIS: A MAN OF HIS WORD ( New film in cinemas August)

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word: 




This film seeks to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a  detailed documentary of his life. It opens with a birds-eye view of a city that is neither Rome nor Buenos Aires. It is Assisi, where another visionary named Francis challenged all of Christendom with his radical re-appropriation of the Gospel: his joyful celebration of the evangelical counsels, his enthusiastic embrace of poverty and of the poor and outcast, his celebration of the natural world, and his peace-making efforts between Christians and Muslims, including his famed visit to the Sultan al-Kamil.

His name’s sake Pope Francis’s ideas and his message are central to this film, which sets out to present his work of reform and his answers to today’s global questions. The film’s direct-to-camera visual and narrative concepts involve the audience face-to-face with the pope, creating a conversation between him and, literally, the world. (Truly mind-blowing!)

Receiving questions from people of all walks of life, the Holy Father responds to farmers and workers, refugees, children and the elderly, prison inmates, and those who live in favelas and migrant camps. All of these voices and faces are a cross section of humanity that join in a conversation with Pope Francis.

While this series of questions provides the backbone for the film, it also shows the pope on some of his many journeys around the world, with footage of him speaking at the United Nations, addressing the Congress of the United States, mourning with those gathered at Ground Zero and at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem. He speaks to prisoners in correctional facilities and to refugees in Mediterranean camps. We see him travel to the Holy Land (Palestine and Israel) as well as to Africa, South America and Asia.


This film is in cinemas in the UK and ROI this week and next week.


Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (2018) 

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word DVD and Blu-ray release date is set for December 4, 2018 and available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes is estimated for December 2018.




Pope Francis writes to the people of the People of God …..

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26). These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike. Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated. The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

Read the Holy Father’s full letter here

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God

#PopeFrancis:    “When you’re worried, having trouble, try a “prayer of entrustment.”    Say, “Lord, I place this in your hands.”








Some nice thoughts:

Life is like a sandwich, you have to fill it will the best ingredients

Be still and know that I am God.

Our hearts were made for You O God, and they are restless until they rest in You

God is always writing in the events and people we experience everyday.

There is no such thing as chance.

God is never blind to our tears or deaf to our prayers.

We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!

Those who leave everything in God’s Hand, will eventually see God’s Hand in everything.

It is not days in your life but life in your days that count.

Death is another step in growing into whom God planned us to become.

The important question to ask is not, ‘What do you believe?’ but ‘What difference does it make that you believe?

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Those who have a why to live for can bear with almost any how. 

Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you got, and fix it along the way.

Prayer is the mind in the heart before God.

The eye of faith can often see much that is hidden from the vision of unbelievers.

“A smile is the flower of the heart,” says Pope Francis

Love and true relationships are based on love. True love is based on sacrifice

Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give them one of yours.