Church Unity Week 2014 – IS CHRIST DIVIDED ?

Unity Theme 14

This year’s theme comes to us from the Churches of French Canada.

Canadians live in a country that is marked by diversity in language, culture, and even climate, and it also embodies diversity in expressions of Christian faith. Living with this diversity, but being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity of his disciples, has led them to a reflection on Paul’s provocative question in 1 Corinthians, “Has Christ been divided?” In faith we respond, “No!” yet our church communities continue to endure scandalous divisions. 1 Corinthians also points us to a way in which we can value and receive the gifts of others even now in the midst of our divisions, and that is an encouragement to us in our work for unity.

RESOURCES:

Unity 2014   word version

CHURCH UNITY SERVICE AND RESOURCES (PDF)

Prayers for Unity 14

Catholic School Week 2014

csw_logo

The theme of Catholic Schools Week this year is Catholic Schools: Places of Faith and Learning
There is a temptation in contemporary Irish discourse to dismiss religious belief as inherently irrational, divisive
and anti-intellectual. This runs completely contrary to the Catholic education tradition which is built on a
respect for faith and reason. Those who dismiss schools with a religious ethos as centres of indoctrination
show little understanding of the long evolution of Catholic schools over many centuries, the rich diversity
within the Catholic sector and the principles which underpin such education today. The value placed on
both faith and reason is the most important principle of all, which helps to explain why Catholic schools
are so popular and respected throughout the world.  ( Fr Michael Drum   Chairperson  Catholic Schools Partnership )
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A school evaluation process is now available see below:
MORE RESOURCES FOR DOWNLOADING:
Homily Archbishop Eamon Martin

In our Catholic schools, we help young people to become stronger followers of Jesus, and to find a clear direction in their lives despite all the conflicting and confusing messages that surround them – Archbishop Martin

Apparently Pope Francis has more than ten million followers on Twitter – not bad for a 77 year old! He’s also the most talked about person on Facebook! But there’s still a way to go before he has as many Facebook friends as Rihanna or Cristiano Ronaldo! Of course Pope Francis is not on Twitter because he wants us to follow him. The Holy Father wants us to follow Jesus. Recently someone sent me this text: ‘Jesus doesn’t have a mobile, but I talk to Him every day; Jesus isn’t on Facebook, but I am His friend; Jesus isn’t on Twitter, but I am one of His followers’!

The very first followers of Jesus were simple fishermen: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, James and John the sons of Zebidee. He called them as they sat in their boats preparing the nets for a catch. Did you notice that at the same moment Jesus called them, He also gave them a mission? Follow me, he said, and I will make you fishers of men and women. You see, you cannot be a follower or friend of Jesus and keep it to yourself. By becoming His follower you accept a call to spread the good news about Him to others.

Two Sundays ago at the Sistine chapel in Rome, Pope Francis baptised 32 little children. He used a lovely image. He described every newly baptised child as being like a link in a chain of faith that goes right back to the time of Jesus. Whenever parents bring their children for baptism, he said, they are adding another link to the chain. And, please, God, when these little ones grow up, they in turn will come back to have their own children baptised. And so the chain of faith goes on and on.

What a wonderful privilege it is for a parent to create a new link in the chain of faith. What an honour and challenge it is to pass on to a child the gift of faith and friendship with Jesus. I want to acknowledge today the vital role of parents in handing on to their children the light of Christ, telling them their first stories about Jesus, teaching them to make the Sign of the Cross and gradually showing them by word and example how they can know and love God and keep His commandments.

Parents are the first teachers of children in the ways of faith. But today, at the beginning of Catholic Schools week, I also want to pay tribute all those who work in, and support our Catholic schools – the teachers and other staff, members of Boards of Management and all who contribute to the life of our schools in any way. Together, in our Catholic schools, we help young people to become stronger followers of Jesus, and to find a clear direction in their lives despite all the conflicting and confusing messages that surround them.

This week we will be celebrating five key characteristics of our Catholic schools – the five W’s: Welcome, Word, Wisdom, Worship and Witness.

Catholic schools are places of where all are WELCOME. In Catholic schools we listen to God’s WORD and try to follow God’s word in our lives. Our children not only learn information and skills, but in our schools they also gain true WISDOM which will last them a lifetime. In Catholic schools our young people, teachers and parents have opportunities to praise god and WORSHIP together. But most importantly, Catholic schools are about WITNESS. Witness means going out to make a real difference in the world by the way we live our lives. After all, that is what being a friend and follower of Jesus is all about.

Think again about those simple fishermen: Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John.

Because of their witness, because they chose to become fishers of men and women, here we are in Drogheda – Ireland – 2000 years later worshiping God together. It all began with twelve followers who went out to create new links in the chain of faith. Today we are among 2.2 billion followers of Christ around the world – 2.2 billion, a third of the world’s population. Now, beat that Rihanna!!!

 

 

 

Nelson Mandela

 

Nelson Mandela Resource   ( Dublin Archdiocese website)

Starting out as a leader of an underground political movement called the African National Congress  Nelson Mandela played a part in many dramatic demonstrations against the white-ruled government.

Nelson Mandela His career in the ANC was cut short in 1964 when he was sentenced to life in prison. The notorious Rivonia Trial, as his sentencing was called, is now seen as nothing more than a cruel ploy used by the white South African government to silence Nelson Mandela once and for all. But even while in prison, Mandela continued to be a beacon of hope for his people who carried on the struggle against Apartheid in his absence. In 1990, after 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela was freed. His release marked the beginning of the end for apartheid. In less than five years after his release, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and elected president of South Africa.

Today, thanks to the self-sacrifice of Nelson Mandela, apartheid has been outlawed. Everyone in South Africa now has an equal opportunity at home and at work to live comfortable, productive lives. Nelson Mandela is one of the world’s true freedom fighters, and his life and personal triumphs will be remembered long after the world has forgotten the evils of Apartheid.

Nelson Mandela’s book, Long Walk to Freedom tells the extraordinary story of his life, an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”                              

Taken from  FREEDOM HERO: NELSON MANDELA   by Jeff Trussell      http://myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=nelsonmandela

This video is worth a look.

Advent & Christmas 13/14

Advent Resources 2013 and 2014

What is Advent ?

Lovely slide reflection on Advent   ” Waiting for Jesus”  (Archdiocese of Dublin)

CHRIST IS COMING

This 5 minute advent meditation focuses on the coming of Christ into our world- not just as a child in a stable but as the bringer of justice and freedom. Music for the meditation features Kyrie – I Call to You from ” Standing Still” by Jeff Johnson (www.arkmusic.com).

Some pastoral resources available for personal and school use this Advent and Christmas:

  • The inter-diocesan scripture reflections for the four Sundays of Advent.
  • Our own booklet for use by families and primary schools aimed at helping children enter into the meaning and spirit of Advent & Christmas.
  • A reflection of slides and a blessing prayer for Advent wreaths.
  • A reflection of slides on the meaning of Christmas. It takes time – a reflection on the spirit of Christmas in parts for readers.
  • Jesus and Santa – getting the balance right. Litany for the coming of Christ & Mary’s Dream.

We hope you will print these off and make use of them to nourish your prayer and reflections throughout the coming weeks.

Advent 2013 Year A Primary Resource

ADVENT -CHRISTMASTIDE slides

Advent Scripture Reflections 2013 -14 Year A

Advent Wreath slides

Blessing and Prayers for Advent Wreath

IT TAKES TIME Reflection in parts

Jesus and Santa – the right balance

Litany for Christ & Marys Dream

Jesus is Knocking at your Door this Christmas

Capital Punishment – Death Row Ministry.

Suitable for GCSE and Senior Rel Education.

Helen Prejéan, is a Roman Catholic sister, a member of the Congregation of St Joesph and a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.

Her efforts in death row ministry began in New Orleans in 1981. She corresponded with convicted murderer Elmo Patrick Sonnier, in the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

Dead Man Walking, the biographical account of her relationship with Sonnier and other inmates on death row, served as the basis for a feature film, an opera, and a play. In the film, directed by Tim Robbins, she was portrayed by Susan Sarandon, who won an Academy Award.

She spoke to Rojo on Spirit about her experiences

Check this link to Podcast     http://podcasts.spiritradio.ie/sisterhelen/

Check out Utube re film  “Dead men walking ”

Prayer and Icon Exhibition in Armagh October 1 – 3rd October 2013.

As part of the Year of Faith the “Art and Practice of Daily Prayer” opens at the Synod Hall behind St Patrick’s Cathedral on Tuesday October 1st.  This event is aimed at helping many rediscover how to pray and also how to develop a small sacred space at home so that that families might have a focus around which to gather and pray.  There will be a display of sacred Icons on loan from the Irish Iconography Group and many items of interest connected with prayer and spirituality.  School groups may find a visit very rewarding. It is hoped to have some activities for children and youth to help them in their own faith journey.  Email Fr Declan if you are taking a large group so that we can be prepared to receive you.

Download this poster to display in school :

The Art & Practice of Daily Prayer

More details will get posted including a timetable closer to the event.

Some Religious Icons ;

The process of writing an icon

 

How Icons are written in 2 minutes !!

Mission Sunday 2013 Pope Francis

World Mission Sunday will be observed this year on October 20. 

Pope Francis describes the Year of Faith as having been “an important opportunity to strengthen our friendship with the Lord and our journey as a Church that preaches the Gospel with courage.”  He goes on to say “Everyone should be able to experience the joy of being loved by God, the joy of salvation! It is a gift that one cannot keep to oneself, but it is to be shared. If we want to keep it only to ourselves, we will become isolated, sterile and sick Christians.”

Download and read the full message of the Holy Father below:

Pope issues message for World Mission Day 2013