Bishop Ray Browne Reflects on Catholic Schools Week:
This annual event has established itself as popular and important in our Primary and Secondary Schools. It highlights both the faith element, and also the triple partnership of home, school and parish. As a way of highlighting its importance I am visiting five Secondary Schools this January. Looking towards the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August the theme chosen for this year is, “The Catholic School, a Family of Families”
A way of understanding the ‘Catholic School’, its purpose is as follows: 2018 sees a celebration of 300 years since the birth of Nano Nagle. In a time when there was terrible poverty, no schooling and very little hope for the children of Cork city, Nano started schools. Her hope was that the most vulnerable children might thus have some possibility to go on and live a full meaningful life.
The schools taught the vital subjects and skills. In addition Nano took personal responsibility for the teaching of the faith in Jesus in each school. She believed that their faith would be an important strength in the lives of the children as they sought to live meaningful lives. They would know:
- That God loved them and was always with them, they were never alone
- That ever and always God was guiding and helping them
- That human happiness and fulfilment was to be found through the way of Jesus, the way of “love of neighbour”
More than 250 years since Nano Nagle opened her first school, after maybe eight generations of service of Presentation Sisters in schools in our diocese, the ideals of Nano capture the essence of ‘A Catholic School’.
Its essence is a spirit of seeking “life in its fullness” for all the children, trusting in the Risen Christ, who is for each one of us “the Way, the Truth and the Life”.
Bishop Ray Browne 22 Jan 2018
Catholic Schools Week is being celebrated from Sunday, January 28th until Saturday, February 3rd. The theme for the week is: ‘Called to be a Family of Families.’ The programme invites Catholic schools to reflect on and to celebrate the relationship that exists between home, school and parish.
To launch Catholic Schools’ week, Bishop Ray Browne joined the management, staff and students of three Post-Primary Schools throughout the diocese: Pobailscoil Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore; Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle and St. Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School in Killarney.
On Wednesday, January 17th, Pobalscoil Slaibh Luachra, Rathmore welcomed Bishop Ray and Tomás Kenny, Post-Primary Diocesan Advisor for Religious Education. Principal Denis Kerins greeted all who gathered in the parish church and Bishop Ray presided at the Eucharistic celebration. The school chaplain, Ms Julia Quirke coordinated the event and helped prepare the students for their various ministries. The school choir participated and sang beautifully.
The celebration on Thursday, January 18th was at Phobail Chorcha Dhuibhne, Dingle. Here Bishop Ray led a liturgical celebration through Irish. To open the liturgy the school choir sang the Irish version of Ephrem Feeley’s hymn: A Joy for all the Earth, the official hymn for the World Meeting of Families. Some of the students taking part are preparing to become Eucharistic Ministers. Bishop Ray wished them well with their training.
On Friday, Bishop Ray celebrated with the staff and students of St. Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School in Killarney. Here the school hosted two liturgical celebrations, one with leaving certificate students and the second with first years. The school choir sang the hymn ‘Who will Light the Lantern,’ a piece composed by Liam Lawton in honour of Nano Nagle, the foundress of the Presentation Order.
Many thanks to Denis Kerins (Principal, Rathmore) Pádraig Firtéar (Principal, Dingle) and Roisin Moore (Principal, St. Brigid’s, Killarney) and to the R.E. coordinators and chaplains, Julia Quirke (Chaplain, Rathmore), Anthony Breen (Chaplain, Dingle) and Mairéad McElligott (R.E. Coordinator, St. Brigid’s, Killarney) for their consistent hard work and dedication to Religious Education and faith formation in their schools.