“Schools are the key to a life lived with Christ at its centre. The key to a future built on a firm foundation of faith and hope. The key to a culture and society shaped with justice and integrity” – Bishop Nulty
It is my privilege to launch Catholic Schools Week 2014 and you are all very welcome to our special event this morning. We are delighted to be here to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of Saint Dominic’s College in Cabra, where we are joined by pupils and staff of all the schools on this campus and by representatives of thirteen schools from the local area. Saint Dominic’s is one of the oldest secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Dublin with a well-deserved reputation in the provision of Catholic formation and academic excellence.
Our opening prayer was a wonderful celebration of you, your faith and all that you are learning and experiencing in your Catholic schools. Thank you for leading us in prayer and sharing your talents, gifts and faith with us.
We know that schools are very important places for pupils, teachers and parents. They are also central to the mission of the local and wider Church community. They are, as expressed by the theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week: places of faith and places of learning.
For you pupils, schools are the places in which you spend most of your time after family life. They are the places that welcome you each morning. You get to know your friends here and you meet teachers and school staff who care for you and devote themselves to help you grow wise and learn skills that will help you for the rest of your lives.
It is here that you grow in your knowledge of Jesus Christ and come to realise that He is always with you helping you to achieve what is best for you. Pope Francis recently said to a group of teachers: “Jesus does not say: ‘Go, make do’. No! Jesus said: ‘Go, I am with you’.” This is at the heart of the Christian message.
In school you learn how to live with others. You learn to care for others when they are in need. You learn how to rejoice with others when they are happy and comfort them when sad. You learn to pray with others and to celebrate your faith.
Your knowledge of yourself and the world around you grows while you are in school. You learn new facts and data and you gain new expertise. You develop talents and abilities. You take part in sport and music and team activities. All of this is undertaken by the light of Gospel values. These values illuminate and guide all that we do in our Catholic schools and help to form you as people of the light who bring that light with you wherever you go.
As Pope Francis said to a gathering of Religious earlier this year, “Education is a key, key, key mission.” Note the emphasis!!! Our Catholic schools are key to the mission of the Church. Schools are called to be places where we witness to the world by doing and acting differently. They are places where we proclaim Christ to all. Is it any wonder that Pope Francis calls education “a key mission”? The key to a life lived with Christ at its centre. The key to a future built on a firm foundation of faith and hope. The key to a culture and society shaped with justice and integrity.
Our schools provide a service to society and to the common good and are the bedrock of our culture. Accordingly it is appropriate that we celebrate their achievements and particularly so during Catholic Schools Week. We are grateful to the teachers and staff. As we know teachers can inspire love of a subject or confidence in one’s own abilities to achieve. In this great and beautiful Dominican school we give thanks for the work of all our schools and pray that their work will bear much fruit which is key for all of us.
Catholic Schools Week gives us a much needed space to acknowledge and celebrate the work of our Catholic schools. It also gives us the opportunity for reflection and discussion about Catholic Education. Today we begin some of that reflection and discussion. Over the next hour or so we look forward to listening to Ger Brennan in conversation with Maura Garrihy – talking about his experience of his Catholic School. Then, under Maura’s guidance all of us will reflect on what we have heard, take time to talk about it and share our thoughts in the larger group. I look forward to this next hour and hope that you will all find it worthwhile.
Notes to Editors
• Bishop Denis Nulty is Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin. Catholic Schools Week was launched today with over 200 students and staff of Saint Dominic’s College in Cabra, Archdiocese of Dublin, and thirteen local schools and representatives from across the country. The principal of Saint Dominic’s College is Ms Ann Donnelly. The launch was facilitated by Ms Maura Garrihy, Youth Officer for the Diocese of Galway and included input from special guest Mr Ger Brennan, teacher and Dublin GAA senior football player. The fourteen schools participating in today’s launch were: Saint Dominic’s College, Cabra; Saint Declan’s College, Cabra; Colaíste Mhuire, Cabra; Saint Mary’s School for Deaf Girls, Cabra; Saint Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra; Saint Mary’s Holy Faith, Glasnevin; Saint Catherine’s Senior School, Cabra; Saint Catherine’s Junior School, Cabra; Mary Help of Christians Girl’s National School, Navan Road; Saint John Bosco’s Boys National School, Navan Road; Christ the King National School, Cabra; Saint Finbarr’s National School, Cabra; Casa Caterina, Cabra; and Gaelscoil Bharra, Cabra. Also in attendance were Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry; Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois; Bishop Raymond Field, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin; Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor; Sister Elizabeth Maxwell, co-chair of the Catholic Education Service; and Father Michael Drumm, Chairperson of the Catholic Schools Partnership.
• The Catholic community in Ireland will celebrate Catholic Schools Week between Sunday 26 January and Saturday 1 February. This year’s theme is ‘Catholic Schools: Places of Faith and Learning’. Catholic Schools Week is an occasion to celebrate the work and achievement of Catholic Schools in Ireland, north and south. Resources have been provided to all primary and post-primary schools to assist with the celebration of CSW 2014. This year’s theme was chosen to highlight that all learning takes place in a values context.
• Photographs from the launch will be available to media from the Catholic Communications Office on 01 505 3017 or 087 310 4444.
• iCatholic is hosting a live stream to all Catholic primary schools in the country on Tuesday 28 January at 11:50 a.m. This will provide an opportunity for teachers and pupils to engage with the activities and theme of Catholic Schools Week. The live stream can be accessed through www.icatholic.ie/live.
• Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, will celebrate Mass in Saint Peter’s Church, Drogheda, on Sunday 26 January to mark the start of Catholic Schools Week. Local schools will contribute to the liturgy which will be broadcast at 11.00am by RTÉ radio and television.
• From Monday 27 January to Friday 31 January on RTÉ Radio 1, the daily A Living Word broadcast will reflect Catholic Schools Week. In addition the broadcast of iWitness on RTÉ One television during CSW 2014 will reflect the theme of Catholic education.
• For CSW 2014 the following resources – listed below – have been made available to schools and are available to download from a special web feature which includes a video interview with Bishop Brendan Kelly, Bishop of Achonry. The resources can be downloaded from www.catholicbishops.ie/catholicschoolsweek
– CSW2014 Resources for Primary Schools in English and Irish
– CSW2014 Resources for Post-Primary Schools in English and Irish
– CSW poster
– Celebrating CSW in Parish 2014
– Reflection for Members of Staff and Board of Management or Governors
– Opening Prayer Service
– Prayer Service to celebrate the Ministry of Teachers
– Grandparents Day
– Closing Celebration
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444