Schools across Ireland are invited to follow on-line a special education event- ‘The Big Assembly’ – this Friday during Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain.

The Big Assembly

Friday 17 September 9.00am

View live –

Catholic education will be an important subject during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Britain next week, 16 – 19 September.

The Holy Father’s first engagement on English soil will be a celebratory gathering – dubbed ‘The Big Assembly’ – of nearly 4,000 school children and young people from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.

Watch ‘The Big Assembly’ event as a live stream on at 9.00am this Friday 17 September to experience discussion on four key topics: faith, community, sport and friendship.

The theme for ‘The Big Assembly’, which will be addressed by the Holy Father, is ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full’ (John 10: 10).

Other lead participants include Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Bishop of Nottingham and Chairman of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, and the BBC’s Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere, who will act as Master of Ceremonies and introduce the four key topics for the day: faith, community, sport and friendship.

Prayers and reflections, as well as music from a variety of school choirs, will run throughout proceedings.

Invitiation to Irish Schools

Schools all across Ireland are invited to share in ‘The Big Assembly’ celebration by joining online with their counterparts in Britain so as to gather as a school community and watch proceedings streamed live at

Welcoming this live stream initiative and discussion on Catholic education, Bishop Brendan Kelly, Chair of the Irish Bishops’ Council for Education, said

“I am very much looking forward to viewing Pope Benedict and the 4,000 students’ online discussion next week. It will provide a unique opportunity for schools across Ireland to experience a quality debate on the importance and relevance of Catholic education to our lives and to our society. This discussion will enable us to celebrate the universal values at the core of Catholic education and to highlight the outstanding work by pupils, teachers and parents that takes place in Catholic schools everywhere.”