The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of January 2022
The Pope’s Prayer Intentions
Every month Pope Francis entrusts his Worldwide Prayer Network with prayer intentions that express his great concerns for humanity and for the mission of the Church. His monthly prayer intention is a global summons to transform our prayers into “concrete actions”; it is a compass for a mission of compassion for the world.
It proposes a path to mobilize us each month, through prayer and action, to build a more humane and caring world.
These prayer intentions which are accompanied by a Group Reflection Sheet are the product of a long process of discernment within the Church, in various countries around the world, encompassing proposals from various dicastery’s, congregations and services of the Holy See. When the process concludes, after several months, the Pope, having received the proposals, takes time to pray and discern with regard to the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. He then entrusts his twelve prayer intentions to all the faithful. They are guidelines for our life and mission.
- The monthly intentions can be sourced here : https://www.popesprayer.va/the-challenges-facing-humanity-and-assists-the-mission-of-the-church/
- Each month also the Pope provides a message on the monthly theme which can be
sourced here: http://popesprayerusa.net/category/pope-video/
Catholic Schools Week commencing 23rd of January!
The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2022 is ‘Catholic Schools: Living Life to the Full’. As we look forward to and begin our preparations for celebrating CSW2022, we are happy to share these information flyers which can be circulated to promote this important week in the life of our schools.
Catholic Schools Week 2022 begins on Sunday 23 January and as always will have a full suite of resources available in early January. In the meantime these information flyers for both Primary and Post Primary offer a helpful overview of our theme for next year.
- CSW2022 POST PRIMARY FLYER: https://www.catholicschools.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CSW2022-Post-Primary-Flyer.pdf
- CSW2022 POST PRIMARY FLYER (IRISH): https://www.catholicschools.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/CSW2022-Post-Primary-Flyer-Irish.pdf
For full resources click on https://www.catholicschools.ie/catholic-schools-week-2022/ resources available in early January.
January 1st / Eanáir 1ú Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God / Sollúntacht Muire, Máthair Dé
On January 1st, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, our Lady’s greatest title.
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a liturgical celebration observed on January 1. It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics, meaning that Mass attendance is required (though the Mass obligation is sometimes waived by the bishop for various reasons).
The use of the word “solemnity” here is not a statement about Mary’s personality. It is a designation used for certain days within the liturgical (church-based) calendar of the Church. Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials. By celebrating a solemnity dedicated to Mary’s motherhood, the Church highlights the significance of her role in the life of Christ.
- For more on this theme check out https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/what-does-the-solemnity-of-mary-mean
Teacher: Our Lady has appeared in so many places throughout the world. A great project would be to research where, when and why she has appeared. What has been her key messages and was there significance in her timing? For eg. In Rwanda, she appeared to 3 girls in the 1980’s prior to the Rwandan Civil War. In France she appeared 12 times, why? Is it always young people she appears to? Is she still appearing?
January 1st : World Day of Peace / Lá Tiomnaithe do Shíocháin Domhanda
World Peace Day was established by Pope Paul VI in his December 1967 message and celebrated for the first time in January 1968. The 55th World Day of Peace, to be held on 1 January 2022, will be entitled “Education, work and dialogue between generations: tools for building lasting peace”.
In its communiqué the Dicastery writes that “Pope Francis thus identifies three vast contexts today in full mutation, to propose an innovative reading that responds to the needs of current and future times, inviting everyone ‘to read the signs of the times with the eyes of faith’, so that the direction of this change awakens new and old questions with which it is right and necessary to be confronted”.
From the three identified contexts, the communiqué adds, the following questions arise:
- Does work in the world respond, more or less, to the vital need of humans for justice and freedom?
- Are the generations truly in solidarity with each other?
- Do they believe in the future?
- Do governments succeed in setting a horizon of peace in this context?
It would be an interesting exercise to explore these questions with senior cycle students embodied with discussion on ‘if not, how’ questions and perhaps contextualising it on an Irish basis.
January 6th: The Epiphany / An Eipeafáine
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany. “The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power.” With these words the Church proclaims that today’s feast brings to a perfect fulfilment all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem He is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. Christian tradition has ever seen in the Magi the first fruits of the Gentiles; they lead in their wake all the peoples of the earth, and thus the Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation.
- For more info: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2021-01-03
- A lovely gentle 3 minute video for 2022 on this feast day can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8JnfIXkPnQ
January 9th: Feast of the Baptism of our Lord / Féile Bhaisteadh an Tiarna
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. The Baptism of the Lord commemorates the Baptism of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist. This brings to an end the season of Christmas. The baptism of Jesus is reported in each of the three Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Clearly, Jesus’ baptism was an event of great significance for Jesus and for the early Christian community. Mark and Luke report the story from Jesus’ perspective; the voice from heaven is addressed to Jesus. In Matthew’s Gospel, the voice from heaven speaks to all who are present. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism shows that something new is beginning through the baptism and ministry of Jesus.
- For more info check out here: https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/sunday-connection/baptism-of-the-lord-cycle-b-sunday-connection/
- 2 minute movie clip on the Baptism of Jesus here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3xUIcCqAjU
January 17th: Celebrate World Religion Day / Ceiliúradh Domhanda ar Reiligiún
Our World has hundreds of nations with thousands of cultures that stretch back into pre-history, and throughout all that time we have had countless religions rise to prominence. Whether you are Hindu, Jewish, Catholic, Shinto, Buddhist, or one of a million other faiths, World Religion Day is your chance to share your culture with others and take an opportunity to learn from others about theirs. The aim of World Religion Day, held on the third Sunday in January every year, is to promote inter-faith understanding and harmony. Through a variety of events held around the globe, followers of every religion are encouraged to acknowledge the similarities that different faiths have.
For further resources: https://www.twinkl.ie/event/world-religion-day-2022
January 18th-25th Christian Unity Week /Aontacht Chríosta
This year’s theme: ‘We Saw His Star in the East’.
Materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022 have been prepared by the churches of the Middle East and are available to download only and can be accessed here: Download resources It contains a week of Prayers, great group reflections, liturgies, etc.
The story of the Magi visiting the Holy Family in Bethlehem is one very familiar to us. The Magi have sometimes been seen as a symbol of the world’s diversity – different religions and cultures – that comes to pay homage to the Christ-child. The story might therefore represent the unity of all created that God desires.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2022 has been prepared by the churches of the Middle East, the history of which was, and still is, characterised by conflict and strife, tainted with blood and darkened by injustice and oppression. The Christians of the Middle East offer these resources conscious that the world shares many of the travails and much of the difficulties that it experiences, and yearns for a light to lead the way to the Saviour who is the light that overcomes darkness.
January 21st Martin Luther King Day / Lá in onóir Martin Luther King
“The Christian is called, with the grace of God invoked in prayer, to a sometimes-heroic commitment”.
– Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth)—Pope John Paul II, 1993
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. The 1968 assassination of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. stunned the
nation, but his work continues to inspire the pursuit of racial equality in
America. On August 28, 1963, more than 250,000 people gathered on the National Mall
in Washington, D.C., to hear what is now considered one of the most powerful speeches in history. A young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King Jr.
addressed the crowd, assembled that day for the March on Washington, a
protest rally he helped organise.
You can find the speech here: https://youtu.be/vP4iY1TtS3s
“I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up [and]
live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these
truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.
Let us take this day with our students, to reflect on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King is one of the most influential men of our times. His life and ministry continue to remind our nation and the world that the acts of injustice we confront daily require the faith-filled and faith- guided engagement of our heads, hearts, and hands.
- For more information: https://junior.scholastic.com/pages/content-hubs/the-civil-rights-movement.html
January 24th St. Francis de Sales / Naomh Proinsias de Sales
Francis was ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, then a centre for the Calvinists. Francis set out to convert them, especially in the district of Chablais. By preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine, he had remarkable success. At 35, he became bishop of Geneva. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls.
Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. For his writings, he has been named patron of the Catholic Press. His writings, filled with his characteristic gentle spirit, are addressed to lay people. He wants to make them understand that they too are called to be saints.
In spite of his busy and comparatively short life, he had time to collaborate with another saint, Jane Frances de Chantal, in the work of establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were to practice the virtues exemplified in Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: humility, piety, and mutual charity. They at first engaged to a limited degree in works of mercy for the poor and the sick. Today, while some communities conduct schools, others live a strictly contemplative life.
January 25th The Conversion of St. Paul / Iompú Naomh Pól
Saint Paul is one of the most important and influential of all the saints. Many of his writings are contained in the Canon of the Bible and have influenced the growth and development of the Church since the first century. Saint Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
St. Paul was originally known as Saul, and he was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee. He even presided over the persecutions of the early Christians and was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen. However, Saul experienced a powerful vision that caused him to convert to Christianity while on the road to Damascus. He was duly baptized and took the name Paul and began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.
January 26th Saints Timothy and Titus / Naoimh Timóteas agus Titas
St. Timothy, born in Galatia in Asia Minor, was baptised, and later ordained to the priesthood by St. Paul. The young Galatian became Paul’s missionary companion and his most beloved spiritual son. St. Paul showed his trust in this disciple by consecrating him bishop of the great city of Ephesus. St. Timothy was stoned to death thirty years after St. Paul’s martyrdom for having denounced the worship of the goddess Diana.
St. Titus, a convert from paganism, was a fellow labourer of St. Paul on many apostolic missions. St. Paul later made him bishop of Crete, a difficult charge because of the character of the inhabitants and the spread of erroneous doctrines on that island. St. Paul’s writings tell us that St. Titus rejoiced to discover what was good in others and drew the hearts of men by his wide and affectionate sympathy.
January 27th Holocaust Memorial Day / Lá Cuimhneacháin ar an Il-loscadh
You didn’t think about yesterday, and tomorrow may not happen, it was only today that you had to cope with and you got through it as best you could.
Iby Knill, survivor of the Holocaust
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2022 is One Day. There are many ways to interpret the theme, some of which are outlined here.
One Day for Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day is One Day – 27 January – that we put aside to come together to remember, to learn about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, in the hope that there may be One Day in the future with no genocide. We learn more about the past, we empathise with others today, and we take action for a better future.
One Day in history
To mark HMD, you could pick One Day in history and learn about that day.
For more information on this theme please click on https://www.hmd.org.uk/what-is-holocaust-memorial-day/this-years-theme/
Holocaust Education Trust Ireland
HETI aims to educate and inform people about the Holocaust. The National Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration takes place in Dublin every year on the Sunday nearest to the 27 of January, in the Mansion House. It is organised under the auspices of Holocaust Education Trust Ireland in association with The Department of Justice and Equality and Dublin City Council.
The Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration cherishes the memory of all who perished in the Holocaust. It recalls six million Jewish men, women and children and millions of others who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis because of their ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliations, or their religious beliefs. The ceremony includes readings, survivors’ recollections, candle-lighting, and music. It is attended by people from all walks of life and is a moving and dignified event.
For more information and resources on this topic click here : https://hetireland.org/
January 28th Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas / Féile Naomh Tomás Acuin
Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day is celebrated each year on the 28th of January was a Dominican, a member of the Order of Preachers.
Thomas was not afraid of new ideas, rather he engaged with them through study, listening, talking with others and by praying. Thomas was concerned with understanding how people would know what was right and what was wrong. While study was important to Thomas, praying was even more so. To sit and listen to God and to delight in God in our lives. He understood the need to look and listen paying attention to how God is a part of our lives. If we can do this perhaps, we can be joyful and compassionate as Thomas was and as he was remembered by those who lived with him. He had a strong desire to know God.
While Thomas is very much remembered for his brilliant mind, his written work, as being somewhat of a genius and highly regarded in the academic world his life in prayer and study of scripture were central to him. He was very much a man of prayer. One of his many quotes was ‘Humility is what makes a person capable of God’ and he openly declared that ‘prayer and the help of God had been of far greater service to him in the search for truth than his natural intelligence and habit of study’.
Thomas always attempted to look at everything from the inside and could be regarded in the most exact sense of the term, Humanist, because he insisted on the immense importance of the human being in the theological scheme of things…for in his very humanism he affirmed the doctrine of Incarnation, the divinity of Christ.
He died on March 7th, 1274. His pursuit of truth and desire to know God are what hold him in high regard. He was declared Patron of all Universities and Catholic Schools.
(A prayer of St Thomas Aquinas)
Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.
January 30th Feast Day of St. Aidan of Ferns / Naomh Maodhóg (Aodhán) Priomhéarlamh Deoise Fhearna
Aidan was born in Inis Breachmhaigh, now known as Port, Inch or Mogue’s Island, in Templeport Lake, near Bawnboy in County Cavan, around 550. Both his father Setna and his mother Eithne were of noble origin. There was no boat to take the infant to the mainland to be baptised, so he is said to have been miraculously floated across the lake on a slab of stone to where Saint Kilian was waiting to baptise him. The parish church of Templeport parish (St. Mogue’s Church in Bawnboy) in the diocese of Kilmore is called after him and the church’s holy water font is said to be made from part of that stone.
The written “vitae” of Saint Aidan are composed mostly of miracles attributed to him. He is attributed with astonishing feats of austerity, such as fasting on barley bread and water for seven years, as well as reciting 500 Psalms daily. This saint illustrates the close co-operation that existed between the Celtic churches in Ireland and Wales. He was the greatly loved disciple of Saint David for many years and during that time he was usually known by his baptismal name of Aedan but later in Ireland, where he founded the famous abbey at Ferns in County Wexford, he was given the prefix of endearment making his name Maedoc that was usually pronounced Mogue. He continued on with his missionaries and founded thirty churches and numerous monasteries. Many are still in use today. He died of natural causes on January 31 (his patronal feast day) c 632 and is buried under the cathedral in Ferns.
- For more information click here: http://fernsparish.ie/st-aidan/
January 31st Feast Day of St. Don Bosco / Féile Naomh Eoin Bosco
Born in Castlenuovo d’Asti on August 16, 1815, John was educated in the faith and in living according to the Gospel message by his mother. He was just nine years old when he had a dream, which called him to dedicate himself to the education of young people. While still a boy, he began to entertain his peers with games alternated with work, prayer, and religious education.
On becoming a priest (1841), he chose as his life’s programme: “Da mihi animas cetera tolle” (“Give me souls, take all the rest” Gen. 14: 21). He began his apostolate among poor young people with the founding of the Oratory, which he placed under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales.
He led young people to meet Christ by means of his educational style and pastoral practice, based on reason, religion, and loving kindness (the Preventive System). He led young people to reflect, to meet Christ and their brothers and sisters, to the study of the faith and to apostolic, civil, and professional commitment. St. Dominic Savio stands out among the most outstanding fruits of his work.
The source of his indefatigable activity and of the effectiveness of his work was his “constant union with God” and his unlimited confidence in Mary Our Help who he considered to be the inspiration and support of his whole work. He left, as an inheritance for his Salesian sons and daughters, a form of religious life that was simple but founded on solid Christian virtue and on contemplation in action, which may be summed up in the words “work and temperance.”
A Prayer for our Earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
For a song of the above prayer click here: https://youtu.be/VJz0ZuxxMI0