The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of January 2023

This month’s prayer intention is for you, the educators of our young people.

For educators

We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than competition and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all.

  • The Pope’s monthly intentions for 2023 can be sourced HERE
  • A reflection is prepared under each theme and can be sourced HERE
  • Each month also the Pope provides a video on the monthly theme which can be sourced here: HERE
  • For a great lesson plan on New Year’s Resolutions just click HERE

Catholic Schools Week 2023

Catholic Schools Week 2023 will be celebrated in schools and parishes across Ireland from Sunday 29th January – Sunday 5th February 2023, anchored on the memory of St. John Bosco on the 31st January.

This year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week 2023 is ‘Walking Together in Faith & Love’

During Catholic Schools Week families, parishes and schools are invited to participate in a week of celebration reflecting on the work of Catholic Schools, and on their contribution to a Synodal Church based on Communion, Participation and Mission.

Link to all resources for Catholic Schools Week are found in the Catholic Education Partnership Website by following this link HERE

For your convenience the links to posters flyers and resources for each of the themed days are accessible below:

In Irish
In English

Post-Primary flyers:
In Irish
In English

Post-primary classroom resources:
Gaeilge – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – pdf
English – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – PowerPoint
English – Monday – Walking Together in Faith – pdf

Gaeilge – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- pdf
English – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- PowerPoint
English – Tuesday – Walking Together in Love- pdf

Wednesday – Grandparents’ Day:
Gaeilge – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – pdf
English – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – PowerPoint
English – Wednesday – Walking Together to Celebrate Grandparents – pdf

Gaeilge – Thursday – Walking to Tranform our World – PowerPoint
English – Thursday – Walking to Tranform our World – PowerPoint

Gaeilge – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – PowerPoint
Gaeilge – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – pdf
English – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – PowerPoint
English – Friday – Walking Together in Hope – pdf

List of Feast Days & Saints Day for January 2023 by Franciscan Media













Mary, Mother of God










Saint Basil the Great

Most Holy Name of Jesus

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint John Neumann

Saint André Bessette

Saint Raymond of Peñafort

Saint Angela of Foligno










Saint Adrian of Canterbury

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

Blessed William Carter

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Saint Gregory Nazianzen

Saint Devasahayam Pillai










Saint Berard and Companions

Saint Anthony of Egypt

Saint Charles of Sezze

Saint Fabian

Saint Sebastian

Saint Agnes

Saint Vincent of Zaragossa










Saint Marianne Cope

Saint Francis de Sales

Conversion of Saint Paul

Saints Timothy and Titus

Saint Angela Merici

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Servant of God Brother Juniper






Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska

Saint John Bosco



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.

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 from Busted Halo whose website is filled with resources click HERE
  • For a very clever and catchy 2 min video on ‘Why Catholics pray to Mary just click HERE
  • See what Fr Columba has to say about Our Lady and how we honour her HERE in a 10 min video in his unique and interesting style!!

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 has appeared 12 times, why? Is it always young people she appears to? Is she still appearing?

What about Medjugorje where the Pope has now given permission to all Dioceses to organise pilgrimages there where it is believed Our Lady is still appearing on a daily basis.

Please note:  The first Ferns Diocesan/School Youth Pilgrimage to Medjugorje is taking place next April the 19th to the 25th for senior students.  To find out more just email fernsda@ferns.ie. (Teachers travel free – limited spaces)

January 1st

World Day of Peace / Lá Tiomnaithe do Shíocháin Domhanda

People walk past a mural with the colours of the Ukrainian flag and a girl painting the now “peace” sign

Pope’s World Peace Day message: There is light even in our darkest hour.

Pope Francis releases his message for the World Day of Peace to be celebrated on 1 January 2023, and recalls that all crises are interconnected and that we must not forget any of them, but work for the good of humanity.

  • To access the Pope’s message for World Day of Peace just click HERE
  • For a summary of that message just click HERE

At the end of the message the Pope asks that in the coming New Year that “we journey together, valuing the lessons that history has to teach us.”  What an interesting discussion point.  As students in school, how do we journey together? How as students can we promote peace in our schools?

January 3rd :  St Basil the Great & St Gregory Nazianzen

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors. This is the ninth day of the Christmas season.

St. Basil was a brilliant student born of a Christian family in Caesarea, Cappadocia (Turkey). For some years, he followed the monastic way of life. He vigorously fought the Arian heresy. He became Bishop of Caesarea in 370. The monks of the Eastern Church today still follow the monastic rules which he set down.

St. Gregory was also from Cappadocia. A friend of Basil, he too followed the monastic way of life for some years. He was ordained priest and in 381 became Bishop of Constantinople. It was during this period when the Arian heresy was at its height. He was called “The Theologian” because of his great learning and talent for oratory.  For further information click HERE

January 3rd : The Most Holy Name of Jesus

The Most Holy Name of Jesus (LordShadowblade, 2008)

Devotion to the Holy Name is deeply rooted in the Sacred Scriptures, especially in the Acts of the Apostles. It was promoted in a special manner by St. Bernard, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. John Capistrano and by the Franciscan Order. It was extended to the whole Church in 1727 during the pontificate of Innocent XIII. The month of January has traditionally been dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.

Reflection by Franciscan Media

Jesus died and rose for the sake of all people. No one can trademark or copyright Jesus’ name. Jesus is the Son of God and son of Mary. Everything that exists was created in and through the Son of God (see Colossians 1:15-20). The name of Jesus is debased if any Christian uses it as justification for berating non-Christians. Jesus reminds us that because we are all related to him we are, therefore, all related to one another.

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 information on this topic just click HERE
  • A lovely gentle 3 minute video for 2022 on this feast day can be

found here: HERE

  • Did you know that there is a tradition of chalking the doors on the Feast of the Epiphany? This tradition is becoming more popular in Ireland each year. Check out HERE for a pdf on how to do it.
  • This is a contemporary look at how the story of the Wise Men can be interpreted today – 3 minute video can be sourced HERE after watching it, the students could be asked to think about how they can do something for someone else that could make a positive difference in their lives.
  • Faitharts have pages of art/video/poetry and lesson plans exploring the themes of this feast day which you can check out HERE

 January 8th:   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 on this feast day check out here: HERE
  • A 2 minute movie clip on the Baptism of Jesus here HERE

 January 15th:   World Religion Day

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 information, reflections, facts and resources check HERE

 January 16th   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. 

“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”.

You can find the speech here: HERE

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 click HERE
  • For Powerpoints, resources, reflections and prayers click HERE

 January 18th-25th                      Christian Unity Week /Aontacht Chríosta

 This year’s theme: Be-Longing: Praying for Unity amidst Injustice.

Materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 have been prepared by the churches of Minneapolis.


For 2023, the resources are available both as downloads and printed versions that can be ordered. The pamphlet is available in English, bilingual Welsh/English, Irish and Scots Gaelic. The poster is available as a mulitilingual version and in English only.

Download or order resources

Introduction to Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

For this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we are guided by the churches of Minneapolis as we seek to explore how the work of Christian unity can contribute to the promotion of racial justice across all levels of society. Through this resource, the CTBI writers’ group has also focussed our attention on the 30th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, which we mark in 2023. The work of restoring hope through justice undertaken in Stephen’s memory continues to inspire and change lives for the better.

As we join with other Christians around the world for the Week of Prayer we pray that our hearts will be open to see and hear the many ways in which racism continues to destroy lives, and to discern the steps we can take as individuals and communities to heal the hurts and build a better future for everyone.

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.

  • For further information just click HERE

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.

  • For further information please click HERE and HERE

     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.

  • For more information just click HERE

 January 29th    Holocaust Memorial Day / Lá Cuimhneacháin ar an Il-loscadh

Holocaust Education Ireland

HEI 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
  • For more resources and to check out the UK’s theme for this year click HERE
  • To view the artists impression of the Holocaust and the background to the artist and the art piece click HERE

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.


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.

(A prayer of St Thomas Aquinas)

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.


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.”


  • For more information on St Don Bosco just click HERE