The Pope’s Message for Lent 2021

 Renewing faith, hope and love.

Athnuachan chreidimh, dhóchais agus ghrá: Teachtaireacht an Phápa Proinsias Carghas 2021

In his message for Lent 2021, Pope Francis calls on the faithful to “renew our faith, draw from the living waters of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God.” Grounding his reflection on the Paschal Mystery, the Pope says, “This Lenten journey… is even now illumined by the light of the resurrection, which inspires the thoughts, attitudes and decisions of the followers of Jesus.” He goes on to say that the journey of conversion, through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, “makes it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope, and effective charity.” After reminding us that “every moment of our lives is a time for believing, hoping, and loving,” Pope Francis concludes by saying:

“The call to experience Lent as a journey of conversion, prayer and sharing of our goods, helps us – as communities and as individuals – to revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father.”

February 22 to 7 March 2021        Fairtrade Fortnight/ Coicís Chothromaíochta Thrádála

For two weeks each year at the end of February and start of March, thousands of individuals, companies and groups across the UK come together to share the stories of the people who grow our food and drinks. mine our gold and who grow the cotton in our clothes, people who are often exploited and underpaid.

2020 has been a hard year for everyone and we know that physically campaigning and meeting people will continue to be challenging in 2021 but we have also heard from so many of you that you want to continue to support Fairtrade through this time.  The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us more than ever how interconnected we are globally. This interconnection is at the very heart of the Fairtrade message and is where your role begins. You are part of the Fairtrade movement and you have the power to drive long-term change, not only with your shopping choices but with your support in spreading the message. We just have to do this a little differently in 2021! 


‘Climate, Fairtrade and You’ Education Packs have been produced for teachers and educators to discuss how the climate crisis affects farmers and workers overseas. Through assemblies (designed with social distancing in mind!), lesson plans and activities, young people will have the opportunity to discover how their choices can impact people around the world, but also the planet that we live on.  

 March 1st      St. David of Wales/   Naomh Dáiví na Breataine Bige                                               

Among Welsh Catholics, as well as those in England, March 1 is the liturgical celebration of Saint David of Wales. St. David is the patron of the Welsh people, remembered as a missionary bishop and the founder of many monasteries during the sixth century.  David was a popular namesake for churches in Wales prior to the Anglican schism, and his feast day is still an important religious and civic observance.
Although Pope Benedict XVI did not visit Wales during his 2010 trip to the U.K., he blessed a mosaic icon of its patron, and delivered remarks praising St. David as “one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and…thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe.”

March 1st                                 World Day of Prayer / Lá Domhanda Urnaí

“Build on a Strong Foundation”

World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women who welcome you to join in prayer and action for peace and justice. The WDP 2021 program is based on Matthew 7:24-27 where Jesus tells a story about the kingdom of heaven using the image of a house and the land on which the house is built. “In Jesus’ story, the wisdom of the builder of the house comes from hearing and acting on the word of God, which is a word of love. This is the foundation on which our sisters call us to build our homes, our nations and the world. A call of faith to be earnestly considered when responding to the prayer of commitment: “What is the house that you would build?” In receiving their voice as a gift of wisdom, we share their hope and creatively engage our communities in “Informed Prayer. Prayerful Action.”

March 8th                                                St. John of God / Naomh Eoin le Dia

Saint John of God’s Story

Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.

He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of Saint John of Avila, he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.

Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by Saint John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.

He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But, excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.

Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order.

John became ill after 10 years of service, but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. John died on the 8th March 1550 aged 55. He was canonised in1690. A few years after his death those who were his followers were recognised as a religious order and called the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God. Today the work which John began in a porch in Granada continues in 52 countries in the world and covers a wide range of care for those with physical and learning disabilities, the homeless and poor, those with mental health problems and the elderly.



March 13th      8th Anniversary of Pope Francis to the Papacy / Cothrom 8 mbliain ó toghadh an Pápa Proinsias ina Phápa


On March 13th 2021, his Holiness Pope Francis marks the 8th anniversary of his election by the papal conclave as Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church.


Meet Pope Francis!

Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He felt the call of God and was ordained a Jesuit priest on December 13, 1969. A Jesuit means that he belongs to the order known as the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuits are known for traveling the world to spread the word of God and being missionaries who serve the poor and fight injustice.

In Rome, Pope Francis, or Francisco, is known as il Papa, which means Father. The pope is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. He lives in Vatican City, which is a municipality inside the city of Rome. In his time as pope, Francis has shared a vision of Church that emphasizes hope, mercy, and care for each other. Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope.



Facts!/  Fíricí!

Name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Born: December 17, 1936


Where: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Family: He is the eldest of five children, born to Italian emigrants who settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Favorite Soccer Team is the San Lorenzo de Almagro football club

He once worked as a bar bouncer and a janitor before joining the Jesuits.


Ordained: December 13, 1969

Order: the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.

Became Pope: March 13, 2013






  • The above poster-sized resource (11” x 17”)is available  for classroom display, or send copies home with your students for families to learn more about Pope Francis, at:


March 14h                                         Mother’s Day/Laetare Sunday / Lá na Máithreacha/ Domhnach an áthais

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is also known as ‘Laetare Sunday.’ Laetare is the Latin word for ‘rejoice’ and so this Sunday is a day of joy in the middle of Lent. In some churches priests wear rose pink vestments instead of the purple ones that are worn on the other Sundays of Lent. Mother’s Day used to be called Mothering Sunday and we have celebrated this special day in Ireland for hundreds of years. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, Mother’s Day celebrations were held on the fourth Sunday of Lent – Laetare Sunday or ‘mid-Lent’ Sunday – the celebrations were adapted to honour the Virgin Mary and the ‘Mother Church’. Customs began to dictate that a person visit the church of his/her baptism on this day. People also attended the mother church of their parish, laden with offerings.







March 17th                                               St. Patrick / Naomh Pádraig


Turning to Patrick—a crucial figure in Irish memory since the seventh century—memory’s headlines run like this: a young British boy from a well-off clerical family was carried off into slavery in Ireland; he later escaped, eventually became a bishop, and returned to Ireland as a missionary. He so effectively preached the Gospel that soon the whole island was Christian, and he did the job so well that within a century Ireland was a powerhouse of faith, with monasteries, scholars and missionaries of her own. And we know more about Patrick than any other fifth-century individual from these islands owing to his two surviving letters: one is now known as his ‘confession’, and the other is a letter excommunicating the soldiers of the slaver Coroticus. These writings are seen as a rugged witness to his simple holiness. Patrick is, therefore, the father of Irish Christianity, the ‘apostle of Ireland’, the ‘patron of the Irish’.

click here for a prayer service for St. Patrick’s Day from the Dublin Diocesan website (thanks to Assoc. of Catholic Teachers).


March 19th                                                  St. Joseph / Naomh Íosaf

A man of Honour and Creativity


Matthew also describes Joseph as “a man of honour“. When he learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he had already chosen the option of mercy and compassion when he decided not to divorce her publicly, but following some kind of encounter with God (“the angel of the Lord”) over the matter, he sensed God was asking him to take Mary into his home as wife, to treat the child as his own and to give him the divinely designated name, Jesus, thus indicating that “he would save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:18-21). Matthew’s readers will understand this to mean that Jesus fulfils the function of the atonement sacrifices of the temple.

Matthew (ch 2) infers Joseph’s protection of the child Jesus against Herod, the flight into Egypt and subsequent return to, and re-settling in Nazareth . Also in Mt 13:55, Jesus is referred to – somewhat with contempt – as “the carpenter’s son”, without naming his adoptive father, as if Jesus were someone who had risen above his station and as if carpentry were a somewhat dishonourable profession. Joseph was a man of insightful creativity




Pope Francis proclaims “Year of St Joseph”

With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. In the Apostolic Letter Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.


The official prayer of the Year of St. Joseph—To you, O blessed Joseph

To you, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our afflictions, and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke your patronage also.

Through that charity which bound you to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which you embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be kind to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness.

As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your aid, we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.


March 21st               International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination : Lá Idirnáisiúnta tiomnaithe do dhíothú Idirdhealú Ciníoch

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a day organised by the United Nations which aims to stop people being discriminated against because of their race.

The event is held on this day because on the 21st of March, 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa against the apartheid “pass laws”. Pass laws were an internal passport system that was designed by the South African government to prevent the freedom of movement of Black people. This controlled where people could work, live and travel inside the country.

Whilst it is important to recognise the amazing work that has been done to start putting an end to Racism, we cannot ignore the facts. Many people throughout the world are still racially abused on a daily basis. In 2020 alone, there were a number of racist attacks on ethnic minority groups. It has become even more evident that days like International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination are absolutely necessary as the fight against racial discrimination goes on.

What Can We Do to Help Eliminate Racial Discrimination?

  • Recognise and teach that no matter what our skin colour, accent, the language we speak or where we are from, we are all equal and deserve the same rights and treatment.
  • Make sure everyone feels included and welcome in any given situation.
  • Encourage people to tell someone if they feel they are being discriminated against because of their race.
  • If you think you see racism happening, tell a responsible adult and get help.

For further information please check:

For additional resources please check:


March 22nd  :    World Water Day  /  Lá Domhanda Uisce


Water means different things to different people.

This conversation is about what water means to you.

How is water important to your home and family life, your livelihood, your cultural practices, your wellbeing, your local environment?

By recording – and celebrating – all the different ways water benefits our lives, we can value water properly and safeguard it effectively for everyone.




March 24th  : Oscar Romero “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” – Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero

Born on August 15th 1917, Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez was sent to study for the priesthood in Rome and was ordained in April 1942. He embraced a simple lifestyle; he was a popular preacher who responded with real compassion to the plight of the poor.  He gave dedicated pastoral service to the diocese of San Miguel for 25 years. He was ordained Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. Over the years, the social and political conflict in El Salvador intensified, and from his Cathedral pulpit, Archbishop Romero became the voice of the voiceless poor. There, in a society of cover-up and lies, he spoke the truth of what was happening in the countryside; he denounced the killings, the torture and the disappearances of community leaders; he demanded justice and recompense for the atrocities committed by the army and police and he set up legal aid projects and pastoral programmes to support the victims of the violence.

On 24 March 1980, in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered while celebrating Mass. Recognizing him as “a martyr for the faith”, Pope Francis canonized him in 2018, he was beatified on 23 May 2015 in San Salvador. 


Trócaire Romero Award

The Romero Programme highlights the efforts of people in Ireland and across the world to raise awareness of human rights violations and support people who are experiencing hardship. Students can take part in Trócaire Awards Programmes, based on global justice issues. The Trócaire Romero Award is a student led awareness raising project that can be incorporated into a TY module, a CSPE project, or a RE topic. Prizes for most impressive entries and schools can find more details online


March 25th                          Feast of the Annunciation / Teachtaireacht an Aingil

A tradition, which has come down from the apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March.


It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her, and asked her, in the name of the blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God. The feast of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates Angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and his announcement that she had been chosen to be the mother of the saviour of the world. Also being celebrated during this feast was Mary’s fiat, which means “let it be” in Latin—her willing acceptance of the news.

Mary, in her selflessness, was open to the angel´s visit. She recognized who was speaking. She listened, received and responded. In so doing, she shows us the way to respond to the Lord’s call in our own lives. God initiates a relationship and we respond in surrender to Him. This dynamic, this heavenly road, leads to a dialogue, a conversation, a way of life. By saying Yes, through our own Fiat, we are set apart. Consecrated.  Made holy.  Mary shows us that way.

The Annunciation, which means “the announcement,” is observed almost universally throughout Christianity, especially within Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Lutheranism.

In addition

Bless the Lord, my soul (Taizé)

On Eagles’ Wings (Michael Joncas)

Your Faith in Me (Ian Callanan)

Psalm 91 “Be With Me, Lord” (Marty Haugen)

The Clouds’ Veil (Liam Lawton)

  • Living Lent Daily

“This Lent, foster a daily practice of spiritual calm where God is at the centre. Living Lent Daily is a daily e-mail series delivering fresh reflections based on the Scriptures of Lent. Each day’s message includes a quotation from the day’s Scripture readings and a brief reflection for meditation and prayer.The messages also include suggestions for further exploration of Lenten themes through additional online articles and prayers.”