THE POPE’S INTENTIONS FOR MARCH 2022
For a Christian response to bioethical challenges
We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action.
- For further info: Click HERE
- See attached a PDF of a group reflection that can be completed with the class in relation to the popes’ intentions
- Also see attached a copy of the Popes Intentions for the year
St. David of Wales/Naomh Dáiví na Breataine Bige
Among Welsh Catholics, as well as those in England, March 1st 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.”
Ash Wednesday / Céadaoin an Luaithrigh
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.
Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God. Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s Palm Sunday Mass.
- Fabulous lesson plan with embedded videos from Diocese of Waterford & Lismore click HERE
- View a 3-minute YouTube video explaining Lent click HERE
- Also, a 3-minute video from The Religion Teacher explaining Lent HERE
- Make the most of your Lenten journey with these daily devotions. Each devotion includes a scripture reading, prayer, meditations, and a small act that will reinforce your faith. Click HERE
- For further Lenten prayers, songs, websites, check out the resources on our Diocesan website HERE
Pope Francis calls for Fasting & Prayer today!
Pope Francis has asked everyone to pray and fast on Ash Wednesday for world peace especially in the Ukraine. Click on picture entitled APPEAL to read what he says.
For further information on the background to the situation in Ukraine click below:
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RELATING TO LENT
Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s Death and Resurrection at Easter. Lasting for forty days – from Ash Wednesday to the evening of Holy Thursday – the season draws us towards the light of Christ.
- Sign up to receive Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe’s Lenten Reflections email series at ewtn.com/lent. For more information click HERE
- Ceist Catholic Education – Lenton Resources click HERE
- Catholic Link – Lent 2022: The Best Catholic Resources – Click HERE
- For easy to download Prayers, Reflections cards and some activities relating to lent click HERE
- For information and activity packs relating to Lent Click HERE
- Trocaire has produced some great resources for Lent and you will find them at the following links:
- Faitharts have a collection of resources for Lent http://www.faitharts.ie/lent.html
MUSIC FOR LENT:
- Ashes (Tom Conry). Click HERE
- Dona Nobis Pacem. Click
- You Are Mine (David Haas). Click HERE
- What Wondrous Love. Click HERE
- Bless the Lord, my soul (Taizé). Click HERE
- On Eagles’ Wings (Michael Joncas). Click HERE
- Your Faith in Me (Ian Callanan). Click HERE
- Psalm 91 “Be with Me, Lord” (Marty Haugen). Click HERE
- The Clouds’ Veil (Liam Lawton). Click HERE
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.” Click HERE to sign up.
World Day of Prayer/Lá Domhanda Urnaí
“I Know the Plans I have for You”
Jeremiah 29: 1-14
The theme for World Day of Prayer 2022, “I know the plans I have for you”, emphasizes that God is with you through the good and the bad, in times of change, disappointment and loss, at times of joy and celebration, with a hope-filled purpose and vision for your life.
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 origins of World Day of Prayer date back to the 19th century when Christian women of United States and Canada initiated a variety of cooperative activities in support of women’s involvement in mission at home and in other parts of the world. They encouraged one another to engage in personal prayer and to take leadership in communal prayer in their missionary associations. This emphasis on prayer gradually led to annual days and weeks of prayer across the country.
In 1927, women in the USA and Canada extended the invitation to their partners overseas to join in prayer. By 1930, this invitation had been accepted in at least 33 countries. The International Committee was formed in 1968. One of its first decisions was to agree a regular date for the annual World Day of Prayer. The first Friday in March each year was agreed as this date retaining a close proximity to Lent and the connection with prayer, self-denial and sacrifice.
- For more information, resources and activities click HERE
- See PDF attached for a youth programme and numerous activities that can be completed with the class.
FEBRUARY 21ST TO MARCH 6TH
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.
The climate crises, and COVID-19 pandemic, are showing 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. By choosing to support Fairtrade, your community can add its voice to demands for a trade system that puts people, not profit, at the heart of the transaction. Our voices become louder when we speak together.
FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT IN SCHOOLS 2022
Through learning about how we are all connected through the things we eat, drink and wear, young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills to shape a more compassionate and sustainable world. They will also have the opportunity to discover how their choices can impact people around the world, but also the planet that we live on.
Education Packs have been produced for teachers and educators to discuss how the climate crisis affects farmers and workers overseas. Through lesson plans and activities, young people
- For further information on Fairtrade fortnight, to download the education packs and for access to ‘A fair trade Future’ a film and lesson series click HERE
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 of 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.
- For Reflection click HERE
- For further information, prayer to and litany of St John of God click HERE
International Women’s Day 2022 – #BreakTheBias
Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Act for equality.
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can break the bias in our communities.
We can break the bias in our workplaces.
We can break the bias in our schools, colleges, and universities.
Together, we can all break the bias – on International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond.
International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to educate and inspire children and young people about gender equality. Teachers, parents, and caregivers can play a key role in raising awareness about barriers that impact the advancement of women and girls. They can also help educate about challenging stereotypes and bias. Additionally, they can inspire future generations by celebrating role models and highlighting the wide range of women’s achievements. They can also reinforce the diversity of women overall.
- For more information, resources and activity packs for young people click HERE
- For a brief insight into 10 Catholic Women in history who changed the world click HERE
9th Anniversary of Pope Francis to the Papacy/Cothrom 8 mbliain ó toghadh an Pápa Proinsias ina Phápa
On March 13th 2022, his Holiness Pope Francis marks the 9th 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, in Buenos Aires Argentina on December 17, 1936. 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.
He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was made a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 28th, 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on March 13th. He chose Francis as his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.
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.
Name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Born: December 17, 1936
Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Family: He is the eldest of five children, born to Italian emigrants who settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Likes: Favourite Soccer Team is the San Lorenzo de Almagro football club
Previous Occupation: He once worked as a bar bouncer and a janitor before joining the
Ordained: December 13, 1969
Order: The Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.
Elected Pope: March 13, 2013
- To access a poster-sized resource (11” x 17”), available for download for classroom display, or to send copies home with your students to learn more about Pope Francis, just click HERE. Also available at this link are printable versions of a Prayer for Pope Frances and some nice thought-provoking activities to make students think about their faith.
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’.
- Further information can be found HERE
- For a short film on the biography of St. Patrick, which can be shown in one class period, Click HERE
- Ireland’s Patron Saint! Click on the following links for PowerPoints which you can use to inform your pupils about St. Patrick and his amazing legacy: ENGLISH version and IRISH version
- Click HERE for a prayer service for St. Patrick’s Day from the Dublin Diocesan website (Thanks to Association of Catholic Teachers).
St. Joseph/Naomh Íosaf
A man of Honour and Creativity
From the Gospel of Matthew: Matthew 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 (chapter 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
For further information please click HERE
- Click HERE for a resource pack on this great saint from the Association of Catholic Teachers.
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.
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 daily. In 2020 alone, there were several racist attacks on ethnic minority groups. It has become even more evident that days like International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination are 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 click HERE
- For additional resources click HERE
World Water Day/Lá Domhanda Uisce
Water means different things to different people. 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.
This year’s theme – Groundwater – Making the invisible, visible. Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. Our drinking water and sanitation, our food supply and natural environment – all these rely on groundwater.
Almost all the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater and we need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind.
- For some great resources to inspire and engage students, friends, family, and colleagues ahead of #WorldWaterDay 2022 on 22 March click HERE
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.
- For more information click HERE
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.
- For further information on the Feast of the Annunciation click HERE
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.
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. Mother’s Day used to be called Mothering Sunday and we have celebrated this special day in Ireland for hundreds of years.
- For more information click HERE