August 29th 2023
Dear Friends and Colleagues
I am writing this letter to you as you return to your schools for the new academic year and to wish you well in all your work during the coming year. I hope that the Summer break was restful and renewing for you and above all that you were able to enjoy it safely with family and friends
During the past few weeks we cannot but be deeply aware of the fragility of life, particularly the fragility that of the young people you work with. Great milestones in life, like Graduations, Leaving Cert Holiday and Leaving Cert results have been marred by the tragic loss of young lives with all of their potential, their goodness and their ambitions cruelly taken away. Apart from the devastating loss to their families and friends, even those of us who know them only through the media feel that the wonderful plan of life has been upended. As you gather with your students this Autumn, please share with them that their precious lives matter to us all.
During the past year I have visited a number of the Secondary Schools of the Diocese and I look forward to visiting and revisiting during the coming year. All of the young people I have met are greatly appreciative of your work as you help them navigate the challenging school years and prepare them to be the best Christian adults that they can be. As you hand on the faith to them, I know that you are aware of many initiatives which the Diocese offers in the area of Youth Ministry. There will be pilgrimages in the coming year possibly to Medjugorge, Lourdes and other pilgrimage sites. There will be involvement with the John Paul II Awards and the work of Spirit groups in many parishes. Your support and communication of these initiatives is of great importance to the building up of the Christian Community. Encourage your young people who have an interest in faith to put themselves at the service of their local church community as readers, Eucharistic ministers, stewards, collectors etc. Their involvement will be key as we navigate a changing model of church in our Diocese.
The Diocese this year is participating in the Year of Vocations and its theme is “Taking a Risk for Christ”. I would encourage you in your work to speak positively about the value of a life committed to Christ in Priesthood or religious life and perhaps by your words to sow a seed in someone’s mind that it is a meaningful life to offer it in service of the local Christian Community.
Thank you for all this work and thank you especially for all the extra work that you do because of your generosity of spirit. I know how much this extra work adds to the quality of the schools experience for the young people. You successfully build and model community for them and by doing that you give them a legacy for a lifetime. May God continue to bless not only your work but also your personal and family lives and may the Holy Spirit continue to work each day through your presence in the classroom.
With renewed blessings and good wishes,
+ Ger Nash
Bishop of Ferns
September 5th, 2022
I am writing this letter to you as you return to your schools for the new academic year and to wish you well in all your endeavours during the coming year. I hope that the Summer break was restful and renewing for you and above all that you were able to enjoy it safely with family and friends. I am very aware of the tremendous work that you do in teaching religion in the schools of the Diocese and in your roles of accompanying our young people as school chaplains and mentors. We have lived through some very difficult years due to Covid and even though the school community was physically scattered you were able to be an encouraging presence to the students through the Internet.
During the past year I have visited a number of the Secondary Schools of the Diocese and I look forward to visiting the remainder during the coming year. All of the young people I have met are greatly appreciative of your work as you help them navigate the challenging school years and prepare them to be the best Christian adults that they can be. Jesus command to his disciples was “Go, teach all nations” and we sometimes forget that this does not mean foreign lands, but in fact the people that surround us each day. Pope Paul VI once said that each generation of young people is a new continent to be won for Christ and this is the work that you do in schools all over the Diocese.
Thank you for all this work and thank you especially for all the extra-curricular work that you do because of your generosity of spirit. I know how much this extra work adds to the quality of the school’s experience for the young people. You successfully build and model community for them and by doing that you give them a legacy for a lifetime. May God continue to bless not only your work but also your personal and family lives and may the Holy Spirit continue to work each day through your presence in the classroom.
With renewed blessings and good wishes,
Bishop of Ferns
Tel +353 (0)53 9122177 Fax +353 (0)53 9123436 Email email@example.com www.ferns.ie
Dear Chaplains and Catechists,
I am delighted to be writing to you for the first time since my appointment to wish you, your colleagues and families every blessing for the Christmas Season and for a very happy, safe and healthy New Year in 2022. As we progress slowly through a seemingly unending pandemic, I know that you and your colleagues in both Primary and Secondary schools see first hand every day the morale sapping effects on our young people. It must be difficult as teachers to maintain a sense of normality in the classroom and the recreation areas but I have no doubt that any resilience our young people are showing is very often down to your own commitment I thank you and your school communities for your generosity with your time and talents in keeping the school community positive in outlook. On behalf of the whole Christian Community in this Diocese of Ferns, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.
I am also very aware that you and your colleagues are in places where conversations take place about the efficacy of restrictions, mask wearing, vaccines etc and your positive contribution to these discussions carry great weight – much more than any public service announcement or press release. I believe that every encouragement you give to young people to value the community response to the current pandemic is of great value because of the standing you hold amongst them.
Pope Francis has called the whole worldwide church to a Synodal path in the coming years. In translation, this means to walk with and listen to people and their experience of life and church. This includes those who are comfortable within current church structures and those who are deeply uncomfortable and those who feel that church has little to offer them. We have begun this process here in the Diocese and already I have visited a few of the Second level schools and hope to visit the rest throughout the year as part of the Synodal process. The image from scripture that links most strongly to this synodal process is The Road to Emmaus passage, What is significant about this is that Christ opened the conversation with “What are you talking about?” This has to be our Diocesan question for the coming time and I am happy to be asking this question as I begin my ministry here in Wexford.
May you and your school communities experience 2022 as a turning point in all of your lives and may you continue to be safe and happy
+ Ger Nash
Bishop of Ferns
Message from Bishop Denis Brennan to Post Primary Schools September 2020
I hope this message finds you well.
The return to school this year is as surreal as was the early closedown. Like all sectors of society, you find yourself trying to operate in what is a much changed environment, a world where many of the old patterns and practices are suspended, and a work place where vigilance and repeated safety messages abound.
I write to you with a twofold purpose:
- To thank you for the accompaniment and reassurance that you afforded our young people since the beginning of the pandemic. A trying time for all, it certainly has had its impact on our young in terms of education, social interaction, lifestyle and indeed ‘ meaning of life ‘ as they struggle to adapt and understand.
- To extend to you a word of encouragement and wish you well as you return to the task as a front line and very necessary beacon, one charged with giving direction, hope, encouragement and purpose. The current climate makes this role all the more challenging as old assumptions are under pressure, questions abound in a climate of uncertainty and yet ‘ needs must ‘ as we try to negotiate our way together in a caring manner, through new and unchartered waters.
I’m mindful of words used some years ago by the late Saint John-Paul:
‘’ What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary, and without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.’’
It’s a stark quote, but one that is very clear in the direction in which it points us. All will work out in time but what do we hold onto as we journey there?
Pope John-Paul points in the direction of friendship with-and trust in- Jesus Christ, our sure hope and unchanging point of reference as so much about us remains fluid and uncertain.
As we being 2020, I wish you well as you live out your role as ‘ beacon ‘ in our schools and communities. Rest assured of the confidence of Jesus in you as you undertake not only a vital role among the young, but also a life giving and uplifting one in this new ‘ normal ‘- which hopefully will be less long lasting—than it is all too easy to fear.
With every good wish that you stay safe,
+ Denis Brennan.