Dear fellow catechist,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.