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.