Catholic Schools week begins on Sunday 29th January. Over the past three years, parishes throughout the country have responded with great generosity and creativity to the invitation to take time during this week to celebrate the contribution made by Catholic Schools and their communities. This can be done in a variety of ways; during the Sunday Liturgy, by joining in the activities in the parish schools and by creating opportunities for the parish community to connect with the school community.
There are many different ways in which parishes might choose to celebrate Catholic Schools week. Some suggestions are outlined below.
- Celebration of the Eucharist for the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Encourage your parish liturgy team to have Catholic schools week a major feature every year in the planning calender for the Parish. It will always be the last Sunday in January.
- Parish Newsletter. Put a note in your parish newsletter, to allow the wider community be aware that it is Catholic Schools Week.
- Display area. Consider working with the school to create a display showing the ways in which the parish schools are ‘Christ’s living body active in our world’.
- Boards of Management. Congratulate those who have served on the previous board and acknowledge the new members. Put Catholic Schools Weeks on the agenda for the next meeting.
- The Pastoral Council. Ask the Pastoral Council how best Catholic Schools week could be celebrated in the Parish this year.
Catholic Schools Week 2012 January 29 – February 4, 2012 Theme: ‘Catholic Schools: Christ’s living body active in our world.’
The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2012 is ‘Catholic Schools: Christ’s living body active in our world.’ The theme is taken from the anthem of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, Though We Are Many – (Bernard Sexton), and reflects the overall theme of the Eucharistic Congress – ‘The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.’
Though we are many – Verse 3:
And through this shared Eucharist
we are the living Church.
We witness to Christ’s love
His living body active in our world.
Resources for Catholic Schools Week 2012:
The Catholic Schools Week Steering Group has prepared resources for use in both primary and post primary during Catholic Schools Week. These resources can be used with the following groups: students in the classroom; staff members; parents; members of the board of management/ governors; the wider parish community.
This year Catholic Schools Week reflects on the school as a community having as its goal the full development of the pupil. Catholic schools consist of pupils, staff members, parents, school management and patrons. They form a vital part of the local community. The proverb says ‘it takes a whole village to rear a child’ and in its own way each school mirrors the local community in its nurturing concern for its pupils.
When the Catholic school community celebrates Mass they partake of the body of the Lord by participating in the elements of the liturgy. Truly the school is taken up into communion with Christ and all members of the school community with one another. ‘Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread’ (1 Cor 10:17). In this way all of us are made members of His Body, (1 Cor 12:27) ‘but severally members one of another’ (Rom 12:5).
No school pupil is immune to liturgy well done. Particularly in times of celebration and difficulty the entire community recognises and senses the presence of Christ in the Eucharist enhancing lives and offering support at critical moments. The Mass matters because Christ is present in a tangible way through the community gathered, the word spoken, the bread broken, the Body of Christ shared and the urgent invitation to live the love of God in the day to day circumstance of life and in the relationships of one with another.
Time and time again attention is drawn to the identity of the Church as the living body of Christ. The school community is made up of people who form part of each other as the limbs of a body. The Catholic school community, at a crucial time in the lives of young people, is for them the local Church making Christ present in new and unexpected ways but especially by being caring. So the mission of all is to be witnesses and ambassadors of the love of Christ in the world. ‘Catholic Schools: Christ’s living body active in our world.’
Resources for Home, School and Parish
To help schools celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2012 resources have been prepared and will be circulated to schools and parishes. The resources will enable pupils, staff members, boards of management, families, the entire school community, and parishes mark Catholic Schools Week 2012. It is recommended that Principals and Chairs of Boards of Management seek to ensure that CSW 2012 is celebrated by all associated with the school.
Day for Grandparents
It is envisaged that Grandparents will be invited to celebrate CSW 2012 with their grandchildren in the school as in previous years. A significant part of Catholic education is its commitment to build on the tradition of Catholic education in the area and in the particular school. The rich inheritance of the school is its stepping stone into the future. Grandparents are a vital link in helping children to give thanks for the work of the school and to look forward with joyful hope to the future. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland: ‘As you take up the challenges of this hour, I ask you to remember “the rock from which you were hewn” (Isa 51:1).’
Christ present in the Eucharist
Ireland will play host to the fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress from June 10th to 17th2012. Describing the International Eucharistic Congress, Archbishop Martin said:
‘It is an important event for the Church in Ireland. It is an important event for the Church around the world. If you look at the Acts of the Apostles when they describe the early Christian community they always begin by saying they gathered and out of that sense of gathering came a particular lifestyle which is a lifestyle of communion and sharing.’
During CSW 2012 Catholic Schools are encouraged to enable students gather, celebrate and reflect on the Eucharist and thereby recognise Christ present in the school – bringing about a lifestyle of communion and sharing.
Music for Catholic Schools Week 2012
Karen O’Donovan, a teacher in Jesus and Mary College in Goatstown in Dublin arranged for some of her 5th year students to perform some well known music for use during Catholic Schools Week 2012. The pieces can be downloaded from here as MP3 files. IMRO has granted a licence for the use of these pieces on the website: