Author Archive

29 APRIL 2021, ST CATHERINE OF SIENA (1347-1380), VIRGIN AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, PATRON OF EUROPE

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To remember historical events, people and places offers humankind an opportunity to ‘live life to the full.’ We recall significant events like the first lockdown due to the pandemic in March 2020; nine eleven; the first person who landed on the moon: Auschwitz; scientists and medical researchers who invented the vaccines for the coronavirus etc.  Is there anything you can remember that is a life changing moment or significant in your life’s journey? Is there a person or group of persons you know that brings light to peoples’ lives? I think of the many charities such as Jack and Jill Foundation, Mary’s Meals, Trócaire, Simon Community, St Vincent de Paul Society, and Pieta House to name but a few. We know many people who worked for the common good, many of whom lost their lives all too soon. This week alone three Europeans – 2 Spanish and 1 Irish – were killed in an attack on an anti-poaching patrol in Burkina Faso, pointing to the unrest and the fragility of life to citizens. In these days, many people in India die with corona virus.

Today the church celebrates the feast of St Catherine of Siena, born on 25 March 1347 and died in 1380. Catherine was from a very large family. Her family lived in Northern Italy. Her father was a wool dyer and her mother took care of the children and the home. Catherine never went to school and had no formal education. At a young age, Catherine found quiet places to pray and talk to God.

At age sixteen, she had a vision of Saint Dominic, and she joined the Third Order of Dominican nuns. She wore the habit and lived in a small room in her parents’ home. Catherine spent three years in this room, praying. After this time, she served those who were sick and poor. People began to visit Catherine because they wanted to follow her example of living in God’s love.

In her lifetime, there were great changes for the world. The bubonic plague, a deadly and contagious disease often called The Black Death, ravaged Europe and killed one third of the population. France and England began the Hundred Years War. This fourteenth century was also a troubled time in Church life. The pope, who had always lived in Rome, was now living in France, which caused problems. Catherine wrote to the Pope and encouraged him to return to Rome to live, which happened subsequently. This time saw the beginning of the Renaissance, a revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that began in Italy

Pope Benedict XVI said of Saint Catherine of Siena, ‘Even in the most difficult times, the Lord does not cease to bless his People, bringing forth Saints who give a jolt to minds and hearts, provoking conversion and renewal. Catherine is one of these and still today speaks to us and impels us to walk courageously toward holiness to be ever more fully disciples of the Lord.’ (Benedict XVI, General Audience, November 24, 2010).

Catherine encouraged people everywhere to use their gifts and talents because she knew that is what God desired. Catherine wrote letters to people who were poor, rich, or famous.  People showed amazement at her letters considering she never attended school. She encouraged people to live in peace.

Catherine’s writings are among the classics of Italian literature. The advice and wisdom contained in her writings apply to life today. Catherine used her talents to have a positive effect on the world.

The Church canonised Saint Catherine of Siena in 1461. Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1970. She holds the titles of Co-Patroness of the City of Rome and of Patroness of Italy. She is Patron of Europe.

For the feast day ‘from the Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, on Divine Revelation’, she addresses the eternal Trinity powerfully and uses natural images to describe the eternal Trinity. She says ‘the  eternal Trinity is like a deep sea, in which the more I seek, the more I find; and the more I find, the more I seek you.’ She expresses the beauty of God’s creation in the light of God. She continues to describe the ‘eternal Trinity as an abyss, a deep sea, a fire ever burning, never consumed.’(Ch 167).

Catherine enjoyed a deep and close relationship with God. She showed her love for God in her love for others. In her writings, we read phrases such as:

  • ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’
  • ‘God sees you always.’
  • ‘God is closer to us than water is to fish.’

The first reading proclaimed at Mass today (Jn 1:5-2:2) proclaims light, union and love. In response for the beauty that God gives and the poetic language by which Catherine describes the eternal Trinity, the assembly of people gathered can only sing out praise to God as they respond, ‘My soul, give thanks to the Lord.’ (Psalm 102:1-4, 8-9, 13-14, 17-18 R. v.3).

The Gospel proclaims (Mt 11:25-30) Jesus’ call to the lowly ones of this world to share his love and his teaching. St Catherine totally trusted and responded to the One who said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.’

This is the invitation offered to each one today. Will I accept or refuse? God gives free will.

The Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme nurtures the themes of love, trust and union with God. Online resources are accessible on the Grow in Love website.

Logon: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

READ

  • From your Bible read the comforting words of Jesus in the Gospel today (Mt 11:25-30)
  • Read Psalm 102

PRAY

  • Glory be to the Father/ Glóir don Athar
  • Act of Love/Gníomh Grá

DO

  • Find out some more facts about St Catherine of Siena
  • Do you know anyone named Catherine? You might tell them about St Catherine for Siena and about much she loved God
  • You might find a quiet place and time in your house today and say thanks to God.

 

Sr Anne Neylon

27 APRIL 2021, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

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Events that happen first in life are significant. Take for example, the baby that is born first in the family. Everyone waits in joy for the first smile, the first lock of hair, the first tooth, the first birthday, and first day at school etc. Then, along comes child two or three in the family and there is still excitement but also sense of déja vu.

The same happened with the first administration of the vaccination for the corona virus. The first day people received it; we heard interviews and saw images on the media of those who received and those who administered the vaccine. There is a sense of excitement, anticipation, joy and adventure about the first time a child receives the sacraments. We remember the day we received Communion for the first time. Do we remember the second time or the 102nd time? However, as time rolls by humankind loses the first’s flavour.

It is good to take time to reflect on a first event. Religious communities continually return to the foundation of their Company, Congregation or Institute to get a flavour of the original charism and spirit of their Founder or Foundress. This helps to renew and revitalise the mission. How often our leadership invites its members to return to the source. This does not mean going backwards in time and doing something the way it happened 400 years ago. The value in returning to the source is to tap into the spirit of why the congregation emerged in such a way and to minister in a way that is life giving for all.

This is exactly why in this Easter season the Word proclaims the Acts of the Apostles. The Church celebrated the Resurrection on Easter Sunday and the Acts of the Apostles proclaims the life of the early Christian communities. The resurrection happened over 2000 years ago and every day Christians celebrate the reality that Christ is alive among us in season and out of season. The readings from the Acts and the Gospels tell fascinating stories about Jesus, the first disciples and the growth of the early Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. Each day the Word draws us to the source.

Today at Mass, the word proclaims (Acts 11:19-26) the foundation of the Church in Antioch. The disciples first preached the Good News to the pagans in Antioch. This happened after the persecution, which took place because of Stephen.  Initially they preached to the Jews and then they preached to the Greeks. The Lord helped them, a great number believed, and there were many conversions to the Lord. Then the Church sent Barnabas to Antioch. Barnabas was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit. He encouraged the people to remain faithful in their devotion to the Lord.  Subsequently, many more people became Christians. Barnabas then sought out Saul, and they worked together instructing the people. It was at Antioch that the disciples first got the name of being Christians.

The Gospel (Jn 10:22-30), proclaims the dialogue between the Jews and Jesus. He continues to testify about himself and his works. He praises the work of the Father and announces to them that he ‘and the Father are one.’ They do not understand.

Today Jesus encourages his disciples in their faith. He wants us to believe in him as one sent by the Father. He also reveals himself as one with the Father. God desires that the disciples continue to spread the Good News of the Father. God also wants us to understand that when the disciples stay close to Jesus, they will never get lost. They will have eternal life.  Jesus is alive and God’s people pray ‘Alleluia.’

VERITAS offers online resources on the Grow in Love website including the Grow in Love I nGrá Dé e-book for all class standards to support the theme of discipleship.

Logon: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

PRAY:

  • Give praise and thanks to God by saying ‘Alleluia’
  • Pray the Act of Faith/ An Gníomh Creidimh
  • Pray the Apostles’ Creed/ Cré na nAspal.

READ:

  • Read about Barnabas from your Bible (Acts 11: 23-24) and note the way he encouraged the people to remain faithful to the Lord.

 

Do:

  • The Jewish people celebrated the Feast of Dedication. Read about this feast in the Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé programme for Fifth Class.

 

Sr Anne Neylon

22 APRIL 2021, THURSDAY THIRD WEEK IN EASTER

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Today the world celebrates Earth Day 2021.The objective of this annual event is the restoration of our earth by reducing climate change. The theme for 2021, the second ‘Earth Day’ Live digital event, is ‘Restore our Earth.’

President Joe Biden and his Administration will convene a global climate summit today to celebrate Earth Day 2021. EARTHDAY.ORG delights and feels honoured that such an event takes place.  In a two-day Summit 22-23 April 2021, with the participation of 40 world leaders, the aim is ‘to galvanize efforts by the world’s major economies to keep the vital Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.’

Multiple important environmental events have taken place on Earth Day since 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson organised the first Earth Day with the purpose of bringing the environmental issue into the national agenda.  One significant event includes the recent signing of the Paris Agreement.  This shows Earth Day continues to be an important and unifying day every year.

The world hopes that this historic climate summit will make active progress to restore our earth. For this to happen it is essential that the EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission empowers and expands the environmental movement. Every person in the world has a responsibility to engage in this mission for the care of our common home. Each one chooses to take action and make a difference to engage in this mission.

It is important to recognise and mark important events such as Earth Day.

The reading for Mass today (Acts 8:26-40) proclaims an important event in the life of an Ethiopian official, a Good News story. Paul and the Ethiopian official encountered one another on a journey.  The Ethiopian was reading the Scripture and grappling for understanding. Philip, by Divine Providence happened to travel the road at the same time as the Ethiopian. Philip engaged him in conversation. ‘Do you understand what you are reading? The man replied, ‘How can I unless someone explains it to me? As Philip explained Scripture, the Ethiopian found faith in Jesus and asked for baptism. The baptism took place because God was already at work in the life of the Ethiopian and God was at work in the life of Philip. In everyday language, we say Philip and the Ethiopian official were in the right place at the right time. God draws us to his love through prayer and seeking enlightenment through the Holy Spirit. The Ethiopian’s mind was open to the promptings of the Spirit to what he read in Scripture.  Philip represents the disciple who was present to help the man in need of understanding the Scripture.

In our lives, sometimes we seek understanding like the Ethiopian official. Sometimes we are like Philip the disciple who reaches out to help those in need along the way. Pope Francis urges us to be kind and helpful to others. When we do that, we share the Good News so that like the Ethiopian official who went home to share what he learned with others.

Each time we reach out in love, we respond to the call of Earth Day, to restore our Earth. How will we do that today?

The Gospel (Jn 6:44-51) encourages the disciples to nourish their lives with the Eucharist. Jesus says, ‘I am the living bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread that shall live forever.’

Veritas provides online resources for the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme to support the work of restoring the Earth and the care of our common home. These are accessible on the Grow in Love website.

Website: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

READ

  • Read the story about the Ethiopian official and Jesus in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:26-40)
  • On ‘Earth Day’ 2021, read the Story of Creation from the Book of Genesis

PRAY

  • Pray the prayers to the Holy Spirit/Paidreacha chun an Spiorad Naomh
  • Pray The Care of the Earth/Cúram don Domhan prayer

DO

  • Listen to the news today and find out what happened at the US Climate Summit 2021
  • What part do you play in caring for the Earth?

 

Sr Anne Neylon

20 APRIL 2021, TUESDAY THIRD WEEK IN EASTER

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Each time Pope Francis speaks to the world, he upholds the dignity of human life, while he cautions people about their lifestyle in terms of relationship with self, neighbour, God and the environment.

For example, in Laudato Si’ (no. 23), the Pope states ‘that the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.’ The Pope’s concern is that the world witnesses a ‘disturbing warming of the climatic system.’ This warming ‘is accompanied by a constant rise in sea level’ and by an ‘increase of extreme weather events.’  Both these factors have huge consequences for the planet and especially for people who live in poverty. The Pope calls humankind to ‘recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption’ in order to combat global warming. He also speaks of other factors that cause global warming. Do I  listen to or take heed to Pope Francis through whom the Spirit of God speaks?

It is never all doom and gloom for Pope Francis. In Laudato Si’ (LS, 61), the Pope recognises that ‘our common home is falling into disrepair.’ However, ‘hope, would have us recognise that there is always a way out, that we can redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems’ (LS, 61). Hope is essential in this Easter season. The liturgy during this season lifts our spirits to rejoice and say Alleluia, because Christ is alive. Christians believe the Spirit of God is always with them. They can choose to listen or ignore the call.

In the reading for Mass today (Acts 7: 51-8:1) the Word proclaims Stephen’s challenge to the elders and scribes. He scolds them for their stubborn ways, resisting the Holy Spirit, persecuting the prophets, for killing Jesus and for breaking the Law. The scribes and elders did not like what they heard. They resisted the Holy Spirit. They were ‘infuriated and ground their teeth at him.’ Stephen turned to God and acknowledged Jesus’ presence. The council members got very angry and they stoned Stephen to death. While they stoned him, Stephen said, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ In addition, he asked God ‘not to hold this sin against them.’ These words echo the words of Jesus on the Cross-when he gave up his life to the Father.

The response to the Psalm today (Ps 30:6) reminds the assembly of Jesus’ last words to the Father as he was dying on the Cross- ‘Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.’

In the Gospel (Jn 6:30-35), the people continue to look for signs from Jesus. Jesus explains that God gave them the ‘bread from heaven’ and this bread ‘gives life to the world.’ They want more bread. Then Jesus reveals himself saying, ‘I am the bread of life.’

Jesus, the bread of life comes to us when we receive Holy Communion. In these Covid-19 times, we cannot receive the Body of Christ. We can receive Jesus in a spiritual communion and ‘unite ourselves closely to him.’

The readings today draw us closer to Jesus as we recall his death on the cross. We understand how Jesus forgave his executioners on Calvary and how Stephen did likewise.  We recognise Jesus as the ‘bread of life’ and we give thanks. We play our part in continuing Jesus’ mission, knowing as St Teresa Avila says, ‘Christ has no body now but ours [yours].’

Resources to support the themes of Eucharist and Reconciliation are available in the online VERITAS Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme including the e-books, accessible on the Grow in Love website:

Website: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

READ

  • The Gospel Acclamation for Mass today, ‘Alleluia, Alleluia! I am the bread of life, says the Lord. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst. Alleluia!

PRAY

  • Prayer for Forgiveness/ Paidir ag iarraidh Maithiúnais, Payer after Forgiveness/ Paidir taréis Maithiúnais
  • Prayer before Holy Communion/ Paidir roimh Comaoineach Naofa, Prayer after Holy Communion/ Paidir taréis Comaoineach Naofa
  • Paidreacha chun an Spiorad Naomh/Prayers to the Holy Spirit.

DO

  • Pope Francis believes that humankind can do something about global warming. What can you do in your family to combat global warming?
  • In what way are you and your family protecting our common home?

 

Sr Anne Neylon

19 APRIL 2021, MONDAY THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER

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During the early days of pandemic, the world waited longingly for a vaccination to eradicate the corona virus. The long awaited vaccine is in situ, but problems exist about type of vaccine, who will receive it, age cohort, frontline workers, and people with underlying health conditions. Many complain saying, one vaccine is better than the next. Then some say that even with two vaccines, a third is essential. Yet others say, the current vaccines will not protect individuals from a variant virus. The talk goes ‘on and on’. That is life as people compromise the truth.

In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (6:8-15), the word proclaims Stephen, a good man filled with the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. He was one of the seven men chosen for the service ministry in the early Christian community, when the apostles dedicated their lives to prayer and preaching the word of God. The apostles needed extra help with the distribution of material resources so to continue Jesus’ mission.

At that time, there were two social groups, the Hellenists and the Hebrews. A conflict arose between both groups. The Jews, called the Hebrews never left their land and they spoke Aramaic. The Hellenists lived abroad and usually spoke Greek. They refused to follow the Temple rituals and were uncomfortable with community life and with the liturgy. The apostles decided to give some autonomy to the Hellenists and Stephen was a member of that group. Stephen worked great signs among the people and he responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Others contested him and debated with him. They could not get the better of Stephen because of his wisdom. These men tried to turn the people against Stephen, arrested him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They accused him of blasphemy. However, the Sanhedrin ‘looked intently at Stephen and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.’  They knew deep down, he told the truth.

The Gospel (John 6:22-29) proclaims Jesus’ challenge to the people who came looking for him. He worked the miracle by giving them food to eat and showing other signs. Jesus taught them to work for food ‘that endures to eternal life.’ They did not understand what he meant. They asked him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ He said ‘You must believe in the one he has sent.’

Today, Jesus’ message is the same. It is post resurrection time. We are an Easter people and God desires that God’s people believe in Jesus. God sent Jesus to proclaim the Good News, to heal the sick and forgive sins. Our faith helps us to believe in Jesus who is present and with us always until the end of time. In life, there will always be forces of opposition to the truth.

The online resources, including the e-books, in the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme explore the resurrection stories in all class standards from Junior Infants/ Naíonáin Shóisearacha  to Sixth Class/Rang VI. These accounts help God’s people including the children to understand in faith, Jesus’ appearances to the disciples after the resurrection. The disciples found it difficult to recognise Jesus at first but when he shared bread with them, they recognised him. We too recognise Jesus in the breaking of bread, in prayer, in his word, in others, in the environment and in the Eucharist.

Access the resources on the Grow in Love website.

Website: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

READ

  • From your Bible or from the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book read the following Scripture passages, Jn 20:1-9, Mt 28:8-15, Jn 20: 11-18, Lk 24: 13-35, Lk 24:35-48, Jn 21:1-14.

PRAY

  • The Church prays ‘Alleluia’ because Jesus is risen. Have you ever heard the word ‘Alleluia’ proclaimed at Mass? When does the assembly of people say the word ‘Alleluia’?
  • Grace before Meals/ Altú roimh Bhia and Grace after Meals/ Altú taréis Bia.

DO

  • Visit your local parish Church and see the Easter garden. Take a photo and tell your family the symbolism of the garden.

 

Sr Anne Neylon

14 APRIL 2021, WEDNESDAY, SECOND WEEK IN EASTER

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Have you ever found yourself in a situation either good or bad and said to yourself, ‘I just don’t believe this happened’… ‘How could this situation turn out in this way?’ ‘This is impossible’?

Well, in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 5: 17-26), this is exactly what happened to the high priest and the authorities. The high priest supported by the supporters from the party of the Sadducees were jealous and annoyed, that the apostles Peter and John continued to teach the people about the resurrection of Jesus; in spite of being forbidden to teach. The high priests and supporters did not like what they saw or heard. They imprisoned Peter and John in gaol. Something unbelievable happened. The ‘angel of the Lord’ opened the prison gates and released them with this instruction, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’  The apostles obeyed and went to the Temple to preach.

Meanwhile, the high priest asked for Peter and Johns’ release from prison. When the officials went to release them, the prison was empty. They went out and reported to the high priest. The captain of the temple was perplexed. A man arrived with an update on the situation. He said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men to fetch Peter and John. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Why would the assembly of people not shout aloud the lines of the psalm in the presence of God, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times’, ‘I sought the Lord and he answered me’, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’ ‘He is happy who takes refuge in him’? Christians believe that with God everything is possible.

The Gospel (Jn 3:16-21) continues with Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. The listener hears that God gave his Son Jesus, ‘so that believers in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.’ That meant that believers would be with God forever in heaven. God also sent Jesus so that through Jesus ‘the world might be saved.’  God sent Jesus because Jesus is the light. However, people preferred darkness to light and did not live by the truth. Jesus invites all people to live by the truth ‘so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

When Christians say they have faith in God, they believe even though they cannot see. It is just like the experience that Thomas had in his encounter with Jesus after the resurrection. Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

VERITAS provides online resources on the Grow in Love website to support the season of Easter on the Grow in Love website including the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-book.

Website: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

PRAY

  • Pray Act of Faith/Gníomh Creidimh
  • Apostles’ Creed/Cré na nAspal

 

READ

  • From your Bible read the ‘The apostles arrested again’ (Acts 5:12-20)

DO

  • Did you ever read a book or watch a film that you actually could not believe something that happened? Share it with your family.

 

Sr Anne Neylon

13 APRIL 2021, TUESDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER

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I invite you to read these lines and imagine living in this kind of world!  The people are united, heart and soul. They own nothing themselves but hold everything in common. They witness to a life of love and the common good. There is no one living in poverty in the community. This is because those who own land or houses sell them and bring the money to the apostles to distribute to those in need.

The good news is that this sharing and generosity are hallmarks of our society today. We recall the numerous charities who engage in fundraising, not least the charities represented on the Late Late Show during the pandemic. However, statistics show that more outreach is essential to those who live in poverty throughout the world.

The first reading proclaimed at Mass today (Acts 4:32-37) describes the early Christian communities.  God poured love into the hearts of the people through the Holy Spirit.  Pope Francis prompts God’s people to such a way of life. The early Christian communities received the Holy Spirit and so ‘were united, one heart and soul’.  Today, the faithful hear about the first group of believers.  What was so special about them? They shared. They cared for one another and the common good. They lived by the Spirit of Jesus, similar to how people care for one another in this time of pandemic. Citizens strive to maintain social distance and exercise hand hygiene and are vigilant to restrictions.

We hear in Acts 4:32-37, what one man, Joseph did- ‘He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money and presented it to the apostles.’ To act in this way Jesus explains later to Nicodemus, is ‘to be born from above.’

This spirit of Christianity passed down through the centuries in people. The first Christians believed in Jesus and his way of life. Their faith was strong and enlightened. They proclaimed the Word of God and they responded in love to one another as Jesus showed them. People still show this love and care today, as they are inspired and prompted to support various charities and needs.

Humankind shares one planet. Presently, while many people strive to care for the planet by being eco-friendly, there are many ways that our lifestyle is destructive and causing terrible harm. Pope Francis calls the planet our common home. Owning things in common is ideally good but such an ideal is open to abuse. The challenge is to maintain a healthy planet so ‘there is full respect for the human person’ and there must be ‘concern for the world around us.’ (LS, no. 5).

St Francis of Assisi images our common home ‘like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.’ Two beautiful images of relationship model care, protection, love and nurturance. Throughout his letter to the whole world (Laudato Si’), Pope Francis encourages us to ‘accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale.’ (LS, 9).

In the Gospel (Jn 3:1-8), Jesus continues his conversation with Nicodemus. He explains to him what it is to be born ‘from above’. Jesus explains it is to live by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, the third person of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit teaches God’s people to live like Jesus, to pray like Jesus and to love like Jesus. That is why it is so important to encounter the person of Jesus. This happens in prayer and in reading Scripture. To those who give time to prayer, Jesus reveals himself. He teaches his way of love to those who listen in the silence of their hearts.

Being born ‘from above’ means being ‘born of the Spirit.’ The Spirit is like the wind. The wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirt. When we think of the wind, we cannot see it but we can hear its sound. The wind blows where it wills. Nicodemus found this teaching difficult to understand. Then Jesus told him about himself, the Son of Man.  God sent Jesus from heaven. Then he ‘was lifted up’ on the cross and now is glorified by the Father.  Everyone who believes this Jesus says ‘will have eternal life.’

The readings today present the faithful with great challenges. The Word of God invites each person to encounter the risen Jesus and to live in love and respect of our neighbour. The Holy Spirit will help God’s people to love, to pray, and to live like Jesus if each one asks for an outpouring of the Spirit into our hearts.

VERITAS publications provides online resources including the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-books to support these themes. They are available on the Grow in Love website.

Website: growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

PRAY

  • Prayers to the Holy Spirit/Paidreacha chuig an Spiorad Naomh

READ

  • From your Bible or from the Grow in Love e-book for Sixth Class, I nGrá Dé, Rang VI, read Acts (Gníomhartha na nAspal) 2: 44, Acts (Gníomhartha na nAspal) 2:45, Acts (Gníomhartha na nAspal) 2: 46, Acts (Gníomhartha na nAspal) 5:16.

DO

  • When you are at home today are there any ways that you can see the Holy Spirit at work in your life? (by showing kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, patience, self-control). Say thanks to God.
  • Have you seen the Holy Spirit at work in any members of your family today? Say thanks to God
  • Remember to return your Trócaire box to the Church.

 

Sr Anne Neylon

 

12 APRIL 2021, MONDAY, SECOND WEEK OF EASTER, YEAR B

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Media reports last week told of one woman who is quarantining in a Dublin hotel after her arrival into the State.  She asked the High Court for an inquiry into what she claims amounts to unlawful detention. The woman has evidence, which she attached to her medical documentation stating she received the vaccine in her home country. She has proof of a negative PCR test, so she reckoned there is no good reason for her quarantine. In spite of the number of questions she asked on her arrival about the reason for her quarantine, she did not receive the information she required. The authorities mandated her quarantine in a local hotel without giving a reason.

However, at the time of writing media reports declare the young woman received a phone call to say that she could leave the hotel and quarantine at home. Subsequently, mandatory hotel quarantine is not essential for anyone travelling from this particular country from where the woman travelled,   due to improved health conditions.

Something similar happened to Peter and John in the reading proclaimed at Mass today (Acts 4:23-31). The rulers, elders and scribes detained Peter and John because they taught the people about the resurrection. The authorities also knew that it was through Peter and John, that Jesus cured the lame man. However, the authorities could find no way to punish them, so they released Peter and John. Once released, the two men went off and told the community. The community gathered to pray to God. They recalled how the authorities crucified Jesus after which, three days later he rose to new life. The community continued to pray to the Lord, that the disciples would proclaim the good news ‘with all boldness’. They asked the Lord to help them to stretch out ‘your’ [the Lord’s] hand to ‘heal and to work miracles through Jesus’ name.’ The prayer was so powerful that the Gospel says, ‘the house rocked’ and ‘they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the Word of God boldly.’

The Gospel (Jn 3:1-8) proclaims ‘how Nicodemus went to Jesus by night’. The light of Jesus led him to faith and Jesus spoke to him about being born ‘from above’. At first, Nicodemus could not understand what this meant. Jesus told him about Baptism. In Baptism, a person takes on a new life in the Spirit. Infants cannot do this until they are instructed. Adults awaken in Baptism and grow in strength and enlightenment and in faith; they live the life of the Spirit. This life of the Spirit helps them to love God and love their neighbour.

So in the readings today, God’s people learn about the importance of the assembled community, prayer, the coming of the Holy Spirit and Baptism.

The Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme covers these themes throughout the various class standards. VERITAS provides online resources including the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-books. Access available at:

Website: growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

PRAY

  • Pray ‘Rejoice, Queen of Heaven’ from Grow in Love Fourth Class/P6, and ‘Regina Coeli’ as Gaeilge I nGrá Dé Rang VI, (video lyric)
  • An Phaidir/Our Father
  • Morning Prayer/Paidir na Maidine
  • Prayer to the Holy Spirit/ Paidir chuig an Spiorad Naomh
  • Night Prayer/Paidir na hOíche

READ

  • Read the Baptismal promises. You will find them in Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Rang V/Rang VI

DO

  • Do you have any family photographs taken at your Baptism? Chat with your family about your Baptism. You may like to visit the Church where you received the sacrament of Baptism. What does the sacrament of Baptism call you to do? How can you share the Good News today?
  • Together with family, you can make the Sign of the Cross, ‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’

Sr Anne Neylon

8 APRIL 2021, EASTER THURSDAY YEAR B

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The world and its people have a heightened awareness of the damage caused to the planet in recent decades.  In 2015, Pope Francis wrote a letter to people in the whole world alerting them to the effects of climate change on the lives of people, especially to those who live in poverty. This letter is called Laudato Si’, On care of our common home. He wrote of the harmful effects of pollution, of consumerism and of the throwaway culture.  Pope Francis recorded in detail what is happening to our common home. Simultaneously, he directs people towards a new lifestyle and an ecological conversion. Time will tell how far countries have come in their conversion since 2015. A major challenge lies ahead in our ecological education.

People can choose to listen or ignore the call to change. The Word of God proclaims how Jesus Christ through Peter, challenged the Israelites to repent.

The reading at Mass (Acts 3: 11-26) continues with Peter’s address to the Israelites. He asks them why they are so surprised of the miracle God worked for the lame man who sat at the gate every day. Peter tells them it was not he or John that made the man walk, but it was Jesus. Then he recounts how they had treated Jesus in his last days. They handed him over to death; disowned him in the presence of Pilate; they rejected him and killed him. However, God raised Jesus from the dead and Peter proclaimed himself and John as witnesses. The Gospel proclaims, ‘it is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you all can see.’

Peter tries to make excuses for them saying, ‘I know that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing.’ Peter calls them to repentance, to turn towards God and turn away from sin. Now, Jesus comes to save us from our sins.

The Gospel (Lk 24:35-48) proclaims Jesus’ appearance to the disciples. While they were talking, he stood in their midst and offered them the gift of peace. The disciples were terrified.  Jesus showed them his hands and his feet saying he was not a ghost. Their joy was so great that they were reluctant to believe, so he asked for something to eat. They gave him grilled fish and he ate it in their presence. Again, Jesus instructed them by opening ‘their minds to understand the Scriptures.’

These readings help us to have a deeper understanding of the resurrection of Jesus and to strengthen our faith in him. We continue to acknowledge our belief in God and pray an Act of Faith. We repent of our sins by turning towards God.

VERITAS provides online resources to support the teaching of the Easter stories including the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-books. You will find the Easter theme explored in all class standards of the Catholic primary school, available on the Grow in Love website.

Website: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

INVITATION

PRAY

  • The Gloria/ An Ghlóir, The Nicene Creed/ An Chré-Nicé Chathair Chonstantín
  • Care for the Earth/ Cúram don Domhan
  • Act of Faith/ Gníomh Creidimh

READ

  • From your Bible or from your Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé books read ‘The Empty Tomb’ (John 20:1-10)/ ‘An Tuama Folamh’ (Eoin 20:1-10) and ‘Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene’ (John 20:11-18), ‘Íosa á thaispeáint féin do Mháire Mhaigdiléana’ (Eoin 20:11-18)

DO

  • Go outside on your street or look out the window. What signs of God’s creation can you see? Is there anything for which you might like to be thankful? Can you see any destruction caused to the environment? Is there anything you can do about that?
  • On the Grow in Love website, find the video lyrics for the following songs from Fifth Class/P7 and show them to a member of your family, ‘God has Given Us the Earth’, ‘Without Seeing You’, ‘Spirit Filled Day’, ‘Regina Coeli’

Sr Anne Neylon

7 APRIL 2021, EASTER WEDNESDAY

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In a recent discussion on homelessness, the group attempted to draw up a strategy to help alleviate homelessness in the world. The foundation from which the group worked was from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGSs, often called the UN Global Goals are a charter of 17 interconnected objectives designed to create a better world for all, by 2030. Goals numbered 1, 2, 3, 8, 16 and 17 relate to homelessness directly. To eradicate poverty and to work for the common good, it is of paramount importance that governments and societies take cognisance of these goals.

In the discussion, two people took part who had the lived experience of being homeless. Firstly, they suggested that a homeless person needs someone to recognise his/her presence. The second thing that would help people who are homeless they added, was more digital connectivity. One might have thought that the priority for a homeless person was a house! Sometimes it is not about strategies people draw up! The beginning of hope for one who is homeless is recognition as a human being.

In the reading for Mass today (Acts 3:1-10), the word proclaims the healing of a lame man. Paralysed from birth, the people brought him every day to the temple gate to beg from those who went into the temple. One day, Peter and John went to the temple. They saw the man who asked them for alms. Peter said to him, ‘Look at us’. The man expected to receive something from them but Peter said he had neither silver nor gold but acknowledged, ‘what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus of Nazareth: the Messiah, walk!’ Peter helped the man up and he began to jump up and down. He went into the temple, praised God, and shared the good news. It was not Peter or John that worked the miracle. Jesus worked through them. Jesus also works through each one of us. We can claim nothing of our own as everything comes through God and other people. Jesus is always alive and present among us.

The Gospel proclaimed at Mass today (Lk 24:13-35) describes the disciples’ surprise at their encounter with Jesus. It was only when the disciples shared the table with him and when Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them that they identified him in the action. Having recognised Jesus, they too ‘told their story of what happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.’

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to many of the disciples. None of them initially recognised him. When Jesus spoke to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he began with Moses and the prophets and explained to them everything that was written in the Scriptures about himself.

So today, let us explore what Scripture tells us about Jesus so we too may share the Good News of Jesus’ life death and resurrection.

VERITAS publications provides online resources for the Easter theme in the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé religious education programme.  These include the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé e-books and are available on the Grow in Love website:

Website: www.growinlove.ie

Email: trial@growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

 

INVITATION

PRAY

  • Pray the Nicene Creed / An Chré Nicé-Chathair Constantin from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Rang VI
  • Pray St Patrick’s Breastplate/ Lúireach Phádraig from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé

READ

  • From your Bible or Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé e-book for Fifth Class read the story of ‘The Road to Emmaus’ (Lk 24:13-35)/ An tSiúlóid chuig Eamáús (Lúcás 24:13-35).

DO

  • Look at a map and find Jerusalem. Then find out how many kilometres Emmaus is from Jerusalem.
  • On the internet, find the Sustainable Development Goals. What progress do you think our country is making to be a better place for everyone by 2030?
  • Find the video lyrics of the following songs in the Grow in Love Fifth Class programme: ‘The Welcome Table’, ‘We come to your Feast’.

 

 

Sr Anne Neylon