‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia’ (Invitatory antiphon)


In our culture when a young person receives the Sacrament of Confirmation, there is an emphasis on gifts and celebration. And rightly so. In addition to material gifts, there are spiritual gifts given. The spiritual joy bestowed in the Sacrament of Confirmation comes from receiving the sevenfold gift, given by the Holy Spirit. This sevenfold gift is precious because the Giver, the Holy Spirit desires to enkindle the fire of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control in one’s heart. A person who receives the Sacrament of Confirmation is a witness to Jesus and his love.

The Gospel proclaimed at Mass today (Jn 15:26-16:4) can be heard via webcam or read from the New Testament. Jesus tells the apostles in this second farewell discourse that he will send them the Spirit of truth from the Father. The Spirit is a witness to Jesus. Furthermore, the apostles will be witnesses to Jesus because they have been with him from the beginning. The Spirit will remain with them always even in the challenges of life, when their faith is ridiculed or when they meet with opposition. Jesus wants them to remember that the Holy Spirit will be always with them.

The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Blessed Trinity helps and guides the disciples to remember Jesus’ way of love. Prayer and reflection keep the Holy Spirit alive in our hearts.

During this time, the Holy Spirit prompts the people of the world to celebrate ‘Laudato Si’’ week so we can hope ‘for a better world to come tomorrow.’


LAUDATO SI’ WEEK (16-24 MAY, 2020)

This is the third day, 18 May 2020, of Laudato Si’ week, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home. The theme of the week is “everything is connected.” During the week, Catholics everywhere are invited to reflect and pray for action. Resources are provided to help this preparation for action from 16-24 May 2020.

Work and study continue through participation in these online programmes. What is learned and acted on will be celebrated during the season of Creation, when Pope Francis invites Catholics to pray for our common home. The week connects the home, school, parish and the generations internationally.

Participation in this dedicated week to Laudato Si’ Week, enables the entire population, especially those most at risk from climate injustices to hope ‘for a better world to come tomorrow.’


The idea of including Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” into the Grow in Love programme helps the home/parish/school to understand the ‘Ecological Perspective’ informing ‘curriculum approach to content, the development of skills and the appreciation of values.’ (The Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland 2015, (CPPRECI)).

Children are taught from the Grow in Love programme, which follows the spiral curriculum of the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland (2015), about the ‘unique and special place of God’s creation, the interconnection of all creation and are encouraged to develop affection, and care for all creation as a manifestation of the divine. They are taught to contemplate and respect the earth in all its complexity and beauty. The Celtic tradition of respect for God’s creation is woven into the curriculum at every level. A Christian ecological worldview criticises patterns of consumption that relate to ecological degradation. Children are enabled to understand the concept of eco-sin and to develop an ecological conscience which calls for prophetic challenges to forces destroying the earth. (CPPRECI, p.24).

Given that Grow in Love is designed to be used at home and in the school, it provides links with the parish community. Families are encouraged to teach their child about the faith they chose for them in Baptism, and continue to pass on every day. The role of parents and families in preparing children for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Eucharist is vital. Parents are invited to teach children about their faith in a way and in a context that is real and meaningful. With the support of the school and the parish community, it is hoped that parents/guardian will accompany their child as they ‘grow in love’ of God and one another. (Grow in Love, Children’s Book).

As children are formed in their faith ‘they develop the Christian virtue of a sense of wonder and reverence for God’s creation. They appreciate their dignity and worth as created and loved by God.’

All of creation reveals God’s glory. Pope Francis says, ‘Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.’ (Laudato Si’, 84).

The care of the earth takes a prominent place in the curriculum and this is reflected in Grow in Love. The CPPRECI states that, ‘In the Catholic school, ecological respect and concern are rooted in a scripturally-based theology of creation and related ethical considerations. God creates and gives us the gift of creation to care for and celebrate, and the Christian hope for the final renewal for all creation at the end of time encourages our commitment to cultivate and care for the earth (CCC 1042)’.

So this week, as the Church honours the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, the children are enabled to grow in familiarity with the teaching of Pope Francis through Grow in Love. With the spiral curriculum, the work of one class level is built on a previous class level, so the Christian Morality Strand with Strand Units, ‘Human Dignity’, ‘Social Teaching of the Church‘ and ‘RSE in a Christian Context’ are built and taught on a solid foundation.


Further to the content taught in Junior Infants/P1 and Senior Infants/P2, in FIRST CLASS/P3 children are encouraged to wonder at the great mystery of Creation and the gifts given by God to God’s people. A sense of wonder, a spirit of gratitude and a readiness to praise and thank God are fostered.

In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis’ reminds us that to care for every aspect of creation and of our environment is our duty as Christians, ‘ Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.’ (LS, 217).’

Grow in Love FIRST CLASS/P3, invites the children to tell the story of Creation (Gn 1:1-25) in their own words; seek through engaging in a concrete experience to understand how God made the world from nothing but love; and to consider their response to God’s Creation. God created people in God’s image and likeness-to be good, kind and loving. God created people to take care of the gifts of Creation.

Children grow in their understanding of human dignity, as they hear how St Thérèse of Lisieux lived according to the ‘little way’. This meant that when she did the ordinary things in life she did them with an extraordinary love. Children appreciate that they too can do great things with love and they can ask Thérèse of Lisieux to help them.

They also are taught that when St Patrick lit the paschal fire on the Hill of Slane light was brought to those in darkness. St Patrick taught the people about God and helped them grow in faith. Fire is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit. It symbolises an energy that is transformative. The children read the Story of Pentecost (Acts of the Apostles 2:1-12).

Children are encouraged to nourish their faith and have an active love for their neighbour through prayer and reading Sacred Scripture, making the world a better place and supporting Trócaire, the Society of Missionary Children and other charities. They learn that by their goodness and love, they can care for our common home. The Holy Spirit will help them.

Resources are available including a Children’s Grow in Love e-book on the VERITAS Grow in Love website to support this this Christian Strand.

Logon: www.veritas.ie

Email: trial@growinlove

Password: growinlove

The following RESOURCES, for FIRST CLASS/P3 may be helpful, in addition to the resources and online activities for Junior Infants/P1 and Senior Infants/P2: ‘A Poster on ‘St Thérèse of Lisieux ’; Videos on ‘What is Your Favourite Animal?’, ‘Creation Story, from Genesis:1,2’ ‘ Colour Your World With Kindness’, ‘St Thérèse of Lisieux ’, ‘Acts of Kindness’, ‘St Patrick’s Day Parades’; Slide show on ‘Doing Little things with Love’ , ‘ St Thérèse of Lisieux’, ‘The Life of St Patrick’ ‘St Patrick’s Fire’ Colouring pages on ‘Creation’, and ‘St Thérèse of Lisieux’, and St Patrick , ; and a Power point on ‘The Beauty of God’s Creation’; Online Interactive Activity on ‘We Can Care For Our World’.

SONGS from Grow in Love related to the theme of Creation in FIRST CLASS/P3, in addition to those taught in Junior Infants/P1 and Senior Infants/P2: ‘When Creation Was Begun’, ‘Grow in Love’, ‘Quiet and Still’, ‘Baptism Song’, , ‘When Jesus was a Boy’, ‘Jesus Loves Children’, ‘Circle of Friends’, ‘Psalm 23’, ‘Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks’ , Christ Be Beside Me’, ‘The Spirit of God is Upon Us’, Gifts From God’, and ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and Reflective Music.

PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.


Holy Spirit, I want to do what is right. Help me.

Holy Spirt, I want to live like Jesus.

Guide me.

Holy Spirit, I want to pray like Jesus.

Teach me.


A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom an rud ceart a dhéanamh.

Cabhraigh liom.

A Spioraid Naomh, ba mhaith liom maireachtáil mar a mhair Íosa.

Treoraigh mé.

A Spioraid Naoimh, ba mhaith liom

guí mar a ghuigh Íosa. Múin dom é.


God our Creator, you have given us

the earth, and the sky and the seas.

Show us how to care for the earth, not

just for today but for ages to come.

Let no plan or work of ours damage

or destroy the beauty of your creation.

Send forth your Spirit to direct us to

care for the earth and all creation. Amen.


A Dhia ár gCruthaitheoir, thug tú an

talamh, an spéir agus na farraigí dúinn.

Taispeáin dúinn conas aire a thabhairt

don domhan, ní hamháin don l atá inniu ann,

ach do na haoiseanna atá

le teacht freisin.

Ná milleadh aon phlean ná obair

againne áilleacht do chruthithe.

Seol do Spioraid chugainn chun

cabhrú linn aire a thabhairt don

domhan agus don chruthú ar fad.

‘God has given us new birth as his sons and daughters, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that will never perish alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)


‘The Spirit of truth who comes from the Father will be my witness. And you also will be my witnesses, alleluia’ (Magnificat antiphon).


‘Praise him with dance and tambourines; praise him with pipes and strings.’ (Psalm 149:2).


“Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.” (Laudato Si’,91)

Sr Anne Neylon