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


During these Covid-19 times, the world waits in anticipation for promises to be realised. People wait to see loved ones in hospital and nursing homes, to return to work, to travel, and for all kinds of restrictions to be lifted. Many seek to go back to normality. Others speak of a new normal. Few acknowledge there is a new normal. Time never goes back.

The Gospel proclaimed at Mass today (Jn 16:16-20), may be heard via webcam or read in the New Testament. In this second farewell discourse, the disciples keep wondering about what Jesus means when he says, ‘a little while, and you will see me no more; and then a little while, and you will see me.’  Jesus makes a promise. They question one another, ‘What does he mean by…? And why did he say…? What does he mean by…?’ Jesus will keep his promise, but not as the disciples might understand it. He addresses their puzzlement. They have to wait.

LAUDATO SI’ WEEK (16-24 MAY, 2020)

This is the sixth day, 21 May 2020, of Laudato Si’ week, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home. The overall theme of the week is “everything is connected.”

Yesterday, the keynote speaker Yeb Saño, from the Philippines, presented the theme of Sustainability: ‘Time for the Church to Lead by Example’. His opening slide rested on the green vestment worn by the priest at Mass in Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Year. He explained the word ‘ordinary’ came from the Latin word ‘ordinarius’ which has theological roots. It is related to the word ‘orier’ which means towards the east, to the rising of the sun.  Our prayer and liturgy, like the sun needs to ‘be stirred’, ‘to rise up’ and ‘to grow’. God calls us to be green, beyond the vestments. The narrative for Church teaching from the beginning is to hear the cry of the earth and to hear the cry of the poor and to be stirred up to act.

With Covid-19 there is an added sense of emergency to the ecological crisis. Laudato Si’ offers urgent challenges in which the Church must take the lead. We must be aware of what is happening to our common home, address the fact that fossil fuels continue to fuel our economics; that oil-based transport is still our main mode of transport; our forests are disappearing and much more.

The session also included a number of case studies that informed what was happening collaboratively, internationally, through project work in various parishes.

With regard to our personal ‘ecological conversion’, Pope Francis says, ‘The goal  is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.’ (LS, no. 19).

We presently work at these challenges for the celebration of the forthcoming ‘Season of Creation’ (1 September- 4 October 2020), 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’, enables the entire population, especially those most at risk from the consequences of climate injustice to hope ‘for a better world to come tomorrow.’

During this 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. Everyone is free to register for webinars on the Laudato Si’ website. It is never too late to make a promise to build a better world by changing one’s lifestyle. The world waits in anticipation for every small step taken.


The idea of including Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home 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)).

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)’.

Children are taught from the Grow in Love programme, which integrates the four Strands, following 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 support their children by actively participating with the Grow in Love Children’s Book; to teach their child about the faith they chose for them in Baptism, and continue to pass on every day. With the support of the school and the parish community, it is hoped that parents/guardian will pray and accompany their child as they ‘grow in love’ of God and one another. (FOURTH CLASS/P6, Children’s Book).

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 in the encyclical, through Grow in Love. The work of each class level is built on a previous ones, 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.


Grow in Love FOURTH CLASS/P6, invites the children to see how important it is to try their best to persevere with a task according to their ability, as Moses did. They also learn to hear God’s call to be just and stand for what is right, as Moses stood before the King of Egypt. The children are taught eight of the Ten Commandments, identifying them, evaluating right and wrong actions according to them in their day to day lives and judging whether they think it is reasonable to keep the commandments.  They read about the Covenant God made on Mt Sinai with Moses (Exodus 19:3-8).

In FOURTH CLASS/P5 they are also invited to read the story of Creation (Gen 1: 1-31), Moses and Aaron before the King of Egypt (Exodus 5:1-9, 10: 3-14, 16-20), The Crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:5-31). Through reflection and prayer, the children see how Moses and others trusted God and they too can trust God and God’s word. Children read and sing Psalm 37. Prayer develops from thanks and praise to trust.

Pope Francis says that environmental education needs educators, ‘capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care.’ (LS, no. 210).

Children with their families become good stewards of creation as they grow in awareness about the Green Flag award. They understand they must make changes to their lifestyle by reducing, reusing and recycling goods. Ultimately, an ecological conversion benefits society and calls forth a goodness that is capable of spreading like leaven in the dough. It is essential to eliminate waste and change the mind set away from ‘the throw away culture.’

In school, children further their study and reflection on the encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home. They read a story of a volunteer, lay missionary who spent time in Kenya working with persons who struggle with poverty. Their daily focus was on getting food and water to stay alive. Respect and human dignity are fundamental to Pope Francis’ message in Laudato Si’.

Working with the Trócaire resources, children explore the life stories of people who live in poverty due to global warming, climate change, loss of biodiversity, scarcity of water etc. They are introduced to the web of life and explore how everything is interconnected and interdependent in the planet.  God calls all human beings to protect the harmony within the web of life.

Children begin to see what happens if there is a disconnection in the web of life. There is a danger of extinction of the species, e.g. the Asian elephant. Other issues include the ‘depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society.’

The Tenth Commandment teaches people to take care of the common home that all living beings share. Children learn to respect all creation and to develop attitudes of respect and generosity, rather than jealousy and greed.

Children grow in their knowledge of the life of St Brigid. The Feast of St Brigid occurs annually on 1 February. In Celtic, pre- Christian times, the first day of spring was called Imbolg. This day signals the beginning of spring. Children are taught stories of St Brigid’s compassion for people living in poverty, her gift of healing and teaching, her generosity and courage in the face of adversity. She was a woman of prayer, who upheld human dignity and respect for all life. St Brigid founded an abbey where many pilgrims still travel to St Brigid’s Well to honour and remember her. The Sisters of the Brigidine Order take Brigid as their inspiration and continue her mission. Children make St Brigid’s crosses.

Resources are available including a Children’s Grow in Love e-book, with poems and prayers and activities on the VERITAS Grow in Love website to support the work of this Christian Morality Strand.

Logon: www.veritas.ie

Email: trial@growinlove

Password: growinlove

The following RESOURCES, for FOURTH CLASS/P5 may be helpful, in addition to the resources and online activities for Third class and Junior classes: Slide Show: ‘Prayer Services’, ‘Psalm 37’; Video: ‘Climate Change’, ‘Bees in Ireland’,  ‘Celtic Blessing’; Interactive Activities: ‘Promises’ Poster: ‘Care for Our Common Home’: Slide Show: ‘Prayer Services’, ‘The Asian Elephant’: Link to Dublin Zoo’.

SONGS from Grow in Love related to the theme of Creation in FOURTH CLASS/P6: ‘Psalm 37’, ‘Use What You’re Given’, Salvation Song’, ‘The Great Commandment’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘A Mhuire Mháthair’,‘Hymn to St Brigid’, and ‘Reflective Music.

PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé


Glory be to the Father,

And to the Son,

And to the Holy Spirit;

As it was in the beginning,

Is now, and ever shall be,

World without end. Amen.


Glóir don Athair,

Agus don Mhac,

Agus don Spiorad Naomh,

Mar abhí ó thus,

Mar atá anois

Agus mar a bheas go brách,

Le saol na saol. Áiméan.


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.


Christ be with me,

Christ be beside me,

Christ be before me,

Christ be behind me,

Christ be at my right hand,

Christ be at my left hand,

Christ be with me, wherever I go,

Christ be my friend forever and ever.



May all the children

In the world

Share love

Share friendship and live

In the peace

Of God’s love

Now and forever.


Go rinne

Gach páiste ar domhan

Grá agus cairdeas,

Agus go maire siad

I síocháin ghrá Dé

Anois agus choíche.

‘In a short time you will no longer see me, says the Lord; and then a short time later you will see me again, since I am going to the Father, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon).

‘Your sorrow will be turned into joy and that joy no one will take from you, alleluia’ (Magnificat antiphon).

‘The Lord has shown his salvation revealing his justice to the nations.’ (Psalm 97:2).

‘Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world….she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power.’ (Laudato Si’, no. 241)

Optional memorial

Ss Christopher Magallánes, priest and Companions, martyrs, pray for us.

Sr Anne Neylon