Celebrate Thursday, third week of Easter at home and in the Parish with the Grow in Love religious education programme


FEAST OF ST PIUS V, (1504-72)

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

There are many among us who enjoy reading a good story or book. The Bible is one of, if not the most popular book in the world. It is a myriad of stories in a library of books.

Without a doubt, in my experience, one of the most interesting sections of the Grow in Love Religious Education programme for children is Sacred Scripture. Children love the stories from both the Old and New Testaments. From Grow in Love Junior Infants/P1 right through to Grow in Love Sixth Class/P8, children with their teachers listen to and read many of the stories repeatedly. This helps children deepen their knowledge, understanding, appreciation, faith and love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With prayer and conversation, reading Scripture helps form conscience and guides life choices.

Today’s first reading, ‘Philip baptises the Ethiopian’
(Acts 8:26-40) read at Mass can be heard via the webcam or personally read from the New Testament. This Scripture passage is not included in the Grow in Love programme. Nevertheless, the story will hold a child’s interest and there are aspects to the story with which a child will be familiar.

The story, ‘Philip baptises the Ethiopian’ (Acts 8:26-40) is interesting and child friendly. The angel told Philip to go in the direction of Gaza, which he did. An Ethiopian was passing along the way sitting in his carriage reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit told Philip to ‘go and catch up with the carriage’. Philip approached the Ethiopian and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked him, ‘Do you really understand what you are reading?’ The Ethiopian replied, ‘How can I unless someone explains it to me?’ He invited Philip to get into the carriage with him and they travelled together. The Ethiopian asked Philip was the prophet speaking of himself or was it someone else? Philip then began to tell him the Good News about Jesus, using the text the Ethiopian was reading. They travelled along the road and came to a place where there was water. The Ethiopian on seeing the water said to Philip, ‘Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptised?’ He ordered the carriage to stop; Philip and the Ethiopian went to the water and Philip baptised him. After this, the Spirit prompted Philip to go away. The Ethiopian went on his way full of joy. Philip continued to announce the Good News.

Philip used his gift of faith to share the Good News with the Ethiopian. The Ethiopian was not afraid to ask questions about what he read from the prophet Isaiah.
Hearing the Good News brings joy and listening to the Good News can even bring greater joy to one’s life.

This story has huge possibilities for learning: about the Bible; the Acts of the Apostles; the dialogue that could be dramatised; opportunities to talk about sharing the Good News with everyone; witnesses to Philip’s listening to God and how he acted on what God asked him to do, through the angel who was the messenger and also the Spirit.

The Third Mystery of Light, The Proclamation of the Good News prayed in the Rosary, a prayer dedicated to Mary, Mother of God might be recited today. It is possible to reflect on Philip and the Ethiopian travelling in the carriage. The dialogue initiated by Philip opens the possibility for evangelisation, ‘Do you really understand what you are reading?’ The response is straightforward and direct, ‘How can I, unless someone explains it to me?’ Many people have a desire to come to know God and God’s word. In praying a decade of the Rosary one can reflect on sharing the Good News. To pray a decade of the Rosary, using the Rosary beads, pray one Our Father, ten Hail Marys and one Glory be to the Father.
All the Mysteries of the Rosary are explored in the Grow in Love programme. There are support resources on the VERITAS website including those in the Grow in Love e-books.

This story also presents a prompt for discussion about the sacrament of Baptism and to chat about Baptism in the life of the family. At Baptism we become members of God’s family and we are blessed with the gift of faith and with the gift of the Holy Spirit. This sacrament helps us to answer Jesus’ call to follow him, to pray and to love God and our neighbour.

Many of the SONGS in the Grow in Love programme relate to the theme of the Word of God and Baptism and the Holy Spirit : ‘Grow in Love’, ‘Bible Rap’, ‘Use What You’re Given’, ‘Christ Be Our Light’, ’Alleluia’, ’Send Forth Your Spirit’, ‘Water’, ’Tar Anuas, a Spioraid Naomh’, ‘Trust in the Lord (Psalm 37)’, ‘They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love’, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’, ‘Sing Praise’(Psalm 148), ’Our Father’, ’I Have a Name’, ‘Jesus Prayed to God’, ‘Baptism Song’, ‘The Church’, ‘Parish Anthem’, ‘Shalom Aleichem’. All are available as lyrics/video lyrics.

There are many resources related to the Bible, Baptism and the sacraments available on the VERITAS website.
Logon: www.veritas.ie
Email: trial@growinlove.ie
Password: growinlove

PRAY from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé

After the Readings
Reader: The word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

I ndiaidh na Léachta
Léitheoir: Briathar an Tiarna.
Pobal: Buíochas le Dia.

Prayer on Opening the Bible
Bless me, O God, so that
in opening this Bible
I may open my mind and heart
to your Word.
May it nourish me
as it nourished Jesus. Amen.

Paidir ar an mBíobla a oscailt
Beannaigh mé, a Dhia, ionas
nuair a osclaím an Bíobla seo
go n-osclóidh mé m’intinn agus
mo chroí
do do Bhriathar.
Go gcothaí sé mé
faoi mar a chothaigh sé Íosa.

Prayer on Closing the Bible
Bless me, O God, so that
in closing this Bible
I may enclose your Word
in my heart and in my mind
as Jesus enclosed it in his. Amen.

Paidir ar an mBíobla a dhúnadh
Beannaigh mé, a Dhia,
agus an Bíobla seo a dhúnadh agam
go gcionneoidh mé do Bhriathar
i mo chroí agus i m’intinn
faoi mar a rinne Íosa.

‘I tell you solemnly, everyone who believes in me has eternal life, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)

‘I am the bread of life that has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever: and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world, alleluia.’
(Magnificat antiphon)

‘Cry out with joy to God, all the earth;’ (Psalm 66:1)

St Pius V, pray for us.

Sr Anne Neylon