St Philip Neri, (1515-1595), Memorial

‘Christ the Lord has promised us the Holy Spirit: come, let us adore him, alleluia.’ (Invitatory antiphon).

On a day to day basis with the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, some churches have opened their doors again. This has brought joy to the hearts of many people. Even though no one can attend daily Mass or receive Holy Communion, they are delighted to visit the church to light a candle and pray for their loved ones and their intentions.

People show their confidence and faith in the Sacred Heart, Our Lady and the saints as they sit and take a moment to pray at the tabernacle and the various shrines in the church. Some quietly pray the Rosary or a chaplet.

Sometimes the prayerful atmosphere in the church is enhanced by playing background music or Taizé chants. We continue to pray in a spirit of hope and trust as the church prepares to celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Families are always welcome in their local church.

The Gospel proclaimed by the priest at Mass today (John 17:1-11a) can be heard via webcam or read in the New Testament.

The Word for today is the prayer of Jesus to his Father in heaven. Jesus is going to the Father. He is concerned about his going and leaving the disciples in the world. Jesus prays to his Father to protect those he is leaving behind. From the time of his Resurrection, Jesus prepared the disciples for his leaving them. He does not intend leaving them alone. He will send the Holy Spirit as a Helper to them. Now before Jesus leaves, he prays to the Father asking him to ‘protect them in your name that you have given me’. Jesus is one with the Father and he desires that the disciples be one with him. God desires to protect those he loves.

The question is what might the children understand from the Gospel today and in the Grow in Love Religious Education programme that would help them come to know something more about Jesus?

Certainly they might understand the fact that Jesus prayed. They might also be aware that Jesus wanted his Father to protect the disciples and God would listen to Jesus’ prayer. Jesus trusted that the Father would answer his prayer.

In the Grow in Love programme, the children reflect on the people who protect them at home and in school. In school, children read verses from the Psalms and come to form an image of God. They see God as shepherd, as a rock and a shield, all images of God’s protection.

They are aware that God is close to them and loves them, that Christ is beside them and that he has given them Mary, Mother of God and Guardian Angel to protect them also.

Prayer is an integral part of the Grow in Love programme.  In Junior Infants/P1 and Senior Infants/ P2 the children learn the Our Father. Later on, they come to understand that Jesus taught his followers the Our Father. Children learn formal prayers and they write their own prayers, as outlined in the journal activities.

In Sacred Scripture, there are moments when Jesus prayed to his Father like in today’s Gospel, in the Garden of Gethsemane and from the Cross on Good Friday. Children in school ‘take a moment to pray’ regularly. They are invited to listen and hear God speak in the silence of their hearts.

Children explore how the Holy Spirit teaches them to pray, to love and to live like Jesus. During this week, they might be aware that the Church is preparing for the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles.

In prayer, they communicate with God. Children can talk to Jesus and express thanks, sorrow, joy and ask for favours, as Jesus talked to his Father. Children grow in the knowledge and experience that God loves them unconditionally and God invites their trust.

Parents/guardians are always invited to pray with their children.

All the prayers the children learn in school and at home, including the Prayers of the Mass are accessible in the Children’s Grow in Love e-book on the VERITAS website. Many more resources are also available.

Logon: www.veritas.ie

Email: trial@growinlove

Password: growinlove

PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé


Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.

Enkindle in us the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and we shall be


And you shall renew the face of the earth.


Tar, a Spioraid Naoimh, líon croíthe

na bhfíréan.

Agus las ionainn tine do ghrá.

Cuir amach uait do Spiorad agus

cruthófar muid,

Agus déanfaidh tú aghaidh na talún a



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.



Críost liom.

Críost romham.

Críost I mo dhiaidh.

Críost ionam.

Críost ar mo lámh dheas.

Críost ar mo lámh chlé.

Críost I mo chuideachta is cuma cá dtéim.

Críost mar chara agam, anois go buan. Áiméan.

‘The Lord has risen from the dead, as he promised; let us rejoice and be glad; he is king for ever and ever, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon).

‘The power of the Holy Spirit will come into you; you will be my witnesses to the very ends of the earth, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon).

‘Sing to God, O kingdoms of the world; sing praises to the Lord.’ (Psalm 67:33)

St Philip Neri, please pray for us.

Sr Anne Neylon