May 22nd, 2014

Dear R.E. Teacher / Chaplain,   To those of you who I did not reach for a visit this year, I will be in touch early in the new academic year and look forward to meeting you then.   From Jared Dees, Creator of TheReligionTeacher.com At this time of year, there can be such a mix of emotions and so I thought you might find Dees' words relevant:   "I have to admit, I've struggled with joy. I can get very overwhelmed as a teacher and catechist. I've yelled and I've isolated myself from colleagues in the past...   Sometimes things just don't go your way, lessons aren't connecting with the kids, you're buried under papers to grade or lessons to plan...   But some teachers and catechists I know don't seem that way. They smile. They're happy. They are truly filled with joy; where does that joy come from? Pope Francis has the answer."   Looking Towards Next Year   Please take a look at the plans for a Taize Schools Pilgrimage 2014/2015 which is being organised by the Office of Evangelisation and Ecumenism. Please offer feedback in relation to this, as the aim is to plan this event around advice and suggestions (i.e. time of year etc) you provide.   Aimed at Transition Year students, another great opportunity for pilgrimage, is the Knock Youth Gathering (KYG), that will take place on October 7th 2014; please take a look at the details and get in touch with Máirín Ní Shúilleabháin, the contact representative of the organising committee, if you wish to bring a group.   Also, during my recent school visits, many R.E. Departments have mentioned that a planning meeting is on the agenda for next week. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to take a look at the Planning Resources Section of our website.   Resources   In light of Pope Francis' urge in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, to live our faith with Joy, I am keen to celebrate each and every day of the Easter Season. If you have not already seen our links for Ascension Thursday (May 29th) and Pentecost (June 8th), perhaps these can be of use in your final classes with students, before Summer Exams commence.     Similar to the Vimeo clip I included in the previous edition of the blog, this link presents a slightly more emotive critique of how social media has its downside:   Gary Turk probes us to Look Up from our Smart Phones, or we risk becoming 'Dumb People' prefering to 'Group Message' rather than inviting our friends to call around for a more meaningful connection. Take a look at the videos listed alongside on this page too, as some old gems are recommended.   'Walking the Camino': This article from Huffington Post seeks to describe what inspired Lydia B. Smith to make a documentary relating 'Real Life on the Road to Santiago'.   'The World is Full of Nice People. If You Can't Find One, Be One'; this quote is from a series of Pictures to Inspire.   A Great Visual Guide to the Daily Examen     If you have yet to see the movie, or would like to show this to your students; take a look at the Stunning Creation Scene from 'Noah'   From Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, there are some really inspiring images in this article where he asks Are You Happy?   Jackie Kennedy Letters In light of the recent media coverage, I think Catholic News Service gets to the heart of the matter with this tweet   From CAFOD   Check out these two beautiful Prayers:   Christ Jesus, open our hearts...   And, originally from CARITAS #Bring Back Our Girls   Pope Francis   Here you can view Catholic News Svc Twitter Coverage of the Papal Audience yesterday: Pope Francis Kisses Sleeping Baby at Papal Audience   As Pope Francis will arrive in the Holy Land this Saturday, here you can view the sites Pope Francis will take in while in Israel   450 American Rabbis have sent a letter welcoming Pope Francis' visit to the Holy Land, expressing therein their appreciation for his continued efforts for interreligious dialogue and message of justice and peace. Click here to read more.   And finally, something fun. I think this is A Great Picture to Engage Students on Infant Baptism   Wishing you all a wonderful summer, to follow that great feeling that comes with filling in that final report, after all the summer tests have been corrected!   Best regards,   Anna