January 31st, 2013

Dear R.E. Teacher / Chaplain,

Thankfully it’s the last day of a very wet January and I hope you are all keeping well. I would love to hear details and reports of how your school has marked Catholic Schools Week and it would be especially helpful to get some feedback about how you found the resources this year. If you are not teaching in a Catholic School you might find the resources on Interfaith tomorrow including an Inter-Faith Prayer Service suitable to use in your school.

Today is the feast of St. John Bosco and as part of Catholic Schools Week, Archbishop Martin, celebrated Mass this morning in the parish of Leixlip and afterwards met with TY students from Coláiste Chiarain. Below are some of his homily notes from the Mass referring to St. John Bosco.

“I am very happy to celebrate this Mass for Catholic Schools Week on the Feast of Saint John Bosco, who is considered by the Church, Patron of Educators and the Apostle of Youth. His entire life was inspired by the thoughts contained in the Gospel reading we have just heard. The Gospels stress that reflection on childhood is the key to help us understand the kingdom of God. This means that how we treat children indicates something of our understanding of the kingdom of God. To fail children is to betray the kingdom of God.

Don Bosco was a huge figure whose impact spread right around the world. He became a priest against the wishes of some of his family and from the first moments of his work in a parish he began to address the needs of young people. His approach was different to that of the times, where school was a place of conformism and discipline. He felt that education should be inspired by love and trust.

His was a method which was not always easy to put into practice. Don Bosco began to gather the young people of his parish into a sort of youth centre only to find that his method of love over discipline landed him in trouble with the neighbours and then with the police due to the noise that the young people were causing in the evenings. He was forced to close his centre. What did he do? He simply moved on to another place and continued in his work. No one was going to undermine his faith in young people.

Don Bosco knew his young people and he knew that education was not about forcing young people to fit into predetermined patterns. Education was about enabling each unique boy or girl or young adult to become fully the person that God wanted them to be. He realised that that might even mean – indeed, might inevitably mean – that his young people could be noisy and upset the tranquillity of established habits, but that did not deter him.”

A major relic of Don Bosco, founder of the Salesian Family, arrives in Ireland on 23rd February 2013. The visit is part of a worldwide pilgrimage of the relic, building up to the 200th anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015. On the St. Don Bosco resources page on our website there is a link to resources to mark the visit of the relics of St. John Bosco.

The casket has already visited Italy, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Perù & Ecuador. It then travelled to Columbia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Porto Rico, Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada. In 2011 it visited Japan, Indonesia, Australia, China, Taiwan, India, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. In 2012 it has visited Uganda, Ruanda, Sudan, Togo, Mozambique, Ghana and Spain.

Everywhere the arrival of the casket has aroused great interest, participation and involvement and has brought together children, young people and adults to welcome Don Bosco, and to learn more about the Piedmontese saint, his Preventive System and his commitment to working with the young.

The relics will be travelling throughout Ireland and it is hoped to have an event for schools to participate in on Tuesday March 5th in the Church Our Lady of Lourdes, Sean McDermott Street. Further details will follow.

Tomorrow is February 1st and the February Calendar Resources have been uploaded on our website. Click on the links below to views the resources on St. Brigid, St. Blaise & St. Valentine. Lenten resources have also been uploaded and I’ll highlight them in next week’s blog. There are also details about the Emmanuel Concerts which take place in the Helix from February 26th-28th.


Kind regards,                       



Email: garyabrahamian@gmail.com