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Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week

January 27th - 31st

From Monday, 27th January to Friday, 31st January - Belvedere College SJ, with all Catholic primary and secondary schools across Ireland, celebrates Catholic Schools Week. The theme for this year's celebration is Living in Harmony with God's Creation – this includes our natural environment and our human family. During the week we will focus on five core values, which we believe helps us as a school community to live in harmony. To live in harmony is to Welcome (Monday), to Reconcile (Tuesday), to be Grateful (Wednesday) to Belong (Thursday), and to Celebrate (Friday).

Monday, January 27th - To Live in Harmony is To Welcome

The week launched with whole-school assembly, where we marked the lives of the men of great Catholic faith associated with the College – Loyola, Xavier, Kenney, Finlay, Scully and Aylmer.

Monday, January 27th - Morning Reflection

Today is the start of Catholic Schools Week. During this week we will get a chance to focus on what it means to be a Catholic School. The theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week is Living in Harmony with God’s Creation – One World, One Human Family. We have come up with five core values on what we think will help us live in harmony – to live in harmony is to welcome, to reconcile, to be grateful, to belong, and to celebrate.

Today we focus on what it means to WELCOME. The word welcome has always meant ‘it is good you have come’. To live in Harmony with God’s Creation is to welcome. You could imagine that this is what God says when we seek Him – it is good you have come. You could also imagine that this is what He wants us to say to others in this world. We should never be shy about welcoming the stranger into our lives, our school, our communities, our country. In Belvedere College we do much to welcome others. Last Christmas, students from elements made children who live in Direct Provision Centres feel welcome. They organised, fundraised, and bought gifts for some 450 children who are seeking asylum in this country. Let us continue to work to welcome strangers into our homes. At lunchtime today Br Hendrick, a Capuchin Friar, will speak about what it means to welcome.

Tuesday, January 28th - To Live in Harmony is to Reconcile - Morning Reflection

Today for Catholic Schools Week, we focus on what it means to RECONCILE. The word reconcile means to ‘restore, repair, or make good again’. Today we are asked to think about how we can restore our relationship with God, others around us, and of course, our natural world.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church and allows us to restore our relationship with God. Further, seeking forgiveness or forgiving others is important for restoring any relationship. While it is difficult to do, forgiving someone allows you to truly understand what it means to love, to show compassion, and to show mercy. Jesus showed this on the cross when he said, ‘Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they do’. At lunchtime today, we will hear a story of forgiveness from Elbher Twomey. In 2012, while on holidays in England with her young family, tragedy struck. They were involved in a horrific crash. The driver of the other car was speeding. The crash claimed the lives of her husband, her young son, and her unborn daughter. Every day she says a prayer for the driver that killed her family.

Wednesday 29th – To Live in Harmony is to Be Grateful - Morning Reflection

Today for Catholic Schools Week, we focus on what it means to be GRATEFUL. Meister Eckart, a 13th century German Theologian said, that if the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. For Catholics, a great way to give thanks to God is to go to mass and celebrate the Eucharist. The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word ‘to give thanks.’ Ignatius of Loyola felt that being grateful was the basic response to God’s abounding love. Ignatius believed that gratitude was more than just a feeling; it was a vision which recognized that everything was a gift. When we are grateful, a light within us shines on our interconnectedness with one another and with our natural world. To live in harmony is to be grateful. Today there will be a special Taize service for students from Elements and Rudiments. The service will be led by Poetry students, who will be going to Taize in April, and Rhetoric students who went last year.

Thursday 30th - To Live in Harmony is to Belong - Morning Reflection

Today for Catholic Schools Week, we focus on what it means to BELONG. The word belong means to be part of something; connected to something. We all belong to one human family, one natural world. In this school, we belong to a christ-centred faith community, that views Jesus as the foundation. We share his vision, and we model our lives on his example of love, compassion, and sacrifice. Today, you too can demonstrate what it means to belong. This can be a simple gesture of looking after our school environment; pick up some rubbish. Or simply, when walking around today, give someone a fist bump or a high five. Let them know that they belong.

Friday 31st – To Live in Harmony is to Celebrate - Morning Reflection

Today is the last day of Catholic Schools Week in the College, so today we CELEBRATE. The word celebrate means to honour, notice, or take part in something special. Every year in Ireland, the Catholic Church celebrates the lives of over 300 Irish saints; men and women who served God, the church, and those in need. Today, we too celebrate the work of all our teachers and students who have and continue to work tirelessly to live out our Catholic ethos. The St Vincent De Paul Society, The Soup Run, The Sleepout, Calcutta, Taize, Camino, Christmas Fair, JRS Toy Appeal, Advent Activity, Lenten Activity, TY Student’s Committee, many other service programmes, and all our retreats, are all motivated by our school’s Catholic mission. This is to ensure that in our relationship with Jesus Christ and by living Gospel Values, we shall be men for others in leadership and example in the pursuit of a just world.

This morning we had a special mass to celebrate the work of the staff and students who live out this mission. Perhaps we can now recognise and celebrate their efforts with a round of applause.

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