By Ann Marie Foley - 14 May, 2020
“Normally you would have had graduation ceremonies and Masses, and I know how much you miss not having those important moments in your school life. This has been an extraordinary year and a particularly extraordinary couple of months,” said Bishop Denis Nulty.
Bishop Denis Nulty has reached out to Leaving Certificate students and offered his support, after the confusion about their exams was finally cleared up last week.
His Kildare and Leighlin Diocese has 41 secondary schools in its 56 parishes. He has invited students from all these to join him online for a special liturgy which he has called ‘Leaving Certs 2020 – A blessing for the journey’.
“I am very aware that the last few weeks have been very rough, a very rough journey, for many of you young people. I am conscious that while you got clarity in recent days, you may still be experiencing huge anxieties, concerns, and worries,” he said in a special video on the diocesan website.
He invited the young people to put aside that stress and, for just a little while, to join him for prayer, song and reflection next week.
“I chose May 21 because it is the week where normally you would have had graduation ceremonies and Masses, and I know how much you miss not having those important moments in your school life. This has been an extraordinary year and a particularly extraordinary couple of months,” he said.
This special liturgy can be joined through the Askea parish website or Facebook Live on Thursday 21 May at 7 p.m.
On 1 May, Bishop Nulty spoke on video to young people preparing for their First Holy Communion and talked about how they must be feeling sad and missing school and their teachers. He reassured them that their special day will come and in the meantime he encouraged them to continue getting ready to receive their First Holy Communion and to learn their prayers. He also invited them to set up May altars in their own homes. The Kildare and Leighlin Diocese Facebook page has since been flooded with images of beautiful May altars.
Meanwhile in Donegal, 42 children who were due to receive their First Holy Communion in Killybegs received personal postcards from their parish priest, according to RTÉ News.
The children in three local schools were due to make their First Holy Communion at St Mary of the Visitation Church with their parish priest Fr Colm Ó Gallchóir next weekend. Instead, Fr Ó Gallchóir wrote personally to each child wishing them well and telling them that when they go back to school a new date will be set for their Holy Communion.
Earlier this month the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, wrote to Leaving Cert and A-Level students stating that the COVID-19 emergency had “gatecrashed” this important and special year in their lives (see CatholicIreland.net story here).