By Ann Marie Foley - 23 January, 2020
“The theme for Catholic Schools Week this year encourages us to see that we all have a responsibility to care for the earth, not just for our own future, but for the future of every one of God’s creatures,” says Fr Paul Connell.
Caring for the earth and God’s creation is central to Catholic Schools Week this year. The annual celebration of schools is at the end of this month, from 26 January to 1 February.
Schools, parishes and families will celebrate Catholic Schools Week (CSW) 2020 with the theme of ‘Living in Harmony with God’s Creation’ and a new audio thought for each day.
Commenting on this year’s theme, Fr Paul Connell, secretary of the Bishops’ Council for Education, said, “The theme for Catholic Schools Week this year encourages us to see that we all have a responsibility to care for the earth, not just for our own future, but for the future of every one of God’s creatures.”
He referred to 2015 when Pope Francis wrote his encyclical Laudato Si, which underlined Catholic Schools Week in 2017. Now in 2020, schools in the north and south of Ireland will look again at the messages of that encyclical.
“The hope of Catholic Schools Week 2020 is that we realise how powerful each and every one of us is and that even the smallest changes can have the biggest impact,” said Fr Connell.
He added that Pope Francis challenges people to look at their lifestyles and asks for justice and equality. “It is clear that climate change is creating a huge amount of suffering and impacting the poorest of the poor in our world; the very people who did least to cause this situation,” he said.
On each of the five school days of CSW2020 there will be an audio thought for the day. Kate Liffey, national director for catechetics with the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has voiced each of the five audio pieces and speaks in depth about each of the daily themes for CSW2020, which are:
• Monday: Living in Harmony with God
• Tuesday: Living in Harmony with our Neighbours
• Wednesday: Living in Harmony with all Generations
• Thursday: Living in Harmony with the Earth
• Friday: Living in Harmony in our Catholic School
There are resources and themes for each day for post-primary schools. For primary schools, there are posters and flyers in Irish and English.
Catholic Schools Week 2019 was launched in Kerry at the Holy Family National School, Rathmore and included singing, traditional music, set dancing and a prayer service with children representing the different classes making their blessings and prayers.
Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe, launched the week in 2018 in St Flannan’s College, Ennis. The theme ‘Catholic Schools: Called to be a Family of Families’ connected with the World Meeting of Families which took place in Dublin the following August.
In 2017, Catholic Schools Week was launched by Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin at a Mass broadcast by RTÉ from Ss Peter and Paul Church, Portlaoise.
At that time, Bishop Denis Nulty said that Catholic schools are committed to genuine pluralism and inclusion, and are respectful of the beliefs of all parents and pupils.
The week is a celebration of Catholic schools and their contribution to the common good of society.
Resources and themes can be downloaded from catholicschools.ie.