By Sarah Mac Donald - 27 May, 2020
Archbishop Michael Jackson has sent a message of solidarity to the Class of 2020 telling them to hold on to and nurture their life goals and retain their friendship group.
In his message to Sixth Year students in schools of which he is a patron or which have Church of Ireland connections in the dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough, Archbishop Jackson expressed solidarity over the way the pandemic had affected their Leaving Certificate exams.
“You have every reason to be confused by what has happened. And even now when decisions have been made about the Leaving Certificate for this year, there still is confusion,” Dr Jackson acknowledged.
He added that confusion raises issues about fulfilment and fairness. “These questions will remain. They are currently beyond your control. I want to encourage you to do some simple things that are within your control.”
He told them that he was encouraging them to keep control over their own lives in these difficult days of the coronavirus. “We continue to live in times that are as dangerous to you as they are to me and to everyone else. We all need to stay safe.”
He asked the students to do three things. “The first thing I ask you to do is to honour your own talents and gifts. Many of these you have had to set to one side over the last two months but the day will return when you will be able to use them and to celebrate and share them publicly in a different sort of world that will open before you.”
In a strongly affirming message, he told the Leaving Cert students that they have the energy for this world. “You have no need to fear this world. You need to remember that you have everything to offer.”
But he admitted, “The world has changed before your eyes to a world that feels a lot more closed in” and frontline workers were “caught in the eye of a public health pandemic that has neither secure science nor viable vaccine”.
The second appeal the Church of Ireland Primate made was that the students would hold on to their life goals and he suggested that they write them down either in a journal or in their phone in case they forget what they are.
“All these goals are your goals and they are precious for that very reason. There is no good reason for them to disappear. Please hold on to them and nurture them.”
The third thing Dr Jackson asked them to do is to retain their friendship group. “For some of us this is family, for others it is a smaller or a larger group of friends with whom we have shared interests and ideas and good fun inside and outside of school.”
He added, “Please continue to talk and to work your way through these very difficult times. Remember that you are special and important to Ireland today and the Ireland of tomorrow.”
Live streaming of Masses and Services from churches in Ireland and the UK can be found here: http://churchservices.tv