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Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

6 February 2018

St Mary’s student teachers share their experiences of activities organised to celebrate
Catholic Schools Week (29 January – 2 February 2018)

Class 9/81 from St Paul’s High School Bessbrook focused on their school family during Catholic Schools Week. They looked at the importance of the three key words from their school prayer—faith, hope and love—identifying ways in which these values were lived out in their school. The pupils examined the unique qualities and attributes they possess as individuals and how they all join together to form a very special family. The pupils also reflected on their school family, with each student drawing a school crest representing the key values that he or she believes makes their school a Catholic School. These became part of a wonderful wall display celebrating everything that is good about St Paul’s!

St Paul’s students further celebrated Catholic Schools Week by attending a liturgy on Monday, and small groups met to say the rosary in the oratory throughout the week. All pupils had the chance to reflect on the fact that the Catholic Church is a family of families, and all thoroughly enjoyed the week’s celebrations.

Aoife Malone (student teacher BEd 4 Post-primary Religious Studies)
St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook

St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick marked Catholic Schools Week in a number of ways. At the beginning of the week the school put together a notice board to promote the World Meeting of Families but decided to mark the occasion on a grander scale. Class 10D arranged an assembly focused on the theme of family, which they presented to the whole of junior school. It was decided to include all aspects of family, discussing the relationship that exists between schools and how these relationships build faith. In keeping with the theme of family, pupil Ross Douglas read his award-winning poem on the subject, which drew together the assembly perfectly. It ended with a reflection on the words of Pope Francis who mentioned in 2016 that, in order to have a healthy family, we must use the words please, sorry and thank-you more often.

Shauna O’Neill (student teacher BEd4 Post-primary Religious Studies)
St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick

Catholic School’s Week is a very important week in the school calendar for everyone at St Mary’s Primary School, Killyclogher. As a final year student, I wanted to make an active contribution and worked alongside the RE co-ordinator to plan how to raise awareness of how we are called to be a “family of families”. Every class in the school learnt about how we are included in various families, such as in school, at home, in the parish and the world family and each group created artwork on the concept of one of these. Years One and Two concentrated on their home family, Years Three and Four worked on the importance of grandparents as part of our families, Year Five considered how we are all a part of the St Mary’s Primary School family, Year Six discussed the parish family and Year Seven concentrated on the world family. A display board of the children’s work was created to highlight and celebrate that we belong to many different families of faith and that we all play a special and important part in these.

Hannah McGinn (student teacher BEd4 Primary Geography)
St Mary’s Primary School, Killyclogher

As part of the theme of “Called to be a Family of Families” for Catholic Schools Week, the school organised Grandparent’s Day, whereby grandparents and parents of present pupils of the school were invited for a coffee morning. The traditional group, which I was a part of, entertained the many families that came to the school on Wednesday, 31 January. In addition, a slideshow of pictures showcasing all the children was displayed for the families to watch. The children were also given the opportunity to spend some time with their grandparents with some choosing to make St Brigid crosses together. Overall, it was an enjoyable way for the school to celebrate “Grandparents: A Special Part of Our Family” as part of Catholic Schools Week, with a community of families joining together.

Seanain Kelly (student teacher BEd4 Primary Geography)
St Teresa’s Primary School Loughmacrory, Co Tyrone

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