Section D – The Question of Faith – Past Exam Questions

Hello again third years,

I hope you have had a chance to look at The Question of Faith, Chapters 14 – 18 and the blue notes I posted.

Here are some past exam questions from 2011 back to 2008 from section 4 (paragraph answers 50 marks) and section 5 (essay answer 70 marks). Have a look at the questions and see if you can notice any similarities between them – what kinds of things are the examiners looking for? If you have a chance try to answer parts of a question or a complete question (or two). The most important thing is to look at the questions and see if you know where in Section D (and beyond) and in the blue notes you can find helpful points for the answers.

Here are the questions – good luck looking at them (and trying a few if you have time). I will post one or two sample answers by 1pm on Tuesday 3rd April.

Section D – The Question of Faith – Past Exam Questions


Section 4 Question 4 (Only part of this question relates to section D)

4A a In religious traditions the term ‘polytheism’ refers to ….                             (5)


4A b Outline one example of how polytheism can be seen in a world religion you have studied.                                                                                                                      (15)                                                            


4B a                i. ATHEISM ii. AGNOSTICISM

Describe what is meant by each of the terms listed above.                                    (10)


4B b    Explain how the religious belief of a person could be challenged by either atheism or agnosticism.                                                                                                     (20)


Section 5 Question 4

You are taking part in a school debate about the challenges to religious faith in Ireland today. Outline what you would say about the way in which each of the following could challenge a person’s religious faith:




Section 4 Question 4

4A Some of the experiences that can give a person a sense of awe and wonder – the beauty of nature, the birth of a child, the power of nature

Outline how an experience of life could make a person wonder and ask questions about the meaning of life.                                                                                                              (16)


4B a Explain two reasons why reflection is important when a person is searching for the meaning of life.                                                                                                    (16)


4B b In searching for answers to questions about the meaning of life people sometimes turn to – ˜ FAMILY ˜ FRIENDS ˜ MUSIC ˜ WORK

Choose two of the above and explain how each can help people to find answers in their search for the meaning of life.                                                                              (18)


Section 5 Question 4


 Outline the main characteristics of each of the above stages of faith development using the following headings:

i. Relationship with God/the Divine                                                   (35)



Outline the main characteristics of the above stages of faith development using the following headings:

ii. Main Influences on Faith                                                                (35)


Section 4 Question 4

4A                   Family                                    Friends                       Media                         School

Choose three of the above and explain how each can influence the religious beliefs of a teenager.                                                                                                                  (15)


4B a In religious traditions the term ‘monotheism’ means            ….                   (5)


4B b Outline one example of how monotheism can be seen in a world religion you have studied.                                                                                                                    (12)


4C Describe one way in which humanism could challenge a person’s religious belief.



Section 5 Question 4

Explain how the religious belief of a person could be challenged by each of the following:

                        i Agnosticism                          ii Atheism

                                                                                                                                    (35 x 2)


Section 4 Question 4

4A       Buddhism       Christianity                Hinduism                    Judaism          Islam

Imagine you are doing a project on the creation of the world. Choose one of the above world religions and outline two points it teaches about the creation of the world.

                                                                                                                                    (8 x 2)


4B Outline two points that science teaches about the creation of the world.       (8x 2)


4C Describe one similarity between what a religion says and what science says about the creation of the world.                                                                                                (18)


Section 5 Question 4

Imagine you are preparing a talk about religious belief in Ireland today. Outline what you would say about each of the following points:

                        i Changing patterns in religious belief in Ireland today

                        ii Changes to religious belief in Ireland today


 (PS Apologies if the formatting is not up to scratch.)


Junior Cert Revision – Section D

Hello third years,

The following revision guide is aimed at Higher Level students, but Ordinary Level will also benefit. The guide is colour coded. Black represents general explanatory notes. Blue represents detailed notes on different aspects of a section. Plum represents questions from past papers. Finally, green represents sample answers to past exam questions.

We’re starting with Section D – The Question of Faith. Read the brief summary of each chapter, then study the chapter. Study the blue notes connected with the higher level section.

The Question of Faith deals with:

Chapter 14: The Situation of Faith Today – the difference between religious belief and religious practice – the political and historical events in the 20th century that have had an impact on religious belief and practice: The Holocaust, fall of communism, Second Vatican Council – changes in practice in Ireland eg mass attendance and vocations – the bigger picture ie World Youth Day and national/global prayers in times of need – influences on the faith of an adolescent.

Chapter 15: The Beginnings of Faith – asking questions – simple vs ‘big’ questions (What time is it? vs Why do people suffer? What happens when we die? – a sign of maturity – the search for meaning – sources of meaning eg family, friends, sport, friendship with God, being popular, money, helping others, work etc – religion: awe and wonder – non-religious repsonse: humanism.

Chapter 16: The Growth of Faith – images of God – images of God from scripture eg forgiving and compassionate, a caring comforting mother, a protecting shepherd, a rock – personal faith: childhood, adolescent and mature faith

Chapter 17: The Expression of Faith – prayer – prayer and music: Liam Lawton/Mary J.Blige – Worship – People of Religious Faith: Mother Teresa, Frances Margaret Taylor, Edmund Rice – monotheism and polytheism.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a Roman Catholic nun and founder of the Missionaries of Charity order. She was born on 27th August 1910 in Skopje (in what is now Macedonia) and she died on September 5th 1997. She dedicated her life to helping the poor people who lived in the slums of Calcutta.

When she was 18, she joined the Loreto Sisters and spent some time in Dublin. She then moved to Calcutta and from 1929 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta. But the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1946 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poor in the slums of the city. Although she had no funds, she started an open-air school for homeless children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was received from various church organisations. She then gained the cooperation of the municipal authorities. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work, and on October 7th 1950 she received permission to start her own order ‘The Missionaries of Charity’, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. The habit she chose for her order was a white sari with a blue border – similar to traditional Indian dress.

Her inspiring vision gave others the encouragement to follow in her footsteps. Today over 5000 sisters, brothers and volunteers run approximately 500 centres worldwide and continue her ministry, each of them in different roles.

In recognition of her efforts, Mother Teresa was bestowed many awards, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Mother Teresa accepted all awards on behalf of the poor, using any money that accompanied them to fund her centres.

On 19th October 2003 she took the first step towards sainthood and was beatified by Pope John Paul II. This means that she is now referred to as Blessed. In order for this to happen, a miracle had to take place in her name. Monica Besra, a woman from West Bengal provided such a miracle. She had a tumour in her abdomen and prayed regularly to Mother Teresa. The tumour vanished and the Vatican declared it to be a true miracle. Monica Besra attended the beatification ceremony.

In order for Mother Teresa to become a saint, one more miracle must occur in her name.

However, to the people of Calcutta, Mother Teresa is already a saint. She dedicated her life to living the gospel message of ‘love thy neighbour’. She gave dignity and showed respect to those who others would ignore. She showed commitment in her service of the weakest and most vulnerable of society. People of all religions appreciate the work she did while she was alive and even though most people in India follow the Hindu religion, Indians still visit Mother Teresa’s grave and support the work of her order.

Chapter 18: Challenges to Faith – Higher Level Only: World View – Theism – Atheism – Agnosticism – Secularism – Materialism

World Views

 Religious World Views

Theism is belief in God. Christians, Jews and Muslims are monotheists. They believe in one God who created the world and who guides and sustains the world out of love.

  •  Christians believe God revealed himself through Jesus Christ the Son of God.


  • Jews believe God revealed himself through Abraham and Moses.


  • Muslims believe God revealed himself through the messages given to the prophet Muhammad.


  • Polytheism is belief in many gods. Hindus believe in many gods, and in their gods’ benign influence on the earth.


  • Buddhists do not believe in God or gods, but they do believe in something that is ‘timeless and formless’.


The Christian World View


Christians believe in God and see the world from a religious point of view. Christians believe:


  • God is the creator of the world.


  • Human beings are created in the image of God.


  • God speaks through the Bible.


  • Jesus the Son of God entered human history as saviour of the world.


  • Jesus taught his followers ‘to love and respect God and their neighbour’ as the guiding principle in life.


  • The Holy Spirit helps people to follow the teaching of Jesus.


  • God is near and cares for each person.

Non-religious World Views

While some ways of understanding the world are based on religious belief, other ways of understanding the world are unrelated to religion. A growing number of people in our society make sense of the world from a non-religious viewpoint.

To the question ‘Does God exist?’ there are different responses.


Atheism is a view that denies the existence of God. Atheists do not believe that God or gods exist. From an atheist’s point of view there is no God. God is not real.


Agnosticism is the view that human beings cannot know for certain whether or not God exists. There is simply not enough evidence to prove it one way or the other. Agnostics claim that no one can say for definite that there is a God or that there is no God.


Materialism is the view that only material things are real. Something is real if it can be physically seen, touched, weighed and measured. The physical world is the only reality, nothing else exists. God does not exist.

Materialism also has another related meaning. A materialistic way of life is about having lots of money, lots of possessions and enjoying oneself as much as possible. Accumulating material things becomes important when it is accepted that only material things matter in life.


Secularism is the view that organised religion should have no direct influence on society. Secularists are opposed to the influence of religion in public life. Secularism claims that God and religion are simply not relevant any more.

From a secularist point of view, if someone has religious beliefs then it should be a private matter. Religious activity should not enter the public domain. Religion should not in any way be supported by the State. In fact, Church and State should be completely separate. This means that religions or religious groups should not receive any kind of special treatment from the State.

Challenges to Religious Experience

The Example of Materialism

Materialists claim that the only real things are material things. Something is real if we can see it, touch it, hear it, taste it or smell it. If something can be examined by the senses then it is real. If it cannot, then it is not real and does not exist.

Everything around us, in a classroom, for example, is real in the materialist sense. The chair, the desk, the book, the wall, the window, can all be examined by the senses. The people around us are material too. We can see and hear ourselves and others: we are real.

However, there are things about us that we cannot see, touch or hear. We cannot see, hear or touch our ideas, our beliefs or our feelings, yet most people would agree that they are real and are a very important part of our lives. Humans therefore are not simply material beings, we are both material and spiritual beings.

God, on the other hand, is quite different. We cannot see, hear or touch God. God is not material; God is totally spiritual. Human beings communicate with God through the spiritual aspect of their own nature. Religion is the way that people connect with the spiritual side of life.

A Challenge to Religious Faith

Materialism poses a challenge to religion and religious experience. It claims that only material things are real. On that basis the spiritual nature of human beings is not real. God is not real. Religion does not matter.

The materialist outlook is very persuasive and has been the basis of scientific thought for over 300 years. Materialists claim that the scientific way of looking at things is the only way. Scientific truth is the only truth. The materialist outlook can undermine people’s confidence in religious truth as a valid form of human knowledge. There are vast areas of human experience that are not suited to testing by the scientific method. From the point of view of religion, the spiritual dimension of life and the search for God is no less real than other aspects of life.



  1. Find out more about secularism.
  2. In the secularist’s desire to separate the sacred and the secular, what is their position on one of the following issues?
  3. What is the position of some Church authorities on the same issue?
  • Religious schools
  • Religious education
  • Religion and Public Broadcasting

Chapter 18: Challenges to Faith – Higher Level Only: Religion and Science – religious view of creation – fundamentalism – scientific views: Galileo, Darwin, Big Bang, Working Together

Science and Religion

World View

Both science and religion help us to know and understand the world.

A world view is a set of ideas about what the world is like. Religion and science have a different outlook and different views on life and the universe.


  • Science is about examining things that can be seen, weighed and measured.
  • Religion is about belief in things that cannot be seen but can be experienced.


Science and religion have been regarded as rival forms of knowledge since the time of the Enlightenment in the 17th century. Up to that time people saw the world in religious terms. God was behind everything and only God could understand it all. From the time of the Enlightenment people began to see the world in scientific terms. Natural laws governed everything and these laws could be understood by human reason alone.

The idea that religion and science are opposed took hold when the Catholic Church banned the work of two scientists whose discoveries affect the way we understand the world.

  • Galileo Galilei in the 17th century
  • Charles Darwin in the 19th century

Scientific World View


Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian astronomer, a scientist who studied the planets and the stars. He built a powerful telescope and discovered mountains and craters on the moon. Then he discovered four moons circling, or orbiting, the planet Jupiter. On the basis of this observation he was soon able to prove, as Copernicus had noted before him, that the Earth orbited the sun.

This was exciting news. Up to that point, everyone believed the Earth was the centre of the universe. Galileo’s information turned that idea upside down. He later wrote a book outlining his discoveries.

Important people in the Catholic Church at the time became worried by these new developments. The Church has always taught that God has a special relationship with humanity. The Bible therefore seemed to say that the Earth was the centre of the universe. Galileo’s new ideas contradicted that view. Church leaders reacted quickly and Galileo was put on trial in Rome. As a result his writings were banned and he was kept under house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Years later the Church apologised and went on to accept Galileo’s findings, but the damage was done. People now had the idea that science and religion were opposed to each other, that somehow there was a major conflict between the world of science and the world of religion.


Charles Darwin (1809-1882), a British scientist, wrote a book entitled ‘On the Origin of Species’. In this book he put forward a theory of evolution. It stated that all life on the planet, including human life, had developed from much simpler forms of live over millions of years. Some life forms were able to adapt to the environment in which they lived, they were flexible and able to change to suit their surroundings.

If a species was able to adapt then it survived, otherwise it died out and became extinct. Darwin called this process ‘natural selection’.

Darwin’s ideas caused a sensation. Up to that point people understood that life according to the Bible was created in six days. Darwin’s new theory stated that life developed slowly, over millions of years. This scientific theory of evolution seemed to contradict the religious view of God as creator. As such, Darwin’s work was seen as a challenge to the wisdom and authority of the Bible and the Church. His writings were quickly condemned.

One of the main concerns at the time was what Darwin’s theory seemed to imply about the place of human beings in the world. The Church had always taught that human beings were created in a special way and were different from all other creatures. In Darwin’s theory all life had evolved from simpler forms. Human beings appeared, therefore, to have no special status, but were on the same level as everything else.

In the clash between religion and science it seemed that faith and reason were once again opposed to each other.

Religious World View

The Book of Genesis in the Bible

Christian views on the origin of the world and life on Earth are contained in the Bible, in the Book of Genesis.

Genesis is not a scientific account of how the world began. The purpose of the creation stories in Genesis is not to give a factual account of the origin of the world, or how animal and plant life came to be. That is the role of science. The creation story in Genesis is a religious account explaining why the world came to be. The world was created out of the goodness and love of God. From the point of view of religion, it does not matter whether the world was created in six days or over millions of years. The important religious truth is that the world is a gift from God. The writers of Genesis were not scientists but religious Jews who used poetic language to convey important religious truths such as:

  • God created the world.
  • God’s world is created by design.
  • God’s world is good.
  • God created human beings as the high point of creation.


Fundamentalism is an outlook among some religious groups that their sacred text is a factual account to be taken literally word for word. Fundamentalists reject scientific discoveries that do not match a literal interpretation of their sacred text.

Christian fundamentalists believe that everything in the Bible is literally true. They believe, for example, that the Genesis account of creation is factual: the world was created in six days and each ‘day’ was a twenty-four hour period. While a minority of Christians take the Bible literally today, most people took the Bible literally at the time of Galileo and Darwin in the 17th and 19th centuries.

Today new advances in Bible research show that the creation accounts in Genesis are not factual accounts of how the world was made. The writers of Genesis were not scientists. They were not trying to answer the question of how the world was made. That is a scientific question. The writers of Genesis had another purpose in mind altogether. Genesis was written to help people understand why the world was made, and that is a religious question.

Science and Religion

Science explains how the world was made. Religion explains why the world was made. Science and religion are two separate disciplines, asking different kinds of questions and providing different types of answers. We cannot judge one by the standard of the other.

Science and religion are two distinct and equally valuable forms of knowledge. One is not better than the other, they are simply different. There is room for both. We now know that the Bible is a religious book, and the creation account in Genesis teaches an important religious truth – that God created the world out of goodness and love.

There has been a big effort in recent years to heal the conflict and misunderstanding that has arisen between science and religion. In 1979 Pope John Paul II admitted the wrong done to Galileo long ago. In his statement the Pope quoted Galileo’s own words. ‘The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven and not how the heavens move.’


Many Church leaders today see little conflict between religion and science. Darwin’s theory of evolution explains how life began; the book of Genesis explains why it began. Most Christians can accept some form of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Religion and science see the world from different points of view. The two forms of knowledge can work together, and need not contradict each other. Both add something valuable to our understanding of the world.

Points of Contact

The main point of contact between science and religion is that both accept that there is order and design in the universe. The world is just too complicated and too beautiful to have happened merely by accident.

Take for example the human eye. The eye is a wonder of creation. A scientist can examine it and explain its internal workings in minute detail. The interdependency of all its parts are a matter of awe and amazement.

A person of religious faith will have the benefit of all this information. He or she can then reflect of the perfection of the human eye and see the hand of God in its creation. The response of the religious person is to marvel and give thanks to God.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-155) was a French Roman Catholic priest and a renowned scientist. He was highly respected for his work in physics, geology, palaeontology (the study of ancient things), and theology (the study of God). Teilhard de Chardin spent a great deal of his life in scientific research. He was part of a team that excavated ancient sites in China, resulting in the discovery of ‘Peking Man’, thought to be nearly 500,000 years old.

Teilhard de Chardin believed scientific work enriched his religious understanding of God as creator. The more he discovered about the world of nature, the more he saw the creative hand of God at work. For him, science and scientific research were ways of getting closer to God. He wrote about his insights in two famous books: ‘The Phenomenon of Man’ and ‘The Hymn of the Universe’.


  1. Science and religion share the belief that the universe is ordered; it is not chaotic. Can you show where order is obvious in the world of nature?
  2. Identify things in the natural world that are wonderful and awe inspiring in their order, design and complexity.

(Many thanks to Mrs Meighan for the notes in blue.)


Reference to exam questions and sample answers will be posted before 11am on Sunday 1st April (and that’s no joke!)

Best wishes everyone – enjoy, be safe and do some work!

Shadowlands – the adult life of CS Lewis

Released in 1993 and directed by Richard Attenborough, Shadowlands features astonishing performances by Anthony
Hopkins and Debra Winger and is the true story of CS Lewis and H. Joy Davidman Gresham. With reasonable (for Hollywood)
accuracy, and unusual (for Hollywood) sensitivity to Christian issues, “Shadowlands” tells of Lewis and Gresham’s love, happiness and suffering. But it majors on Lewis’ lifelong search for the answer to THE QUESTION:

“Does pain, (and therefore – LIFE), make sense?”

The story is simple enough and one gives nothing away by telling the details. Lewis, the celebrated Oxford don, Christian apologist, children’s author, and emotionally detached bachelor, meets Gresham, American divorcee, poetess, mother, and reader. She comes to England as a fan, seeking out the admired author. He is intrigued by the bright and brash American. They become friends and they have a “technical” marriage before a judge to satisfy some immigration difficulties for her. But she becomes ill with cancer and Lewis, realizing his love for her, marries her again, this time in a religious ceremony. They enjoy a couple of years of happiness and then she dies. Before he has to suffer her loss, Lewis frequently lectures and writes about suffering

“Why? [do we suffer?] Isn’t God supposed to be good? … I’m not so sure God wants us to be happy. He wants us to love and be loved. He wants us to grow up. Suffering is his gift …. Suffering is the something that drives us out of the nursery to help others.”  

During Joy’s sickness and during the agonizing months after her death, the academic Lewis, who has studied and analyzed suffering, comes to experience it to the hilt. His Christian faith, always the main engine in his life, is sorely tested. He cries out, he rages, he doubts, he prays and at last he returns to where he started — faith — but now chastened his answers no longer self-assured or glib. His theology was always Biblical and confessional but now it is tested and proved in the hot-box of experience. He says to Joy as she writhes in pain on her death bed, “When it gets close, you find out if you really believe it.”  

Remarkably, unlike the way religiously motivated people are usually treated in the movies, this film watches his agony with respect. And, in the end, when he walks through a golden valley, (the main image in the movie for elusive joy), the movie lets us share his peace. Lewis had been right all along. It took the major tragedy of his life for the truth to become more than an academic exercise for him.

“Shadowlands” is a rare and precious thing: a well- made major motion picture that deals honestly with people whose driving force in life is faith.

Here’s a prezi – as always a work in progress – that looks at some of the issues raised by the film:

Happy St Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day Facts: Snakes, a Slave, and a Saint

On St. Patrick’s Day—Saturday, March 17—millions of people will don green and celebrate the Irish in, and around, them with parades, good cheer, and perhaps a pint of beer.

But few St. Patrick’s Day revelers have a clue about St. Patrick, the man, according to the author of St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography.

“The modern celebration of St. Patrick’s Day really has almost nothing to do with the real man,” said classics professor Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa.

Who Was the Man Behind St. Patrick’s Day?

The real St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish.

He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family with a townhouse, a country villa, and plenty of slaves.

What’s more, Patrick professed no interest in Christianity as a young boy.

At 16, Patrick’s world turned.

He was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep as a slave in the chilly, mountainous countryside of Ireland for seven years.

“It was just horrible for him,” Freeman said. “But he got a religious conversion while he was there and became a very deeply believing Christian.”

Hearing Voices

While in Ireland, a voice came to Patrick in his dreams, telling him to escape. He found passage on a pirate ship back to Britain, where he was reunited with his family.

The voice then told him to go back to Ireland.

“He gets ordained as a priest from a bishop and goes back and spends the rest of his life trying to convert the Irish to Christianity,” Freeman said.

Patrick’s work in Ireland was tough—he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors.

After he died on March 17, 461, Patrick was largely forgotten.

But slowly, stories grew up around Patrick. Centuries later he was honored as the patron saint of Ireland, Freeman noted.

No Snakes in Ireland

The St. Patrick mythology includes the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland.

It’s true no snakes exist on the island today, Freeman said. But they never did.

Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.

But since snakes often represent evil in literature, “when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland and brought in a new age,” Freeman said.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations: Made in America?

Until the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was a minor religious holiday. A priest would acknowledge the feast day, and families would celebrate with a big meal, but that was about it.

“St. Patrick’s Day – the commercial side – was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans,” Freeman said.

Irish charitable organizations originally celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with banquets in places such as Boston, Massachusetts; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.

Eighteenth-century Irish soldiers fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War held the first St. Patrick’s Day parades. Some soldiers, for example, marched through New York City in 1762 to reconnect with their Irish roots.

Other parades followed in the years and decades after, including well-known celebrations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, primarily for flourishing Irish immigrant communities.

“It becomes a way to honor the saint but also to confirm ethnic identity and to create bonds of solidarity,” Freeman said.

Wearing Green Clothes, Dyeing River Green

Sometime in the 19th century, as St. Patrick’s Day parades were flourishing, wearing the color green became a show of commitment to Ireland, Meagher said.

In 1962 the show of solidarity took a spectacular turn in Chicago when the city decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green.

The tradition started when parade organizer Steve Bailey, head of a plumbers’ union, noticed how a dye used to detect river pollution had stained a colleague’s overalls a brilliant green, according to

Why not, Bailey thought, turn the river green on St. Patrick’s Day? So began the tradition.

What does Saint Patrick’s Day mean for Catholic young people?

St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration that holds a lot of spiritual meaning for Catholic teens.  First, the holiday is a traditional day for spiritual renewal.  It is a day that Catholics can use to reflect on their spiritual walk and reflect on their relationship with God.  St. Patrick found that renewal, because he considered himself a pagan before he became a slave and discovered his relationship with God through prayer.

Second, Catholics can use the time to pray for missionaries around the world and consider the calling on their lives to become missionaries either in their schools or in other areas of the world.  St. Patrick was adept at speaking and converting pagans in Ireland, and he faced many trials due to his mission work.  Missionaries today face many of the same trials, and need the prayers of Christians near and far.





Buen Camino!

The symbol of the scallop shell represents the journey pilgrims make in honour of St James the Apostle. His tomb is said to be in the great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in northwest Spain.

There are several routes along which to make this pilgrimage, the most popular being the Camino Frances – or French Way. This route has been made famous by pilgrims and tourists alike and most recently by Martin Sheen in the movie ‘The Way’ as well as Peter and Natasha Murtagh in their book ‘Buen Camino’. It is the most popular route among international travellers possibly for its scenery and relatively manageable terrain.

This journey is taken for many reasons ranging from the spiritual to the bodily. I will undertake this journey in June to pray for the students in my Religion class who will be sitting their Leaving Cert as I am scaling the Pyrénées. Others are welcome to join me on this trip.

Here is a short prezi that gives a brief introduction to the Camino Frances: