Visit to a Mosque

As part of the Junior Cert syllabus, a section on Major World Religions is studied. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to visit a building of religious significance for one world religion. Because of the success and value of last year’s trip to the Islamic Cultural Centre, the third years are off again to visit the mosque in Clonskeagh.

Some third years have chosen a journal title that requires them to analyse a building that has religious significance for members of a world religion. An ideal source of information for such a project would be this upcoming visit to the mosque – so let’s hope everyone has pen and paper to the ready.

Mr Selim will host the tour again, and he welcomes any questions from the students. 3A1 and 3A2 will be taking this trip on the 15th of November, so there is plenty of time to prepare.

Research and Presentation Tips

Third years

Here are some tips to help you do some great research for your chosen titles:

1. Make sure that you find information from a variety of sourcesaim for four at least. After every idea or piece of information that you choose to use, WRITE DOWN THE PRECISE SOURCE. Here are some possible sources of information:

  • Books – school, home, library
  • The internet – two reliable websites (or more); avoid Wikipedia
  • TV / Video documentaries – keep your eyes peeled for something relevant
  • Newspapers – ask your parents to scout for articles related to your topic
  • Visit a place – a religious building, office etc related to your topic
  • Attend a ceremony, if it is relevant
  • Interview a person that may have experience of or an insight into your topic
  • Conduct a survey
  • And more….

2. Make sure that you present your material in a variety of ways. You may use a scrapbook, folder, scrapbook in which to present your work. You may hand-write or print out your work. Make sure that you have clear and colourful headings. Here are some ways to present your work:

  • Written in paragraphs
  • Bullet points
  • Time lines
  • Maps
  • Bar charts / pie charts
  • Photographs
  • Pictures
  • Graphs
  • Tables
  • Sub-headings
  • And many more


Junior Cert Project 2013

Hello third years

At this stage your research for your projects should be well underway. Just so that everyone is on the right track, here’s a reminder of the titles for the journal.

Journal Titles 2013:

Section A. Communities of Faith

a. 1. A profile of what inspires the work of one religious organisation today at either a local or national level.


a. 2.♦ Buddhism ♦ Christianity ♦ Hinduism ♦ Islam ♦ Judaism

A case study on the role a leader played in the founding story of one of the above major world religions.

Section B. Foundations of Religion: Christianity

b. 1. Miracle  Parable  Witness

Research how two of the above were used by Jesus to teach people about the Kingdom of God.


b. 2. An examination of Jesus’ celebration of the Last Supper as both a Passover meal and Eucharist.

Section C. Foundations of Religion: Major World Religions

c. 1. A profile of the life story of either the founder or an early follower associated with one of the following major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism.


c. 2. An analysis of the importance of a calendar festival for the members of one of the following major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or Judaism.

Section D. The Question of Faith

d. 1. A survey of the religious beliefs of adolescents in my locality.


d. 2. An examination of the way religious belief can find expression in a type of prayer.

Section E. The Celebration of Faith

e. 1. An exploration of the way in which one building in Ireland today has religious significance for the members of a community of faith.


e. 2. An investigation into the importance of sacrament for the members of two Christian denominations.

Section F. The Moral Challenge

f. 1.A profile of two factors involved in a person’s growth to moral maturity.


f. 2.An investigation into the role of either authority or tradition as a source of morality in the life of an adolescent.

Changes in Religious Practice and Belief

Great bar chart by Jack Harvey in 2A1, showing the changes in Mass Attendance and Religious Belief over 20-30 years.

Looking at the bigger picture, Catholics acknowledge that Mass attendance is down, but:

  • Ireland still has one of the highest rates of attendance in Europe
  • Religion is still considered very important
  • More than 70% of Irish people pray regularly
  • The Irish have not forgotten God


In tragic times such as 9/11, the death of Pope John Paul II, the earthquake in Japan 2011, people gathered together in their thousands to pray.

Also, World Youth Day is very popular. Huge numbers attended along with the Pope in Australia 2008 and Madrid 2011.

6th Year Retreat 2012

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you”. St Augustine of Hippo

We live in a world when being busy has become a pervasive theme in our lives. There is often very little time to relax, reflect and refresh ourselves. Sometimes we are caught up in the daily routine and go about business under the pressure of assignments, meetings, deadlines, exams and the general demands of daily life. Oftentimes the heaviest casualties of our tight schedules are ourselves and our relationships. Because our busy lives can put us under stress, which can be physically and emotionally exhausting, we can fall into the trap of rewarding ourselves with material goods and pleasures. As a result, we can end up ignoring the fact that the best things in life are free and the most satisfying rewards can sometimes be in the form of time alone or spent with another.

In the words of Bono, it might be true to say that ‘we still haven’t found what we are looking for. Hectic schedules, material comforts, multi-media devices and various forms of addictions are all distracting us from the inner peace and contentment that we are looking for. That is why I turn to the words of St Augustine. We will only find peace when we put our trust in God.

One step on the way to trusting God is to take time out. The 6th years have this opportunity coming soon. On November 19th they will hop on a bus and drive away from the stress and pressure of their final year at school. They will have a whole day to leave their troubles behind them and reflect on some of the deeper issues in life. Part of the day will be fun activities, small group discussions and some meditation.

This day for the sixth years would normally cost each student, but thanks to the generosity of the Franciscan Community, the students will not be charged anything. This a very kind gift and we are most grateful to the Friars.


Camino Pilgrimage has the Green Light

Great news for the fifth year adventure-seekers – the Camino trip has got the go-ahead from the Board of Management. Excellent! Ten brave students have signed up for this challenging journey. We’ll be heading off at the end of March so there’s plenty of time to get all the right gear and to do lots of physical training for the 157km that we will walk in 6 days.

There’s one song that seems to sum up some of the values and ideals of the Camino – being pilgrims together on the journey (both of the Camino and of life) and being servants to one another along the way. Have a listen to it:

5th Year Class Dojo

What a super bunch of 5th years I have – it’s a small group but they are all working well on our topic of ‘morality’. Adam, Auguste, Cormac, Darragh, Dylan, Leigh, Jamie, Joe, Kate, Niamh, Sean, Shane and Simon are proving to be exceptional in terms of hardwork, participation, manners and more – just look at their amazing report after one full week of school:
5th Year Religion First Week

Super job, 5th years!! Now let’s hope it stays at 100%!

Introducing Class Dojo

Thanks to the inspiration of Miss Cullen’s blog in St Oliver’s in Drogheda, we here at Franciscan College Gormanston are going to give Class Dojo a go. At the moment, 2A1, 3A2 and one 5th year Religion class are involved.

Class Dojo is a great tool for tracking student progress in terms of participation, homework and behaviour. At the end of each day, students are awarded positive or negative points and these points are combined to give the class an overall positive or negative rating. Each student can track his or her own individual points at home (and no-one else’s) and also see how the whole class is faring. It is also possible to email a report card to the students’ parents at regular intervals.

At the end of each month, I will post the overall chart for each class on this blog. Since we are just starting this new initiative, I am going to post the chart for each class at the end of this first full week back at school. (After that, I will post the overall report monthly.) Class Dojo will hopefully be a fun way to keep students motivated and involved in their own progress. Let’s hope it works as well here as it seems to be in St Oliver’s.