6th Year Retreat Nov 2013

heldyouinthepalmTo retreat means to take a step back. With sincere thanks to Fr Ulic, our College Rector, the 6th Years will have a chance to do just that. The Emmaus Retreat Centre, in Swords offers a programme of reflection and faith development in an environment of peace and serenity, away from the hectic pace of life. In the centre’s own words:

The sound of birdsong and the profusion of wildlife all add to the beauty and tranquility of the place. Here God and nature dwell in harmony.

In the gospel story of the journey to Emmaus, it was while in conversation on the road that the disciples had their ears and hearts opened to Gods Word. It was in the sharing of the bread that the disciples recognised Jesus. Our hope is that those who come to Emmaus will experience the presence of Jesus in their lives as they ‘break bread’ together and break open the word of God.

Let us remember the words of Isaiah, the prophet, as the students embark on a journey of discovery while searching for answers in a world full of temptations and misdirections: “I will not forget you… I have held you in the palm of my hand.” Whatever our path in life, whatever our choices, it is good to remember that we are always safe in the palm of God’s hand.

The 6th Year retreat takes place on Monday 11th November. We will start with Mass at 8.30 am celebrated by Fr Ulic in the college chapel and then proceed to Emmaus to start at 9.45 am. Many thanks to the generosity of Fr Ulic and the Franciscan Community at Gormanston.

Changing Times with Pope Francis

Pope Francis is a new kind of pope. He is causing a stir because he is moving away from many of the conventional trappings that have long been associated with the papacy. From the outset he has made some changes that represent his new approach to his role of leadership. Take a look at these images showing the changes to the papal throne and papal clothing:

A simpler throne

A simpler throneSimpler ClothingSimpler clothing

These changes indicate Pope Francis’s desire to move away from ostentatious and superficial trimmings.

The pope is also gaining a wonderful reputation as a ‘man of the people’. This is clear by his involvement with young and old, his willingness to be of service and most notably the millions that he inspired at the Papal Mass in Rio last July during World Youth Week. These images are representative of the great humanity of Pope Francis:

A selfie with the Pope

A selfie with the Pope

Washing Feet - True Service

Washing feet – true service

Three Million Attend mass

Three million attend mass

In a recent controversial statement, Pope Francis claimed that he could not judge gay people. This was widely welcomed by many Irish and international groups. And finally, Pope Francis has recently gained attention by changing the traditional ‘pope-mobile’. He is taking on a 30-year old vehicle similar to one he drove in Argentina and says he will drive it himself. Let’s see the old and the new (which is in fact older than the old)!

Old Popemobile

Old popemobile

'New' Popemobile (1984 Renault)

‘New’ popemobile (1984 Renault)

Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with Pope Francis as he guides his followers through the changing times of the 21st century. You can follow some of the inspiring words of Pope Francis on twitter: @Pontifex


The Holocaust (Learning about and from it)

Senior Religion this year will see students and teachers engaging in a deeply sensitive and eye-opening topic – The Holocaust. Some of our approaches will involve looking at historical facts and personal stories. An understanding of the roles played by all people associated with the Holocaust – perpetrators, victims, rescuers and bystanders will also be a big feature of our studies. We will question how such an atrocity could ever have happened, and how it is possible to go from bias (non-criminal) to the annihilation of an ethnic group – genocide.

The Pyramid of Hate

The Pyramid of Hate

As the course continues students will read stories based on fact, research the events and look at a film portraying a viewpoint of the Holocaust. One of the key aims is to examine our own behaviour as non-criminal people, but still to identify our role in preventing any level of individual prejudice and combatting systematic discrimination. Here is the reading list that will be furnished to students:

Reading List:

‘If This is Man’ and ‘The Truce’ by Primo Levi

‘The Reader’ by Bernard Schlink

Neighbours’ by Jan T Gross

‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank

‘Fateless’ by Imre Kertesz

‘Beyond These Walls: Escaping the Warsaw Ghetto’ by Janina Bauman

‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak

‘Nine Suitcases’ by Bela Zsolt

‘Hanna’s Suitcase’ by Karen Levine

‘Faraway Home’ by Marilyn Taylor

‘Sophie Scholl and the White Rose’ by Annette Dumbac and Jud Newborn


Schindler’s List

Life is Beautiful

The Pianist


The Counterfeiters













From an academic point of view, this aspect of the Senior Religion course will be advantageous due to its cross-curricular nature. Current history, English and future psychology, philosophy students will derive countless benefits from this in-depth study. These lessons will encompass some of the characteristics at the core of human nature – survival, fear, aggression, struggle, protection, indifference, compassion, hope, love to name but a few.

By way of introduction, we will look at an artefact found at Auschwitz-Birkenau – a shoe – in order to gain an understanding of the person (a child) behind that artefact. Have a look at this profound examination of such a shoe:

Fundraising from the Camino – the Gary Kelly Centre

What a delight it was to meet Ann Tracey from the Gary Kelly Centre in Drogheda on Wednesday. As Director of Fundraising she came to Gormanston to officially receive the cheque for 1,350Euro gathered by the students who walked the Camino last March. Nine students walked and five of them – Sean Brennan, Kate Brennan, Jake Malone, Robert Tully and Sean Hayes raised money for the centre. What a whopping sum between them. The walk itself was a major challenge, so the additional effort of asking friends, family, neighbours, teachers and more is highly commendable.

A Fantastic Donation

A Fantastic Donation