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.

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.

Section B – Faith in Christ – Revision

2nd and 3rd years, this is an important aspect of Section B: The Foundations of Religion – Christianity: FAITH IN CHRIST.

Make sure you know all the details from chapter 9 on these concepts in your book:

The Ascension: For forty days after the resurrection Jesus continued to appear to the followers and told them to wait in Jerusalem for a gift from his father. He was then taken up to Heaven (ascended), body and soul.

Pentecost: All the believers were gathered together in a room. A noise like a loud wind blowing came and tongues of fire appeared above each person. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. This gave them the courage to go out and preach the word of God and baptise others in the name of Jesus.

Missionary work: Continuing Jesus’ work on earth.

The first Christian communities: Peter was the first apostle to preach to large crowds. Many people were baptised and the first Christian communities were formed. They were a close group. They spent their time together sharing ideas about God and praying. They tried to live as Jesus had. They shared all their possessions and all treated each other fairly. Most importantly they remembered Jesus’ words and actions at the Last Supper. This meal of thanksgiving became known as the Eucharist.

Martydom: A martyr is someone who is willing to suffer and even die for their religious beliefs. One such person was a disciple called Stephen. The disciples who preached were soon in trouble with the authorities who had been in conflict with Jesus. They did not want the disciples carrying on his work. Stephen was brought before the elders but the Holy Spirit gave him the strength to carry on. He was stoned to death – Stephen had been willing to die for his faith.

St Paul: A man named Saul was among those persecuting the first Christians. One day he was on his way to a city called Damascus to look for followers of Jesus. Suddenly a light from the sky blinded him and he heard the voice of Jesus. For three days he remained blind. A man named Ananias came and told him he must do God’s work. Saul got his sight back, was baptised and became known as Paul. Paul travelled to lots of different Christian communities, helping them to become united and strong.


Jesus is known by many different names and titles. This helps people to understand the different sides to his personality.

Son of Man: This title appears in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus himself used it. It means that Jesus came in human form to serve man. An old Testament prophet Daniel had used this title when referring to the Messiah.

Son of God: The early Church used this title to show that they believed Jesus had a special relationship with God. It shows that Jesus was divine as well as human.

New Creation: Jesus, who was totally different to any other human, was an amazing and unique being that God had given to his people. St Paul used this title when talking about Jesus.

Christ/Messiah: The anointed one. It shows that people believed that Jesus was the one they had been waiting for. Anointed people had a special authority from God. This title meant that Jesus was the Messiah who had come to save the people.

Term 1 Exam (2nd Year)

Second years, it is time to start preparing for the Term 1 Exams. They are just around the corner now and will be held during the week of November 21st.

The Religion exam will be one hour long. The topics that you need to cover for the test are:

Chapter 6 – Evidence about Jesus

Chapter 7 – The Person and Preaching of Jesus

Chapter 8 – The Death and Resurrection of Jesus (up to the Last Supper – p.75)

Please study notes in copy as well as book. Learn all definitions too.Good luck with your revision!

A note for 2A2 – You did Chapter 6 in first year, so we will take a lesson or two to revise this topic before the test.