Third Year trip to the Mosque

Third year students went on a visit to the Islamic Cultural Centre and Mosque in Clonskeagh.
Mr Ali Selim showed them photographs of three holy Muslim shrines – the Ka’aba, the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina and Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
He then took our students into the Mosque itself where he explained about the religious beliefs and practices of Islam. His talk included an explanation of the Five Pillars of Islam, a history of the prophets and an explanation of the importance of prayer and pilgrimage in the lives of Muslim people. Mr Selim explained the significance of various items in the mosque, such as the set of clocks and the mihrab in the kiblah wall.
He took our students to watch a short video about the contribution of arabic culture to society in the dark ages which still impacts society today.
Mr Selim was very generous with his time and answered any questions that the students had.
This visit will be of great benefit to the students in the writing up of their journal and in their revision for the Junior Certificate examinations.

Megan, Hannah, Aoife, Kieva and Lydia

Megan, Hannah, Aoife, Kieva and Lydia

The whole group outside the mosque

The whole group outside the mosque

Adam, Conor, Steven, Jens, Tom and Christy

Michael, Adam, Conor, Steven, Jens, Tom and Christy

Karl, Rodrigo, Hannah and Fiachra

Karl, Rodrigo, Hannah and Fiachra

Ash Wednesday

Ash WedAsh Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.


Why we receive the ashes

Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.


The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

Third Years at Islamic Cultural Centre

On Thursday 15th November, 3A1 and 3A2 visited the mosque in Clonskeagh. It was most informative and very enjoyable to learn about Islamic culture, beliefs, traditions.

Mr Selim was our guide and before we went into the mosque, he showed us some pictures in the hallway. Using the pictures, he spoke to us about the three Islamic holy shrines in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Before he brought us into the mosque, we removed our shoes and Mr Selim asked us to stand in silence for ten seconds and think about the room we were about to enter. We sat in an orderly way on the floor of the mosque. Mr Selim explained the different features of the mosque including the way in which Muslims pray, the times of prayer, the five pillars and the Qu’ran.

After that we went to a conference room where Mr Selim showed us a video on the contribution made by Islamic scientists and inventors over the centuries. Then there was a question and answer session where students asked anything else they needed to know about Islam.

As well as being educational and enjoyable, the students were models of good behaviour. Well done to them all.

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.

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.

The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation (Section F)

Hello again,

I hope you have had a chance to complete the exam essay from 2007 Section 5 Question 6. After you have done your work, take a look at this sample answer. You can easily see that the essay question is not as difficult as ome might think.

2007 Section 5 Q 6

Outline the work being done by one community of faith to promote justice. In your answer you should describe the religious moral vision on which this work is based.

One community of faith that works to promote justice is the Christian Community. The struggle for justice and peace is one of the most important ideals of any Christian moral vision. In Ireland, leaders have spoken publicly about the struggle for justice and peace. They have condemned the unmerciful killings of innocent people.

As a result of the struggle, a Christian organisation is putting justice and peace to the forefront. That organisation is the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Its motto is: “If we wage peace with the intensity with which we waged war, there would be no wars.’

The Glencree Centre was founded in 1974 in reaction to the violent conflict in Irish society. People wanted to believe that there was a better way than violence and vandalism, intolerance and sectarianism. Concern for what was happening in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s was not enough. Reconciliation was the key. The achievement of a peaceful society is of interest and value to us all.

The Centre for Peace and Reconciliation welcomes all traditions in Ireland that have the same hopes for peace-building. It is a non-governmental organisation. Its people see peace-building as a way to understand the nature and meaning of conflicts. The Centre’s programmes are based on the belief that new ways can be found to deal with diversity and conflict in a democratic society. In Glencree, the job of reconciling very old differences requires enormous effort and courage, as well as time and patience.

Since its foundation, Glencree has been the scene of important events and projects. These have been in the fields of education, fundraising, recreation, work camps and hosting a flow of visitors.

The religious moral vision of Glencree is strongly based on scripture’s message of justice. In the Bible we are asked to follow the teachings of Jesus and to act justly towards our neighbours. Jesus’ teaching on justice is rooted in the writings of the prophets Amos, Job and Jeremiah. The prophets continually speak of the love that God shows to all especially the downtrodden and poor. During his ministry, Jesus clearly identified with the poor, the sick, women and the downtrodden. At all times he preached: “You must love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. You must love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mk 12:30). There can never be real love of God without loving others. This is the religious moral vision that acts as the basis for the work of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Section F)


I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. One piece of homework you had to do was 2010 Section 4 Q 6  based on the Morality Section of the course. You should have attempted this by now. Here is a model answer to let you know the standard of writing and kind of answer expected. Compare this answer with the one you did yourselves.

2010 Section 4 Q 6

A. Outline the understanding of forgiveness found in the teaching of a major world religion that you have studied. (18)

In Christianity, forgiveness is at the heart of all relationships. The Bible shows us that the God we know and love is a forgiving God. The greatest example of forgiveness is when Jesus was nailed to the cross on the hill of Calvary with criminals on either side. In St Luke’s Gospel we are told that, nearing his death, Jesus called out to his Father: ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing’.

We also learn from the parable of the Prodigal Son that forgiveness from God is unconditional. The father always remained faithful to his son, even though the son left and showed no respect for his father. On his return, with nothing left, the prodigal son was welcomed with open arms and his father held a fest in his honour.  God forgives all the wrong things we do and embraces each of us back into his family.

B. a. Explain two reasons why reconciliation is seen as important by members of a world religion. (16)

(i) Reconciliation is important in Christianity because it is about bringing the Christian community closer together and closer to God. Reconciliation heals any hurt that people feel and in doing so makes it easier for people to love again without any barriers. The priest represents the community of believers and offers forgiveness on behalf of the community.

(ii) Reconciliation is also important because it is an opportunity to meet the risen Christ. Through this forgiveness we are encouraged to move forward in harmony with ourselves and our neighbours. By doing this, God’s love can be seen in the world around us. The sacrament can therefore be seen as a healing of the relationships that one has broken.

B. b. Describe one way in which a world religion offers its members an opportunity for reconciliation. (16)

One way Christianity offers reconciliation by confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness from God and others. This sacrament can take place individually in a confession box where the priest hears confession privately. The confessor first acknowledges their sinfulness and then recites the Act of Contrition. In this the person thanks God for all his love and promises not to sin again. Then the priest gives absolution showing that the person is cleansed from sins. Finally, the priest gives a penance which usually involves a few prayers being said.