Education in Faith Sunday has been celebrated during the month of February since 2003. However, this year because Lent is early, it is being celebrated on Sunday 27th January and the chosen theme is “Living Faith Fully”. This year Seán Cardinal Brady has requested that Catholic Education Week flow from Education in Faith Sunday. Catholic Education Week has been celebrated in the North of Ireland since 2007. In this way there will be the opportunity for a national focus and celebration of Catholic education. The theme “Living Faith Fully” is common to both celebrations.
The National Catechetical Office and the Consultative Group for Catholic Education (CGCE) will be working in partnership on this venture. A joint poster has been produced and distributed throughout Ireland by the National Office for use in parishes and in schools. The CGCE has produced resource materials for schools that are available online from their website at www.catholiceducation-ni.com, while the National Catechetical Office has produced liturgical resource materials available at www.catholicbishops.ie. Both organisations have signposted the other’s website for the sharing
A Joint Vision
Both Education in Faith Sunday and Catholic Education Week challenge us to recognise that as members of the church we are all teachers under the guidance of the Spirit and share in the responsibility of furthering the Reign of God. The Gospel for Education in Faith Sunday opens with an account of Jesus preaching out in the open. Up to this moment Jesus has remained practically silent. From now on it is time for him to speak, to proclaim that the Reign of God is at hand, at this crossroads of the nations, Galilee. Catholic Education Week finishes on Sunday 3rd February – designated as a day of prayer for Temperance. It is timely on the Sunday before the beginning of Lent to remind ourselves of:
“what a great legacy and gift it would be for our children in this new emerging country of ours if we would be the generation brave enough to promote and work for an attitude and culture of moderation rather than excess in our use of alcohol”.
– Pastoral Letter from the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Alcohol: The Challenge of Moderation (2007).
The Rublev Icon
In the fifteenth century, hordes from Mongolia invaded Russia and were terrorising and massacring the people. At that time there was a holy monk in Russia called Andrei Rublev. The superior of the monastery asked Rublev to paint an icon that would help the people pray to the Trinity in their sufferings and afflictions. In 1410 Rublev painted the famous icon for the monastery of St Sergius near Moscow. Before Rublev started to paint he spent a long time praying, meditating and reading the Bible. He tried to express the mystery of the Trinity without using words – instead he used figures, colours and symbols.
Rublev’s Icon is reproduced on the poster for Education in Faith Sunday/Catholic Education Week in order to remind us that the loving invitation of the Trinity is at the heart of Catholic education. The empty place at the table in the icon reminds us that each one of us is invited to share in the life of the Trinity. Various resources working with the icon are available online from the websites mentioned above.