Catholic Schools Week begins today with conferences in Dublin and Belfast

26 Jan 2009

26 January 2009

All Ireland celebration of Catholic schools to focus on theme: ‘A Vision for Life’

Catholic Schools Week 2009 takes place today Monday 26 January until Sunday 1 February.  For the first time the work and contribution of Catholic schools will be celebrated at an All Ireland level with the theme: ‘Catholic Schools – A Vision for Life’.Catholic Schools Week opens with seminars in Dublin and Belfast on education and the role of Catholic Schools (see agenda below).  Key speakers include Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor.

According to Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Education, “Catholic schools provide young people with the moral, intellectual, and spiritual foundation to contribute to the common good.   This special week is also a celebration of  the indispensable role of teachers in the life of the school and parish through their committed service to the education of the young.  Vatican II’s declaration on Christian education says of teachers ‘…. that the Catholic school depends upon them almost entirely for the accomplishment of its goals and programs.’

“Parishes are asked to pray for the future of Catholic schools in a changing context which challenges the mission of the school while it provides exciting new challenges.

“The main events of Catholic Schools week will take place in parishes and schools. Resources prepared for the week, available on, encourage all members of the school community to reflect on two key questions: ‘What makes a school Catholic?’ and ‘What does it mean to be a Catholic school?’  Some of the resources are intended for use also by Boards of Management/Governors and in the home.  Thus, all the partners in Catholic schools are invited to reflect on these questions and find the response that gives meaning to their various roles.

Bishop O’Reilly concluded, “This week long celebration culminates with RTÉ 1 television broadcasting a Mass from St Mary’s Parish, Lucan, Dublin at 11.00 am on Sunday 1 February.  A special liturgy has been prepared reflecting the week’s theme and primary and secondary students from the parish will also attend.  All are welcome.”


Notes for Editors

Catholic Schools Week is organised by the Strategic Task Group on Education, set up by the Irish Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Religious in Ireland (CORI).The Pastoral Letter of the Irish Bishops’ Conference Vision 08 – A Vision for Catholic Education, published on 12 May 2008, provides the central focus for the celebrations during this week.

In previous years Catholic schools across Northern Ireland celebrated the distinctive richness and diversity of Catholic Education by taking part in a series of suggested events and activities over a period of a week.

Resources have been circulated to schools and dioceses to help implement the key themes of this important document in the everyday life of our Catholic schools and are available on

The objectives of Catholic Schools Week are:

  • To encourage all associated with Catholic schools to reflect on what it means to be a Catholic school.
  • To mark the important contribution that Catholic education offers to our nation.
  • To highlight the Catholic school’s mission of combining faith and reason in its pedagogical project and its constant pursuit of the truth.
  • To reiterate that Catholic education will continue to play a vital role in preparing students for lives of compassionate leadership and service
  • To affirm the commitment of Catholic schools to continue to provide young people with the moral, intellectual, and spiritual foundation that propels them to seek the truth and bring hope to those who suffer.


Speaker presentations available here in pdf format:
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer (087 233 7797)