Bishop Kelly invites schools in Ireland to celebrate Catholic education with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain

11 Sep 2010

11 September 2010

Bishop Kelly invites schools across Ireland to celebrate Catholic education with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain

Watch ‘The Big Assembly’ event as a live stream on at 9.00am this Friday 17 September to experience discussion on four key topics: faith, community, sport and friendship.

Catholic education will be an important subject during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Britain next week, 16 – 19 September. The Holy Father’s first engagement on English soil will be a celebratory gathering – dubbed ‘The Big Assembly‘ – of nearly 4,000 school children and young people from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.

Schools all across Ireland are invited to share in ‘The Big Assembly‘ celebration by joining online with their counterparts in Britain so as to gather as a school community and watch proceedings streamed live at

Welcoming this live stream initiative and discussion on Catholic education, Bishop Brendan Kelly, Chair of the Irish Bishops’ Council for Education, said “I am very much looking forward to viewing Pope Benedict and the 4,000 students’ online discussion next week.  It will provide a unique opportunity for schools across Ireland to experience a quality debate on the importance and relevance of Catholic education to our lives and to our society.  This discussion will enable us to celebrate the universal values at the core of Catholic education and to highlight the outstanding work by pupils, teachers and parents that takes place in Catholic schools everywhere.”

The theme for ‘The Big Assembly‘, which will be addressed by the Holy Father, is ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full’ (John 10: 10).

Other lead participants include Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Bishop of Nottingham and Chairman of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, and the BBC’s Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere, who will act as Master of Ceremonies and introduce the four key topics for the day: faith, community, sport and friendship.

Prayers and reflections, as well as music from a variety of school choirs, will run throughout proceedings.


Notes to editors:

  • Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland on a four-day Papal visit from 16-19 September 2010.
  • Bishop Brendan Kelly is Bishop of Achonry and Chair of the Council for Education of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
  • More detailed information on ‘The Big Assembly‘ (including technical information) will be uploaded on to the official education blog for the Papal Visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, where all the latest education updates relating to the Papal Visit are posted:

Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 00 353 86 172 7678