Bishop Kevin Doran today published a Pastoral Letter called “A Future Full of Hope”. The focus of the pastoral letter is the shared contribution of parents, teachers, schools and parishes in the education of children including their education in faith. The title of the pastoral letter is taken from the prophet Jeremiah. In a time of great social and political unrest, Jeremiah, speaking in the name of God, says: “I know the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for disaster! plans to give you a future full of hope.”
Speaking to a gathering of parents, teachers and children at Scoil na n-Aingeal Naofa, Boyle , Bishop Kevin said:
“As Christians, we believe in a God who is good and who, by inviting us into relationship with Him, not only promises us happiness in the next life, but gives a purpose to our existence here and now, which can transform the way we live our lives and the way we participate with one another in society”.
In his welcome address, Mr John McLoughlin, Principal of Scoil na n-Aingeal Naofa, Boyle, said “The school community is privileged that you have chosen Scoil na n-Aingeal Naofa to launch your Pastoral Letter on education. We are a Catholic school and consequently we aim to promote the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil; intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual including a living relationship with God and with other people.”
Welcoming the launch of the Pastoral Letter, Mrs Eithne Deane, a parent at Scoil na n-Aingeal Naofa said, “We as parents, must nourish and strengthen our own faith, in order to support and enable our precious children in their faith. We all struggle with our faith from time to time and as Bishop has suggested in his Pastoral Letter we should bring this struggle into the presence of God in prayer.”
Commenting on the launch of “A Future Full of Hope”, parish priest of Boyle, Fr Gerry Hanly, said, “In recent times we have come to a renewed appreciation of the gift of our Catholic schools. Our schools are an expression of the overall mission of the parish to communicate God’s love in ways that are relevant in today’s world.”
In encouraging Catholic schools to be Catholic in the best and fullest sense of the word, Bishop Doran acknowledged the great blessing that the diocese has in so many teachers who love their subject and who are really committed to the well-being of the children in their care.
As Catholics, Bishop Doran commented, “we have always regarded education in faith as an essential part of the overall project of education. Education in faith helps our children to come to an understanding of themselves as the sons and daughters of God who loves them, to live their lives here on earth according to the example of Christ, and to to be sustained throughout their lives with the hope of eternal happiness”. Bishop Kevin readily acknowledged the importance of the economy for everyone, but invited all the partners in education to commit to a vision of education which recognises that our children are not just FOR the economy.
Bishop Doran referred to the blessing of parents during the ceremony of Baptism, which describes them as “the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith”. He recalled a series of conversations with children preparing for Confirmation, when he had asked the children what they would like their parents to do to help them prepare. “The answers were very interesting. There were three things that kept coming up again and again. My parents could help me by ‘teaching me my prayers’, by ‘bringing me to Mass’ and by ‘telling me about their own Confirmation’. It seems so little, Bishop Kevin said, “and yet it would mean so much”.
“The third leg of the stool” as Bishop Kevin called it, is the parish community. “We need to work hard”, he said “to make sure that our parish communities are alive and that the invitation to grow in faith is always “on the table” because, in the final analysis, faith is best learnt through being lived and celebrated. He encouraged parents to participate actively in parish programmes of Sacramental preparation, which support the work being done in the schools and which, he said, “can often be the doorway to a more active and fulfilling involvement in the parish as well as a moment to reflect on their own faith journey”.
Addresses from the launch on 19 November 2014
- Address of Bishop Kevin Doran at launch of Pastoral Letter
- Address of Fr Gerry Hanly at launch of Pastoral Letter
- Address of Mr John McLoughlin at launch of Pastoral Letter
- Address of Mrs Eithne Deane at launch of Pastoral Letter
Notes to Editors
- Photographs will be available from the Elphin Diocesan Office 086 3672131
- The Diocese of Elphin has 37 parishes, 90 churches and a Catholic population over 90,000. The diocese includes portions of counties Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath, and Galway. The patrons of the diocese are Saint Asicus (27 April) and the Immaculate Conception (8 December).
- Bishop Kevin Doran was ordained Bishop of Elphin on 13 July 2014
- For Media Contact: Sheena Darcy + 353 (0)86 3672131