Press Release ‘Le Chéile’ – Issue 21

15 May 2014

Issue 21, May 2014, of the biannual journal, 'Le Chéile', has just been published and circulated to schools in the north of Ireland. The journal, a publication of St Mary's University College, aims to celebrate and promote the vision of Catholic education locally:
  • By identifying, exploring and promoting ways in which this vision can be lived in Catholic schools
  • By seeking to empower teachers with a renewed and revitalised sense of the spirituality and vocational nature of teaching
  • By aiming to encourage and inform practitioners in Catholic education locally.
This edition’s editorial is entitled: ‘Saints’

It reads as follows:

Pictures of Pope Francis going to Confession recently caused quite a stir. We are just not accustomed to seeing a Pope going to Confession; it was something done out of the public eye. Pope Francis is a great master of compelling gestures: kissing the bare foot of an imprisoned Muslim woman and embracing and blessing the man with the ulcer-ravaged face. So pictures of him at Confession are consistent with the way he sets out to teach, encourage and provoke us by the power of both his word and example. That sense of the power of symbolic gesture goes a long way in explaining his canonisation of two recent Popes after Easter: John XXIII and John Paul II. When the Church canonises someone, we publicly declare that he or she lived life extraordinarily open to the grace of God, and the effect was to show that God, who is love, lives and reaches out to us.

Popes, even saintly Popes–and maybe especially, saintly Popes–live in the mercy of God and know it. Saints want to be open to the grace of God, and they hope that as grace plays an ever greater part in their lives, the tendencies they share with everyone to be self-interested, and even self-absorbed, will diminish. Saints know what sin is, both as sinners and sinned against, but they live in the desire not to be defined by it, to be defined instead by grace.

Pope John has a reputation for gentleness and John Paul is well-known for his courage. Both of them knew profoundly that if the Church were truly to be the pilgrim people of God, we would have to recognise that as we stumble and limp along the Way, the all-powerful grace of God is accompanying us in love and mercy. Pope John had the vision to call the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) to begin a process of renewal in the Church. Pope John Paul had the mettle to challenge the totalitarian system in Eastern Europe and the growing secularisation and materialism of the West by proposing to us, over and over again, the centrality of Christ and the need to follow him in authentic discipleship. This edition seeks, as ever, to encourage all involved in the work of Catholic education locally to work for its renewal and to ensure that it remains authentic to its distinctive vision and mission.

The articles are as follows:

  • Brenda Bannon urges schools to ensure that their various outreach programmes are not reduced to stunts aimed at enhancing each student’s curriculum vitae and are instead firmly orientated to developing a true spirit of service and solidarity.
  • Dr Stephen McKinney reviews the recent Morrow Report, which found that Catholic schools in Scotland are not associated with sectarianism.
  • Fr Patrick Delargy encourages teachers to consider their sense of sacred calling and generosity of response in the way they contribute to the holistic development of their pupils and students.
  • Jeanette McKevitt unmasks the reductivist notion of the nature and purpose of education inherent in the ‘new managerialism’ culture so promoted by government and business today, calling on Catholic schools to resist it.
  • Fr Paul Clayton-Lea offers a poignant reflection on the capacity of teachers to influence and inspire.
  • Ciarán McShane explores the context and rationale for Global Development themes in his own teaching.
  • Michelle Kerr reports on how her school has been to the fore in establishing a much needed nursery school in Zambia.
  • Padaí de Bléine delights in his experience of landscape, people and silent contemplation as he walked el Camino de Santiago.
  • Noel-Bradley Johnston paints a compelling picture of his work recently among disadvantaged youth in Chicago and points to the transforming power of faith in their lives.
  • Deirdre Robson salutes two recently deceased colleagues and underlines the importance of friendship.
  • Máire Nic Giolla Cheara reviews Oliver Crilly’s recent book on the great Irish Crosses. 
For further information please contact Rev Dr Niall Coll, Tel: 02890 268262.

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