Press Release Le Chéile - Issue 30

13 December 2018

Issue 30, December 2018 of the biannual journal Le Chéile: A Catholic School Ethos Journal has recently 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 nature of teaching.
• By aiming to encourage and inform practitioners in Catholic education locally.

This edition’s editorial is entitled: The Good News of Christmas.

It reads as follows:

The matter of location for the birth of Jesus is an important point in St Luke’s Gospel. He was not presenting extra details to make his story more poignant or sentimental. He really wants us to know that Jesus was not born in an inn. An inn is a place for travellers, for people who are passing through. Such people do not plan to stay long. The fact that there is no place for Jesus in the inn refers to a verse in the Book of Jeremiah (14:8): “O hope of Israel, its saviour in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveller turning aside for the night?” It is a prayer that God stay with the people of Israel, that divine care be present for them in time of need. Jesus is not born in the inn because he is not “a stranger in the land … a traveller turning aside for the night.” He really is Emmanuel, “God with Us.” There was no place for Mary and Joseph in the inn because an inn is not an appropriate place for the birth of Jesus, the Incarnate Word. The Lord is not passing through. He has come among us to remain with us. He is not a travelling stranger, but a native of our world, and he will not move on. He has a permanent interest in us and is here to stay. Jesus is placed in a manger designed to feed hay to cattle: he is nourishment, strength and meaning - anticipating the later gift of the Eucharist — our sure hope. He is thus “good news of great joy to all the people”.

In this edition:
  • John Shortt reminds readers that good teaching and learning are thoroughly relational, they are about    promoting connectedness, shalom.
  • Roisín Coll’s wide experience of working in Scottish schools has confirmed her belief that teachers are exhausted under the burden of so many pressing demands, prompting her to offer advice on how teachers can nourish their spiritual wellbeing.
  • Bronagh Starrs explains the growing recognition of psychological complexity in children and the transformative potential inherent in good relationships and rich contact between students and teachers.
  • Jonathan Tiernan, with an eye to the future leadership of Catholic education, stresses the need to provide channels and experiences to form the next generations of school principals as strong academic, administrative and spiritual leaders.
  • Michael Leonard Hahn, OSB, explains why Catholic education does not simply aim to teach about God, but also to foster a knowledge of God, one which is both experiential and sacramental.
  • Diarmuid Pepper underlines the importance of sleep, especially for teenagers, and provocatively advocates a later start to the school day.
  • Chloe McDonald reports on how one school, through its eco-mission, is taking to heart Pope Francis’ call for a greater commitment to care for our common home.
  • Brothers Shea and Cormac Haughey share something of the excitement and joy that they experienced last August when they attended the Papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
  • Brídín Ní Fhlanagáin, writing in Irish, offers an appraisal of I nGrá Dé 6.
  • Seán Skeffington reviews a recent study of the controversial Austrian paediatrician, Hans Asperger, and Niall McVeigh critiques a volume of essays on Catholic education.
  • Paschal Scallon, CM sets a seasonal tone as he reflects on the blessings which the Christmas message renews in our heart.
  • Finally, a Christmas theme of welcome to the stranger is beautifully encapsulated in Co. Down poet, Cathal O’Byrne’s (1876-1957) poem, Christmas Wayfarers.
For further information please contact Rev Dr Niall Coll.

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