Our Lady’s Secondary school is the result of the merging of the Mercy Convent school for girls and the CBS school in 1985 Our Lady’s is a co-ed school and currently has 580 pupils
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Journey in Faith – A youth programme with a difference…
A Little History of the programme…
Journey in faith is a Youth programme that was set up in Thurles Parish in the year 2000. It was an opportunity for young teenagers from the parish to come together for an hour each month to chat, laugh, meet and relax. It also as the title expresses focuses on faith in a very gentle way and on a level that they can relate too and connect with.
Following the proper Children’s Guidelines and with vetted leaders, the group really begins after Primary School, as students who have been together in Primary School for 6 years or so are separated as they attend different secondary schools. It is a way of keeping that bond of friendship alive for them.
In order to facilitate the members, we found a Friday evening as the best opportunity to try and not interfere with school and other activities. The programme ran October to May, with a break in January. Each month had a theme, games and activities related to the theme. Some of the themes were as follows – New Beginnings in October had a focus on their new School and the new youth programme that they were attending, other themes like friendship or plans for the future, or the holy souls in November and the promise of Jesus really were a great instruction of faith on a different level, their level and had a great influence. Some times to invite in a guest speaker brought a different dimension to the night also. Probably one of my favourites each year was at Christmas, where finding a suitable farm setting and sitting on bales of hay, a Christmas Quiz followed by a prayer service with a crib brought home the true meaning of Jesus’ birth. Another great memory is involving the senior group of the team in a ‘Prayer around the Cross’ on Good Friday night each year – it was powerful.
And of course when the year was completed, it was always a great treat to head away as a group for different activities whether bowling or a night walk, cinema or activity centre. Another positive aspect of the programme is when their first year of school is completed, they are invited back for a second while initiatives and plans are put in place for the new first years – hence you end up with 2 groups who meet separately on the same night. In Thurles this continued with 5 groups meeting, and numbers totalled over 120 young people from the parish meeting, chatting, laughing, and yes praying. Even our original group when they completed their secondary school studies, met about 4 times a year during those early College or working years.
Is this programme only for big towns??? No – it has worked extremely well in country parishes too – the Golden rule been keeping it simple, enjoyable and having fun, kept them attending and crating a bond all the time.
We live and minister in a time where so often young people are missing from our faith celebrations and liturgies. In our world, where so often faith and friendship with Jesus is missing from that circle of life, Journey in faith is just another option to try and encourage and develop faith from a different perspective. Is it the answer to youth involvement in our Church? Not at all, but is it a help and step in the right way, I believe it can be. Yes it involves a lot of work, time and planning, but the rewards are big too, and sometimes you can’t see them, just like setting that seed, time will tell…