Narrating the Resurrection

James McDevitt (Head Teacher, Holy Cross Primary School, Edinburgh)

Photo by Gerhard Lipold on Pexels.com

All Christians are aware of the basic story of Easter. Jesus died on the Cross on Good Friday, and on Sunday, the third day, he rose from the dead. The stone had been rolled away, the tomb was empty and the Risen Jesus appeared to his disciples on a number of occasions thereafter.

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Fratelli Tutti: Pope Francis’ Vision for a Better World

John Dunlop and Callum Timms

Introductory Remarks

Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti is a timely contribution to the authentic social magisterium of the Catholic Church. It is as “a diagnosis for our social ills, which have been complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic” (Dulle, 2020). Fr Augusto Zampini, whose work on the Vatican’s Covid-19 Commission contributed to the Holy Father’s thinking, revealed something of its thought process in a recent conversation, explaining that the Holy Father’s challenge to the task force was to “prepare the future” (Jesuits in Britain, 2020). Thus, he embraced the call of Pope Paul VI to “become the artisans of [our] destiny” (PP, #65).

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Rediscovering Our Abrahamic Roots: A Shared Mission for Our R.E. Classes

Luca La Monica (Teacher of R.E., Trinity High School, Renfrew)

The latest Papal visit to Iraq has been a historical one for all sorts of reasons, which relate to the political situation as well as to the religious significance of the Successor of Peter visiting the land of Abraham, Patriarch of the three most important Monotheistic faiths. This visit has been a striking example of the outgoing and all-encompassing love that Christianity should always embody, and that Pope Francis has especially adopted during his pontificate. The phrase ‘You are all brothers’ resounded various times during the Pope’s encounters with various representatives of different faiths. More specifically, during his visit to Erbil, Pope Francis invited all Iraqi people to ‘work together in unity for a future of peace and prosperity that leaves no one behind and discriminates against no one’.

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Lent in Lockdown

Margaret Barton (RE Advisor for Secondary Schools, Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh)

Photo by Anne McCarthy on Pexels.com

We are journeying through the desert during Lent. Prior to the first lockdown, by the third week of Lent last year, amongst other things, students would have received their ashes in school or their local parish, Lenten lessons would be taught, Lenten pledges made, classes would have received their SCIAF Wee Boxes and be planning fundraising activities, and the school Chaplain would have been offering additional Masses during Lent for pupils and staff to attend.

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Black Holiness Matters

Casey Mullaney (Theology PhD Candidate, University of Notre Dame)

In the United States, we just finished celebrating Black History month. Here in Indiana, we can feel that the days are lengthening and the rays of the sun are getting stronger. We can feel spring coming, and even in the cold of February and early March, there have been glimpses of light and warmth. Black History month feels like that, too. For our Sunday school class, Black History month was a chance to recommit to honoring the courage, creativity, and perseverance of Black people, who as individuals and within their communities have preserved and nurtured the Divine light within themselves throughout centuries of racism. Our young students of all races need and deserve examples of Black excellence, which though abundant, have often been overlooked by majority-white communities, even within the Church.

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Prophets of the Future 1: Mental health and Catholic schools

In this series, 4th year primary Catholic Teaching Certificate students share the findings of their studies on a new elective course entitled Prophets of a Future not our Own: Catholic Schools and Contemporary Issues

Erin McLaughlan, MEduc4 student

A challenge of significant prevalence, especially in the past year, has been the impact of mental health within Scottish schools, with few issues given greater importance than the mental health of our children and young people. Recent statistics conducted by the NHS Scotland, suggested that the proportion of children currently experiencing a mental health problem has increased over the past three years, from one in nine in 2017, to one in six in July 2020. Scottish Action for Mental Health’s 2020 report Supporting Our Young People highlights that there are numerous societal and health impacts that can be responsible for fluctuations in a person’s mental health and no one solution exists that can provide an adequate response to improving the mental health of all children, across all social backgrounds.

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Emergence

Tom Shields (Vicar Episcopal Education, Dunkeld Diocese)

Photo by Flo Maderebner on Pexels.com

“All these things entered you

As if they were both the door and what came

through it.” 

‘Markings’, Seamus Heaney

As younger pupils return to school, and the process of resuming face to face learning begins, we may experience that dazzled feeling of stepping into the light from a period of darkness. No doubt, there will be a mixture of babbling and strained silences as friends and colleagues meet face to face and try to articulate both what they have experienced and how to move forward. Many will ask if this is really happening and could we all once again be herded into our homes and tethered to our computer screens. There is precedent.

Many, of course, will be desperate to get back to traditional routine, seeing it as a sign that all is well again, and declare (with a little of that sensation of ‘hope triumphing over experience’), ‘never again’; some will not. There is genuine fear that we will lose some of the insights that we have gained over this last year, and that a combination of economic necessity and fear of failing a generation will propel us into hectic activity for which we have neither the energy nor the insight. In recent days, several writers and journalists have drawn attention to feelings and thoughts familiar perhaps to retreatants as they end a period of prayer and reflection, hoping that what they have learned about God, themselves, and others, will not be lost in the hubbub of daily life. 

Emerging from another ‘lockdown’, the first disciples were indeed driven out with enthusiasm at Pentecost, but they neither forgot their own experiences and failures nor the beliefs and aspirations of their people. They borrowed from both as they preached and lived the gospel. Growth in Church membership, as it were, mirrored the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Conversion, rejoicing, persecution, and internal wrangling, were all there in almost equal measure, as they prayed, reflected, and stumbled their way to a conclusion about what it all meant and where they were to go.

Christ, his power, presence, and person, came more and more into focus. As each new stage of their journey brought a needfor realignment, Christians realised that the name they bore was for a reason: it was Christ who had to be front and centre of their lives. Incarnate of the Virgin Mary, the challenge has always been to incarnate him spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically into our lives. 

This is the paradigm, I would suggest, for Catholic education. Catholic academic and spiritual traditions provide us with indispensable tools to assist our young people and ourselves in our desire not to waste time either in the ‘paralysis of analysis’ or a headlong rush to get things done in a ‘can-do’ attitude. The Spirit inspires us to examine our lives in such a way as to glimpse how God brings resurrection out of death – not simply a matter of taking the ‘rough with the smooth’. 

It is fortuitous perhaps that the process of emergence will start during Lent, a period of journeying with Christ in the desert in order to be reminded of what is essential. Perhaps the fasting and abstinence has already been imposed by the lockdowns and restrictions. These have brought into sharp relief in our lives the simple but important things we may have taken for granted. It is our prayerful reflection on events, and the buffeting open of our hearts to others that might take a more central role this Lent.

Throughout our discussion, study, prayer, art, poetry and music, while letting our young people run in the open air, babble, and fall silent, we gently invite them to regard Christ, the Lord and Master, Son and Servant. We invite them to ‘incarnate’ Christ in their own lives using the tried and tested methods that have brought the Church through more crises than we have had TV box sets. 

It has often been said that a crisis makes us forget who we are. Remembering who we are, enables us to resolve it. Who are we? People who mirror the pattern of the death and resurrection of Christ, that we might focus on him and become him to the world. This ‘comes to be’ in conversation, prayer, and charity, with a special emphasis this time around on charity towards each other (as Pope Francis has reminded us). 

Christ is the door through which we enter and exit, and he is also what we bring through that door.