All students receive Religious Instruction under the guidance of a qualified Catechetic teacher. A chaplain from the local parish visits the school regularly.
TRIP TO LOURDES (2012)
On a cold wet morning, students from Desmond College and Scoil Mhuire agus Íde, accompanied by Fr. Keane & teachers from Desmond College departed from Newcastle West in high spirits, as we began our pilgrimage to Lourdes. In hindsight we were embarking on a spiritual roller-coaster of emotions.
After several hours of travelling we arrived in Lourdes, a little dishevelled but full of excitement. On our first evening we went to the grotto to celebrate mass. Fr. Keane in his homily recounted the story of Saint Bernadette’s early life. This was followed by a walking tour in which we went to The Parish Church of Lourdes, where Bernadette was baptised.
We also visited the picturesque village of Bartrès where Bernadette was fostered and we were given a guided tour of Holy Mill where Bernadette spent her early years before her father became bankrupt, and they had to move into the Cachot, which was an abandoned jail at the time when they moved in.
On our first morning we went to the IHCPT mass. We all agreed that it was the highlight of the trip. It was a colourful joyous occasion and we felt humbled to be part of it. Every day we took a few quite moments of personal time at the grotto to pray for our family, friends and loved ones. We lit candles and were drawn to this special place, both as a group and individually.
The Baths were one of the most talked about aspects of our pilgrimage. The Baths are operated by a group of local dedicated men and women who ensure a deeply spiritual experience.
We also participated in the Torchlight Procession which takes place each evening at 9.00 pm as it has done since 1872. We all held a lighted candle in our hands, as a symbol of our faith. When viewed from a higher vantage point this procession is a spectacular sight. It was overwhelming and emotional.
On our second last day we were feeling exhilarated, so we embarked on a fun filled afternoon tobogganing 1500m above sea level in the Pyrénées. We screamed with a mixture of fear and delight, and laughed until our throats became sore. Who knew that pilgrims are such dare devils, and thrill seekers at heart?
On our final evening we prayed at the Stations of the Cross. Even though the Stations follow a rough stony track, some of our eager young pilgrims decided to do it barefoot, to emulate Our Lord Jesus Christ. There are 15 large stations all with larger than life bronze statues, depicting the various stages of Jesus’ last journey.
Our final night was fun filled when all the students put on a show. It was amazing to witness their talents – singing, dancing and playing instruments.
On our last day, Fr. Keane summed up Lourdes eloquently:
“For those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible.
For those who do believe, no explanation is necessary.“
By Ms. K. Liston
WAY OF THE CROSS (2012)
A central part of the Liturgical Life of Newcastle West and Desmond College is the re-enactment of the carrying of the cross, which takes place each Good Friday and which is now in its 6th year … read more
R.E. TRIP TO KNOCK (2012)
On Friday the 4th of Feb the wettest day of the year the Transition Year students braved gale force winds on the long trip to Knock.
We were going to Knock Youth Ministry on our class retreat. We didn’t know what to expect yet we were very excited, some of us feared we’d be in mass all day or praying in silence, but we were pleasantly surprised.
We were taken on a guided tour of Knock Shrine to see the actual site of the Apparition and heard details of the events around the evening it took place. We visited Knock Museum where we took a step back in time and saw how our counterparts lived at the time of Apparition in 1879 and saw artefacts and accounts from the witnesses of the Apparition.
We also met with people from the Cenacolo community. Cenacolo is a centre for young recovering drug addicts who are overcoming their difficulties through sharing in a community of faith. The young people shared their story of how they fell into the drug trap and how faith has been an important part of their recovery.
We ended the day with a time of reflection and prayer. A silent space was created where we could experience God with the aid of meditation and music. It took us four hours to come home but we all agree that it was a very worthwhile and enlightening experience.