My Holy Week celebrations took on a new dimension this year as I attended Palm Sunday Mass in St Patrick's Cathedral, in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Whilst my thoughts reflected on how Palm Sunday would be celebrated in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle including the Way of the Cross at Kilaben Bay, I was also struck by the nature of the Prayers of the Faithful recited at St Patrick's.

There was a very strong message of praying for peace in our world at this time and In a city that has over decades experienced significant acts of violence and terrorism there appeared to be a synergy with those parts of the world that are experiencing such difficulties at the present time.

Holy Week is a special time in the Church's year and the message of peace is one that is drawn from the violence of Jesus's Passion and Death and the triumph of his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

This week our schools will be involved in reflecting on the various aspects of Holy Week, celebrating them through school liturgies and being involved in the Parish and Diocesan celebrations as well.

This Tuesday night the Mass of the Oils will be celebrated by Bishop Bill in Sacred Heart Cathedral together with the Priests of the diocese for whom this is a special liturgy where they recommit themselves to their vocation.

The celebration of the Last Supper on Thursday evening, the crucifixion and death of Jesus on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday make this such an important and uplifting week.

I encourage all our families to engage with the specialness of Holy Week and to engage our students in the special events of this Easter celebration.

Easter is also the beginning of our Term 1 school holidays and I wish our staff and students a very restful break over the next two weeks.

To our school and CSO staff I say a very special thank you for all that you do every day to ensure that the message of Easter is proclaimed in our schools.

Have a Happy and Holy Easter and relaxing holiday.

Ray Collins Image
Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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