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2015 Christmas Mass

The entire school community gathered in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Bunclody, for our annual Christmas Eucharistic Celebration, on Monday, the 21st of December—the day of the Winter Solostice.   The theme of the Mass was “Darkness to Light”.

Following Mass, the principal, Ms. Frances Threadgold, addressed the congregation.   The following are some excerpts from her address:   “Firstly today is significant because it marks a turning point. From today on every day will have a little more light and a little less darkness. In a physical sense this is the hardest time for many of you students as you are coming to school and going home in darkness. The recent wet weather has made the days darker too so the sense of “Mid – Winter” is very real for us. We need to know that this is short-lived and that brighter days are on the way. And while all these days seem the same because the change is gradual it is perhaps unnoticed – but it is   real. Slowly but surely, from today on we are indeed moving from Darkness to Light.”

“Every year I talk about Hope at our Christmas Mass because the weeks leading up to Christmas are called Advent which is a time of Hope – Hope and expectation in the Joy of the birth of Christ. The glow of the candles from the Advent Wreath in our front hall reminds us of the Light that is on its way.”

“In real life it lashes rain as you are getting off the bus ……. You are laden down with school bags and gear bags for the dreaded beep test …you just know you are going to be asked for the exam questions you never got to finish ….. and you forgot the money you were supposed to bring in today!! Sound familiar?? Of course it is – for us staff as much as for you the students. ALL Our lives are busy and that is all the more reason to have our wreath in the front hall….. All the more reason why you need all the  reminders you can get to stop – just pause – and be mindful of all the light that IS shining in all our lives. Being secure, fed, warm and cared for, safe and happy in school, and feeling positive about life in general is to be valued and appreciated. It is VERY VERY easy to slip into the zone of negativity – the darkness – and to moan and complain, rather than see what we all have right under our noses.”

“Think of the darkness those refugees have to endure in their fight for a better life. Many boats cross rough and dangerous seas in the dark of night.  The daylight for them brings a promise of Hope – Hope for a better life – Hope for some of the safety and security you and I take for granted. In this Christmas season please spare a thought for those families sleeping out in the forests, crossing choppy waters and going without food or water for days. Think twice about complaining about the presents that you get, about being too full of food, about not being allowed out with friends, about   having to share your time and space with brothers or sisters. Be mindful. That’s what the Advent Wreath is asking of you.”

“Of course, as I also reminded you in September we are not responsible for what is happening to those people but have a responsibility to help in any positive way we can and once again FCJ rose to the challenge in that regard.  In October Ms. Osborne oversaw the preparation of over 400 clothing packs for distribution to Refugee Camps surrounding Syria. Each pack contained enough warm clothing to protect a baby, child or parent from the cold. So while we were in the throes of performing our Musical, Ms. Osborne, with the help of Ms. O’Neill and many hardworking students were in the Gym throughout the day and late into the night, sorting, selecting and packing the clothes. That positive act, however small it might seem, certainly brought a light into the dark night for 400           refugees.”

“In FCJ at present, you are greeted with positivity at every turn. Thanks to our Cycle Against Suicide team and you the students, wonderful posters and art work cover our walls telling you clearly that “It’s ok not to feel ok and it’s ABSOLUTELY ok to ask for help”. On a wet Wednesday night   almost 2 weeks ago, I was finishing up in my office at about 8pm and presumed I was alone in the building. An empty school at night can be an eerie place.  I stepped out into the corridor. Pitch black darkness greeted me. Except there was one ray of light shining from the 6th year area. Through the light I caught a glimpse of what looked like someone jumping up and down and frantically waving their arms at me. Just as I was about to make a run for the door I looked again – it was Mr. Flynn!!! And better still he was singing!!! He was putting the finishing touches to the GRATITUDE GALAXY, working away all evening long, happily displaying all your gratitude stars and I felt really privileged to be the first to be invited to see the exhibition of all those stars. I want to publically thank   Mr. Flynn (and George & David Raleigh) for all their hard work putting that constellation in place and I think it epitomises how darkness can be turned to light especially in the area for positive mental health.”

“Funky Shoe Day in the week just gone was another positive experience for our school and is important in encouraging us to try to understand other         peoples’ perspectives by “walking in their shoes” for a day.  Sometimes            depression can be described as a darkness and light can be used as a therapy to alleviate it. The truth is every one of us is a combination of dark and light. One complements the  other and if we can manage to accept ourselves as we are and see the value of our shadowside we will realize that both sides of our personality make us who we are.   When we then move from a position of  ignorance to a position of understanding others we indeed move from darkness into light and it is something we strive very hard for in FCJ.”

Ms. Threadgold said she would like to thank the students for their response to the Bunclody Lions Club Christmas Appeal. “Our school has been  involved in Carol singing in the Library and again, following Mass this evening, Carol Singing outside Supervalu, and tomorrow we will start bag packing in Supervalu and continue right up until Christmas Eve – all for the Lions Club Appeal. I would like to thank Mr. Daly for coordinating these events and Mr. Hennessy for accompanying the students. Thank you too to our Carol singers who performed in the Day Care Centre for Vincent De Paul under the coordination of Ms. O’Neill. Our Student Council Christmas raffle coordinated by Ms. McIvor will bring more good news to St. Vincent de Paul tomorrow so thank you to all concerned in fundraising for these worthy causes.”

She then thanked all those who had helped in the day’s celebration …..    Fr. O’Connor; R.E. Teachers who assisted in the preparation of the Mass;  Mr. Hennessy & Mr. Pat O’Gorman and all those who sang especially Ciara Ashton, Paulina Skiersinis & the principals of the Musical;  Students who participated in the preparation of the Mass, who read or were involved in the offertory procession;  Ms. Nicola Carr & Ms. Eileen Martin who produced the Mass sheets;  all the STAFF especially Mr. Daly  who worked so hard this afternoon;  – to George & David   Raleigh and the students and teachers who helped them set up the Church.

“I wish you and your families every blessing for Christmas. I ask you to recognise within              yourselves the gift of Light. I invite you to welcome the Christ child into your hearts and homes so that your Christmas glows with love and gratitude.”

advent candles

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FCJ Secondary School,
Co. Wexford
Tel: (+353)53-9377308
App: FCJ Bunclody