JPII Award in Action – check out what the JPII boys from St. Colman’s College, Claremorris have been up to

Here are some of the activities that students from St. Colman’s College, Claremorris were involved in for the past few months.  The articles are written by the students themselves.

Claremorris Church (by David Cosgrove and Liam Og Horkan)  

Once again, a number of our students were involved in the Claremorris church Christmas preparations this year:

David Cosgrove & Liam Óg Horkan organised the candles and wreaths for the Church before Christmas. Paul Naughton and Sean Kirrane set up the Christmas tree with sacristan Pat Gleeson while Max Gilmore, Adrian Walsh and Daragh Kennedy did the readings at the ever popular carol service in St.Colman’s church.

In preparation for the Children’s Mass on Christmas Eve four of our students prepared the reindeer food for distribution after Mass to the children waiting for Santa Claus.

Four students from the Art class drew a Nativity scene which was then displayed in the church porch during the Christmas period.

Nursing Homes (by Nathan Prendergast and Gary Moran)

Nathan Prendergast and Gary Moran along with other students from TY-C went to the Claremount nursing home to help decorate the dayroom area for Christmas. Mrs. Cruise and the students put up the tree, put tinsel around the fireplace and also put decorations on the windows. The Claremount home has a beautiful crib and the residents wanted some students to decorate it with palm leaves and ivy. The students took it away and decorated it and following week they dropped off to the home and the residents loved it.

St.Vincent de Paul and St. Colman’s College (by David Cosgrove)

The Claremorris branch of St. Vincent De Paul (SVP) was established in the 1930’s to help people in need in the town and its surrounding areas.

Every year at Christmas SVP works with the local secondary schools. The TY students from St. Colman’s College got involved with helping the branch.

This year 12 Transition Year students helped SVP in Claremorris. In November they delivered the envelopes for donations to all the houses in the area. The students were Padraig Cummins, David Cosgrove, Jack Colleran, Jack Fleming, Liam Gallagher, Shaun Hunt, James Slattery, Dean Guilfoyle, Oisin Brennan, Tadhg Middleton, Evan Hughes and Cian Naughton.

In December, with the help of St. Colman’s staff and its students, SVP organised a Food Appeal in the College. The students and staff of St. Colman’s were asked to donate non-perishable goods to be distributed to those in need this Christmas.

Recently the President of the Claremorris branch of SVP Mrs Breege Heneghan along with Mrs Maua Noone gave a talk to the students of the College.

They spoke about organising the Food Appeal and various ways to assist with the funding of SVP projects such as donations and the SVP shop where clothes and household items and non-perishable foods can be donated.

They also spoke of how SVP treat people in need with great respect and dignity and do not judge them on the circumstances that they find themselves in. St. Vincent De Paul is a stepping stone for people who find themselves in need, to help them get back to a self-sufficient lifestyle.

The response to the food appeal was extremely generous in the College. Maura Noone and  Patricia Riordan came to the College to accept the food on behalf of SVP. We thank all for their great generosity and we are fortunate as a TY group to be able to assist this worthy cause.

Knock (by Oisin O’ Braonain)

As part of our Transition Year we went to St. John’s Rest and Care centre in Knock on 3 separate occasions during the first term. These visits helped us work towards our Gaisce awards and the Pope John Paul II awards but also gave us a chance to interact and meet many different people and get to know them. This is a very important learning experience for all of us.

On our first day we had songs prepared for the residents. We were also each given name tags so the residents could easily identify us and converse with us. We started off the visit by pairing up with a resident and having a conversation. There would then be a song before we moved on to meet a new person. We brought them tea and biscuits later in the visit.

On our second day we held a prayer service at the centre. On the day before our visit we took time to prepare for the service. Each student in the class had a role to play or a job to do. We also had some new songs to sing so we practiced those as well. On the day of the visit we arrived early at Knock and began to set up for the service. Candles were brought and lit in memory of those who have passed away. We also had readings and poems by various students. Following our service we talked to more residents and had some refreshments. This brought us to the end of our visit and we tidied up after ourselves and said our goodbyes.

On our third visit we had Mass in the centre. After the Mass we had songs and music. Many students brought in instruments including guitar, keyboard, flute and concertina. These were all played beautifully and brought much enjoyment to the residents. As it was leading up to Christmas time we had some classic Christmas songs prepared such as Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy and others. We also had more modern songs like White Christmas, Jingle Bells and Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Confirmation Programme (by Tadhg Middleton, Mark Walsh and Conor McGuinness)

We took part in helping out with the Confirmation programme ‘You shall be my witness’ this year, organised by the Claremorris Parish Team. This consisted of four meetings where the students preparing for confirmation this year were taught about what being confirmed actually means. A number of parents volunteered to teach the students and we were asked to help them in setting up beforehand and to fill in if any parent missed a week. We feel it was a very worthwhile experience and thank our teacher Ms. Egan for giving us the opportunity to participate in it.

Peer 4 Peer (by Tadhg Middleton, Mark Walsh and Conor McGuniness)

Twenty TY students participated in the Peer 4 Peer programme this year in the College and in the surrounding primary schools. This programme involves going to local national schools and teaching the 5th and 6th class students about topics such as friendship, communication, decision-making etc. We feel it was a very worthwhile project and would recommend it to other secondary schools and primary schools.

We started off with the two days’ training in the College, under the guidance of Siobhan Bradley and Yvonne Horkan from the Tuam Diocesan Youth Centre. These training days lasted two full school days but they were very necessary to prepare us for what we would be teaching the children in the primary schools.

When we completed our training, we arranged what schools we would be going to. Once we got to the primary schools, we began teaching the children and getting to know them. It was all a bit strange at first and difficult to get the kids to settle but we got into our rhythm quickly enough. We each did four teaching sessions altogether and really felt a bond with the primary school both during and after the programme.

We really enjoyed the programme and it gave us an insight into primary teaching and opened up new possibilities for us, when we leave school.

We would like to thank our College and the primary schools for giving us the chance to gain experience in the area of teaching. It is much appreciated and we are sure it will benefit us in the future.

Christmas in St. Colman’s College (by Patrick Murphy)

St. Colman’s College, Claremorris, was founded in 1945. The school was named after Bishop Colman who was the bishop around the time of St. Patrick. Since first opening its doors, the College has thrived and is moving in an upward direction. For many years the school has a tradition of decorating the foyer for the festive period. 

This year, the tradition continued as the fifth-year students went to great lengths to make the school’s seventy-first anniversary a memorable one. First on the list was the crib. This was the appropriate place to start as it symbolises our grounding in the Catholic faith. Sometimes people forget the origins of Christmas but we felt it was important to start at the very root of Christmas.

Next step was the assembly of the Christmas tree. This is a symbol that is present in a lot of homes worldwide and we felt that it is the key to a welcoming and homely school environment for the festive season. The first year art classes also contributed by recycling CDs and adding their own designs as decorations. This made for a more personal experience for the first years to enjoy their first Christmas in St. Colman’s. 

To continue the festive spirit, we added Christmas lights to the tree and the surrounding area. These lights shine brightly on even the darkest of days and help illuminate the front hall, welcoming all visitors.

The windows were painted by ten students from the 5th year Art class. All were keen, talented students who spent the bulk of two days planning, drawing, and painting all five panels of the school-hall windows. 

We divided into groups of two, each group had their own window. These windows are adjacent to an emergency exit that we also painted as a spruce wood door. This really added to the overall appearance and if you didn’t look twice, you might mistake it for a real wooden door! All other windows were decorated in classic Christmas imagery such as holly, gifts and stockings over a fireplace, along with the cameo appearance of Santa’s reindeer that appear to be flying in the sky over a colossal snowman. 

We thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to decorate our school. We would like to thank our art teacher, Ms. Kelly, for the resources and equipment needed to produce our arrangement. We would also like to thank all other teachers facilitating us and allowing us the time out of class. It was a lovely experience to be involved in such an important Christmas event and we look forward to watching next year’s fifth-year students try to emulate our great work!






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