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Lenten journey in Clongowes

Clongowes Wood College SJ in County Kildare took part in creative Lenten services during the months of March and April 2019. These services, assisted by state of the art technology, presented students with opportunities to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to engage in a re-telling of The Passion and Death of Jesus.

Lenten reconciliation service

The entire student body in Clongowes came together on Wednesday, 20 March in preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a liturgy led by Fr Michael McGuckian SJ to mark the Lenten journey 2019.

Gathering together at 9.15 pm in the Sports Hall, the atmosphere was relaxed and reflective as the school body watched some bespoke Lenten video clips, reflected on the Word of God, listened to music and spent time in silence. The theme of the liturgy was ‘God’s Redeeming Grace’ and the film Les Miserables was featured in part as a classic example of a life changed and radically altered as a result of one act of abundant mercy by the Bishop Myriel toward Jean Valjean.

The boys of the Higher Line remained on after the liturgy and a great many students came forward to receive the sacrament on an individual basis. With extra priests coming in from neighbouring parishes the extraordinary take-up of individual confession by the students meant that almost the entire school population availed of this opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent.

The staff’s ability to present a stimulating liturgy to the boys through a medium to which they relate, was greatly enhanced by the school’s state of the art sound system in the Sports Hall, allied to a very high quality video projection system. The boys’ level of engagement on the night was testimony to this reality.

Easter liturgy

The Rector Fr Michael Sheil SJ and the Headmaster Mr Chris Lumb extended a warm invitation to the Clongowes community to join the school’s annual Easter Liturgy of Tenebrae, which took place on Sunday, 7 April at 9 pm in the Sports Hall.

This year the school body was delighted to have the acclaimed Irish soprano, Celine Byrne, who was the principal featured soloist in the liturgy, along with cellist Jane Hughes joining the Clongowes Schola. The hour long event was a semi-dramatised re-telling of The Passion and Death of Jesus through extensive use of film, music and contemporary reflections which aimed to bring the Passion narrative afresh to the students and guests in a vivid and multi-sensory presentation.

Tenebrae (Latin for shadows or darkness) is an ancient Christian liturgy of Holy Week dating back to the Middle Ages. The liturgy of Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering in the days leading up to and including his Crucifixion. Music portrays his pathos and the power of silence and darkness suggest the drama of those days.

The Clongowes community, which included parents and partners in mission, were happy to participate in the unique liturgy, which was Clongowes ‘mini Paschal Triduum’ before the school breaks for the Easter holidays. After the event the Headmaster and Rector hosted a reception with light refreshments in the castle.