Clongowes Wood College is a leading boarding school set in beautiful surroundings, thirty kilometers from Dublin in the heart of the Co. Kildare countryside in Ireland. A Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition, Clongowes strives to support students in their growth towards a greater understanding and awareness of their faith and the part that this plays in their lives. We are a home from home for 450 boys from all over Ireland and abroad.
Since 1814, Clongowes graduates have become leaders in the areas of business, sport, politics and the arts. Our warm and happy school puts the care and nurturing of each individual student at the heart of everything we do.
In Clongowes students and teachers had the opportunity to live Lent through various contemporary reflection activities. Here we share some of these wonderful experiences.
Lenten Reconciliation Service
On Wednesday March 7th, the entire student body in Clongowes came together for a liturgy in preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for Lent 2018 led by Fr Barney McGuckian SJ. As we gathered together in the Sports Hall at 9.15pm, the atmosphere was relaxed and reflective as we watched some film, listened to music and readings and spent some time in silence. Clips from the film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ featured with reflections on the strong Christian themes and symbolism, which the film suggests – especially around the theme of hope and redemption.
The senior boys remained on after the liturgy when a great many students came forward to receive the sacrament on an individual basis. With extra priests coming in from neighbouring parishes on both this night and in the days following, 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.
Our ability to present a stimulating liturgy to the boys through a medium to which they relate, is greatly enhanced by our newly installed sound system in the Sports Hall, allied to very high quality video projection system (more here). Their level of engagement on the night was testimony to this reality.
Cyril Murphy, Director of Liturgy
Tenebrae: Passion and Death in the Sports Hall
Wednesday 21st March saw this year’s Tenebrae Service staged in The Sports Hall for the entire school. Together with the Clongowes Schola under the baton of Mr Cyril Murphy we had several guest performers as well as some home-grown talent from among the students and staff. The former included the acclaimed young soprano, Ioana Constantin-Pipelea, who gave an unforgettable performance of ‘Eli Eli Lama Sabachtani’.
Tenebrae (Latin for shadows or darkness) is an ancient Christian liturgy of Holy Week dating back to the Middle Ages. It comprises a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering in the days leading up to and including his Crucifixion. The service is a semi-dramatised re-telling of The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus with some contemporary reflections, which brought the narrative afresh to the students in a vivid and modern presentation. Music portrays his pathos and the power of silence and darkness suggest the drama of those days.
Young Irish rock singer and music theatre professional Chris Currid and Karl Hayes from Syntax respectively sang ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Pilate’s Dream’ from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ while cellist, Jane Hughes contributed magnificently to the atmosphere with her playing of ‘Song of the Birds’ by Pablo Casals and Fauré’s ‘Après un rêve’. With special lighting and through the use of atmospheric music, readings, film and contemplation the dark drama of Good Friday and our Lord’s sacrifice for us was richly commemorated. The whole liturgy, lasting just over an hour, charted Christ’s ultimate victory over death and was really well received by a full hall of very attentive and engaged students as well as many invited guests, parents and staff.