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By Ann Marie Ennis
Dec 5th, 2019

This year’s Elements Parent Day took place on Sunday the 10th of November. The day was opened by guest speaker Fr Donal Neary SJ who presented on ‘A Jesuit School – What to Expect?’ He began by sharing a little about his own journey into the Jesuits and his work thereafter. Fr Donal Neary SJ is the author of several successful books including Seasonal Reflections for Lent and Advent. He also writes books for young people and is the editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger, while his previous work was in youth retreats at Mater Dei Institute of Education and in Tabor House, Dublin.

Ignatian Values

Fr Neary took the group through the Ignatian Values which encompass the very essence of what our boys experience as a result of the College’s commitment to the full realization of the Jesuit ethos:

  • To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment
  • To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice
  • To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future
  • To collaborate in the care of our Common Home

The Characteristics of Jesuit Education

Fr Neary referenced the ‘Characteristics of a Jesuit School’ displaying examples of how this is expressed in Clongowes using current stories from the school website. Clongowes students are given the opportunity to fully embrace the Ignatian values through various school-led activities and events such as the annual Lourdes pilgrimage, the Transition Year Social Outreach programme and Clongowes Duck Push for Our Lady of Lourdes Children’s Hospital, Crumlin

He explained the characteristics of a Jesuit Education; Competence – the head; Conscience – the heart; Compassion – the hands. He believes that a Jesuit School helps students grow towards freedom and responsibility and encourages them to strive for excellence and compassion in everything they do.

Ms Anne-Marie Dolan (Pastoral Coordinator) closed the day by explaining the Ethos journey our students will be taken on between Elements and Rhetoric (naming the various activities that enrich the boy’s lives during both the academic and Liturgical year). Ms Dolan explained the many fantastic events available to parents such as the upcoming parent retreat in May and strongly encouraged parents to avail of this wonderful opportunity to participate in this reflective and rewarding exercise.

Afterwards, all attendees assembled in the Sports Hall for the Eucharist where their intentions were remembered during the Liturgy followed by lunch in the Refectory. The day was a great success and gave the parents a deeper understanding of the benefits of a Jesuit education and how Clongowes strives to care for each individual whilst cultivating a home from home.