OFF THE CUTTING EDGE
By Pastor R. Dunlop
THE POWER OF RECONCILIATION
Those who endure the trial of dissension or dissolution find that the word reconciliation is music to their ears. It impinges on all life’s relationships, especially when they break down.
There are many situations that require the kind of healing which reconciliation provides.
It is somewhat surprising how many people meander through life balanced only by tolerating chips on both shoulders, staying out of sorts with colleagues, relatives and neighbours.
It is well to remember that reconciliation carries a heavy price tag, especially in situations of prolonged brokenness.
“In the words of Desmond Tutu “some people think reconciliation is a soft option, that it means papering over the cracks. But the Biblical meaning means looking facts in the face and it can be very costly; it cost God the death of His own Son.”
FACING FACTS IN THE FACE
1. A primary requirement is to look at things as they really are. While it may be natural to fall out and fall in again, we are often under pressure to settle for something less than healed relationships.
2. Archbishop Tutu helpfully points to the Divine model and suggests that for reconciliation to be real and lasting it needs to be spiritually induced.
3. The contribution of a skilled mediator is often central to a long and complex process. Whether on the personal or societal front an important factor is hearing both (or more) sides of the story. This facilitates fact-finding, which creates neutral ground for negotiation. A question – would the Good Friday Agreement have been possible without the skills of President Bill Clinton and others?
4. Historical hurts and divisions often leave a legacy of hatred and suspicion which demands hard work and great intensity of purpose to change.
5. Reconciliation is usually a long, delicate and difficult process. It is vital to keep the desire for healing at the top of the agenda and at the centre of life’s relationships. While division is a powerful weapon when wielded with psychological and emotional force, reconciliation is positively powerful and is worth chasing with every ounce of energy we possess.
SCOIL MHUIRE IN ACTION
"Friendship Week" was held in January to focus on importance of making good friends and not getting involved in bullying. During the week the focus was on all aspects of friendship and how to avoid bullying. Patricia Kennedy of "Sticks and Stones" anti-bullying theatre company gave workshops to 5th and 6th where they explored the issues of cyber-bullying and text-bullying through discussion and role-play. Patricia also hosted an information talk for parents and all parents were invited to come to the school for the talk where Patricia addressed these issues and answered questions from concerned parents.
Senior pupils read thousands of books before Christmas and raised a whopping €5,000 for the Multiple Schlerosis of Ireland. Pupils also raised €800 through their annual Talent Show and proceeds this year were given to the Ballymore Chamber of St. Vincent de Paul, who always support our school so generously.
Attendance award certificates were presented to 48 pupils who did not miss a day since September. These pupils are working towards achieving a gold medal at the end of the year, if they still have a perfect attendance record.
Our mathematics whizzkid, Mark Daly 5th class who won 1st prize at the recent Maths and Science test in St. Kevin's Community College, Dunlavin. Well done Kevin
This picture of nine pupils includes those awarded with "Cainteoir na Miosa" for January. These are the pupils who make the greatest effort at using their Gaeilge to communicate outside the classroom. We work on phrases on a weekly basis and the teachers pick out the pupil in each class who has made the supreme effort to use their new phrases to communiciate as Gaeilge. (Tá sibh ar fheabhas! – Tim agus Rose).
Mairead O'Flynn, Scoil Mhuire, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare