Salesians of Don Bosco Ireland – Maynooth – Autumn 2017
St Catherine’s on University Campus
St Catherine’s seeks to offer young adults a place of ‘encounter’ where they can meet other young people and actively foster friendships, engage in community building, as well as have the possibility of personal accompaniment. All students are welcomed and are invited to form part of a community that promotes values of generosity, love, honesty, justice, faith and respect for the individual.
Dear Friends of St Catherine’s
With this newsletter we wish to connect with all those who in some way cherish St Catherine’s and appreciate the influence it has on their spiritual journey. It is a place whose origins is very much connected with Fr Michael Ross SDB; who had acquired St Catherine’s and set it up as a Spirituality Centre. Over the years St Catherine’s has brought so many people together as well as being a sacred space for so many.
The occasion of the first anniversary since Fr Michael Ross passed away is a good opportunity to come together again to thank God for His many gifts and remember with gratitude his memory. It is also a stark reminder not to take things for granted and the importance to keep alive the mission of St Catherine’s as a living tribute.
As a Salesian of Don Bosco, Fr Michael had young people very much at heart, and the Salesian community is committed to continue to reach out to the young. In the tradition of Don Bosco the founder of the Salesians, St Catherine’s seeks to be “a home that welcomes them, a community that evangelizes, a school that prepares them for life and a space where their youth is cherished and valued.”
We invite all to join one of the many group or societies, or the different spiritual invite. In particular we invite all to our weekly Community Mass on Monday at 6.00 pm and our Monthly Commemoration of Mary Help of Christians and healing prayers close to the 24th of the month.
St Catherine’s continues its mission today as a place of encounter, serving young people and all who come; it cannot do so without the continued support of those who hold its mission at heart.
Fr Richard Ebejer SDB
The origins of St Catherine’s go back to 1972, when it was opened by the Sisters of Mercy as a residence for their sisters studying in Maynooth, naming it in honour of their foundress Venerable Catherine McAuley.
It was in 1991, when the Sisters of Mercy had decided to withdraw from the campus, that Fr Michael Ross, who was University Chaplain at the time, was able to acquire St Catherine’s and started a school of English, which soon became very busy with its intake of students. Over the years (and up to the present moment) quite a large number of Salesian missionaries learnt their first rudiments of English here, and are now serving on the missions all over the world.
Hand in hand with this, he also started the initial devotional activities, which the following year in 1992, with the help of Joe Kennedy and others, flourished beyond expectations. St Catherine’s became a devotional centre with different prayer groups coming for prayer and adoration in the evening. It soon became a hub of activity, providing prayer ministry, healing services and professional counselling. Also the family tree retreats were undertaken.
In 1997 Salesian formation was moved to Dublin. This resulted that other Salesian confreres, who until then were resident in Salesian House, also moved to St Catherine’s. By October 2004 the frantic activity had its toll on Fr Ross and he needed a sabbatical. The running of St Catherine’s passed on to Fr Eunan McDonnell, while the Language School was moved to Milford, Limerick. While the evening devotional and prayer ministry continued, the Salesians now saw St Catherine’s as also an evangelizing outreach to the college students and vocation animation. St Catherine’s started to take in lay students as residents, while it continued to host foreign Salesians as they did their language studies at the SVD School of English.
To make better provision for university students and the community an extensive refurbishment of the whole structure was undertaken in the summer of 2009, while Fr Paddy Hennessy became priest-in-charge. All rooms were made ensuite, all windows were double glazed, the kitchen completely overhauled and a new dining room for residents was provided. The former dining room now became a student Common Room, equipped with pool table, television, easy chairs and musical instruments, while tea and coffee for students who dropped in was made available.
In 2014, St Catherine’s again hosted our Salesians in Formation with Fr Koenraad Van Gucht as Rector. Their presence enhanced the Salesian presence on Campus and the outreach given. The community also took on Chaplaincy services in Maynooth Post-Primary School which was provided by Fr Eunan McDonnell who became Rector in 2016. With his appointment as Provincial of Salesians in Ireland, Fr Richard Ebejer is now director of St Catherine’s. A youth volunteer helps in coordinating the youth outreach, which supports the pastoral care that is already provided by the College.
CREATE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT where young people can experience a sense of belonging in a family atmosphere.
PROMOTE A FAITH ENVIRONMENT in which young people are invited to explore and live out their faith through various programmes, speakers, trips, seminars, healing services, reconciliation, Eucharistic adoration.
FACILITATE A CULTURE OF REFLECTION where young people can have a space and time for silence, reflection, and prayer.
ENHANCE A LISTENING ATTITUDE facilitated through mentors and guides who accompany young people in listening to their life questions and questions of faith, helping them deepen their faith perspective.
ENCOURAGE FAITH IN ACTION through service to other young people and to those in need.
Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) aims to foster the Christian and human maturing of young people in accordance with Don Bosco’s recommendations for a Christian life. We promote collegiality among groups, in order to assist them in the task of formation according to Salesian educational and pastoral principles.
St Catherine’s Society provides a common room for members where students can come to meet, relax, play pool, heat food and have some complimentary tea and coffee. Open Monday – Friday 1-5pm
Bosco Soc is a discussion group for students, to tackle questions otherwise not asked, while having a laugh over a cup of tea. Talks based around understanding of life and Existence, with a focus towards God. Meetings every fortnight on Wednesday 7.30 pm.
MU Legion of Mary helps members to grow in faith together through community, prayer and campus outreach, such as lightfever, bible study and trips together. Prayer and discussion during meeting followed by a cup of tea and a chat. Mondays at 4 – 5pm
Charismatic: Our meeting consists of praise and worship hymns before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament along with sharing on the Scriptures. Tuesdays 19:30 in the Chapel
Youth2000 Prayer Meeting consists of Eucharistic adoration, Rosary and Sunday Gospel reflection with hymns. Tea and bickies after! Mondays at 19:30 in the Chapel
Marian Movement for Priests Inspired by Our Lady’s messages to Fr Gobi, we pray for priests through Eucharistic adoration, Rosary and reflection from the blue book. Sun & Fri 19:30.
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