Letter Issued To Schools Re. Holydays of Obligation

15 April 2005

To Chairpersons and Boards of Management of National Schools under the patronage of the Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross.

Dear Chairperson,
Re: Holydays of Obligation
The Irish Episcopal Conference recently decided that the ultimate decision about whether or not a school opens on Church Holydays should be made at Board of Management level, in consultation with the Trustees/Patrons of the School, and that this decision should also be made in consultation with other Boards of Management in the area. Should a Catholic School decide to open for the instruction of pupils on Church Holydays, the Irish Episcopal Conference encourages the school community to attend Mass within the school day where feasible. The opportunity might also be availed of to provide a good Catechesis for the preparation and celebration of the Holyday. The National Catechetical Office will ensure the preparation of age appropriate materials for parishes and school communities. The position in this Diocese is that the most desirable situation is that schools would mark the Holydays by not opening on that day. It may not always be possible to achieve that situation and in that case the Patron would encourage your school to give serious consideration to the views of the Irish Episcopal Conference on how to mark the day. I thank you for the work you and your Board are doing and indeed the entire staff in the provision of educational services to the children of your school.
With kind regards,
Yours sincerely,

Fr. Patrick McCarthy,
Diocesan Secretary for Education.