Sep 5, 2018

World Meeting of Families 2018

Coláiste Bríde were honoured to play a role as a host school to nearly 400 volunteers from fellow CEIST schools as part of the CEIST commitment to supporting the World Meeting of the Family 2018.  We were delighted to give a strong Clondalkin welcome to our visitors by our school team of volunteers.  A special thank you to Fr. Damien & Fr. Bala for officiating the special blessing ceremony that CEIST had planned for us.

On Saturday afternoon, the convoy of packed buses set off for the Phoenix Park after each and every volunteer was bedecked in their colourful neckscarves which helped identify our 1,500 volunteers from CEIST schools apart from the other volunteers.

The specific role assigned to us was to carry umbrellas over the blessed Eucharist during the mass with Pope Francis.

Entering the site for the Papal mass was very exciting, hearing the choirs practice, seeing the alter and the Papal Cross, learning which zone or chapel we were to work out of for Sunday.  After a tour of the site, we burst open the boxes which contained our uniforms and again the sense of excitement, expectation and enthusiasm heightened.

On returning to the school Ms. Ronan and her team did an amazing job in organizing dinner for everyone with a local catering company.  Evening entertainment saw everyone mix up at the Céilí or taking a few minutes to watch the Festival of Families coverage from Croke Park before lights out for the early wake-up call at 4.30am as buses were due to leave at 5.30am to drop us off at 6.00am.   Sunday morning downpours saw everyone huddle in tents and keep the spirits going as we waited for the rain to stop.  Lo and behold at about 10am as the first arrivers entered the park, the rain stopped!  Halleluiah!!

Our school were ideally situated at the Chapelizod and Islandbridge entrance routes so we met many parents, past pupils, former staff and Clondalkin people as they sought advice from us as volunteers to find their zones for the mass.  For hours we helped people, carried out specific duties at Communion time, lined the way as the Popemobile passed us, we gave directions, had a laugh and very much felt proud to be part of the team of volunteers, proud to be part of the CEIST family and that sense of achievement in helping make the occasion so memorable.  Wrecked, exhausted, exhilarated, proud!

I wish to commend all our amazing student volunteers who committd to the World Meeting of Families 2018, some of our students also worked in the RDS in the days prior to the Saturday and Sunday in the Phoenix park.  The leadership and role-modeling by our teachers, Ms. Dooley, Ms. Kelly, Ms. Mallen, Ms. Govern was exemplary and inspirational.  I thank Mr. McEntegart, Ms. O'Brien and Ms. Ronan for helping to plan and organize the smooth and successful event in our school over the weekend.  A huge amount of credit goes to the CEIST family, in particular Marie, Gerry, Rosemary who liaised with us constantly in making this special event become a reality and Madeline from WMOF who had special responsibility for organizing school involvement.  An unforgettable experience!

Please visit our WMOF page in the Gallery to see what an amazing weekend we had.

Marie-Thérese Kilmartin


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