Supporting Secondary Schools
in Understanding and Living their Ethos
The Parable Garden Education Project is based in a special place near Curracloe, Co Wexford. Located in a walled garden beside the seashore there are lovely walks in the forests, over the hills and along the beach. We offer opportunities and experiences for individuals and groups to reflect on their lives and to draw from spiritual wellsprings. Each day at the Parable Garden includes an engaging mix of short film presentations, audio walks, conversations, rituals and time for personal reflection.
We have developed day experiences to support Secondary Schools in understanding and living their ethos. The days are available at the Parable Garden, in Curracloe, Co Wexford and at the Star of the Sea Retreat Centre, Mullaghmore, Co Sligo. Days begin at 10.30am and end at 3.30pm (earlier start and finish can be facilitated) with lunch included.
Each of these day experiences is based on the principle that the spiritual life of those involved in secondary schools must be developed and nurtured as they seek to give life to the ethos of the school. Three experiences are currently available.
1. A day for school leaders where, through conversation and reflection, they can imagine their school ethos as a life-giving resource.
2. A day for RE teachers to revisit the wellsprings that underpin their work in a time of change and challenge.
Come and See
What was it that attracted the first followers of Jesus to his teachings? What was it about his person and message that created such magnetism around him? As many people drift away from Christian belief the experience ‘Come and See’ offers participants an insight into the energy that surrounded the prophet from Nazareth.
Through film, ritual, story and an audio walk, the earliest narratives and metaphors that form part of the ministry of Jesus are broken open and revisited for a contemporary audience.
Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, good news to the poor but what are the spiritual messages carried within these prophetic actions?
Sometimes you don’t need sight to see, you need vision.
Come and see.
Who is this experience for? Any individual or group delving further into the significance of Jesus Christ and the call to follow him.
In every religion and culture there are rites of passage. Through them the individual is formed as a member of a community and a society. But these rites can lose their meaning as later generations forget the original story and participation in the rituals appears to be more part of custom and folklore rather than of any real, personal significance. Yet the possibility remains of re-experiencing the original energy and drama that gave birth to these rituals.
For Christians the foundational rite of passage is baptism. Extraordinary claims are made about the power of this ritual. But as most people were baptised as infants a lot of questions arise about its significance for later adult life. What is the abundant new life that is promised in baptism and how can it effect life today? Can a contemporary adult rediscover some deeper meaning in his/her infant baptism?
Something happens in the roots of our reality at the moment of baptism. A doorway is opened, a font is unsealed, new life begins. Something inside is unmasked.
‘Be Opened’ immerses participants into the richness of baptismal imagery through word, ritual, art and story.
Who is this experience for? Any individual or group wishing to reflect on the significance of baptism for adult living such as members of Parish Pastoral Councils and those involved in various ministries.
Take Bless Break Give
These four simple words are central to the Eucharist. During this experience these words are used to interpret the meaning of the Mass. A contemplative shares the journey she was taken on. A farmer reflects on the blessedness of a good harvest. A theologian sheds light on the brokenness at the heart of all of human life. A housewife discusses what it means to give.
‘Take Bless Break Give’ places the Eucharist firmly within the context of ordinary human life and reveals the echo of the sacrament in the everyday.
Seated at the table and later along a seashore walk, this experience opens new horizons on the most ancient and central of Christian rituals.
Who is this experience for? Those seeking a deeper understanding of the Eucharist including people involved in the various ministries and roles at the parish Mass.
Who were the Celts and what are the features of Celtic Spirituality? This experience travels through time and explores some exciting locations in Ireland to explore our Celtic origins. From a holy well in Co. Sligo to a sacred site in Co. Meath the dynamics of an ancient world vision are seen to rhyme and resonate with modern needs.
Using the landscape of the hilltop, forest and seashore, participants can discover how the natural rhythms of the seasons reveal what lay at the heart of the spiritual consciousness of our forebears.
What are the key characteristics of the Celtic mindset? What distinguished the Celtic world from its Roman neighbour? Have these questions any relevance for people today?
In the open air of a seashore walk, in the depths of an ancient grove and amidst the scent of pine, reawaken the ancient insights that connect us all to the natural landscape, the Divine and each other.
Who is this experience for? Anyone interested in discovering more about the spiritual world of the Celtic imagination.
The Pilgrim Path
What is it about the physical journey of the exterior that echoes with the spiritual journey of the interior? Pilgrimage is common to all religions and spiritual traditions. So what is its drawing power?
Pilgrimage continues to be one of the most popular expressions for modern men and women in search of inner meaning and fulfillment. From the ancient paths to Rome and Jerusalem to the Irish routes to Croagh Patrick and Lough Derg, pilgrims have gone in search of the sacred and the transcendent.
Using film footage, walks and a workshop presentation, this experience acts as a Camino into the heart of our inner longings. There is guided reflection on the importance of threshold experiences and the energy that can emerge from them.
This is truly a journey for the soul, an experience for the spirit.
Who is this experience for? Suited to all and especially those preparing to go on, or returning from, a significant pilgrimage.