Observing Holy Days in school hours

Dear Editor, As a recently retired secondary teacher of religious education amongst other subjects I, like Alan Whelan (IC Letters 23/1/14), entered the public debate in recent years on Catholic schools opening on the designated Holy Days of Obligation to attend Mass. At this stage of the debate I can see merit on both sides of the argument that was very respectfully engaged in on The Joe Duffy Show on The feast of the Epiphany and the following day. 

From listening to several contributors the consensus that emerged appears that National Schools who opened on January 6 organised to bring their pupils to Mass in their local church while the post primary schools appear in the main to have ignored the significance of the Epiphany and made no provision for their pupils or indeed their staff to attend Mass during school hours.

In the next few months school principals along with their staff will be planning next year’s timetable. December 8 (feast of The Immaculate Conception) will fall on a Monday while the feast of the Epiphany (2015) will be celebrated on a Tuesday. As Church Holy Days in the past were regarded as ‘Red Letter Days’, now is the time for committed Catholic school principals, staff and parents to plan that these days should not be regarded as a normal school day.

Yours etc.,

Frank Burke,


Dublin 6W.