On Wednesday 17th April 2024 in the octave of Easter, Chevalier Thomas Kilduff, KC*HS, the Communications Officer for the Lieutenancy of Ireland, visited four National Schools in the Parish of Kingscourt, in the Diocese of Meath.

The invitation was at the initiative of the local Parish Priest, Very Rev’d Gerard MacCormack, KHS, to meet with the students and teachers to discuss the Humanitarian Aid distributed by the Order to the Christian communities  in Gaza and the Holy Land.

The visits were in spiritual preparation of the students to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the topics included the Holy Land, the Christian communities who live there and the suffering of the inhabitents arising from the current conflict.

The schools were Corlea N.S.: Carrickleck N.S.: Muff N.S. and St Joseph’s N.S. Kingscourt. 

The students decided to fund raise, by means of a uniform-free ‘fun day’ at each school and collected a very substantial sum over €700 which they chose to donate to 3 specific benefactors, namely: the Holy Family Latin Parish Church in Gaza; St Vincent’s Daughters of Charity Créche and Hogar Nìños Dios Special Needs School both located in Bethlehem,  for distribution via the Grand Magisterium to the intended benefactors.

Separately, the parishioners of Kingscourt donated an additional sum of €1,700, which in total amounted to a very generous donation of €2,400 which will benefit the  ‘living stones’ who are most in need at this current time.

The  Communications Officer visited each of the four National Schools to give an age-appropriate PowerPoint presentation to the school children, who ranged in age, from 4 to 12 years. Both the school children and teachers expressed great interest in learning both about the Order and also about the Holy Land. Copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available on request, as a resource, which may be used and amended as required to benefit other Lieutenancies.

It was a very humbling experience to witness the awareness, enthusiasm and love that such young school children have for their Christian faith and indeed for their less fortunate brothers and sisters in Christ.

Owing to the success of this initiative,  the Lieutenancy intends to follow up with more school visits, both at a National and Senior level. The involvement of members, both lay and clerical, will be encouraged to ensure the most successful outcome to raise the profile of the Order; the existence of the Christian communities in the Holy Land and to raise awareness of the importance of prayer, daily remembrance and financial aid to support the ‘living stones’ at this time of most need.