Bishop Denis Nulty launches Catholic Schools week at SS Peter & Paul's Church, Portlaiose
Portlaoise Parish Church was the setting for the launch of Irish Catholic Schools Week 2017 with a special Mass broadcast live on television across Ireland.
RTÉ broadcast Mass on Sunday morning, January 29 from SS Peter & Paul Parish Church which was celebrated by Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty.
Portlaoise Parish Priest Msgr John Byrne, who concelebrated the Mass, and his team ensured the church was resplendent for the service which marks the start of a week which celebrates the Catholic faith in schools around Ireland.
All the parish schools were involved in various aspects of the Mass. The Prayers of the Faithful were read by Oisín O'Brien, Leah Tobin, Abi O'Rourke, Kate Dowling and Luke Walsh. The Readers were Michael McNamara and Mary Bradley. The Responsorial Psalm was read by Jennifer Eghoghlo Osadolar. Local students also acted as Eucharistic Ministers while students from Scoil Chíost Rí .
Bishop Nulty thanked Msgr Byrne for facilitating the mass. He also praised the "inclusive" schools in Portlaoise.
The combined choirs of Portlaoise Parish Choir played a big part ably directed by Ann Bergin and Nuala Kelly. The cantor was Anna Bergin, soloist Michael McEvoy, piano Mary Wisely, Flute Anne Pyke and violinist Dino Hriczko.
Five of Portlaoise Parish primary schools - the Holy Family Senior and Junior schools, Scoil Bhride Knockmay, The Heath NS and Ratheniska NS - have the Catholic Church as patron.
St Francis school for children with learning disabilities, and Kolbe Special School, are also under the patronage of the Bishop. Gaelscoil Phort Laoise is independent but has a Catholic ethos.
Two secondary schools, St Mary's CBS and Scoil Chríost Rí are patroned by CÉIST.
The total population of the eight schools is now at 2,999. A substantial minority of pupils who attend Parish schools are not Catholics.