Niomhi February Blog
Time is going ever so quick with lent begun and it’s now the countdown until the Easter holidays. As for anyone, being a student during lent is no different it is a time to make a sacrifice , give up something while for others it is a time to do something positive in their lives, either to address personal habits that need work or to add some outreach to others in need.
Many students in Belfast may choose to avail of the mass services provided in the Catholic Chaplaincy (Elmwood Avenue) with mass available daily at 12.15pm, during lent there is an additional mass for students wishing to rise early and attend mass before lectures this is on at 8.30am.
I often feel that people tend to think that many students drift on their faith while at university however I felt that last year on Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Chaplaincy it was clear for all to see that this was not the case. While I was at home this year for Ash Wednesday I’m sure it portrayed the same positive image as last year. On Ash Wednesday there are five masses- two in the morning, one mid day and two in the evening. This allows all students to have the opportunity to attend a service and receive their ashes to begin their own personal Lenten journey. Last year I attended the first evening service where both the chapel and hall were filled to capacity. As we came out of the chapel it was visible to see that many students value their faith as they were queued along Elmwood Avenue and as Father Gary said in his ceremony it was the one day in the year where the queue was going in the opposite direction- it was going from the Chaplaincy to the Bot/Parlour and not from the Bot/ Parlor to the Chaplaincy! This gave me a sense of relief that while students are gaining their own independence living away from home that they are not forgetting their true values and duties of faith.
Over the past two weeks I have been ditching my night social life and replacing it with late nights preparing lessons. I am enjoying the experience of teaching practice where I will spend my time until Easter. I am enjoying the challenges of the experience of working within a school environment the late nights combined with early mornings. Meanwhile I believe I missed a big day in the Holylands on 20th February where the students performed the Harlem Shake.
In March I think one thing comes to mind especially in Ireland the Feast of St Patrick. St Patrick’s Day and the Holylands has become an issue in previous years and it has in fact drawn bad press to the area as a result. Let’s hope this year that that the St.Patricks day and the days leading up to it are treated with respect from the students living in this area. Also as St.Patricks day is approaching there are many events happening to support the Michaela Foundation and one of which I am aware of is the Afternoon Tea for Michaela with an Irish Theme happening in The Downshire Arms Hotel Hilltown on Saturday 16th March starting at 1 O’clock. It should be a fun filled afternoon with Irish Music, dancers and stories so I would encourage you if your in the area to come along and show your support.