started working on Eucharist with my 6th Year students. It's rather late
in the year I know, but I'm trying to lead into the Graduation Mass and
make it more meaningful. It's not easy to get attention at this time of
year so it's a struggle. A few days ago I used a few useful video clips
and these really did hold the attention of the students.
First off I showed the Last Supper scene from BBC's Passion
- it's very down to earth and realistic but doesn't hedge on the Eucharist.
I take it from the start of the washing of feet scene (around 3mins 15
seconds into the clip on left) and on to where Jesus and the apostles
rise from the meal. Then I go to the post resurrection where Jesus meets
the disciples on the road to Emmaus - Jesus is played by a different actor,
which works really well I think, until they recognise him in the breaking
of bread - the Eucharist scene here matches the Last Supper scene and
showing the clips together effectively makes a point. For contrast I then
showeed the Last Supper scene from BBC's Manchester Passion - (you
can se the full video here
- the scene is 10 mins 30 secs into this video) - it's a modern setting,
with music, where Jesus uses a burger bun and a bottle of wine - sounds
"off" but I find it serious and respectful. The song used is
Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, which some of the students
knew and even sang along with in one class!
Regular readers will know I look forward to the
musical items on the show Spirit Level, the monthly religious magazine
programme on RTE 1, and once again I wasn't disappointed. There were two
soulful performers - Padraig Rushe, formerly of the Dublin Gospel Choir
sang the catchy Free Now from his new album Greyworld, while
Joseph Fitzgerald's best song was the haunting and unaccompanied "Deep".
See it all at the Spirit
I finished reading an excellent novel - Danny Gospel by American
writer David Athey. It came highly recommended and I wasn't disappointed.
It's a spiritual novel, but the touch is light, and it's not doing any
heavy evangelising. Danny Gospel, the central character, has an interesting
family background - part of a family gospel singing group, but a family
that has known great tragedy. Yet the tragedy is blended with hope, and
while at times the approach seems surreal and mystical there are no pat
solutions. At times it's achingly beautiful and at times achingly painful,
as Danny searches for meaning after the events of 9/11 leave a profound
mark on him. I love books and films where the minor characters are well
developed and this is certainly the case here. I came back every night
to the book as I would to a good thriller, and have just started re-reading
it and am enjoying it all over again, and hoping to make better sense
of what mystified me first time around. It has been well received as the
on Amazon testify (and on Amazon, with the "look inside"
feature you can even read the first 12 pages), and I'd certainly recommend
it to Religious Education teachers for their own enjoyment and inspiration.
Selected passages might also be useful for senior classes doing "search
well, I'm disappointed with the way the 24 series has turned out.
I had hoped for more of a redemption theme (see previous entry) but when
the new series started one of the first things was Jack Bauer defending
his questioning techniques (i.e. torture!) to a legal hearing, and it
was the investigator who was trying to combat human rights abuses who
came across as the fussy one! In the second episode there was a corny
scene where a young policeman driving Bauer said he thought Bauer was
getting a raw deal. The only sop to a changing attitude was Bauer saying
he wanted it all out in the open, so the public he was so patriotically
protecting could judge how far they wanted him to go. The end justifies
the means in 24 land! Ironically in another scene Bauer warns against
the dangers of compromising on standards. He should take some of his own
medicine. OK, it's still riveting drama, heightened by the trademark real-time
approach, and the new female president (a Hilary Clinton look-alike) looks
like a decent sort, concerned with human rights abuses in a fictional
African country. Also, it's early days yet, or should I say early hours,
so maybe things will improve.
US drama series 24 has returned and started on RTE last Monday
night with a two hour drama special to lead into the new series. 24:
Redemption has been out on DVD for a few months, and the cover tells
us that Jack Bauer has been working as a missionary in Africa, so I was
intrigued, as Jack has been a rather ruthless anti-terrorist agent up
to now, a bit of a fascist actually, torturing prisoners, even the innocent.
As always it was a tense and riveting drama, but I felt they could have
done more with the redemption theme. If anything, redemption comes for
a friend of Jack's who is seems to be a missionary of sorts working with
disadvantaged children in a troubled African country. Jack is helping
out at the school, though whether to make up for his sins as one character
suggests, or just to hide out from the American authorities (sleazy stereotypes
as usual!) isn't too clear. The issue of child soldiers is central to
the story and Jack certainly shows courage in defending them, but I can't
help feeling that for the programme makers this is just an excuse, a plot
on which to hang some vicious fighting and blood letting. Maybe I'm too
cynical about this. I'll watch the new series for the drama and tension,
and hope that the redemption theme is continued, but I wouldn't be hopeful
that religion teachers will find much in 24 that they can use in
class. Check out a video trailer for 24: Redemption at Amazon's
page for the DVD.
learned a lesson this week - never do a prayer servivce on April Fool's
Day! I brought a group of 1st year students to the prayer room for
service leading into Holy Week and Easter. I was all set with my music
selections and prayers, but it went pear-shaped. The students were unsettled
for April 1st, and then started acting up because allegedly there was
a spider in the room. It wasn't a pretty sight to see 1st years getting
so agitated about a spider. I assumed this was an April Fool's prank and
soldiered on with great difficulty. Later I returned on my own to the
prayer room and found the remains of a poor spider - so maybe there was
something in it. Anyway, lesson learned!