“To Sing is to Pray Twice”
(St Augustime, 430 AD)
The Confirmation ceremony in Scoil Mhuire, Ballincollig took place on Thursday, May 9th. Bishop John Buckley confirmed the two sixth classes. Fr George O’Mahony, Fr Dave O’Connell and Fr John Buckley, an uncle of one the pupils, concelebrated the Mass. Bishop Buckley welcomed the girls, their extended families and sponsors who had come from near and far to be present for the ceremony.
This was a moving and uplifting ceremony, a feast of singing, music and prayer. There were Irish, Latin, English and Italian songs ranging from traditional to contemporary styles. Soloists, duets, small and whole groups sang beautifully. The sixth class pupils were backed by the fifth class choir.
Highlights in the varied repertoire included the 1,000 year old Gregorian chant, ‘Veni Creator’; Taizé’s own ‘Confitemini Domino’ sung in dulcet harmony; the students’ favourite ‘Laschia Ch’io Pianga’; the poignant Communion reflection ‘Unexpected Song’:
“Now no matter where I am, no matter what I do,
The love of God the Father comes,
Like an unexpected song, an unexpected song that only we are hearing”.
Many in the congregation commented on the surprise element in the selection of songs and music: every part of the ceremony brought a new unexpected musical or singing treat! The ceremony finished on a high note with the up-tempo song of praise ‘Celebrate’. ‘Celebrate’ was written by Australian catechist, Monica Browne. Earlier this school year, Monica worked with the sixth class students in workshops on meditation and music. The teachers and students devised their own actions to this song. It was a lively finish to an unforgettable occasion.
There was also an accompanying feast of music: maracas, tingling triangles, wood blocks, tambourines, chime bars as well as a tin whistle band from fourth class who gave beautiful performances of ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Morning has Broken’. Two young violinists from fifth class played poignant Irish airs that they had previously played for the President, Michael D. Higgins when he visited Ballincollig.
The pupils were prepared by their class teachers, Margo Ní Shúilleabháin and Claire Ní Bhriain as well as Scoil Mhuire teacher, Helen Ní Ailíosa who accompanied the girls on the Church organ.
Girls being girls, there was also a very high level of sartorial elegance!
No detail was left unattended to as the girls shone in a range of exquisite styles and hairdos. There are many ways to praise God and to celebrate this milestone in the girls’ spiritual development.