This year Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure took place in Christ Church in Lisburn. Connor’s Diocesan Children’s council worked in partnership with Christ Church clergy and parishioners to host the event for local schools and the community.
We had 3 days where local schools were invited to come along and take part in our story trail based on the life of our patron saint Patrick. The story trail led the audience around 7 different zones each depicting a different stage of Patrick’s life. The schools also participated in a history and an art workshop.
The schools taking part in the event were Old Warren, Brownlee, Central, Tonagh, Knockmore and Wallace Prep. We also had 2 schools who had participated last year -Broughshane Primary and St. Patrick’s Loughguile who loved the trip so much they asked if they could come again with this year’s P5 classes.
When the school children arrived, they were welcomed and then split into two groups, one doing the workshops first and the other beginning with the story trail.
The story trail began with a visit to Patrick’s childhood home; a Roman villa likely to have been located somewhere along the west coast of Britain. The children met Patrick’s parents who were looking for Patrick and filled everyone in on the kind of boy Patrick was -full of life and mischief and not always listening and obeying his parents. They were then taken on to the next zone where they met Patrick just at the point where Irish pirates arrive to take him away on a boat bound for Ireland and 6 years of slavery. The children and teachers were taken on the boat along with Patrick and had to row to Ireland singing sea shanties. The trail continued with Patrick’s life as a slave in Ireland, his escape, journey back home and eventual calling by God to come back to Ireland as a missionary. Finally they saw Bishop Patrick in Ireland teaching the Irish the good news of Jesus and learned about his lasting legacy in Ireland.
This year we were fortunate to have Spencer Cusack from the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick leading our history workshop. Spencer was very knowledgeable about all things Patrick and was able to fill the children in on what life in Roman Britain and in Ireland was like during Patrick’s time. He also spoke about Patrick’s experiences as a slave, his church and legacy and his grave in Downpatrick.
In the art workshop, the children drew an Irish Celtic cross onto canvas using carbon paper to transfer the image. They were reminded of the legend of how Patrick taught the Irish people by using their own holy symbol of the sun and adding the Christian cross. It is said that that is how the Celtic cross was first drawn.
The schools also took part in snake drawing and snake modelling competitions before the trip. All entries were displayed as part of the exhibition and the prize winners were announced during the school visits. All the pupils also took a goody bag away with them.
Our thanks to all the schools who participated and especially to the teachers for organising their pupils so well. The pupils were so well behaved and took part in everything with enthusiasm and it was a pleasure to have them along.
This was the first year that we had an evening for youth organisations. Victoria Jackson who is on our Children’s Council is the Development Officer for CLCGB and she organised for some of the local brigades to come along on Thursday evening. As well as the Christ Church brigade, other brigades who joined us were, St. Michael’s Shankill Road, Lambeg, St Hilda’s Seymour Hill, and St. Matthew’s Broomhedge. Our thanks to all the leaders who brought their children along.