Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has announced that a liturgy for leaving cert students will take place via the Saint John’s Cathedral webcam and Facebook on 3 June, the day the leaving cert was due to start. The bishop urged Leaving Cert students to stay positive and avoid feeling their hard work is now for nothing.

Speaking on the challenges and uncertainties leaving cert students face at these times, Bishop Leahy said “While for the most part the students are glad a decision has been made and that the Leaving Cert has been cancelled, nevertheless there is a fear in some that they are missing out on that rite of passage, and that their hard work has been for nothing, and their sense of achievement in some ways has been robbed of them.

“I heard one young person say, ‘an announcement was made as if this was nothing and yet it has been everything to us. It’s hard to believe that it’s all over, it’s just fizzled out’. The students had been so focused on study and now there’s just nothing. Indeed, not just nothing, young people are quite uncertain of their future.

“I am grateful to schools for doing whatever they can to mark in these coming weeks the fact of the conclusion of second level education for many of these young men and women. It is good to do so”.

Offering words of encouragement to “I would urge young people to understand that regardless of how this plays out, regardless of their feelings about the decision to postpone the Leaving Cert, it is important to realise that the Leaving Cert is not a definitive assessment of what lies ahead for them.

“Some of the most successful people in life did not have a good Leaving Cert outcome. It’s the steps immediately in front of you that matter now, not what happened yesterday.”

In conclusion, Bishop Leahy said, “The annual graduation ceremony is a kind of rite of passage, a time to look back over the years in school, an occasion of memories and prizes, good fun banters and a few tears, presentations and flowers, speeches and farewells. It isn’t easy to miss out on this big moment and the other big moments that would normally follow for people their age in the coming weeks”.

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