Katie Taylor – a Religious Educator in the Public Square?

katie taylor

“Katie Taylor is a female boxer, which is rare enough, but she is also a born again Christian and unafraid to talk about her faith. Among young Irish people that makes her even rarer than a female boxer.”

The above quote was found within an article on www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/when-irishwoman-katie-taylor-goes-for-olympic-gold-i-wont-be-watching-152528205-238132771.html and although I did not necessarily agree with what the author had to say overall I couldn’t help but be drawn to these particular words. It sums up exactly why I believe Katie Taylor can be viewed as a Religious Educator within the public square for two reasons. Firstly, she has strength (female boxer, strong faith) which many Irish young people lack in their faith today. Secondly, she is unafraid (female boxer, public expression of faith) which is in deep contrast to many Irish young people who would rather you asked them to show you the colour of their underwear than their religious orientation.

*Katie Taylor is a born-again Christian and attends St. Mark’s Pentecostal Church, Pearse Street, Dublin.*She attends Mass every Sunday with her parents.

*She was first coached in boxing by her father at age 12.

*She has won four gold medals at the World Amateur Championships and five gold medals at the European Amateur Championships.

*She was a gold medal winner at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Katie finds comfort and inspiration from the below passages during her training:

It is God that equipped me with strength and made my way perfect. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.  He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.  Psalm 18

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary And grant you support from Zion.  May he remember all your sacrifices And accept your burnt offerings.  May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  May we shout for joy over your victory And lift up our banners in the name of our God. Psalm 20 

After her semi-final win at the Olympics London 2012 Katie said the following: 

katie taylor semi final

“It was a great win. An Olympic final tomorrow, what can I say. God is great. He is my shield, my strength. Glory to God. I have to go and be focused for tomorrow and forget about today. It’s a different fight altogether.”
After winning Gold at the Olympics in London 2012 Katie said the following: 
olympic win 3
olympic win 2
“I’m an Olympic champion. I’ve dreamed of this moment so many times before and now I’m here I just can’t believe the grace of God in my life right now. I just want to thank everyone for all their prayers, I’ve said it there yesterday aswell but all the prayers over the last week, I’d be nothing without God and I’m here because of the grace of God in my life and because of, you know, Jesus in my life, without him I’d be nothing really. So, praise God, thank you Jesus for such a great victory today.”
So why is Katie Taylor an example of Religious Education in the Public Square? 
*She is leading young people by example to not be afraid to express their faith in their everyday life.
*She is inspiring all young people to speak about their faith regardless of which religious background they come from.
*She has opened the doors for young people to re-engage with their faith and to openly discuss it with those around them at home and within the classroom.
*She is highlighting that our faith can have a place in all aspects of our lives.

*She teaches young people that their faith can be a source of guidance, inspiration and motivation.

According to leading sports psychologist Dr. Olivia Hurley:  

“When she talks about God and the angels being in the ring with her, she really means it. She is empowered by her beliefs. And when she speaks of how people’s prayers have helped her; there’s no doubt in my mind that she derives huge support from that. Some sports people look up to other figures in sport for inspiration or read motivational books like Lance Armstrong’s (It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life) to help them compete and Katie does much the same, except her icon is God and her motivational reading is the Bible.“

I believe young people in Ireland should not be afraid or ashamed to feel the same empowerment from their faith as Katie Taylor and to utilise it in their everyday lives. 🙂

olympic win

Nativity of Jesus activities for Junior Cycle Religious Education

 

cartoon nativity

 

The below tasks would be useful in a junior cycle Religious Education classroom and appear most suited to First and Second Year students as helpful ways for them to learn about and understand the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning this brings to Christmas Day.

 

TASK 1

Copy and complete these sentences into your book, filling in the missing words. The words you might need are written below.

At Christmas time, Christians celebrate the birth of baby _______. Jesus was born in a town called _____________. He was born in a __________ because there was no room in the inn.

His parents ______ and ________ had to travel a long way before Jesus was born so they could register in Bethlehem.

Joseph      Jesus        Bethlehem         Stable      Mary

TASK 2

When Jesus was born, the shepherds were out on the hillside looking after their sheep. Suddenly hundreds of angels appeared to them telling them that Jesus had been born. 

Imagine that you are one of the shepherds who saw the angels appear. Write a letter to your friend telling them what you saw and what happened when you went to see the baby Jesus.

How did you feel? Were you afraid? Excited? Happy? Amazed?

 

TASK 3
Answer these questions in full sentences

1. Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel all the way to Bethlehem?

2. What kind of dangers do you think Mary and Joseph might have faced on their journey through the desert on the donkey?

3. How do you think Mary felt when she was told she had to have her baby in a stable with the animals?

4. How do you think the three Wise Men felt after their long journey when they finally found the baby Jesus?

 

TASK 4

Draw 4-6 boxes in your book and create a picture timeline of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. You could include Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the visit of the three wise men, Jesus is born and the angels appearing to the shepherds.

 

iMOM Nativity Story Cards 1

 

Merry Christmas 🙂

 

Christmas traditions in Romania VS Christmas traditions in Ireland

christmas romania

As my search for fun Christmas ideas for the classroom continues I came across an interesting comparison lesson on the Christmas traditions in Romania and the Christmas traditions in Scotland. For the purposes of this blog I have slightly tweaked the lesson by replacing Christmas traditions in Scotland with Christmas traditions in Ireland however feel free to compare the Romanian traditions with whichever traditions suit your school community. I found this lesson idea on http://www.tes.co.uk and additional worksheets can be found there to accompany the lesson. I think it is an excellent chance for students to see how Christmas is celebrated in both similar and different ways around the world and also a chance for students to embrace the culture of another.

merry christmas

Christmas fun for the History Classroom!

christmas

This day next week Santa Claus will have been and gone, presents will have been exchanged and opened and the turkey should already be in the oven! Yes, this day next week is CHRISTMAS DAY! So in the spirit of the holiday season I went in search of some fun Christmas ideas for the classroom. For many the school term comes to an end this week so why not have a bit of fun with your students whilst learning some new and surprising facts about the history of some of the most recognisable characteristics of Christmas? For those of you like myself who are not teaching at the moment there is no harm in taking a sneak peek at these excellent PowerPoint Presentations which I found on http://www.Tes.co.uk and making a note of them for the next time you will be in the classroom over the festive season.

Merry Christmas 🙂

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merry christmas