Religious Instruction for Primary Schools 1938

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Archdiocese of Tuam
Programme of Religious Instruction for Primary Schools
Infant Classes
Children under seven years of age are expected to know—as far as their age will permit:

1. How to make the sign of the Cross.

2. The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Creed, Act of Contrition.

3. Some idea of the principal Mysteries, and of sin.

Those above seven years (Infant Schools) will be expected to know:

1. The substance of the first three chapters of the Short Maynooth Catechism.

2. The Confiteor; Grace at Meals.

3. A general idea of Confession and of Holy Communion, Death, Judgement, Hell, Heaven.
The language of prayers and instructions to be that used by the parents.

Standard 1
1. More detailed knowledge of Programme for Infants; Morning Offering.

2. Simple Bible Stories as told by the teacher: Creation, Fall, Annunciation, Nativity, Holy Family at Nazareth, the Wedding at Cana, Passion, Resurrection.

Standard 2
1. First six chapters of the Short Catechism, Act of Charity, Glory be to the Father, etc.

2. A competent knowledge of the Sacrament of Penance, including preparation for the method of Confession, and of the Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist, including preparation for, and thanksgiving after, Holy Communion.

3. Simple Bible Stories as told by the teacher: The Loss and Finding in the Temple, the Calming of the Storm, the Raising to life of the widow’s son at Naim, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Ghost.

Standard 3
1. The whole of the Short Catechism.

2. Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, as in the Maynooth Catechism.

3. The Angelus, Salve Regina, mode of giving private Baptism.

4. Fuller knowledge of the Sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Eucharist.

5. Simple Bible Stories as told by the teacher: Baptism of Our Lord, Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, the raising to life of Lazarus, the Last Supper, the Stories of the Mysteries of the Rosary.

6. The ordinary prayers to be learned in Irish.

Standard 4

1. The whole of the Short Catechism with special reference to the Sacraments, and the large Maynooth Catechism, chapters I—XIII inclusive.

2. Bible Stories told by the teacher illustrating the doctrine of these chapters, (as given in The Child’s Bible History by Right Rev. F.J. Knecht, D.D.—London, B. Herder).

3. History of the Old Testament (as in The Child’s Bible History by Rt. Rev. F.J. Knecht, D.D.)

4. The Beatitudes.

Standard 5

1. The whole of the Short Catechism with special reference to the Sacraments, and the large Maynooth Catechism, chapters I—XXI inclusive.

2. Stations of the Cross, Memorare, Seven Dolours, Serving of Mass (for boys only).

3. Explanation of Benediction of the Most Holy Sacrament, and of the Rosary of the B.V.M.

4. Litany of the Blessed Virgin. Preparation of sick room for the last Sacraments.

5. Life of Our Lord, Part 1 (Canon Healy).

6. Geography of Palestine as far as it bears on the Life of Our Lord, Part 1.

Standard 6

1. The whole of the large Maynooth Catechism.

2. Life of Our Lord, Part II (Canon Healy), and Geography of Palestine relating thereto.

3. The Mass: its parts, their meaning, how to assist at Mass.

4. The Liturgical year, use of the Missal. Church Calendar recommended.

5. Principal Feasts of Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin. Feasts, Sacraments, Indulgences, the ‘En Ego’.

Standard 7

1. A competent knowledge of every part of the Programme.

2. Ceremonies of Baptism, Confirmation, Extreme Unction, Viaticum.

3. Sacred Vestments and Sacred Vessels.

4. A few fundamental ideas of the rights and duties of the individual, the family, the State, the Church.

5. Outline of Church History. (Diocesan Examiner to recommend textbook).

Standard 8

1. The complete programme of preceding classes.

2. Outline of History of Church.

3. The Cardinal Virtues, and the Seven Deadly Sins in some detail.

Sacred Music

All schools will be examined annually in the following programme:

1. Benediction Service. Salve Regina.

2. One Irish and one English hymn from the following: Ar nAthair, Mo Ghrádh ‘sa mo Dhia, Gile mo Chroídhe, Beannacht leat, Soul of My Saviour, Jesus My Lord, Hail Queen of Heaven.

All teachers are earnestly requested to cooperate with the effort which is being made to promote Plain Chant throughout the diocese.

Irish Speaking Schools.

1. The Provincial Synod (No. 136) says: “We earnestly wish that Catechism be taught in the Irish language in every school in the whole province where it is understood by the Children”.

2. Either Dr. McHale’s, or Dr. O’Flaherty’s Irish Catechism may be used. But, whichever Catechism be used, the amount of knowledge required in each standard will be that outlined in the above programme.


1. In every inspection by the Diocesan Examiner the pupils will be expected to know not only the programme for their own class but also the programme for the previous classes.

2. In explaining the Maynooth Catechism a Companion to the Catechism is necessary. The explanation should be prior to memorising.

Sacred Scripture may be drawn on to illustrate and vivify a large portion of the Catechism.

3. The short Bible Stories for the Junior Classes will be found in The Child’s Bible History (Knecht).

4. There ought to be a map of Palestine in each school.

5. Children of the 4th and higher standards should form the school choir and sing in a single group.

6. It is earnestly recommended that the work of the school should be concluded each day by singing in common of the Salve Regina or some other hymn.

7. True education requires that the character of the pupils should be formed in accordance with the law of God, made known to us by Reason and Revelation. Not only then should the pupils receive adequate Religious Instruction but a religious spirit should animate the whole life and work of the school. The teacher should inculcate the practice of charity, truthfulness, justice. obedience, of lawful authority, and all other virtues. The school day should begin by prayer.

THOMAS, Archbishop of Tuam. March, 1938.

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About this record

Written by Thomas, Archbishop of Tuam, March, 1938

Published here 05 Feb 2021

Page 253 of the The Carnaun Centenary Book archive.

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