A Message from the Chaplain:

My name is Fr. James McSweeney. I am the school chaplain in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí. My main role as chaplain in our school is to journey with students and staff on our own particular and unique journey. At the heart of this also is our faith journey, embracing the beauty and wonderful opportunities our faith journey presents while also respecting difference. At the heart of Chaplaincy in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí is a ‘gentle presence’ in the school and with that to be available to staff, students and families. The image of a lighthouse is one that I particularly like. A lighthouse is a constant landmark that is visible and valued. At night it is even more visible, protecting and reassuring. In our school my role as the school chaplain is to be visible and available at all times. The chaplain works within a caring, respectful and compassionate school atmosphere where every person feels accepted, trusted and valued. The chaplain is there as a friend or as an “Anam Chara” to all students, journeying with them on their significant journey through our school. (Anam Chara always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light.)

Mission Statement:

My mission statement takes its inspiration from Matthew’s Gospel (5:14) where Jesus reminds us that we are a special and significant light, to be proud of that light and to let it shine for everyone to see. My mission statement is as follows:

“At the heart of Chaplaincy here in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí is a gentle presence in our school. Like a lighthouse, I as your school chaplain am with you every step of the way. I am with you during all the good times but also with you in darker and difficult days too. I will do my best to be a constant light that supports and encourages you on your daily journey. I will help you to know that you are uniquely loved and precious in God’s eyes today and always.”

Ministry to Students:

  • Involved in the organization of the 1st Year Mass, the Graduation Mass and the Christmas Carol Service.
  • Retreats/Prayer Services/Masses in the Prayer Room.
  • Embracing Mindfulness and helping students to make space for quiet time and allowing students to just be. We have a beautiful Prayer Room to facilitate this quiet space.
  • Meeting students individually or in smaller groups, often with a cup of tea, to offer support, to be there to listen, to be non-judgmental and on occasions to offer helpful guidance or advice be it pastoral or spiritual.
  • Celebrating the seasons of Advent and Lent including the Sacrament of Reconciliation as part of this journey.
  • Promoting social justice through charity work with Trocaire, Saint Vincent de Paul and the Simon Community.
  • Teaching Junior and Senior Cycle Religious Education (non-exam).
  • Responsible for Young Pioneers within Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí.
  • A presence in the canteen/yard/corridors before school, during small break and at lunch time.
  • Facilitating the making and blessing of St Brigid Crosses, the blessing of the throats on the feast of St. Blaise, the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday and marking many other significant occasions on our liturgical calendar.
  • Involvement with student events and extra-curricular activities.
  • Building relationships and good community spirit.
  • Crisis intervention and grief/bereavement support.
  • Making referrals as appropriate.

Ministry to Staff:

  • Liaison with specialist teachers – Guidance Counselors, School Completion Programme, Class Tutors, Year Heads, Principal and Deputy Principal.
  • To be a resource and spiritual support for the staff.
  • To support Religious Education teachers.
  • Confidential listener.
  • Ministry in the Community.
  • Support, care and concern for students and their families in the home as well as in the school.
  • Available to meet with parents at the school.
  • Creating links between the school and the local parish.
  • Co-operation with youth and community workers.
  • Liaison with Social services and other caring agencies.

Chaplains mission in Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí:

The chaplain is appointed by the Diocese of Cork and Ross and acts on behalf of the Diocese, continuing a tradition of Catholic education in Bantry.

The most relevant analogy of the role of Chaplain is that of the Road to Emmaus story, the accompaniment story for all Christians. Like Jesus, the Chaplain meets people in their present situation, walks with them, acknowledges their fears/needs/hopes and supports them in their spiritual development. The Chaplain is in the privileged position of facilitating a student’s personal reflection on their lives and their relationship with God, in a context of respect and understanding

Time is given to the individual to support them in articulating who they are and what is going on in their lives at present. Student’s development of a positive self-image is a key aim for the Chaplain.


Chaplain: Fr. James Mc Sweeney.

Appointed by the co-trustees: The Diocese of Cork and Ross and Cork Education and Training Board.


Address: Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, Seskin, Bantry, Co. Cork.

Phone: (027) 56434

Email: or check out