A little bit about Shekinah

About Shekinah

Thu 17/11/2016

Shekinah is a training programme for adults who wish to facilitate youth retreats or other youth ministry programmes.

The Shekinah course ethos is rooted in in scripture and the message of Jesus but with a profoundly practical interpretation to help Shekinah graduates reach new levels of awareness to engage better with the youth of today.

Shekinah is a Hebrew word that means ‘the light of God’s presence’. In Jewish and Christian theology Shekinah is the glory of the divine presence, conventionally represented as light or interpreted symbolically as a divine feminine aspect.

Young people seek out role models from their peers, siblings, parents and grandparents, an effective retreat team ideally embraces all age groups and backgrounds to best model the reality of the Church as a community.  The methodology and tenor of Shekinah is deeply influenced by the living pedagogy and practice of St John Bosco, founder of the Salesians and patron saint of young people.

The Story of Shekinah

Shekinah was started in 2005 by Jennifer Perkins (a Salesian Sister). The course was developed in response to a shortage of traditional school retreat personnel and teams. The aim was to provide interested adults of any age and background an opportunity to gain professional accreditation in youth retreat facilitation skills and to better engage with young people in their faith journey.


  • I am happy and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to do this course.  I have learned a great deal and have found it all very beneficial, both from a parenting point of view and in my work with young people.  (A Parent of Teenagers)
  • The course provided so many methodologies for interacting with and facilitating young people using drama, music, film, art, small group interactions, ice-breakers and much more (Youth Minister)   
  • The many presentations gave me a real insight into issues that were unfamiliar to me, even though I was a teenager not so long ago.(A student of Theology)
  • The Shekinah course provided me with skills and resources that helped me be a better teacher. (RE Teacher)
  • The course gives a firm foundation and a solid structure for engaging with young people.  I was able to introduce meditation into the parish and we have also used audio-visuals in various liturgies which have enhanced the liturgical life of the parish and are popular with young and old. (A Parish Priest)
  • Pope Francis often mentions the joy of the Gospel when he talks about young people.  The Shekinah course inspired me to help young people recognise and live that joy in their busy lives.  (Chaplain) 


St. Patrick’s College Maynooth is the certifying body for accreditation of the course. Both the diploma and certificate courses are approved by

the National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ)



Practical experience

Diploma students must organize their own placement (4 retreat days in school/parish) 2 of these day will be supervised. 

The certificate course requires students to undertake 3 days of practical retreats during their training.  The practical retreats take place in the following location:

  • The Margaret Aylward Centre Glasnevin Dublin 11, owned by the Holy Faith Sisters.
  • These retreats are organised from Northside schools adjacent to the retreat centres by the programme directors.