Over 250 lay, religious and seminary students received qualifications for studies on Theology and Philosophy from Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, on Saturday 12 November last.
In his conferral address, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Dr Eamon Martin said, “Tomorrow morning in Armagh I will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in the Mall with Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke. Earlier this year, on 1 July, Archbishop Richard and I were also together at the site of the Battle of the Somme – that horrific and gruesome battle in which more than a million young people were killed or wounded including ten thousand soldiers from every part of Ireland.”
“Tomorrow morning, then, brings for us a certain completion to this anniversary year. And joining you here this morning for your graduation reminds me again not to lose sight of the tremendous gifts and potential of our young people. With your gifts and theological talent, you can contribute to a peaceful and purposeful future for your communities and your Church.
“Wouldn’t it be such a shame if your gifts and understanding of faith remained dormant and untapped, instead of being released to breathe new life into society and the Church in Ireland?
“Last year, Pope Francis cautioned against academic formation that remains deskbound and unused. ‘Do not settle for a theology of the desk,’ he said to young students. ‘Your places for reflection are the boundaries … guard against a theology that is exhausted in the academic dispute or watching humanity from a glass castle … You learn it to live: theology and holiness are an inseparable pair.’”
Archbishop Eamon continued, “I encourage you therefore not to see today as the end of your theological journey, but an overture to your participation in the mission of the Church as lay women and men, clergy or those in the consecrated life.
“Celebrate and give thanks for your achievement – for the gifts you have nourished in library, lecture hall and study. Accept congratulations, for none of this could have happened without dedication, commitment and determination on your part. Well done.”
Archbishop Eamon concluded, saying, “Acting President Father Mullaney, members of staff, guests, including Dr Aidan Mulkeen, Registrar of Maynooth University, and especially graduates, it is a huge honour for me to be Chancellor of this Pontifical University where this year almost three hundred lay people, religious and seminarians are studying theology at undergraduate and postgraduate level alongside many others who are taking part time diploma programmes. Our strategic plan expresses our ‘desire to flourish’ as a centre of excellence for theological studies in Ireland and as a major driver for the renewal of faith in this country. The achievements we recognise and celebrate today are a tangible expression that this College remains committed to continue as a vibrant centre of life and learning in Ireland. Well done to all of you: graduates, family members, friends and academic staff. Thank God for giving such success to the work of our hand! Guim rath Dé ar bhuir saotháir amach anseo. Comhghairdeas libh go leir.”