Friday 5 May last, marked the 200th anniversary of the establishment in 1823 of Loreto Primary School in Rathfarnham, Dublin. This occurred eight years before the Act establishing primary education in Ireland. Archbishop Dermot Farrell spoke at the school during the celebrations to mark this bicentennial anniversary.
The Archbishop of Dublin said, “The recent pilot reconfiguration process demonstrated a continuing demand for Catholic education in many communities. I, and the other Catholic patrons, remain committed to working with the Department of Education to address the needs of any increasingly pluralistic society. Our commitment is an expression of our desire to express the deeper identity and character of the Church. The Church is God’s people on their way through time.”
The Primate of All Ireland continued, “The Church is therefore called to listen and act accordingly in a pluralistic society. In the midst of that plurality, Catholic education will continue to play a valuable role in serving the needs of communities, families, all those who wish for a Catholic education for their children, including those from other faith traditions and philosophical points of view. Catholic education will only bear enduring fruit in a context where schools live out their ethos authentically. In this way, we embody the fruit of the Holy, the gift God gives us in Christ. A key element here is the quality of religious education provided to those families who desire it. The new primary curricular specification, issued by the Minister for Education, reconfirms the important place of religious education within a holistic curriculum.”
Archbishop Farrell concluded, “Catholic education still has its vital place in our educational system, as something which brings its unique value system, a value system which is recognised by families in this community who opt to send their children to a Catholic school. The school is the gateway to the social, intellectual, mental and moral development of students which is achieved in a holistic way, educating the whole person. Education is a factor that humanizes society, because it helps us to transcend individualism, to appreciate differences, to discover community, to be responsible for our common home. It is ‘the natural antidote to an individualistic culture that at times degenerates into a veritable cult of the self and the primacy of indifference.’ (Pope Francis, video message on the occasion of the meeting ‘Global compact on education’, 15 October 2020.)”
To read this statement in full, click here.