BLESSING OF NEW CAMPUS AT SAINT PATRICK’S COLLEGE DRUMCONDRA
Opening words of
Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin
Saint Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, 11th June 2015
Saint Patrick’s College is an institution which for many decades has had a unique impact right across this country through its teacher graduates. Each of these teachers brings with them something of the educational and cultural and sporting and religious ethos which has been the inspiration of the college since its foundation.
When I speak of ethos I am not speaking about just an ethos of vague ideas, but of a concrete approach to teaching which was focuses on the good of children but also sees the teacher becoming a focal point in many aspects of community life and in a broad understanding of what education means. Many alumni have gone on to leadership in educational policy and research at home and abroad.
When you look at photos of the early days of Saint Patricks you can see just how much the College has changed over the years. The College has changed in order to focus more effectively on its role and on the service it wishes to bring to Irish education.
Some people fear change; change unnerves them. The ethos of this college is one where change has driven excellence and – except perhaps the fear of government funds not being forthcoming – there has never been fear of being innovative and creative.
Change is in the air again as the bonds with Dublin City University become solidified and a new institution of excellence in education is about to get underway, in what must be considered one of the most exciting and far-seeing educational projects of our time. I am happy that this new enterprise will embrace a vital space for religious education, in both the Catholic and the Church of Ireland traditions, as a model of the renewed place of religious education in a pluralist Ireland.
Creativity calls for change. There is, however, one thing I hope will not change. In my time as Archbishop there is one dimension of Saint Patrick’s which has especially impressed me and that is to find young graduates of Saint Patrick’s opting right from their first appointment to work in the most disadvantaged areas of this city. They are not afraid to go out from the privileged and protective environment of a college into situations of real challenge and take on the difficult challenge with obvious enthusiasm and dedication. If you enter a classroom you can almost touch the effect that these young teachers have. Without the generosity and idealism of these graduates, young lives would go on with only a minimum of their human potential realised.
That generosity and idealism is a fruit of the ethos of this college of which can all be proud and for which Irish society is deeply indebted. Today we are proud today not just for this fantastic new campus; we are proud of the young men and women who study here and whose task it will be to keep the best of the ethos of Saint Patrick’s alive into the changing years to some.