By Sarah Mac Donald - 07 November, 2015
Adult faith formation is a vital element in the development of the Catholic faith and an energetic faith can become a feature of life in Ireland in the future through it, according to Bishop John Fleming.
Speaking on Friday as the Newman Institute’s first six students to graduate with degrees were conferred, Bishop Fleming, who is Chancellor of the Ballina-based institution, said that without adult faith formation many people would fail to discover the richness of the Catholic tradition.
He added that through adult faith formation, an energetic Catholic faith could become a feature of life here.
The six students graduated from St Angela’s College in Sligo with degrees recognised by the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).
At a ceremony in Sligo, a Bachelor in Theology and Community Involvement was conferred on the graduates.
The Bishop of Killala noted that it was the first time in the history of the Newman Institute that a university degree from an Irish university was awarded in Ballina.
Speaking after the conferring ceremony the Bishop said, “Today history has been made. I congratulate our six students and wish them well as they receive their degrees. This is a first for Ballina.”
He also highlighted that for the first time, students living in the diocesan community had been able to access third-level education without having to go to one of the university towns.
“I take this opportunity, therefore, to encourage people who are interested in following in their footsteps to contact the Newman Institute to ensure that this most welcome development can continue in the future.”
Bishop Fleming continued, “I am particularly happy that the degree course taken by our students is in the area of theology.”
But he noted that enrolments this year did not reach the target set by St Angela’s and NUIG and expressed the hope that the graduation would encourage others to explore the many opportunities on offer at the Institute.
“Many people in the diocese worked hard over many years to see this dream come true. On this important and special occasion, I remember them and thank them,” Bishop Fleming said.
The Newman Institute is a charitable organisation, working in conjunction with the Diocese of Killala, in the west of Ireland.
A core aim of Institute is to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about their faith through accredited and non-accredited faith formation courses.
The Diocese of Killala has a Catholic population of 38,067, consisting of twenty-two parishes and forty-eight churches.
Bishop Fleming expressed the hope that Newman Institute would be able to play its part in addressing the ongoing need for adult religious education and faith formation in the diocese and beyond.
For more information see www.newmanii.com