By Sarah Mac Donald - 28 June, 2015
Columban missionary Fr Sean McDonagh to give lecture in TCD and lead summer school on Clare Island exploring the beauty of God's creation.
The lecture is co-presented by Columban Fr Sean McDonagh and Dr John Sweeney, the retired professor of geography in Maynooth.
Dr Sweeney is also a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and one of the contributors to the Irish Bishops Pastoral, Cry of the Earth (2009).
The lecture is jointly sponsored by the Association of Catholics of Ireland (ACI) and the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).
In a statement the ACP said, “We regard the publication of this document as an event of enormous importance both for the Church and society, and that it is a particular responsibility for members of the Church to promote its message in every way we can.”
The lecture begins at 8pm in Trinity College Chapel, Dublin.
Separately, Fr Sean McDonagh will once again jointly lead the annual Dalgan summer school with eminent scientist and theologian, Dr John Feehan. This year the summer school will take place on Clare Island, Co Mayo from 12 -17 July.
The programme includes lectures, discussions, field visits and microscope encounters, with a full day’s outing or pilgrimage on one of the days.
Speaking to Catholicireland.net, the Columban missionary said, “What we do in the summer school is we try to as human beings enter into the place we find ourselves.”
“We will look at everything from the rocks upwards to try and understand our world, so for example if you have limestone with some top soil you can grow some food but if you have bogland you can’t – why?”
“We’ll be looking at the flora and fauna, why certain species are here and what is their habitat – how well are they able to cope with the present changes that are taking place.”
The five day summer school will also cover the impact of the ocean and the ecosystem within it as well as the impact of the human population of the island and how they related to their environment.
This is about the dialogue between science and religion with plenty of scope for discussion from the morning lectures, and the study of the material encountered under microscope so as to understand the various species and parts of the planet and how they are pollinated by insects.
Dr Feehan recently retired from University College Dublin where he was a senior lecturer in the School of Biology and Environmental Science and bring considerable knowledge to the summer school
In Fr McDonagh’s opinion, he is “a man of enormous erudition and has researched and written on many aspects of the natural world in Ireland.”
“He trained as a geologist and the stamp of that training can be seen in his book ‘The Landscape of Slieve Bloom’.”
“In all his writing and lecturing, Dr Feehan has always attempted to go beyond the rocks which form the bedrock of the landscape and explore the living world, including the impact which humankind have had on shaping the landscape,” according to Fr McDonagh.
Anyone who would like to participate in the summer school, Fr McDonagh suggests they contact him directly and discuss the cost. Contact [email protected] or 087 2367612.