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True pluralism embraces faith’s contribution

By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 November, 2014

FESTIVAL OF PEOPLESA truly pluralist Ireland is one which is able to embrace the contribution of faith, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said.

In his homily at a graduation Mass for the students of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, the Archbishop said it was important for men and women of faith to be in the forefront of scientific endeavour, building a new culture of respect and tolerance.

The Archbishop, who is patron of St Patrick’s College, said its catholic tradition was not something sectarian and divisive.

“The Catholic tradition is the fruit of a cohesion of values which spring from the meaning of faith and the understanding of the human person which belongs with the Gospel.”

He added that great teachers in St Patrick’s over the years had shown that their professional quality is not impeded by, but can be enhanced by a deep vision of faith.

Paying tribute to the college’s role in education, Archbishop Martin said the graduates of St Patrick’s “form an essential part of the DNA of primary education in Ireland and have been bringing their vital contribution to education in every corner of Ireland since the College’s establishment in 1875.”

He added, “This College has a remarkable tradition” and he acknowledged that it had witnessed great change in the years since its foundation.

St Patrick’s College is one of the oldest third-level educational institutions in Ireland and has enjoyed a leading position in the area of primary teacher education in Ireland since foundation in 1875. Since 1993, St Patrick’s College has been a College of Dublin City University.

Archbishop Martin underlined that the years to come will witness further change.

“The College will become incorporated into Dublin City University, but it will not vanish into the thin air of past history,” he reassured and added that its “rich history” will continue and will enrich the new arrangements.

“The great traditions of educational excellence and real passion for children’s learning will remain and indeed develop with new generations whose ability to live out those traditions with a freshness of vision will be an asset to DCU and to education in Ireland,” he said.

Wishing the new graduates every success, the Primate of Ireland told them they were entering into a new phase in their career and personal life “at a moment of great inventiveness”.

However, he warned them that they would enter a world where many children and young people experience a new fragility and insecurity.

“You will go into an Ireland where the challenges of equal educational opportunity for all its children must urgently be addressed, politically, financially and in educational culture.”

He hoped that their passion for education would inspire in the new graduates to give a priority commitment for those children who are “on the periphery” of learning opportunity.

“The poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalised deserve the best. In the landscape of our current educational system they do not always get that,” the Archbishop criticised.

He concluded by saying the manner in which we care for the disadvantaged is the real sign of how we truly care for inclusion in our educational system and in our society.

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