The achievements of over 250 students of the Maryvale Institute were celebrated at the annual graduation ceremony at Birmingham's St Chad's cathedral on 1st December. The students had successfully completed courses ranging from one-year catechetical certificates to undergraduate and postgraduate university degrees, through Maryvale's part-time distance-learning programmes. Because Maryvale attracts students from all parts of the world, only a small proportion were able to attend in person, but many had already received their awards in diocesan ceremonies in places as diverse as Cameroon, Ireland and the USA.
The awards were presented by the guest speaker at the event, Bishop Patrick McKinney who, as a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham prior to his appointment last year as Bishop of Nottingham, had been involved in the work of the Maryvale Institute since its inception as the diocesan catechetical and adult formation centre over 30 years ago.
In his address Bishop McKinney encouraged the new graduates to put their expertise at the service of the Church's mission, and he spoke about the great potential offered by the internet and social media in the work of evangelisation - but also warned about the destructive effects of its misuse, even at times by people within the Church.
The Director of the the Maryvale Institute, Fr Edward Clare, congratulated all the successful students and remarked that Maryvale's work of lay formation helps to fulfil the vision of its patron, Blessed John Henry Newman, in his desire for an educated laity, able to share their faith with knowledge and conviction. In his review of the year, Fr Clare highlighted the launch of Maryvale's courses in new overseas centres, including Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, and he also announced the renewal by the Holy See of the status of Maryvale's Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, through which it is authorised to award ecclesiastical degrees, sixteen of which - including three postgraduate Licence in Divinity awards - were presented at the graduation. Among the other guests at the ceremony were Père Jacques de Longeaux, dean of the theology faculty at the Ecole Cathédrale in Paris, to which Maryvale's Higher Institute of Religious Sciences is affiliated.
Read more about the Maryvale Institute here: http://www.maryvale.ac.uk/