Wednesday, 29th August
As advocates of Catholic schools from both the US and Ireland gather this week to celebrate the gift of Catholic education and to participate in a symposium on Catholic schools in the Dublin area, a group consisting of members of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Advisory Board, members of the ACE leadership team, and Irish partners in Catholic education kicked off the events with a lunch with the Papal Nuncio to Ireland. The Most Rev. Charles J. Brown, who represents the Holy See to the Irish government, joined us in the historic O'Connell House.
This home for Notre Dame in Ireland is named after its original owner, Daniel "The Liberator" O'Connell, through whose leadership Catholics were able to enjoy the civil rights enjoyed by other citizens in Ireland beginning in 1829.
After briefly describing the multi-faceted role of the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Brown, a 1981 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, spoke of his hope for a continually deepening partnership bringing together Notre Dame, ACE, and the Irish Church. He said ACE has a particular contribution to make when it comes to informing the Catholicity of Catholic schools. His statement came at the end of a discussion of the challenges that face the Church in navigating the waters of a rapidly secularizing society.
The lunch discussion concluded with the Archbishop praising Notre Dame for its confluence of rigorous academics, the deep and genuine faith life of its entire community, and the energy and passion it arouses in its various athletic programs. His highest praise for the institution, though, came when he commended the student body for its commitment to service of others. This, he hopes, is a value that will be shared increasingly by the youth in Ireland.
From Drew Clary, Assistant Director, Institute for Educational Initiatives