Address given by Archbishop Seán Brady at the opening of St John’s Primary School, Middletown, Co Armagh
15 June 2001
I congratulate and thank all who have played any part in the provision of this magnificent new St John’s Primary School, Middletown. It is a long list of people I am sure – the Board of Governors, the Southern Education and Library Board, the Department of Education, CCMS, the architect, engineers, building contractor, craftsmen and tradesmen. You have done a fine job. You have given to the parents of this parish an excellent means to help them fulfil their role in the education of
I mention parents first since they co-operated with God in bringing children into the world, they have both the obligation and the right to educate their children. Catholic parents have also the duty and the right to choose those means which can best promote the Catholic education of their children. Certainly the school is very important in the whole process of education because schools are the principal means of helping parents to fulfil their role in education.
I am delighted to see the close co-operation between parents and their teachers and the Board of Governors. Parents entrust their children to their teachers to be educated. I salute the wonderful work which parents and teachers carry out.
Some may ask, why is the Church involved in education? Well just as the parents have a duty to educate their children, the Church has a duty to announce the way to everlasting happiness to all. The Church has received the task of sharing the life of Christ with those who believe and of helping them so that they may be able to reach the fullness of that life. The Church is involved in education because it wants to help to promote the well balanced development of every human person, of every member of the Church, for the good of society in this world and for the promotion of a more human world.
I think it would be ungracious not to pray a prayer of blessing on all the politicians who have just completed a tough gruelling election campaign. To the successful, we say congratulations. To one and all we say well done for having stood for election. That is an essential element of a healthy democracy.
I seem to remember them visiting schools during some part of the elections both here and in Britain. The message being given is that public representatives are interested in education and the promotion of a well-balanced development of young people for the common good of society and for the development of a more human world.
Young people are the hope of that more human future, more human world. We stand at the beginning of a new century and a new millennium. We stand hopefully at the beginning of a new chapter in the development of a more human and more peaceful world here in Northern Ireland. We gladly recognise the progress that has been made over the last five
years. We salute and praise the efforts of all those who played any part in making that progress. We urge them to take up again the task once more in an earnest and generous spirit for the common good of all the members of our society.
The crest of St John’s Primary School, which has been blessed and opened today, depicts the eagle as it teaches its young to fly. The mother takes one eaglet upon her wings and soars high above the desert. She then shakes her young off to make its first attempts at flight. Of course there is risk involved but without taking that risk, the eagle would never survive.
Perhaps there are lessons here for all involved in the peace process. There are risks involved but the rewards are great for those who take that risk and who engage in the challenges.
The image of the eagle is used to describe the relationship of God and His people. It is at once an image of tenderness and care, strength and challenge, all at once, a powerful statement of the supporting and sustaining call of God. May that power and that support sustain the efforts of those who are now called and elected and chosen to resolve the remaining problems and gain for all of us a lasting and enduring peace.
Fr Martin Clarke 087 220 8044
Ms Brenda Drumm 087 233 7797