Archbishop Diarmuid Martin unveils ambitious new plan for Dublin’s University Church

20 Jun 2016

 Notre Dame University to steward new Centre for Dialogue between Faith and Reason

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has announced the establishment of a new Centre for dialogue between faith and reason, between Church and society.

The American Notre Dame University, one of the most distinguished Catholic Universities worldwide, will steward the initiative at University Church in St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin.  Newman’s University Church in Dublin is a unique icon of the place of faith in Newman’s vision of university formation.

Archbishop Martin said  “I see the establishment of the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason as an opportunity for University Church to return to its original vocation as a focal point for reflection on faith and reason.  It is an opportunity for Dublin to take a lead in today’s changed social context in something which is part of the rich heritage of Newman’s presence in Dublin.   I appreciate especially that Centre will not be just an intellectual debating centre, but will also work in the formation of an active and committed faith community of young people”.

He added: “We live in the context of wanting to be a modern Irish Church authentically present in – but never completely at home within – contemporary Irish society. Pope Francis constantly recalls us to be a Church which is out in the world in service and in dialogue.  He does not want a fearful Church obsessed just with the evils of the world.  He does not want a Church in which we try to keep Jesus locked up within our own categories.”

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said “We are honored by Archbishop Martin’s invitation to expand the University’s presence in Dublin. Notre Dame stands in a proud legacy of uniting faith and reason, and Cardinal Newman is a giant in that pursuit. We are grateful for the opportunity to deepen appreciation for Cardinal Newman and his writings, and to bring the University’s mission to an iconic church on the Dublin cityscape.”

Built by the then-rector of University College Dublin, Blessed John Henry Newman, University Church opened in 1856 and has since been an iconic landmark in Dublin’s city centre and a testament to the harmony of faith and reason. Newman would later be named a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

The new Centre’s operations will begin later this year, and will have a special focus on outreach to young people in Dublin, many of whom have not otherwise been drawn to the Church. The Centre will give particular attention to excellent liturgy and music, a lecture series and other intellectual activities which aim to integrate faith and reason, service to those in need and cultural events inside and outside of Newman University Church.

Father Jenkins has appointed Notre Dame lecturer in law Rev. William R. Dailey, C.S.C., as the Director of the Centre.  Father Dailey has served as a Lecturer in Law an the Notre Dame Law School since 2010, as the St. Thomas More Fellow of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture since 2013, and as Rector of Stanford Hall on the Notre Dame campus for three years.  In 2009, he returned to Columbia Law School as a Scholar in Residence. Father Dailey’s teaching and scholarly interests are in the areas of Jurisprudence and Legal Ethics.  He has appeared frequently on MSNBC to comment on faith and culture and has written for the New York Times and Washington Post on faith issues.

Steve Warner, the Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir for the past 35 years, has accepted the role of Associate Director of the Notre Dame – Newman Centre for Faith and Reason, and will have special responsibilities regarding music, liturgy and outreach. In his nearly four decades with Campus Ministry at Notre Dame, Warner established the Folk Choir as a vital component of on-campus worship, and has played a significant role in Notre Dame’s liturgical traditions.  His liturgical music compositions are published exclusively through World Library Publications.

The Notre DameNewman Centre for Faith and Reason will complement an array of Notre Dame University activities already active in Ireland, including a portion of which is mediated through its network of Global Gateways. The University’s five international Global Gateways—located in Dublin, Beijing, Jerusalem, London and Rome—provide academic and intellectual hubs where scholars, students and leaders from universities, government, business and community gather to discuss discover and debate issues of topical and enduring relevance.

Additionally, the University’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies is a teaching and research institute dedicated to the study and understanding of Irish culture. The Institute supports undergraduate and graduate students in their pursuit of Irish Studies and provides opportunity for language study, travel classes,  summer study in Dublin, internships in Dublin, conference support and more.

In 2015, Notre Dame entered into a partnership with Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, County Galway, to create a centre to advance their shared spiritual, cultural and educational missions. Notre Dame operates the House of Brigid in Ireland, a post-graduate service program focused on parish-based liturgical and catechetical ministry.

  • Further Information: Annette O Donnell, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Dublin 01/8360723