On Saturday last I was at Maynooth College for the graduations. This year 228 students received degrees ranging from Doctorate in Theology to Diploma in Philosophy and Arts.
Among them were four mainland Chinese priests but the vast majority were lay people, men and women of all ages. So the interest in religion and philosophy continues in the new secular Ireland.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Chancellor of the University, remarked on this. He said it was exactly 100 years since a missionary movement from Maynooth to China took shape and today that tradition continues, in another form, as so many graduates go back to their families and occupations to talk about the questions to which they themselves had being seeking answers and what they had discovered.
He took the occasion to congratulate the Columban Fathers whose original name had been the ‘Maynooth Mission to China’ and who were still active there. Fortunately there were a number of them present.
Their reason for coming was to congratulate one of the four Chinese graduates who was sponsored by the Columbans and lives in our residence.
The celebrations continued afterwards with photo-taking and festal meals both at home and at a local Chinese restaurant.