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I am very pleased to introduce to you Maryvale Institute International Catholic College. Since its establishment over 35 years ago as the Archdiocesan Centre for Catechetics and Adult Education, Maryvale has remained true to its founding mission to build up the Church by forming lay Catholics in a deeper knowledge of their faith. Over that time it has earned an international reputation for the quality of its teaching and its fidelity to the Catholic Church, and now provides courses at all levels to students from every part of the British Isles and around the world.
I'd also like to take the opportunity to tell you about just a few of the recent developments in the service that Maryvale offers to the Church locally, nationally and internationally. We were delighted that the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome renewed its approval of Maryvale’s Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, through which it offers ecclesiastical degrees specifically designed for lay people. This was a new venture, unique in the English-speaking world, when it was launched for a trial period in 2011, and this continuing affirmation from the Church pays tribute to the quality of Maryvale’s teaching and its fidelity to Catholic doctrine. As well as undergoing regular revalidation by its academic partners, the Open University, Liverpool Hope University and the École Cathedrale in Paris, Maryvale has recently received reaccreditation from the British Accreditation Council for independent educational providers, which verifies its continuing compliance with all the necessary UK standards.
Maryvale has introduced new courses in response to the developing needs for lay formation in parishes – including certificates in parish mission and ministry and Catholic healthcare chaplaincy. New partnerships have been entered into with dioceses in the British Isles and beyond for the formation of catechists and others engaged in lay ministry in their own local churches. A new certificate in leadership and management will enable Maryvale to reach beyond the Catholic Church to offer quality formation to community-based organisations working in regeneration and social enterprise. Maryvale’s independent study modules have been reconfigured to allow students even more flexibility in the topics and the pace of their study, and a new suite of resources has been produced to enable people to study and appreciate more deeply the inspiring writings of Pope Francis.
I would also like to highlight Maryvale’s central place in the life of the Archdiocese. It has recently become the base for our diocesan evangelisation and family ministry staff, as these tasks are inseparable from the work of catechesis and lay formation. As our diocesan pastoral plan for the future unfolds Maryvale will play an ever more crucial role in shaping and guiding these vital dimensions of the diocesan mission.
Apart from its mission as a provider of adult formation and education, Maryvale occupies a unique position in the Catholic heritage of England. With its historic roots, its shrine to the Sacred Heart and its association with Blessed John Henry Newman, it continues to be a place of pilgrimage and spiritual renewal. Over recent years the Friends of Maryvale has been revitalised to build up and maintain contact amongst students, alumni and the wider local community who are being welcomed in ever-increasing numbers to Maryvale for social and cultural events, all helping to raise funds to support Maryvale’s mission.
I hope that you will find a course to interest you, and that it will encourage you to consider how Maryvale can support you in your own role in the Church’s mission.
With the assurance of my prayers.