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The 2015 Graduation Ceremony took place at St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham...

Maryvale Institute Graduation Ceremony

St Chad’s Cathedral, 5th November 2015

Graduation Group

Maryvale Institute’s graduation and award ceremony on 5th November celebrated the achievement of over two hundred and fifty of its students from all parts of the world who have completed further or higher education programmes of study during the last year. Not all could be present in person at the ceremony in Birmingham’s St Chad’s Cathedral to receive their certificates – a fact noted by principal guest Cardinal Vincent Nichols who presented the awards. In his address he said that the number who graduate in absentia is in fact a tribute to Maryvale’s work as it is a reminder of the Institute’s international reach – providing formation in the Catholic faith to students from around the world.

The qualifications awarded at the ceremony ranged from one or two year catechetical certificates through to higher education degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level in a wide range of subjects including philosophy, theology, catechetics, apologetics and marriage and family. This year six research students successfully defended their theses leading to the degree of PhD from Liverpool Hope University through its partnership with Maryvale. All Maryvale’s courses are taught through part-time distance learning, requiring attendance only once per term, making them particularly accessible and attractive to people who need to combine their study with working, family or other commitments – as well as those from overseas.

In his review of the year, Institute Director Fr Edward Clare, said that Maryvale had recently completed a two-year period of renewal and reorganisation and is now better prepared than ever to serve the church locally, nationally and internationally in its mission of adult faith formation. He paid tribute to all who contribute to Maryvale’s success – including staff, trustees and the resident community of Bridgettine sisters, and he expressed his appreciation to the three external academic institutions who validate its degrees: the Open University, Liverpool Hope and the theology faculty of the Ecole Cathedrale in Paris, all three of whom had renewed their accreditation during the year. Through this latter partnership, Maryvale is uniquely able to offer ecclesiastical degrees recognised by the Catholic Church as well as the wider academic world through its Higher Institute of Religious Sciences established by decree of the Holy See.

Following the presentation of the awards, Cardinal Nichols – a former President of Maryvale during his time as Archbishop of Birmingham – acknowledged the work of the present staff in taking forward the mission of the Institute, and then gave the gathering his very positive reflections on the Synod on the family in Rome from which he had recently returned. There too, he said, the universality of the Church was evident, and that despite the well-publicised challenges that the Synod participants faced, he recalled Pope Francis’ reminder that the Synod was not about finding solutions to every issue but rather it was about hearing the experiences and the needs of families so that we can deepen, in the light of the Gospel, our appreciation of the irreplaceable role of the family to human flourishing.

The award ceremony ended with an additional surprise presentation when Archbishop Bernard Longley presented the diocesan award Ubi Caritas to Mrs Mary Bull – a previous graduate of Maryvale who has since served the Institute in a variety of voluntary roles for more than fifteen years, and has just retired after twelve years as the founding chairman of the Friends of Maryvale – an association that enables alumni and other supporters of the Institute to keep in touch with its life and work.

Fr Edward Clare's Welcome Address



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