October 22nd 2020
In a year when so many thing proved not to be possible, I am delighted that the new school building at Coláiste Chiaráin was completed and formally handed over in time for the opening of the new academic year. Much credit is due to the Mr. Brendan Waldron and his management team, to JJRhattigan’s who built the school and to the design team put in place by the Department of Education and Skills.
The College builds on the spiritual and educational tradition of Clonmacnoise, where St. Ciarán had his monastery. The buildings are quite different, of course, but one thing the new Coláiste Chiaráin has in common with Clonmacnoise is space and light. This creates an atmosphere in which students and staff alike can work together without the experience of being “boxed in”, which is so often associated with large institutions. This year in particular, the added space makes it possible for the College to function effectively and safely.
Since the decision was taken to establish Coláiste Chiaráin, just four years ago, the College has been guided by dedicated a Board of Management, comprising parents, teachers and members of the wider community, and Chaired by Mr. Frank Smith. Now that they have completed their term of office, I want to publicly acknowledge the tremendous work that they did together over those four years, working closely with staff and students and with our own Diocesan Education Secretariat. I am very grateful also to those who have now agreed to serve on the new Board and they include some members of the original Board who have agreed to serve for another term. This allows for a certain continuity of vision. I have appointed Mr. Seamus O’Brien to chair the new Board. Seamus has extensive experience as a teacher and school principal and also in teacher-education.
The year 2020 has been very challenging for everybody in our society. Relationships have been put on hold; projects of all kinds have been cancelled or deferred. I am very happy that, in the midst of all this, our schools are open and I am conscious this would not be possible without the hard work and adaptability of our teachers and the generous buy-in from the students themselves. We still have much to learn in our society about taking responsibility for one another and I hope that, by word and example, Coláiste Chiaráin can contribute to that essential learning.
Christians are called to be people of Hope. The motto of the Diocese of Elphin is Dominus Spes Mea (My hope is in the Lord). Hope is not just wishful thinking; it is a Christian virtue. It is rooted in our conviction that God always walks with us, especially in times of challenge and difficulty, and that his love is never taken back. Alongside all the many practical things that our students learn in the course of their years in Coláiste Chiaráin, it is an integral part of the mission of the College that young people would be helped to develop that virtue of Christian Hope which will sustain them through life and give them confidence to bring the love of God into every situation in which they live, work and relax.
With every blessing
+ Kevin Doran
Bishop of Elphin
St. Mary’s, Temple Street