Monsignor James Cassin, College President
St Kieran’s has entered a new century, a new millennium, a new era. I am happy to note that from a reading of The RECORD one is struck by the ability of our college to respond to new challenges and grasp new opportunities. The work of teachers, students, parents and all associated with the college is impressive. New developments in education give new life to the college and call for a renewed engagement from pupils and teachers alike. The RECORD exudes affection for a venerable institution that continues to serve us well after a history of more than two hundred years. Developments are logged with pride; events of the past are recalled with a certain reverence for time and place. Nobody passes through these halls of learning without struggle and sometimes pain yet the alma mater somehow cares for students so that they can live with and sometimes make sense of the ups and downs of college life and benefit from the school curricula. It is always impressive when former staff and students revisit with humour and affection their student days in St Kieran’s. For those of us who work here it gives meaning to what we do and encourages us to commit ourselves each day to the work of education, drawing forth the best that is in our pupils. We are living through the best of times and the worst of times. Was it ever any different? We have witnessed brokered peace process after peace process all over the world while at the same time there are outbreaks of hostilities and the reality and increasing threats of terrorist attack. Ireland has a booming economy yielding great prosperity to thousands of people yet social and personal deprivation is on the increase leading to family breakdown and to various forms of unhealthy dependence. There is a search for a spirituality that is in tune with the contemporary world coupled with a widespread rejection of the teachings and values of the Church. Making sense of the world of our time is never easy and for each one is a lifelong project. Without a value system it is well nigh impossible. St Kieran’s College, a Catholic school, proposes a set of values based on the message and teaching of Christ. It engenders love, respect for the individual, tolerance, a commitment to prayer and the Gospel, a special care for the poor and marginalized and a willingness to be guided by the Church’s teaching. The contents of The RECORD lead me to believe that the current staff and students of our college are inspired by this value system. By their fruits, so evident in this publication, you shall know them.
A tinge of sadness touches me as I write the foreword for the 2002 RECORD. In the years to come we will say goodbye to the boarding school. As a former St. Kieran’s boarder, I have a special attachment to the boarding school and owe a debt of gratitude to my alma mater. Boarding brought a unique dimension to the college and gave it the feeling of home. Close bonds were made that endured for life. Now in response to new needs and new circumstances the boarding school is being phased out. The deans of the boarding school had a special place in the lives of students. Their memories live on through the generations. To all who passed through St Kieran’s College Boarding School and especially to the current Deans, Fr Richard Scriven and Fr Patrick Carey, and the current students we say thank you for all you contribute to the life of the college and we pray that your experience in St Kieran’s College will serve you well through life.
If growth is the sign of life, then St Kieran’s College is truly alive. With the unstinting support of Bishop Forristal, our patron, College Management maintains a vision for the college that constantly looks towards development in response to current need and with an eye to the future. We are privileged to have a capable and experienced College Administrator in Fr Kieron Kennedy. His financial acumen and proven ability in forward planning serves us in good stead.
The expansion of educational provision in all departments of the college is remarkable. The Secondary School, under the able stewardship of Principal Micheal 6 Diarmada together with his staff, offer a wide curriculum to students. CREIDIM continues to develop new programs and courses. This year sees the delivery of two new MA programmes on site in the college. NUIM Campus Manager, Chris Reid, and his staff oversee the development of third level courses and a range of other initiatives and have arrived at a point where space has become a problem.
I welcome the new-look RECORD of life at St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny. It is appropriate that the first edition in the new millennium should re-invent the work of chronicling the events of college life. The age of electronic information and communication offers amazing possibilities that will surely leave future generations a wealth of data on the people and events of this time. Only somebody with the immense expertise, energy and enthusiasm of the editor, Fr Richard Scriven, would have undertaken the herculean task of assembling the vast array of material that is between the covers of The RECORD. In his hands modern technology has served us well in the production of this interesting and entertaining vista on St Kieran’s College. The RECORD has done us a great service in affording us a new perspective on ourselves whence we can give thanks for what has been, rejoice in what is, and go forward to the future with confidence.