The parables of the talent and the minas, in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, offer the Christian a stark message. In these Jesus recounts a story in which something precious is given to a number of people to mind. In both accounts it is those who hand back safely, intact and undamaged that which they were given who are criticised most strongly! Caring for something precious, protecting it, ensuring that nothing can happen it is for the Christian not enough. We are, it seems, called to work with, develop, progress and grow that which we have been given. We are not simply to mind it as it is.
Those of us who are in St Kieran’s College could quite easily work to ensure that nothing befalls this great institution and those who populate its grounds. But doing that would be to fail in the task we were given. We are here, each of us, in the expectation that we will work tirelessly to ensure that at any point when we stop and reflect St Kieran’s College and its students will be better than they were at some point in the past. It is a mammoth task given the proud tradition from which we emerge.
Is it at all possible that the great St Kieran’s College can continue to do more? After all we had won 19 Colleges’ Senior Hurling All-Irelands – could we capture a 20th? We had a Leaving Certificate class move on from us, men matured and ready to enter College and adult life, could we do that again – and better? We showed so strongly in the South Leinster athletics last year could we now move to medals in the All-Irelands? We had forty-nine Arts students come to St Kieran’s to successfully complete their first year on Maynooth’s Kilkenny Campus – could we have more this year (seventy) and also offer accommodation on site? To each of these and to so many other similar questions, too numerous to document here, the answer is a resounding yes! As this edition of the College Record shows, in so many ways, the students and staff of St Kieran’s continue to progress and excel at all that we do. This year once more, as these pages attest, we don’t hand back that which we had been given at the start of this year, but thanks to our staff, our students and our parents we have developed, matured and grown that which was entrusted, back then, to our care.
This is true for all other aspects of the College life too. The Diocesan Forum, the Adult Faith Development Group, the Vocations office and the Certificate in Theology are all now stronger and more established in their work of serving and contributing to the people of our diocese. Their work roots St Kieran’s at the heart of the life of the diocese of Ossory. The Kilkenny Archive Ltd, located here, also continues to work to grow its collection and database of history and papers to serve better future generations.
As President of St Kieran’s College it is inspiring to see why this growth and development can take place. For our students it is the result of their endless energy and effort, for our School and College staffs it is the result of their tireless commitment and dedication, for our management Mr John Curtis, Principal and Mr Adrian Finan, Deputy Principal it is the result of their extraordinary vision and their unending commitment which finds expression in the innumerable hours they give to the College and those who people it. I depend on them most, day to day, and I thank them, therefore, not only as trusted colleagues but also as valued friends.
This past year has seen the death of two former staff members who were also past pupils, Mr Joe Lambe and Mgr Tommy Maher. These men were synonymous with St Kieran’s in so many ways. The manner in which they, in their time, worked to ensure that St Kieran’s was the better for having embraced them is documented in these pages. As too is the retirement of two very familiar faces from our staff, Mr John Quane and Ms Christina Warner. Having known them both from my student days and having worked with them in these past years I know they will be missed. They too, however, will proudly return time and time again, as is the tradition of former staff, confident that they helped so many students in so many untold ways. To them, and through them to the many more former staff, I say thank you. It is, after all, your raising of the bar that challenges today’s generation to continue to do the same.
A voluntary school, and that is what we are, by definition will have many who work freely to ensure we always achieve more. We have people whose every decision for St Kieran’s is motivated not out of self interest but by one single question: how can this help St Kieran’s and its students to be better tomorrow than they are today? I have, therefore, a debt of gratitude to the students and their Council, the parents and their Association, the School and College staff and management, my colleagues on the Board of Management, my fellow Trustees, Bishop Séamus our Patron and all those who make this great institution work tirelessly to continually improve – in doing it we most truly live out it’s Christian ethos… thank you.
Rev. Dr Dermot Ryan, President
Chairperson, Board of Management