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DOMINICAN BIBLICAL INSTITUTE

Welcome to Dominican Biblical Institute from Ireland...

Words from Gerard Norton OP, Director of the DBI at the closing ceremony, 27 May 2015.

As director of the Dominican Biblical Institute since 2012, it is good to be here with our completing students this evening. On their behalf I welcome you, their families and friends, parish priests, tutors, and along with them, some of the people the students have never met until this evening: those who generously served as board members, academic council members, those who arranged funding, and solved crises. Some of you fit in more than one of those categories, and our gratitude is correspondingly multiplied. Others, such as Tom Scanlan, fit almost every category, and we are all the more indebted to him.
    One of the joys of teaching and of working in academic contexts is that we observe in awe how students grow in skills, and knowledge. It is a kind of force of nature. The skills acquired are manifold, and go far beyond the material of the courses. This evening’s completing students, whatever the other demands on your care and attention, have concentrated for six lecture hours on Saturdays and two on Wednesdays when there were many other demands on your time. You have developed critical skills in reading scripture and theology. We shouldn’t underestimate the development of interpersonal skills as you functioned as a group with give and take, understanding and sympathy. Those who wrote essays learnt to juggle commitments in order to produce essays to deadline. You also developed writing skills in putting your points within strict word limits,
    None of this would be possible without the support of your family and friends, who learnt over the past three years that study days were sacrosanct. For those of you in households linked to the Maynoooth diploma, once the word “essay” was heard, their sole purpose in life is to get out of the way, perhaps to the kitchen, and then perhaps to listen to draft essays when asked, but only with praise, to make supportive tea and coffee, and above all else never, never to ask why the essay is taking so long, or why they haven’t finished it yet, or how four essays could be due together.
    But there are many ways of learning. Not all of the students engaged to do essays. We were a community of learning.
    The whole enterprise could have fallen apart, victim to other attractions, if the tutors had not been so superb. Completely on top of their material, impeccably prepared for their courses, pedagogically consistent supportive, critical in the best ways, and, where appropriate, using fine visual and audiovisual aids and handouts. And all through the course Fr Brendan’s lectio divina gave spiritual food for the journey.
    This evening we celebrate your achievements. We wish you well, and hope that you will find a way to put your studies at the service of your church and community, working always for the glory of God.
Gerard J. Norton OP
Director