Archbishop Longley Speaks Out on Maryvale


On the 6th of November 2013, Maryvale held their annual award ceremony at St. Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham. This was the perfect opportunity for Archbishop Bernard Longley, President of Maryvale, to address the students with regard to the recent events at the institute. This is a transcript of his address in full:

Archbishop Longley's Welcoming Address


As President of the Maryvale Institute I am delighted to welcome you today to this ceremony for the Presentation of Higher Education Awards. For me this is an opportunity to recognise afresh the significance of the Maryvale Institute within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Maryvale offers a service within and from this local Church and one that is gladly received by many local Churches as well as individuals students here in the United Kingdom and overseas.

The local, ecclesial setting of the Maryvale Institute is important not only in understanding the Institute’s origins, history and development, but also because it sheds light on the fundamental values that continue to inspire its work today and to motivate its staff and its Governing Council.

An important part of the international and domestic appeal of Maryvale is its long association with Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman who was beatified here in Birmingham by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Maryvale has been at the forefront in promoting Cardinal Newman’s own prophetic ideas concerning the education of the lay-faithful and its impact on their full participation in the life and mission of the Church.

Blessed John Henry Newman was dispensed from his obligation, as a new Cardinal, to reside in Rome and he continued to life as a member of the Oratory in Birmingham. Despite this he never felt himself remote from the Holy See or from the Successor of Peter, and this loyalty to the Holy Father and to the teachings of the Magisterium are also characteristics of our Institute in Cardinal Newman’s old home in Maryvale.

Chief among our guests today is His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Mennini. Your Excellency, I am delighted to welcome you again to Birmingham. Thank you for presenting the Higher Education Awards to our students.

Today’s ceremony recognises the achievements of those who have studied at Maryvale, often at considerable personal cost and motivated out of a desire to serve the Church and engage in her mission. I welcome all our students receiving awards today, together with your families and friends, some of whom have travelled considerable distances to be here.

I welcome all the Staff of the Maryvale Institute: both our academic staff who will renew their Profession of Faith today, and the support and administrative staff. I am grateful for the presence of the associate staff from other academic institutions who contribute to Maryvale’s courses and all the fellows of the Maryvale Institute. Finally, I welcome Mother Giacomina and the Bridgettine Sisters who make Maryvale a place of prayer and welcome to all who come there.

The work of the Maryvale Institute is enabled through the relationships with our validating institutions, in particular Liverpool Hope University and the Open University, and I welcome their representatives to this ceremony.

Our links with the Faculté Notre-Dame de Paris are also very important to Maryvale as we continue to offer the ecclesiastical Bachelor of Divinity degree. I welcome Pere Dupont-Fauville and Pere de Longeaux as representatives of the Faculté and thank them both for their support.

At Maryvale our work has been enhanced through the many benefactions we have received but in particular I thank Dr Dee Dunne Thomas for the financial support that Aid to the Church in Need provides to Maryvale’s students in developing countries and I thank her for being with us today.

Earlier today I received the news that Canon John Redford died this morning. Canon John’s involvement with Maryvale goes back to 1988 and he contributed enormously to its development and its success over the years. He only resigned this summer due to ill health and he remained intellectually active and continued to take a personal interest in Maryvale and its staff and students right up to the end. As he would have wished we pray for him now…

Many of you will know that there have been some recent changes in the staff and management of the Maryvale Institute. I wish today to re-iterate the Archdiocese of Birmingham’s commitment and that of the Maryvale Trustees to its educational programmes at all different levels – parish courses, certificate, diploma and degree level study.

From its origins as our diocesan catechetical centre to its work as a Higher Institute of Religious Sciences Maryvale will continue to draw on the expertise that it has developed over many years to strengthen the work of catechesis and Christian formation within and beyond the Archdiocese of Birmingham in the years to come. May God prosper its work and that of the students whom we are about to congratulate, today and into the future.


Although the Archbishop's address does seem to stress a local dimension to Maryvale's work: (The local, ecclesial setting of the Maryvale Institute is important not only in understanding the Institute’s origins, history and development, but also because it sheds light on the fundamental values that continue to inspire its work today and to motivate its staff and its Governing Council.) he does seem to address concerns that the change of staff will limit the vision of the institute: (Maryvale will continue to draw on the expertise that it has developed over many years to strengthen the work of catechesis and Christian formation within and beyond the Archdiocese of Birmingham in the years to come.)

Most importantly of all, he does stress the Archdiocese' commitment to the institute and the staff and students.

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