Speaking to a gathering of women and men from religious orders throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin in Terenure College, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that faith provided an answer to the “alienation and hopelessness and suffering and search for meaning that exists among the men and women of our time.” He also said that religious in schools should be “travelling companions” with young people.
In the wake of comments made my Education Minister Ruaírí Quinn last week suggesting that the time allotted to religious education should be cut, Archbishop Martin said that faith was not just about formal classes.
“When we talk about meaning and hope, about the fundamentals of what life is about, the sense of goodness and truth and where young people anchor the values of their lives, there is a vast challenge which the wisdom of age and experience and a depth of faith can bring to young people” he said.
“Just think of the pressures that young people, especially vulnerable young people, face today: from their peers, from the complex culture of social media, from a culture of drink and how even one mistake can possibly ruin a life.
“Examples abound as we have seen tragically in these days.
“Good religious were never just managers and administrators of schools: the good religious teacher was someone who played a vital role in the life of a young person, a name that the young person remembered fondly for their entire life. The Church urgently needs to find new ways not just of denouncing what is wrong, but of being – within all those in society – of being travelling companions with young people in their search for their true selves, for values which transcend and for the ability of how to say no.”
The Archbishop also talked about the importance of prayer, and of sharing the faith with others.
“Religious have to learn to share their prayer life with others and guide people in prayer. Religious life cannot be privatised; your prayer is a service for the whole Church and cannot be enclosed within the four walls of your house.”