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"Modelling Ministry on Christ" - Masters in Catholic School Leadership Graduation

The 29th March 2019, was a very special day as the first cohort of students, based at the Derry Saturday School, received their Masters in Catholic School Leadership from Vice-Chancellor, Francis Campbell, at Saint Mary's University, Twickenham. In his opening address, Professor John Charmley, Pro Vice-Chancellor, warmly welcomed the Bishop of Derry, Most Rev Donal McKeown and graduates to the ceremony. Acknowledging the development of the Derry based Saturday School as significant, Professor Charmley said, "We are delighted at the first fruits of our collaboration with the Diocese of Derry and look forward to deepening our cooperation."

Of the 34 students who graduated in the Masters in Catholic School Leadership this year, 11 completed their studies through the Derry Centre, facilitated by Programme Director, Dr John Lydon and Senior Lecturers, Dr David Fincham and Dr Caroline Healy.

The programme content included modules in Catholic Education, Leadership and Management, Spiritual and Theological Foundations and Research Methods and Dissertation. Bishop McKeown believes the wealth of local research carried out by students will be of great benefit to Catholic Education, because, as he told those gathered for the graduation in the Chapel of Saint Mary's University, "Leadership - in school or elsewhere – is challenging. Understandably many shy away from it. But there is a crying need for those who will take on leadership positions, not because it brings them glory or power but because leadership is a service that can focus a range of creative energies in an often-fragmenting world. It needs a heart that knows how to build teams and bridges. It means having convictions and being able to bring people with you."

Speaking of his experience of the programme, graduate Stephen Keown, Vice-Principal of Saint Mary's College, Derry, where the Saturday School is based, said that he undertook the course because he wanted to explore school leadership from a faith-led perspective.

Describing the Masters' Programme as, "personally enriching and professionally enlightening, Stephen believes that, as a school leader, the course provided a confidence, knowledge and understanding upon how faith-based leadership decisions are made."

There are currently 32 students from five Irish dioceses undertaking the Masters' Programme at the Derry Centre. The next intake will be Autumn 2019. For anyone interested, please contact the Derry Diocesan Catechetical Centre on 004428 71264087 or email .

A short video exploring the course can be viewed in link across:

Re-opening of St Mary’s Church, Clonmany