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St Mary’s Academics Visit Sri Lanka

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Academics Dr John Lydon and Dr David Fincham from the School of Education, Theology and Leadership at St Mary’s University, Twickenham recently visited Jaffna, Sri Lanka as part of plans to deliver lectures and seminars to priests from the Diocese. The tour, which was organised by the Tamil Catholic Chaplaincy in the UK, followed a visit from Bishop Thomas Savundranayagam (Bishop of Jaffna) to St Mary’s in 2010, where he discussed the opportunity for Priests from the Diocese to study St Mary’s MA Catholic School Leadership programme. During the visit Dr Fincham, Director of the MA Catholic School Leadership programme, and Dr John Lydon, Director for the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies, delivered a series of lectures and seminars to seminarians and catechists. They also met with key Catholic education figures in Colombo including Very Rev Dr Pacidus de Silva, Rector of Aquinas University College and Fr Stephen Ashok OMI, Director of the Centre for Society and Religion, to discuss potential collaborations between the institutions. When not delivering lectures and seminars, David and John spent time with the Tamil community in Jaffna, visiting schools, including one in which Fr Robinson Joseph, graduate of St Mary’s MA programme, is a Religious Education teacher and engages in chaplaincy work. Dr Lydon said, “All the schools were remarkable in the way in which the students are making outstanding progress in spite of the limited facilities. They were marked by a spirit of joy an optimism, and the students were keen to engage with us. We also had the opportunity to visit sacred shrines, including a church dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the tsunami of 2004.” The visit culminated in the Annual Prize Giving at the Diocese of Jaffna’s flagship school, St Patrick’s College, where David delivered a speech encouraging the students to be committed in their educational journey and to take advantage of all opportunities. Dr John Lydon and Dr David Fincham visit Sri Lanka
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