Notre Dame partners in Dublin launch virtual series on Newman’s ‘The Idea of a University’

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Interior of Newman University Church in Dublin. Photo by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Interior of Newman University Church in Dublin. Photo by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway and the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason have launched a new, four-part international series to celebrate the first anniversary of the canonization of St. John Henry Newman theologian, poet, convert and founder of the Catholic University of Ireland. “Thinking with Newman: Educating with Intention Today” will explore Newman’s seminal work, “The Idea of a University,” and its contemporary relevance to educational challenges faced today during the coronavirus crisis.

This international conversation honoring Newman’s educational legacy — available exclusively on the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s ThinkND platform — will be moderated by Rev. Gary Chamberland, C.S.C., director of the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason, and professor Kevin Whelan, director of the Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway.

“St. John Henry Newman’s insights into the purposes and values of a university still inform higher education today and should be studied by anyone concerned with the future of learning,” said University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “At Notre Dame, our mission is very much inspired by Newman’s conviction that education, far from being a simple transfer of knowledge, must involve the formation of the whole person within the context of a community of learners.”

The “Thinking with Newman” series will be aired live from Newman University Church — a landmark of Dublin city center, designed by Newman in 1856 and described as “the most beautiful Church in the three Kingdoms.”

Since 2016, Notre Dame has stewarded University Church at the invitation of the Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin. Under the direction of Father Jenkins, the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason at University Church was established, expanding the University’s presence in Dublin and deepening the appreciation of Newman’s work and his dedication to the engagement of faith and culture in modernity.

Over three weeks, Father Chamberland and Whelan will engage with participants through supplementary videos and reading materials as they dive into questions centered on the relevance of Newman’s work today, the value of a university education, the enduring legacy of Newman’s insights and the challenges posed by living out Newman’s ideals today in our conflicted and COVID-afflicted world.

Guest speakers will join Father Chamberland and Whelan in conversation during the live “Thinking with Newman” sessions. In the spirit of Newman’s dedication to an intellectually rigorous and diverse civil engagement, speakers will include frontline leaders in the Church, education and business; lay people and clerics; university students and presidents, from Ireland to the United States — all challenged to thoroughly examine the overarching questions of the series, “What defines a university and how do we educate with intention today?”

Mass will be celebrated on Oct. 11 in Newman University Church, livestreamed from Dublin for participants around the world to join in a liturgical celebration of the first anniversary of St. John Henry Newman’s canonization.

Partners of the “Thinking with Newman” series include the Office of the President, the College of Arts and Letters, the Office of Mission Engagement and Church Affairs, Notre Dame International, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Institute for Educational Initiatives/Alliance for Catholic Education, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, ND Learning, ESTEEM and the Notre Dame Alumni Association.

The “Thinking with Newman” series launches on Oct. 7. Registration is required.  

The livestream will be available here