Opening of Cregan House
On the 24th of last October, the 122nd anniversary of the foundation of the College the new school at Castleknock was solemnly blessed by the Most Rev. John C. McQuaid, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland, assisted by the Very Rev. Donal F. Cregan, C M . , and the Rev. Michael J. Walsh, C M . After the ceremony His Grace presided at Mass celebrated in the College Chapel by Very Rev. C. O'Leary, C M .
Speaking at the luncheon at which His Grace the Archbishop and the Ministers for Education, External Affairs and local Government were guests of honour, the President of the College, Very Rev. D. F. Cregan, C M . said:
" The object of this morning's ceremony, the solemn blessing of a new school, was to invoke the blessing of God on 4 all those who dwell, teach and learn ' within its walls and we are profoundly grateful to His Grace for coming to perform this ceremony on a day pregnant with associations for all those who belong to this house.
Castleknock—His Grace will allow me to say it—has some claim on the see of Dublin because, for 25 years until the foundation of Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, it was here that all the diocesan clergy received their early education. Since those distant days the stream of vocations to the diocese has always been considerable. That it has not dried up may be established from a casual glance at the table from which I speak.
It was the commission of Our Lord to his Apostles that they should 4 teach all nations.' Every chief Pastor therefore has more than an interest in the education of youth. How great that interest is in the case of our present Archbishop can be very easily understood. It is no mere coincidence that he chose as his motto testimonium perhibere veritati 4 to give testimony to the truth.'
We have been honoured also this morning by the presence of the Minister for Education, the Minister for External Affairs (who is one of our own) and the Minister for Local Government who has done us the honour to entrust his boys to our care.
I am very pleased also to welcome this morning the President and members of the Union Committee. They represent the many generations who have passed through this house and are part of the wide familia of Castleknock men whom only the limitations of space have precluded us from having here this morning.
Building is essentially a work of co-operation and I have pleasure in expressing thanks to our architects Messrs. Downes and Meehan and especially to Mr. Robson to whom the plans were entrusted. He has given us, I think, a very compact and workable building which, while conforming to the best modern standards blends with the prevailing Georgian character of the existing structure. I have also to thank our consulting engineer, Mr. Sean Mulcahy, our quantity surveyor Mr. Gabriel Cleere and the firm of Messrs. T. and J. Macken who have erected a building of which we may be proud. Lastly and most sincerely I thank Mr. R. J. Guy, our Clerk of Works, who in all kinds of ways even unconnected with the building, has been so generous of his talents and his time.
It was surely more than a happy accident which prompted our founders to take up residence in their recently acquired property at Castleknock on the Feast of St. Raphael, 24th October, 1834. Raphael, you will recall, was the angel who accompanied the young Tobias on his journey and brought him safely after many hazards to the bosom of his family. And when we recall the many blessings with which this house has been visited since that mellow Autumn day of 1834 we may indeed feel that our young Tobiases have been sheltered under the protecting wing of the great Archangel. I trust, in the journey through the years that lie ahead as in the times that are past, that in the words of to-day's Mass they ' may always be sheltered by his guardianship and strengthened by his help ' and that walking in his companionship and in that of St. Vincent, under whose patronage the College rests, they may continue in the faithful service of God in whatever path their duty lies.
Once again I thank you, my lord Archbishop for your gracious gesture in coming to us on the anniversary of our foundation and I would renew my gratitude to all those associated with the erection of our new school.
In reply His Grace the Archbishop said:
I am very grateful to the Very Reverend President and Community for the gracious invitation to bless the new building on the anniversary of the foundation of the college. A century ago Castleknock was a modern College. After one hundred years, this College, not old but mellow, has renewed its age in giving itself this modern building. Thus, is the guarantee furnished that, for still another period, the College will take its due place among the guardians of our Catholic heritage in education. I thank the Vincentian Fathers for this renewal of courage and on this anniversary I wish them the grace of their Founding Fathers that, under God and by Our Lady's help, has made of Castleknock an exemplar of Catholic formation."
During the afternoon the guests inspected the building and later in the evening the Archbishop returned to the College to give Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and remained as the guest of the President and Community. The boys, it is unnecessary to add, availed of the celebration to obtain from His Grace, two free days.
It was an occasion in the history of the College which those who were present will always cherish in their memories.