Cardinal O'Brien's Speech


H.E Chairman of BOT, Your Excellencies,  president  Faculty and staff, Fathers, Sisters,  Parents, Honoured Guests, Graduands, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you class of 2016 for the privilege of being able to offer a few words to you on this important day of your lives you who are receiving awards today. I am here representing the Catholic Church, the Owner of this University… and I am delighted to be here.

Graduations such as this are precious times when we join to recognize academic achievements. It is a particular privilege and pleasure for me now to be with you and to celebrate with you.

 Surely you have earned the awards of this day through diligent work and through your gifts in the service of others. These are noble and inspiring accomplishments, and I know I speak for all guests and staff here today to say that we are proud of you. Indeed, you too should be proud of your achievements, and grateful to the many who have brought you to this moment.

The American University of Madaba is, by any standards a young University.  It is a University keen to make its mark upon a promising  Jordanian society, and the world beyond.  My presence with you today is a mark that my Church is in full support of this fine University, and wishes to sustain it in every way possible.

This is not a day about those of us on this platform.  It is about YOU.  You will transform society.  It is you whom we celebrate today. You are the generation to transform society in a world that needs you. You are new graduates who will transform the world, because by your studies and scholarship you are committed to do so.

What do I mean by this overused word- “transform”?  I mean change from which there is no going back.  In your education you have been transformed.  You cannot become uneducated. You are not just informed – you are formed - and you have been transformed.   No: there is no going back.  Once you are educated you are changed for life… There is no going back.

This ceremony is the public challenge that my colleagues set before you to serve future generations selflessly and well. …To transform them!

There will be times ahead of great opportunities and excitement; times of renewal and growth; times of laughter …and of tears. You will constantly be motivated by your values selfless and you will hopefully inspire others to develop theirs.

By the values you have developed here you will know to put others always before yourself… selflessly being for others at all times. That is a mark of the Christian university.

 Such a world of challenge needs people of HOPE… trust in the present and trust in the future. 

 What changes are all around us!  But this University is not a sanctuary of certainty in a world of uncertainty

Neither  is it a place of such tradition that would prevent change, nor a place of turmoil that threatens traditions.

It is a place where people meet, where relationships are created and developed and nurtured, intellectually, culturally and spiritually.  It is these human encounters that we enjoy on a daily basis that should transform us.  And may I suggest that it will be your encounters with the neediest, the vulnerable and the weakest in our communities which will offer you your most significant and lasting opportunities for personal growth and strength.

May the days and years ahead be days of peace, freedom and happiness for each of you.  May your optimism and hope and success not depend merely on circumstances, but on your personal values fostered here at AUM.  Amid the inevitable political and societal challenges ahead it is your God-inspired vision and unwavering commitment that must carry you forward.

For too many today,  there is the fear of freedom.  With your academic capabilities accredited by this ceremony you can - you must be confident of your abilities in meeting life’s tomorrows.

So with the living embers of your careers now ignited, giving light and heat to a proper constellation of service which, in time, will reach the furthest corners of the world, let my modest hope - and fervent prayer - be that you will enliven the world by the truths and values that you have imbibed in this American University of Madaba, may your singular experiences here offer peace, love and hope for many years to a world that awaits you and all the things to which you are committed.