On Saturday 28th June, over 100 seminary students made their way to the Finglas Stake Centre, Dublin, for the first All Ireland Seminary Graduation Ceremony. Elder Clifford T. Herbertson, Area Seventy, presided with President James McCrudden, representing the Belfast Stake, President Ben O'Farrell, representing the Dublin Stake and President Tom Murphy, representing the Limerick District, also in attendance.
At the start of the meeting the students from Dublin were asked to stand, then the students from Limerick and finally the students from Belfast. They were invited to look around by President McCrudden, Seminary and Institute Coordinator for Ireland, and see that they were not alone. One graduating student, Lucy Black from Bangor 2nd Ward, said that she was amazed at how many others there were. Lucy stated 'It strengthened my testimony to know that so many would commit themselves to something so hard, because it is hard, doing it for four years—but it is worth it. It made me realise how strong the Church is here in Ireland'.
Twenty four students graduated from Seminary, having completed four years of study, which is a real achievement. In total, 120 certificates, including completion certificates for this year’s course, were awarded and many parents travelled to Dublin to share this special occasion with their children.
Elder Herbertson addressed the students and showed them his own Seminary Graduation Certificate. He shared that he ran three miles to seminary each day, something which has stood him in good stead as he has since participated in marathons. He also said that seminary is like a mini MTC which would help them to prepare for missionary service and commended the students for their efforts.
The graduating students were invited to bear their testimonies and Sister Amanda Peacock was asked to share a few words on behalf of her son Daniel who was not there to collect his graduation certificate as he is currently serving in the Hong Kong China mission.
The ceremony was followed by a dance during which the youth were able to strengthen existing friendships and make new ones.
A few of the graduating students - from left to right Nathan Reid, Terence Lamb, Gary Graydon, Stephen Murphy, Claudia Bowen, David Jackson, Peter Boyd, Bailey Faloon, Ciarrai O'Tool, Steven O'Farrell, Lucy Black, Brooklyn Cathers.