Notre Dame’s upper sixth PTE students were inspired by Father Timothy Radcliffe (pictured above), a renowned theologian and writer, who spoke to them this week about hope in challenging times.
Fr. Radcliffe’s talk, which was shared virtually, focused on three reasons to be hopeful in spite of difficult circumstances. Firstly, he encouraged our students to reflect on the kindness of all the unsung heroes within our society who do good. His advice was to “be one of them. I’m sure you already are.”
Secondly, he highlighted the creativity of young people, whose gifts are, he said, “sorely needed to do marvellous things.” Thirdly, he advised our students not to be afraid of crisis, as “we all go through crisis sometimes.” Crisis is not the end, he said, but a new beginning or an opportunity for positive development. Fr. Radcliffe gave the example of the Last Supper, when everything seemed to be coming to an end, but was actually just beginning.
Fr. Radcliffe’s final words were ones of hope: a hope to speak to our students in person one day. But even remotely, his talk affected and influenced our students, as you can see from their comments below.
"I found the talk by Fr. Timothy inspiring, in particular his idea that we can find hope in the goodness of others. In this time of difficulty, it is important to reflect on those who make sacrifices to allow for a more hopeful future: frontline workers, teachers, and other members of the community."
"The accounts of Fr. Timothy's time spent in Algeria and Rwanda demonstrate that hope can be found even in the darkest situations. His message of humanity is particularly relevant now, in a time which is often characterised by conflict and division. It is important to remember the hardship many people are experiencing, and offer compassion."
"One of the most inspiring aspects of Fr. Timothy's talk was his emphasis on the importance of young people being ‘the protagonists of change’, and a source of hope for the future. This is a message which is particularly relevant in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, where many young people feel deflated and unimportant. It is crucial that young people recognise their worth and capability to inspire real change, to shape the future for the better."