Duccio, Christ takes leave of his disciples (1308-1311)
In French, and many other languages, there are at least two ways of saying “good bye”. To those whom we are likely to see again soon we say, “au revoir”; literally “until the re-seeing”, or “until we next see each other”. But to those we may well not see again we bid “adieu” – that is, “à Dieu”, “to God”. We commend those from whom we are parting to the almighty, in whom we all hope to meet again.
At the end of the academic year it is a time for saying either au revoir or adieu. Some, of course, will be returning next year; for others their time in Durham has come to an end. But it doesn’t need to be just one or the other; there is room for both the au revoir and the adieu.
So au revoir to those who will return to Durham next year: but also to those finishing. There is a welcome for you in this city and University, and in particular at the Catholic Chaplaincy. Do come back to see us, and do keep us up-to-date with what you’re doing.
But adieu to all: let us pray for each other at the beginning of the summer vacation, and commend each other à Dieu, to God, whether returning or not. May he bless us in our endeavours now and forever, wherever we may be, and whenever and wherever we meet again.