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From the Rector
For most people, last Sunday, November 20 was just another Sunday, with the usual occupations and activities.
Yet for those of us who follow the events of the Catholic Church, Sunday November 20 was a special day! On this day, Pope Francis officially brought to a close the EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY – also called THE HOLY YEAR OF MERCY.
A “Holy Year” normally occurs every 25 years – so these events are rare; they occur only two or three times in the life of a person! On this occasion, Pope Francis wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Second Vatican Council; but he also wanted to emphasize that in a world where there is still so much violence, hatred, division, revenge, evil, abuse, exploitation… our life should not, and MUST NOT, be dictated by these destructive forces. God, or whatever divine power one accepts and worships, is NEVER a God of revenge, murder, hate, punishment, destruction, suffering, egoism…
On the contrary, the God that Jesus came to reveal and to proclaim is always a God of mercy, forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, understanding, peace, fraternity, friendship.
When Pope Francis launched the Year of Mercy in December 2015, he chose as the motto: “MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER”. This presents an enormous challenge – who can be as merciful as God the Father himself? This was a challenge issued by Jesus to his followers, and is still relevant today for all those who call themselves “Christians” – followers of Christ.
The logo gives us a practical insight in the way Jesus understood mercy: it shows Jesus carrying a human being on his shoulders, while the eyes of Jesus and those of the person look in the same direction, as Jesus walks out of a dark background into the light – Mercy in action!
At the entrance of the majestic basilica of St Peter in Rome, there is a door, called the “holy door”, which is opened solemnly at the beginning of a Jubilee Year. It is a symbolic gesture, which invites Christians to open one’s heart and mind, one’s whole life, to the message of the Holy Year –in this case to the message of MERCY.
Salesian College is first and foremost a community of faith. The vision, values and mission of this community are taken from the gospel of Jesus, and lived out in daily life on the example of the Founders of this institution.
Parents: if your children lack a sense of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, care for the poor and the suffering, willingness to help, generosity in giving… you need to question yourselves – and you should also question this school – about the values that we (parents and teachers) live by, and propose to our young people.
On Sunday, at Mass, I offered a prayer that the Year of Mercy may have an effect on the life of the members of this College community.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB