From the Rector

Dear Friends;

The school year is only two weeks old, and yet so many events have been packed into such a short space of time! I will not bother to list them, as they are all in your school calendar.

Instead, I would like to comment briefly on two events that had a ‘spiritual’ impact on the whole College, and hopefully encourage students and parents to appreciate this dimension of education.

First, we had a whole College Mass on Friday 2 February. This was an opportunity for asking God’s blessing on the new school year, while welcoming new students and staff to the College. It was an occasion when students were expected to participate and to listen and pray with recollection. Many staff members remarked afterwards on how well the students responded. I must compliment them for their behaviour and active participation.

In my homily, I suggested that this year we should all accept three challenges:

1. St John Bosco, whom we were honouring in this Mass, placed great value on education. He faced all sorts of obstacles as a boy in trying to go to school, but he did not give up.

When he began his work in the city of Turin, he met groups of young people roaming the streets, many of whom he met again in the prisons. They were all illiterate. He then realized that education was the only way to break the cycle of homelessness, unemployment, exploitation and juvenile crime. A good education can guarantee future success.

2. “I want you to be happy” – Don Bosco used to say to his young people. To be happy, St Paul used to recommend “to fill your minds with everything that is true, noble, good, pure, virtuous and worthy of praise”. You can translate this formula into a more simple recipe for happiness in, “do you duty, help others, be cheerful” as stated by Saint Dominic Savio, a pupil at Don Bosco’s school.

3. This year the Catholic Church in Australia is celebrating “the Year of Youth”. Also the Salesians throughout the world have been given a similar theme: “To cultivate the art of listening, and of accompaniment”. Listening, choosing good friends and seeking and accepting guidance from parents and teachers are all practical ways of living out this message.

Secondly, on Wednesday 14 February the period of Lent began, that leads up to Easter. The students prepared for this occasion by raising funds to go towards ‘Project Compassion’, which raises and distributes funds to many projects in poor countries around the world. On Ash Wednesday, staff gathered in the Chapel to receive the symbol of the ashes. Each Oratory group was offered the opportunity of receiving the ashes on their foreheads, as a sign and reminder of the negative effects of sinfulness and selfishness, and also as an invitation to listen to Jesus and to live according to his Gospel message.

On Fridays during Lent, a Mass is celebrated in the College Chapel, starting at 8.00am. It only lasts 20-25 minutes, and attendance is optional for staff and students. Parents are very welcome to join in if they wish.

Fr Frank Bertagnolli, SDB