BLESSING AND OPENING OF NEW BUILDINGS AT ST MONICA’S COLLEGE, EPPING, ON SUNDAY 24 AUGUST 2008 AT 2.30 PM
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am honoured to be with Mr. Brian Hanley, members of staff, students and families of Saint Monica’s College, as we proceed to the blessing and opening of the new Year 9 building.
In its existence of 44 years, Saint Monica’s College has built up to an enrolment of 1700 students. An atmosphere of friendliness, co-operation and welcome has stimulated the education of so many young people.
I rejoice in this new venture, which will even further enhance the gifts offered to young people through this magnificent College.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In an atmosphere of joy and congratulation to all who have brought this Year 9 building to completion, I wish to thank the Principal, Mr. Brian Hanley, members of staff, the architect and builder, the parents and families of the College, and all who have contributed to this building.
Saint Monica’s College, as you know, has existed in concept since 1964 when the decision was taken to establish a Regional Girls’ Secondary College in this area. On 5th February 1967, the year that I was ordained a priest, the building in Davisson Street was blessed by Bishop Moran with an enrolment of 240 girls. However, by 1978 the College became co-educational and there were further expansions on Dalton Road in 1978, Wedge Street in 1986, and major refurbishments in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007. This year the Science and Technology Building was added to the Year 9 building completed the previous year.
We owe deep gratitude to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and to the lay staff who have carried forward a remarkable programme of development and expansion, enhancing the work and providing for the needs of so many young people.
Your College is Saint Monica’s. Saint Monica, as we know, was born of Christian parents at Tagaste in North Africa in 333, dying as a widow at Ostia near Rome in 387. Three children, Saint Augustine, Novidius and Perpetua were born. Saint Monica is known for her prayers and care for her children, particularly for Saint Augustine. The support of her constant prayers brought him to be a priest and holy bishop, leaving aside a wayward life and through Saint Ambrose, Augustine was baptised in the church of Saint John the Baptist at Milan. Saint Augustine’s Confessions underline the journey of challenge to love and follow Jesus Christ, which Saint Monica sustained always in her heart.
This challenge to full Catholic faith and living is the very foundation of all that Saint Monica’s does. It is not merely a facility provided for people who are Catholic in name. It provides an invitation to have a personal love of Jesus Christ, to be united with him in prayer and Mass and because of the formation received at Saint Monica’s to witness to Jesus in the world.
At Randwick some Sundays ago Pope Benedict challenged the young people of the world to respond. “What kind of world will you leave behind? What will be the gifts you will use?” All of this is inspired by prayer and by the ideals which underpin this great College. May the learning acquired here complete and supplement the knowledge of the true faith, its living and practice, which are the watchword of Saint Monica’s.
Congratulations to all who have brought this project about.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne