Mass celebrated at Saint John’s College, Dandenong, for the opening of the school year
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am honoured today to join Mr Hogan, the members of staff and more than 1100 young people, who begin 2017 here at Saint John’s, Dandenong.
For 59 years this Co-educational Catholic Secondary College has given immeasurable service to the people of Dandenong and beyond. The tradition of the De La Salle Brothers, who led the College up until 1987 was always one of faith and fraternity, care and engagement with young people and the College motto “Virtus in Astra Tendit – Virtue Tends for the Highest”, reminds me of the opportunities which the College offers in academic and practical subjects, cultural involvement, sport, and relationships with teachers, students and staff alike.
The beginning of a new College year challenges us to focus on who we are and who we can become. As Catholic young people we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who was a great teacher and story teller, who gave of his all in speaking of everything that is best in human life; love, family, truth, loyalty, working under the loving care of God and the love given and received, which your patron Saint John, the beloved apostle, took as his motto in his personal following of Jesus.
So the work of our College, the experience we have moving with others always comes from that personal experience of Jesus Christ. As young people we are seeking to prepare for life in a Catholic environment where Jesus is the centre of our life, where we are invited through Mass, the Sacraments, the Word of God and prayer, to come to know who we are and to live the faith we profess. Above all we respect the unique nature of each human being as we seek to grow ourselves in our experience, to be nurtured and to value the many learning, human, spiritual and practical experiences which will nourish our journey at Saint John’s College.
I thank the College leadership and the staff for all that is done for young people. Young people of Saint John’s, thank you for your faith, your hope, your love of each other and your openness to a full experience of living. This means that in whatever work, career or vocation your contribution will be formed positively by the friendships, the learning and the hope which Saint John’s offers.
I urge you to use this year well, as I offer this Mass thanking God for his providence in the people he has called together under Mr Hogan at Saint John’s. With my brother priest board members, may we go forward together, valuing the experience, the hard work, the real skill and the engagement of inquiring minds with each other to carry the great work of Saint John’s forward. Saint John, the beloved apostle, lead us to Jesus.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.