Mass celebrated at Salesian College, Sunbury, on Wednesday 12 August 2015
“Where two or three meet in my name, I will be there with them.”
My dear young friends,
I want to thank you and your teachers for all that you do in making Salesian a vibrant, Catholic college. A Catholic college is founded on God’s love for us and our returning that love generously and with skill, on the respect that we have for each human person and on the way in which teachers, students and all of us together through friendship, challenge, work and a variety of experiences and studies grow to develop our full capacity and are ready to enter and serve our society with giftedness as young adults.
It is important for each of us to realise that we are unique, that God has given some gifts to us, other gifts to different people and our journey through Salesian is a journey with others to discover our full potential. God loves each of us as if we are the only person in the world. This means that what we are and what we can become is important to God. It leaves aside our doubts and uncertainties because even through them we can grow to a new ability to serve and work with others.
Above all, I want you to know that you are valued. Sometimes in leadership when in service of the community we misjudge situations. It is quite acceptable to make mistakes, but then this is an important part of learning.
Pope Francis said these words in his letter on the joy of the Gospel: “Young people often fail to find responses to their concerns, needs, problems and hurts in the usual structure. As adults we find it hard to listen patiently to them, to appreciate their concerns and demands and to speak to them in a language that they can understand.” (No. 105)
However, it is important that we all be aware that the entire community is called to open out the Gospel to the young, so that young people can exercise greater leadership. After all, the gifts that you and I have are given for service and leadership. If I am a good listener people will feel encouraged. If I am a leader, who shows the way, people will be helped. If I am a person who draws people together, people will find new friends. That is the meaning of the words ‘where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them’.
So my dear young friends, it is very important to believe in yourselves. Even the shyest and quietest young person here has great gifts. Salesian is here to discover them and to help us to use them. This will be possible if every person is welcomed with respect, if disagreements can be ended in discussion and resolution, if anger and hatred can be driven far from our hearts.
The love of youth that Saint John Bosco had and inspired in the Salesians and in your teachers is a constant reminder that each of us is loved and welcomed by God. May our love and respect and what we find in Jesus’ name help us to realise that he is in the midst of us. May Jesus live in our hearts forever.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.