Mass celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart at Salesian College, Sunbury

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am honoured to join Mr Mark Brokhus and the young women and men of Salesian College, Sunbury, as we gather to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the College.

This is a highly significant occasion when I pay tribute to the Salesian priests, brothers and lay masters and to all who have worked so hard to enable the growth of young people in an atmosphere of reasonableness and kindness, recognising the unique gifts of each.

I join you in thanking God for all that has been achieved here in an ongoing way.

For ninety years Salesian College has been a remarkable place of Catholic education and formation in the Salesian tradition. Saint John Bosco made no apology when he said: “Give me souls” leave the rest. This is a clear indication of what the Salesians and their collaborators have done with such great dedication to form young people in the faith and the Salesian tradition.

I have very precious memories of attending Masses while I was standing beside various bishops at Salesian College and being encouraged by the spirit of participation, faith, openness and genuine charity.

Don Bosco’s determination after becoming a priest was to dedicate himself to the salvation of young people. The city of Turin had many, many young people who were poor. His struggles to establish the first Oratory to help young people to find food and lodging to study and learn a trade shows above all that it is the love of the Lord which gives life. Similarly, he founded with Saint Maria Domenica Mazzarello the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

So the watchword of Salesian has always been the needs of young people. I have always been inspired by the generosity of the Salesians, the warm humanity and welcome which we have found at Salesian and the encouragement and belief given to every student. My own understanding of education is that every young person has gifts, which differ and which can be encouraged and brought forward. This has happened so well at Salesian over ninety years.

More than this, however, Salesian seeks to encourage all the things we are able to do in life; our studies, our relationships, above all knowing that we are loved by God and our faith, but helps us to realise that each of us is valued and important.

There is a wonderful reaction between the knowledgeable leadership of teachers, coaches and guides and the enthusiasm of young people. What I think is most important is to believe that we can rather than we cannot.

A few months ago when I had a sore knee the inimitable Father Bob Maguire said to me, don’t say yes to that little voice in you which says you can’t. This is a great Christian secret; the secret of knowing that we can do great things because we are loved by God, we are guided and supported by our teachers and because the wonderful Salesian tradition is leading us on to realise our possibilities and the gifts which we have.

We have to understand our faith, the community which I admire at Salesian and the needs of the world. I do commend Salesian as inspired by the vision of Saint John Bosco to continue providing the best Catholic education possible to all who wish to make the journey and to each of you young people I commend the words of Saint Paul: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me, that is in Our Lord.”

God bless you all and congratulations.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

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