dear Brothers and Sisters,
Josaphat, whose feast we celebrate today, may well be styled the apostle of
unity. Back in 1596 the Orthodox and
Latin Catholic Churches of Poland drew up the union of Brest, which enabled
them to work together rather than to come under the influence of the
independent Moscow patriarchate.
had been born in 1580, was ordained in 1609 and eight years later became Bishop
of Witbsk and Archbishop of Polotsk. In
his time greater union between east and west in Poland and Lithuania was
achieved, although he was to die a martyr at the hands of an enraged mob on
12th November 1623.
Readings today speak very powerfully of the unity of purpose which is our
watchword. Our Lord prays that his
disciples and leaders will be one with him and with his Father. He reminds us that we are here as Principals
and teachers because we know that Jesus has been sent by the Father to give
himself completely so that through us others might know the Father.
first Reading is even more applicable to our situation. Principals are always leaders in the faith,
in education and in the care of the young people we have who are so
precious. Providing a courageous unified
leadership is easy to request and more difficult to fulfil.
unity must always include a Christ-like vision of the people with whom we work,
regular efforts with prayer and development of our staff so that they become
imbued with the Catholic faith, love and prayer, which you carry so effectively
into our schools. This year our project
on prayer seeks to place prayer time, with both vocal and other forms of
prayer, at the centre of each day in our schools. Thank you for your help in realising that
than this the second part of the Reading goes on to show that we have each been
given our share of grace, our share of gifts.
Each one of us needs to recognise our gifts and at the same time to
welcome, build up and encourage the gifts of others. Not only parish priests are talent
scouts. I am sure that your
entrepreneurial skill as Principals will enable you to call out the talents of
your staff and parents and pupils, so that they will flourish, building up the
Body of Christ, being distinguished for serve.
you very sincerely for all that you are and all that you do and know that my
prayers and works go with you now and always.
May Jesus live in your hearts forever.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.