Mass celebrated for the principals of schools in the Archdiocese at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on Thursday, 12th November 2015

My dear Brothers and Sisters,



Saint 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.

Josaphat 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.



The 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.



The 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.



Catholic 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 goal.



More 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.



Thank 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,






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