Mass of induction and commissioning of Marcellin College Bulleen


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Some time ago when I read the story of Marcellin Champagnat, hearing of his desire to make schools for  young people that they might learn to become good Christians and good citizens, I felt that his ideal captured what we are on about in Catholic education.
Marcellin decided that he would form an Order of teachers when as a parish priest he was called to administer the last Rites to a dying teenage boy, Jean Baptist.  He tried to lead the young boy through his last moments in prayer and was struck by the fact that the boy did not seem to understand anything about Christianity or prayer.  Marcellin sought to right that wrong by founding an Order of teaching brothers beginning in humble circumstances, but growing to work in over 76 countries on 5 continents, sharing their mission and spirituality with more than 40,000 lay Marists and educating together half a million young people.
The genius of Marcellin Champagnat is the awareness of the love of God, the support of Mary who brought the Saviour to the world.  He saw the link that must always exist between our religious knowledge, faith in God with the discoveries that we will make in human learning.
A few years ago Pope Benedict said that the Church is an expert in humanity.  We know that Jesus loved us first.  We seek to respond to him and come to appreciate that every young person is unique, that our gifts differ.  The work of a Catholic school is to form us in the knowledge and love of God, so that we will have a more complete vision of the world in which we live, of our dignity as human beings, and of our capacity to develop our talents.
Education is an exciting journey of discovery in which students and teachers move together to immerse themselves in knowledge which will fit them for life’s journey.
Similarly, I have often been into a classroom and been tremendously impressed by the thirst for knowledge, the questions that are asked, the openness to what I might have to share with young people.  For my own part, however, it is also what I might learn about young people that I seek to listen and to work with them.
Marcellin College has existed for sixty-three years, first at Camberwell and then at Bulleen.  Marcellin Champagnat had a very simple goal for his students; his schools were to provide opportunities for the young and to encourage them to develop their individual talents to the fullest.  Your College motto, Virtute ad Altissima, means “to strive for the highest with virtue”.  Because we seek to love God and follow his plan, which alone will give happiness, we strive for the highest and use our gifts to support and enrich others.
Whether in academic, cultural or sporting areas, we try and bring all of the parts of our life together, so that we will be human beings filled with love of God, with compassion – as was Mary his Mother.  We are aware of our gifts and the humble ability to use them.  We have a special call to reach out to others in the community so that the gifts we have developed will serve other people’s understanding of the dignity of human beings and of readiness to serve them by making our world work as God has planned.
I pray that 2013 will be a moment of common striving by teachers and students alike.  I hope that the meeting of gifted teachers with inquiring minds, of students imbued with the search for knowledge will enrich all concerned in ways that we had not imagined at the beginning of the year.
I have often admired the friendliness and open dialogue I have had with young men of Marcellin.  I urge you to think great thoughts, to think how you can contribute to God’s plan, to think how you can make Marcellin a better place.
We know the love and support of Mary, our heavenly Mother.  We are challenged to live so that our God is near and that our advances in knowledge and discoveries of truth will be enriching to all who meet us.  You will receive much at Marcellin – what can you contribute?  Saint Marcellin Champagnat, pray for us.
+ Denis J. Hart,
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