Homilies

Blessing of the Performing Arts Centre at Mackillop College, Werribee

BLESSING OF THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE AT MACKILLOP COLLEGE, WERRIBEE, BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART, ON FRIDAY 29 AUGUST 2008 AT 10AM.


INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Like many of the best artistic works this wonderful Centre for Science and Performing Arts has been slightly longer in gestation than was originally expected.

I am delighted to be with you and to pay tribute to all who have taken part in the construction of this magnificent new facility.  It will be a great enrichment to MacKillop College for many years to come.

With prayerfulness let us bring our thanks to God, the origin of all beauty, goodness and truth.

 
HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am deeply pleased to be with you at the opening and blessing of the Performing Arts Centre at MacKillop College.  Over many years the place of music and the arts has been very strong here.
This Centre will lead us to new heights in the wide-ranging, complete Catholic education, which MacKillop College seeks to provide.  Our object is to enable young people to achieve a high level of professional competency coupled with a breadth of awareness of culture, language and the arts.

Just as I am delighted that Melbourne University is providing a Generalist Degree prior to increasing specialisation, I have long felt that the way in which secondary college courses have been constructed over the years has led to too narrow an education and too early specialisation.  The further developments in the area of performing arts, music and other allied activities will be greatly aided by the existence of the Centre and the excellent teaching given there, coupled with world class facilities.

Over the last forty years we have missed a number of opportunities of exposing our young people to the beauty of the liturgy and its traditional music.  We have seen a decline in the study of languages and an increased specialisation imposed from outside, which has worked against the objectives which Jesuit broad-based education has always had. 

However, I do see great hope in what is being done here at MacKillop College and what the community is gradually beginning to realise of how it is necessary to study what it means to be human, to offer young people broader areas of experience and reflection in ways which may not be immediate but which have permanent value and of striving always to resist the temptation to focus on present pragmatic needs to the neglect of the formation of the whole person which for centuries has shaped Christian Europe.

Pope Benedict is constant in his writing about the importance of beauty in our relationship with God.  As I thank all who have been involved in this project I do want to leave you with the invitation from the Lord about which Saint Augustine wrote in his Confessions. 

The Pope as an Augustinian theologian would I believe encourage us to do so.

“Late have I loved you, o beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! 
You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. 
In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. 
You were with me but I was not with you. 
Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. 
You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. 
You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you.  Now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me and I burn for your peace.” 

May the desire of God-given beauty, which so challenged Saint Augustine, be the inspiration and encouragement of all who use this Centre.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne

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