Recent Addresses and Pastoral Letters

Opening of the Catholic Leadership Centre - Tuesday 27 May 2014

OPENING OF THE CATHOLIC LEADERSHIP CENTRE BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART ON TUESDAY 27TH MAY 2014 AT 11.30 A.M.

Dear Friends,

As we gather this morning to bless our Leadership Centre, we are invited to reflect on the nature of a leadership defined by the values of our faith.

And in our faith we are afforded no better model of leadership than the example that our Saviour Jesus Christ has left us through the Gospel.  Tearing apart the traditional notions of autocratic rule and of a society guided by the practices of distinct class separations, Jesus tells his disciples that among them it will be different:  “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.  And whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:26-28)

This Centre stand as a testament to the generations of Catholic leaders in our community who have gone before us – leaders who have not come to be served, but to serve in the tradition of Christ.

These are men and women who have entered into the service of the Church’s service organisations with a capacity for compassion, openness to the people they serve and for love.  Each and every one of them continues to have my great confidence in their talents and their role in shaping the wider community.

The Catholic Leadership Centre has been built to support future generations of Catholic leaders in education, health and the social services to continue to serve in the same tradition.  It is my responsibility to ensure that the emerging leaders of our Church are properly supported to take on these roles.

The world is infinitely more complex today than it was when many of today’s Church leaders emerged.  The challenges that the next generation of leadership will face will be equally as complex.  That is why we have made provision for this building.

And it is fitting that it stands on this spot.

For over 144 years Saint John’s Primary School helped shape the minds of thousands of students from around this area.  Coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds, it is true that they were not always Catholic, but they were taught by teachers imbued with a love of Christ, guided by his values.

It will be far too easy for the wider world to see the Catholic Leadership Centre as an edifice – bricks and mortar, glass and steel – a beautiful and functional multi-million dollar investment by Catholicism in Catholicism.

It is, therefore, our responsibility to make this Centre live.  That beyond the facade of the building is a thriving culture and faith imbued with the love of God and with the men and women we share our community with.

Those who have helped shape the wonder of this project have understood our need to build on the capacities of the Church.  This Centre will serve to balance the competencies of leadership and the competencies of the Church, to best serve the people in our schools, our hospitals and in all the parts of society touched by the work of our Church.

I believe that the Church’s future leaders are to be those men and women totally committed to our faith, and totally competent to provide the stewardship to the organisations they will one day lead.

These leaders will need to have the practical skills to not only run our schools, or manage our hospitals in a day to day context, but be able to respond effectively to the needs of a changing community, and to a growing complexity of government regulation.

Leaders who put what is right above what is easy or politically expedient, and men and women         who are not afraid to fight for a cause and a vision that is more infinite than the whole of our understanding.

Ultimately, these are the men and women who are on fire with the love of Christ, with a vision to bring love to our world, and help shape young men and women to use their gifts to build up the foundations of society formed by Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

The messages that emerge from the classes, seminars and lectures here at the Catholic Leadership Centre should serve to remind our leaders of the words of Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians:  “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.”  (Philippians 2:4)

Their example, we hope, should serve as persuasive an influence in the communities they serve, as Jesus’ has been for the whole world.

They will serve humbly and with humility.

They will lead by influence and example.

They will be true servant leaders.

+ Denis J. Hart,

ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.

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