Acting Headmaster’s Message – March 16, 2018

March 15, 2018

We finished this week by gathering together as a school community to celebrate the feast day of our patron, the great St Patrick. Our celebrations commenced with all students and staff assembling in front of the College Chapel and Kennedy House for a 125th year commemorative photograph (with a number of students forming a very large 125!). Students then filed through to the canteen to receive one of their famous doughnuts (with copious amounts of green icing of course!).- –

Our celebrations concluded with a whole-school Mass in the O’Malley Gym. This annual Mass plays an important role in our traditions as a Catholic school for boys. It brings together current students, old collegians, staff and a range of people from the wider community each of whom are committed to their ongoing support of the College.

St Patrick’s Breastplate is a prayer invoking God’s presence, power and protection and is regularly used by the College as a communion reflection during our Eucharistic celebrations.- Written in honour of St Patrick, this prayer invokes the energy of the Trinity, of Christ in his mysteries, of the heavenly hosts and of nature itself against the powers of darkness, danger and evil.- It shows a faith that is vibrant, Trinitarian, Christ-centred, in tune with creation and integral to the everyday lives of the people.

Each verse of the hymn begins with “I arise today” and is followed by a list of sources of strength that the prayer calls on for support. One verse invokes various aspects of God -“ his wisdom, his eye, his ear, his hand:

I arise today, through

God’s strength to pilot me,

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.

A further verse calls for Christ to be in all things:

Christ with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down,

Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

This prayer is often called St Patrick’s Breastplate because it seeks God’s protection in a world of both tangible and invisible dangers. Though Patrick of Ireland lived more than 1500 years ago, his prayer asking that God himself would cover him is just as relevant today. Who of us haven’t wrestled with the haunting fear of living in this unpredictably world? Patrick’s solution: run to God!

Friday’s school celebration of St Patrick’s Day, and Saturday’s events for Old Collegians and other members of the St Patrick’s College community, appropriately recognise and celebrate our current students and the many great men who have passed through the College. It is a time for us to celebrate all that is good in our community, to reflect on what has been inherited by the efforts of those who have come before us and to be active in what we want to pass on to those who will come in the future.

May you all have a blessed St Patrick’s Day!