Headmaster’s Message – May 15, 2015
May 14, 2015
As you will be aware, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will conduct public hearings in Ballarat over the next three weeks. Over this time a number of victims/survivors will speak about their own individual stories of abuse in the Diocese of Ballarat involving Catholic clergy and religious associated with a number of institutions. Regrettably, some of these stories will relate to abuse by some Christian Brothers associated with St Patrick’s College.
The coming weeks will be a very difficult time for both victims/survivors of sexual abuse as well as the broader St Patrick’s College community, including many past Christian Brothers who have committed their lives to educating and inspiring young men in the Edmund Rice tradition. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the victims/survivors throughout this time. It is important that their stories are heard and listened to. It is for this reason that I will attend the Royal Commission as the College’s representative.
As a school community we must accept and acknowledge that this abuse is part of our history, and has had a devastating effect on many past students and their families. It is only then that we can begin to embrace the healing process. St Patrick’s College offers its unreserved and heartfelt apology to all who have been hurt.-
It is also important for our community to understand that the matters to be examined by the Royal Commission relate to events that occurred decades ago. St Patrick’s College is, and will continue to be, a safe place for boys. The College is fully compliant with legislated safeguards, including obligatory working with children clearances and mandatory reporting training, and continues to enjoy a strong reputation within the Ballarat and wider community.
Another vital priority is the care, wellbeing and protection of our current students and their families. There will be much focus from the media on the Ballarat hearings and we are mindful that this may impact our current students. We have strong procedures in place to ensure that our normal school routines will continue. The College will provide professional counselling services to any students who may feel distressed. I would encourage parents to keep in close communication with the College and with their sons during this time.
I thank you for investing your faith in the College of today in the understanding that we remain committed to continually providing the best learning environment for our boys.
I offer the following prayer to all members of our community in the hope that through the Royal Commission we can begin the process of healing.
A HEALING PRAYER
We pray for our brothers and sisters who have been abused within our Church; that they may find justice and peace. We pray that the healing love of Jesus, expressed particularly through our compassion and care, will ease their suffering and give them the strength to experience healing.
We pray for our community; that we remain united, accepting and nurturing to each other during this time of scrutiny. Allow us to remain a positive and supportive force within society. Help us to continue to spread the love of God to all.
We pray for the Catholic Church that we welcome the Royal Commission with open hearts and minds. Help us to acknowledge past wrongs. Give us the strength to become transparent and true advocates for the wronged and vulnerable.
We pray for the Commission; that it is a source of justice and peace to all those affected. May the grace of God guide us during this difficult time.
We offer this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
A statement from the Christian Brothers can be read at this link