March 18, 2022
by Assistant Principal -Mission and Identity, Mr Geoff Brodie
March 17 is of course St Patrick’s Day. As well as green donuts for every student we celebrated the day with Mass, led by College Patron, Bishop Paul Bird, and College Chaplain, Fr Eladio Lizada. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith and is the most important ‘thing’ that we can do as a College community.
Such an important celebration does not happen without much preparation. The Maintenance Team, the AV Team and the Music and HAPE departments are generous in time and expertise. Special mention also to Mr Mitch Leviston, Ms Brianah Walsh, Mrs Helen Lee and the students who led the singing reading. Special thanks also to Ms Anne-Marie Driscoll for her preparation.
The homily of Bishop Paul Bird is offered for your prayerful reflection.
“In the lead up to Saint Patrick’s Day, a few people were talking about Irish jokes. One of the people in the group was Irish herself and she said that she knew an Irish joke about milk bottles. She said, “If you had a row of milk bottles, how could you tell which was the Irish milk bottle? You could pick them up and look at the base of the bottles. The Irish one would be the one that said, ‘Open other end.’”
With Irish jokes, the Irish are the butt of the jokes, and it was generous of that Irish woman to tell a joke on herself. It showed good humour on her part. One of the gifts we’ve received from Ireland is a gift of humour, in Irish jokes and Irish comedians. But that’s not the only gift that Ireland has shared with the world. On this vigil of St Patrick, we remember particularly the gift of faith.
St Patrick brought the good news of Christ to the peoples of Ireland. The Irish in turn carried that good news to many lands around the world, including this great South Land of Australia. From the beginnings of European settlement here, so many Irish laity, religious and priests have come to Australia and shared their Christian faith. They have done so much to build up the Catholic community. And in doing so, they have drawn inspiration from St Patrick as the great apostle of Ireland, the missionary who sowed the seeds of faith in those earliest days.
How would we describe St Patrick’s style of faith? I’d say that St Patrick’s faith was a vigorous faith. It was a strong faith, a hearty faith, a dynamic faith. St Patrick believed firmly in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He believed that God had come to live among us in the person of Christ. He believed that we should place our trust in Christ to help us meet the challenges of life.
There is a hymn that reflects something of this vigorous Christianity associated with St Patrick. It’s a hymn called St Patrick’s Breastplate. It suggests putting on the armour of Christ to protect us on the tough journey of life.
The hymn begins by invoking the name of God as the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three.
Then the hymn recalls some images from the life of Christ.
I bind this day to me for ever. By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river; His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb; His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself today.
The hymn then calls on God to guide us and guard us on life’s journey.
I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.
St Patrick lived his faith with vigour and enthusiasm. He lived with a sense that the risen Christ was with him each step of the way. In fact, he sensed that Christ was with him at every moment. He prayed that Christ would be beside him. He prayed that Christ would go before him. He prayed that Christ would be with him always. This is another section of that hymn, St Patrick’s Breastplate.
Christ be beside me, Christ be before me,
Christ be behind me, King of my heart.
Christ be within me, Christ be below me,
Christ be above me, never to part.
Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me, shield in the strife.
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising, light of my life.
Christ be in all hearts thinking about me,
Christ be in all tongues telling of me.
Christ be the vision in eyes that see me,
In ears that hear me, Christ ever be.
As we celebrate the feast of St Patrick, I pray that we will have the strength to live with faith in Christ with something of the vigour and enthusiasm of St Patrick. As Christ was with St Patrick, so may Christ be with us each step of the way along the road of life.”
Bishop Paul Bird CSsR