October 7, 2022
by Assistant Principal – Mission and Identity, Mr Geoff Brodie
Peace and joy to all.
At the end of last term, Australia woke to the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. At our College we lowered our flags to half-mast and joined in prayer just before lunch. Over the following days we had the opportunity to read much about Queen Elizabeth’s leadership and reflections on her contribution to society. That contribution – through a life of service – was universally acknowledged as good. We were also given the opportunity to witness – indeed share in – the solemnity of Her Majesty’s funeral: an occasion of which we may never see the like again. We witnessed history.
In the weeks that have followed it is not unreasonable to ask why this moment captured the world’s imagination. Perhaps what we saw in Queen Elizabeth was the embodiment of the values that create and sustain the human community. There was agreement across many political spectrums that her life of service was a singular force for unity and endurance in society. And here is the proposal. The incarnate witness of a person’s lived commitment possesses a power that no text, symbol or ritual can match. Our hearts desire the example of those who show us the better way.
This is the challenge that our new student leaders have taken up. They know that it is not enough to take on a position, but that they must make the choices and take the actions that embody the meaning and value of St Patrick’s College. They have taken on the challenge of showing us the better way.
It is that better way, grounded in our faith in Jesus, that they declared before the College community at our recent Assembly. This commitment was expressed in the words included below. You are invited to carefully reflect on them and what our students have undertaken. The goal of their leadership is to invite and inspire all in our community to take up this vision of leadership freely and responsibly. May the Holy Spirit grant them the insight and courage to do so.
We, the student leaders of St Patrick’s College Ballarat, commit our hearts, our heads, and our hands to the great task of continuing our traditions of faith in our loving God, excellence and just relationships.
We freely and joyfully take up the responsibility of leadership in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of Blessed Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers. We are committed to enriching our heritage of being a Catholic boarding school for boys alive to the signs of our times.
We shall be humble, for leadership is service to others. We shall comfort those who are filled with sadness
We shall hunger and thirst for what is right and just. We shall proclaim mercy for those who desire forgiveness
We shall seek to bring peace to troubled hearts
We shall walk gently on this earth, seeking wisdom from the traditions of our indigenous sisters and brothers
As student leaders of a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice Tradition we shall be guided by the Touchstones.
We will be open to a spirituality that has the Gospel of Jesus at its centre.
We shall constantly promote an education that liberates us from fear and selfishness
We shall welcome and include all who wish to share our values and vision: a vision uniquely lived in our boarding community – ‘home’ for many young men
We shall share our gifts with all in solidarity and justice.
To all that we have proclaimed before you today, we pledge our commitment.