Mission Report – May 10, 2018
May 9, 2018
Last Friday we celebrated Edmund Rice Day with our annual Mass, Walkathon and Talent Show. It is a day when we experience the reality of our community. I offer Fr Anthony’s homily from the Mass and warmly encourage everyone to take the time to read his very well-chosen words.
EDMUND RICE -“ FEAST DAY -“ HOMILY
Today is a day of great joy and thanksgiving for each of us as we celebrate the feast of Blessed Edmund Rice. It’s a celebration of 150 years of dedicated service following the footsteps of Edmund Rice in Australia and 125 years in this college that marks Edmund Rice’s education, Spirituality and Charism.- It’s a system of education where his vision and mission are directed to raise fine boys to be great men. It’s a system defined by love of God and preferential option for the poor. In this system the student is at the focus and the Gospel values reach out to the entire educational community.
Edmund Rice would have better understood today’s Gospel of Vine and Branches as he hails from a farming community. His parents Robert and Margaret who were tenants farmed a large area of almost 200 acres called -Westcourt.- Now, this is a place of pilgrimage.
Jesus was probably walking through a vineyard with his disciples when he gave this teaching. Here, Jesus is the vine, His Father is the gardener and -‘we’ as his disciples are the branches. God is the gardener, tending to the vine, watering it, nurturing it and making sure that it grows healthy branches that will- be productive.- This tells us the story of Edmund Rice where he wanted to have healthy growth for his charism and mission in Australia.
Though he received first invitation in 1832 to serve the Church in Australia, after much prayer and reflection he decided that his brothers needed much nurturing and formation in his Charism and thus declined the first invitation. Again in 1843 at the invitation of Archbishop Polding a few Christian Brothers arrived in Sydney but the conditions of the time didn’t help for the healthy growth of the mission hence they went back to Ireland in 1847. It was again after two decades, that was in 1868 they returned to Australia, this time to Melbourne establishing the charism and mission of Edmund Rice’s education.
From this it’s very clear that he wanted to have great foundation, openness, commitment and nurturing of the mission. His charism is clearly defined in the charter of the schools:- –We open hearts and minds, through quality teaching and learning experiences, so that through critical reflection and engagement each person is hope-filled and free to build a better world for all-.
Celebration of Edmund Rice’s day this year has special significance as it marks the 125 years of existence of this college. It’s a beautiful time for us to look back into the vision and mission of Edmund Rice identifying those areas which need attention for more nurturing/reviewing in order to bear much fruit. In the second reading St. Paul says, I pray that according to the riches of his glory he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power -¦ as you are grounded in his love-.
We read in the Gospel, if you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit but apart from me you can do nothing. Edmund was deeply connected to God and maintained strong belief in the love of God in spite of the many challenges he faced: the death of his wife, the disability of his daughter; these also include other setbacks that he faced while taking forward his mission. His hope was firmly founded on his profound experience of God’s infinite love.
For being so fruitful His vision and mission were grounded in three E’s : Education -“ Empowerment and Evangelization: to do this he followed the Golden commandment. -Do unto others what you would want them done for you-. This brings us a reflective question, ask how you can you make things better for others and not just how to make things better for yourself. Certainly this is a proud moment for our college for having been successful in reaching out to hundreds of boys over the years with the same spirit and motto like Edmund making them great men both for the Church and society.
As we celebrate the Edmund Rice day, let us continue to imitate his compassion, kindness and commitment to bear fruit and increase our joy in being courageous disciples in this challenging world. Amen.