Mission Report – October 22, 2015

October 21, 2015

Life’s lessons usually come from the most unexpected moments. At the commencement of this year I thought I had a little routine that would wake Year 12 students from any lingering morning lethargy. For many years I chose to be confused by the bell that sounded between the two morning sessions. This is a double session on the timetable so no student moves classes. At this moment I would deliver a light-hearted rant about the apparent uselessness of sounding the bell at that time. My little routine would finish with the question -What is the purpose of that bell?’ One particular morning a student offered in a quiet voice -It gives us hope-. The class exploded into laughter.

On Wednesday night our College community celebrated our Thanksgiving Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral. College Chaplain Fr James Kerr proclaimed from the Gospel of Luke the words of Jesus: You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Luke 12:39-48) The Gospel’s Golden Rule to love our God and our neighbour can find the most unexpected and unusual moments to shape our lives. St Patrick’s College endures in the hope that education must be about becoming the type of person who can recognise and respond with the light of God’s love to the events of life. In the first reading St Paul reminds us that formation through God’s love frees us from the slavery of sin so that we might choose to be -‘slaves’ of righteousness who choose the law of love to rule our lives. (Rom 6:12-18)

Our Bishop, The Most Reverend Paul Bird, expressed clearly to our Year 12 class of 2015 the imperative of a Catholic education. Bishop Paul emphasised the words at the end of the Gospel reading:

When a man has had a great deal given to him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.

Bishop Paul invited our students to be thankful for the many gifts they had received in their time at St Patrick’s College. He also encouraged their hearts to be ready for the great responsibilities that lay in their future and to have the courage to meet the standard they have set for themselves by being thankful for the gifts they have already received. In no small way we entrust our future to these young men. The candles they carried as they processed from the Cathedral, lit from the light of the altar, symbolise this responsibility.

I am not sure of the hope that the student was referring to on that morning at the start of this year. I would like to think that it referred to the learning that was happening, but I suspect the bell reminded him that the end of class was just a bit nearer. It didn’t matter as his response drew heart-felt laughter from the entire class and it was the moment that united us. I thought I was just trying to wake them up, but a student transformed the moment into a story we often referred to when we needed inspiration to endure through a long year. We can never be sure of how a St Patrick’s education will bring the joy of the Gospel to us, but once experienced, we can be sure that our future will bear its mark.