DON BOSCO ORATORY WEEK
Congratulations to Mrs Nadia Knight, the members of her organising team, and all students and staff for a wonderful Don Bosco Oratory Week from 17 to 21 June. What an exuberant and inspiring festival it was for our Salesian College Family!
Well Done to everybody who took an active role in such key events as the College Walkathon, Mary McKertich Public Speaking Competition, Cambodia Panel, Salesian Spelling Bee, Student-Staff Competitions, Oratory Trivia, Lunchtime Activities, Musical Entertainment and all those amazing Friday ‘shenanigans’ which saw the Principal and staff well and truly on the receiving end!
And a big Thank You to everyone – students, staff, parents and families – who contributed time, effort, energy and donations in order to raise much-needed funds for the outstanding Salesian work for the young and the poor in Cambodia. And what a joy and privilege it was to have Br Michael, the very embodiment of that work, among us for the whole week!
From a Rector’s point of view, I was indeed honoured to celebrate the Annual Mass for past and current Staff in the College Chapel on the Tuesday afternoon of Oratory Week and to encourage those present in their tremendous vocation as educators, because ‘to educate is to touch lives forever’ and as ‘a teacher affects eternity, they can never tell where their influence stops.’
I was also privileged to attend the College’s Legacy Breakfast in the Hall on Thursday morning, to witness the legacy passed on from fathers who are former Salesian students to their sons who are present students, and to hear the wisdom and advice offered by former AFL footballer, Wayne Schwass, on the all-important topic of men’s mental health. It was also an honour to congratulate Chadstone old boy, Graeme Sleeman, for receiving a special Legacy Award for speaking out and taking a stance regarding our sacred duty to protect young people from abuse and exploitation.
Finally, as Main Celebrant of our Don Bosco Oratory Mass last Friday, I was most impressed by the wholehearted support and participation shown by students and staff on this key College occasion. From the procession of international flags at the beginning of the Mass to the musical accompaniment and then the presentation of Omnia Awards at the end, the whole school put on its best, happiest and most optimistic face and was proof positive that it is made up of people who are indeed ‘cheerful givers’ who are loved and valued by God himself.
At the conclusion of my homily, I reminded the College community of what Pope Francis had said to the Youth of the World in a recent letter called ‘Christus Vivit’ or ‘Christ is Alive’. Further, I was convinced that he was saying these very same words to the young men of Salesian College on this very day:
‘Dear young people, make the most of these years of your youth. Don’t observe life from a balcony. Don’t confuse happiness with an armchair, or live your life behind a screen. Whatever you do, do not become the sorry sight of an abandoned vehicle! Don’t be parked cars, but dream freely and make good decisions. Take risks, even if it means making mistakes.
Dear young people, please do not be bystanders in life. Get involved! Jesus was not a bystander. He got involved. Don’t stand aloof, but immerse yourselves in the reality of life, as Jesus did.
Young friends, don’t wait until tomorrow to contribute your energy and your creativity to changing our world. You are the NOW of God, and he wants you to bear fruit.’
Could I appeal, then, to all the fine young men of Salesian College to take up the Pope’s challenge today and to respond generously to his urgent call to be the ‘Now of God’ in the world of 2019!
Fr Greg Chambers