To the Salesian College Family,
As the Rector of Salesian College and as the Leader of the Community of Salesian Priests and Brothers at Chadstone, I warmly welcome you to the 2020 school year and wish you all a very happy and successful New Year together.
So far this year, I have been personally involved in three very memorable events: firstly, the Prayer Service and Morning Tea for the Parents of our new Year 7 students; secondly, our Opening Whole School Mass in the College Hall; and thirdly, the Year 7 Camp at ‘Camp Rumbug’ near Foster in South Gippsland. My sincere congratulations are extended to all those students, parents and staff who took part in one or all of these major inaugural events, and for demonstrating the true Salesian values of joy, enthusiasm, kindness, friendliness, mutual support and respect during them.
In particular, as the Main Celebrant during our Opening Eucharist on the very first day of our new academic year, I spoke about the inspirational figure of the Salesian founder, St John Bosco, and the amazing legacy that he has left behind for us. Allow me to repeat some excerpts of my homily for you now:
‘On this Feastday of Saint John Bosco, Founder of the Salesian Congregation and ‘Father and Teacher of the Young’, it is very obvious from today’s readings that John Bosco wanted all of his Salesians, lay teachers and helpers, and young students to live lives of joy, kindness, goodness, unselfishness and gratitude. He underlined the importance of treating each other with respect, friendliness, patience, tolerance, and mutual support. Above all, he desired that they strive to be ‘Good Christians and Upright Citizens’ in all their dealings, relating to their fellow human beings with right conduct and integrity, honesty and honour, justice and peace.’
‘However, the Don Bosco of history was also a very courageous and determined person who had a never-say-die attitude to life and an unconquered spirit towards whatever obstacles life placed in his path. And he wanted his followers to adopt the same resolute approach to life’s circumstances and challenges, just as he had done.’
‘Through complete trust in God, reliance upon his mother, relatives, colleagues, friends, co-workers and benefactors, and confidence in himself and his own talents and abilities, Don Bosco would win the day. And when challenges and obstacles would present themselves on a daily basis, Bosco would stand firm and unmoved, calling on those amazing reserves of determination, tenacity and persistence to see him through during his remarkable 73 years of life on this earth! No wonder he could say of his life’s work: “I have promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor boys.”’
‘Dear boys and friends in the Salesian College Community, through his life’s work and through his wholehearted approach to the setbacks and opportunities that life can throw up, Don Bosco now passes the baton onto you in order to achieve happiness, fulfilment and success this year.’
‘Such a positive outcome to the 2020 school year will require constant dedication to your academic studies and scholastic pursuits, enthusiastic involvement in all the projects and activities on offer, wholehearted participation in co-curricular, cultural, social and house and sporting opportunities, and generous commitment to the school’s social justice and fundraising activities. And the list goes on and on!’
‘But, of course, such a hoped-for outcome as this will doubtless require ample reserves of courage, determination, resilience and a keen sense of purpose and mission as you approach the joys, hopes and challenges of the coming school year. In this most worthwhile project, be yourself, but be yourself very well – that is; your true self, your very best self.’
Finally, let us call upon our Good and Loving Lord to bless and watch over all of us throughout our journey in 2020, as we make the following prayer to him:
This new year, like a new born child,
Is placed in our hands.
The old year has gone.
The days and weeks and months to come
Are pure gift;
They carry God’s blessing.
Bless us, O God,
And bless the time and seasons
Yet to come.
Teach us to number our days aright,
That we may gain wisdom of heart.
Fill this New Year with your grace and compassion so that all who come into our lives
May see a reflection of your Spirit.
Yours in Don Bosco,
Fr Greg Chambers