FROM THE RECTOR
WELCOME BACK TO SALESIAN COLLEGE
To the Salesian College Family,
As the Rector of Salesian College, I extend a very warm ‘Welcome Back’ to the students, families and staff-members of the College after an absence of around eight weeks due to the Commonwealth and State Governments’ coronavirus restrictions.
In particular, I offer a special welcome to our Years 11 and 12 students who returned to the College last Tuesday, and to our Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 students who will be returning to Salesian very soon on 9 June!
In this ‘School of Don Bosco’ here at Chadstone, it is most opportune to remind ourselves that Don Bosco was always intent on welcoming young people, especially those who were poor, needy and abandoned, into his oratories, schools, boarding houses and other institutes. Hospitality, service and good will were his main priority, and friendliness, kindness and availability were ‘the name of the game’ as far as he was concerned.
In fact, this primacy of welcome was eventually enshrined in the Salesian Constitutions themselves:
‘Don Bosco wanted everyone to feel at home in his establishments. The Salesian house becomes a family when affection is mutual and when all, both Salesians and young people, feel welcome and responsible for the common good.’
As the years evolved and the Salesian style and charism spread throughout the continents and countries of the world, the all-important characteristics of welcome, joy, kindness, affection and family spirit became the essential values which animated every Salesian oratory, school, house and foundation throughout our global community, including our own region of Australia-Pacific.
These values have now been incorporated into Number 40 of the Salesian Constitutions which has truly become the model for all Salesian ministry among young people everywhere:
‘Don Bosco lived a pastoral experience in his first Oratory which serves as a model; it was for the youngsters A HOME THAT WELCOMED, A PARISH THAT EVANGELISED, A SCHOOL THAT PREPARED THEM FOR LIFE AND A PLAYGROUND WHERE FRIENDS COULD MEET AND ENJOY THEMSELVES.’
In particular, I am sure you will agree that the first and fourth parts of the model above – ‘a home that welcomes’ and ‘a playground where friends could meet and enjoy themselves’ – have so much relevance as all of our Years 7 – 12 students return to the College after many weeks of lockdown and isolation. For, in returning to school, they will no doubt experience those classic smiles, laughs and random acts of kindness, friendliness and cheerfulness that are so much a part of the fabric of Salesian College Chadstone.
In closing, I would like to leave the final word to Fr David O’Malley, a member of the Salesian Province of Great Britain who has written a great deal on the Salesian ‘Oratory Model’ that I have referred to. In his book, A Salesian Way of Life, David writes:
‘Every Salesian home, parish, school or project
is a place of hospitality and welcome.
The quality of your sustained welcome makes every encounter a sacred space
where people can feel safe, relax
and be present just as they are.
Whenever you welcome one of these little ones,
you welcome me, said Jesus.
So hospitality for you must also become an act of faith
in the unique Spirit at the heart of each individual.’
In Don Bosco,
Fr Greg Chambers