Rector Major Mass and Dinner

Good morning Rector Major Fr Angel Fernández Artime, Regional Superior Fr Joseph Nguyen, Provincial Fr Will Matthews, Vice Provincial Fr Peter Hoang, Provincial Economer Fr Peter Carroll, College Rector Fr Joe Binh Dinh, Centenary Chairman of the Centenary Committee Fr Frank Moloney, Salesians, guests from Salesian schools and youth ministry, students, staff and parents,

Welcome to Salesian College Chadstone. Today marks an important day in the 100-year history of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Australia and in our 66th year of educating youth at Salesian College Chadstone.

Acknowledgement to Country

I recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ spiritual and cultural connection to Country and a commitment to reconciliation, I acknowledge the First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Country, the Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin nation.

I respectfully acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging and remember that they have passed on their wisdom to us in various ways. Let us hold this in trust as we work and serve our communities.

St John Bosco

Sixty-six years ago, a group of dedicated people brought St John Bosco’s pastoral vision to Melbourne’s rural Chadstone. Empowering young people to discover their own intrinsic goodness, while developing the skills and courage to express it in practical ways. Today we are continually challenged, through our vision, to be a dynamic joy-filled learning community, that inspires all boys to strive for excellence in the spirit of Don Bosco.

In each our Salesian schools and organisations gathered today is a shared narrative inspired by St John Bosco.

Championed by Don Bosco in Turin, we each have our own contemporary and contextual Oratory’s. The Oratory and all relationships are shaped by our Salesian Charter – a home that welcomes, a parish that evangelises, a school for life and a playground where friends meet and have fun. Students are at the ‘heart’ of what we do in Salesian schools.

For each student, today is an opportunity to gain an understanding that you are part of a broader Salesian family – schools, youth ministry, parishes, vocations – in Melbourne, Australia and the world. A network of friends who will welcome you and share their own faith and learning experiences.


It is wonderful to welcome many from our Salesian family to Chadstone today to celebrate 100 years of Salesian education in Australia.

It has been a joy to meet and extend our Salesian welcome to Rector Major Fr Angel to Australia, Melbourne and Chadstone.

Likewise, it is great joy to witness the connection amongst our students and staff within the Salesian family across our schools and youth ministry initiatives from our varied states.

This is very much your home; a place were friends meet and have fun and gain a sense of belonging and community in the spirit of Don Bosco.

Salesian Education

It is hard to imagine the thoughts and feelings of the first Salesians who arrived in Fremantle, Australia by boat 100 years ago? Where do we go? Who will met us? How will we begin our ministry?

The focus was to work with the indigenous community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The influence of the Salesians was challenging and eventually not successful, leading the Salesians to leave Western Australia for Rupertswood in Sunbury, Victoria.

Last Sunday we heard of Luke’s wonderful Gospel story of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. It is another story of transformation through personal encounter with the risen Jesus. We can easily identify with the two disciples feeling overwhelmed or lost due to their shattered dreams. They don’t believe the story of the women that Jesus is alive.

Was this the same feeling for the early Salesian’s when they realised their work in the Kimberley was not going to planned despite best efforts?

Luke describes that the two disciples don’t recognise the stranger when he walks beside them.

What does Jesus do? First, he invites them to share with him their story, he lets them talk it out. Then he draws them into the bigger story of his life, death and resurrection by unfolding the scriptures for them. In other words, he gives them a sense of perspective. He puts their story in touch with the bigger story of God’s purpose.

It is very likely that the Salesians of Don Bosco in the midst of the challenges in Western Australia were drawn back to scripture, to give them perspective. I am confident they too become enthusiastic heralds of the good news through their own encounter with Jesus and the bigger story of God’s purpose. These few determined Salesians moved forward in hope, trusting entirely in God’s will, for their new mission in Melbourne.

Our hall in which we gather as a community this morning is appropriately named the Kimberley Hall. It is a reminder here at Chadstone of the courage, tenacity, resourcefulness and faith in God of the early Salesians to work with youth and the marginalised in Australia.

We too are fortunate in our schools and youth ministry that we get to encounter Christ and the spirit of Don Bosco in our relationships, our learning and in our work.

As the Gospel reading states, “Strangers share a journey, hearts begin to burn and they recognised him” (Lk 24:13-35). Today we gather as strangers and will leave as family, our hearts burning with an encounter with Christ and Our Lady Help of Christians.

Rector Major

We are very grateful that the Rector Major can be with us today to share his faith journey and some words of working with youth across the world.

Our 2023 Salesian Strenna carefully selected by the Rector Major is “As yeast in today’s human family”, a reference to the parable of the yeast in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 13:20-21).

Again, he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a person took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

How do we as a school community reflect the Kingdom of God?

It is my hope that the Rector Major and other significant Salesians here today will inspire each of us to continue to live with love and faith in God, to experience joy in a commitment to St John Bosco, and to demonstrate loving kindness in our community for the Kingdom of God.

Domenic Savio desired to demonstrate small actions, the ‘yeast’ for God – “I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God”.

Like Marcellino mentioned earlier, I hope that you each can reveal the small deeds in your relationships; extending a warm welcome, being polite and respectful, demonstrating integrity, and being of service for others.

Thank You

Before I finish today I wish to extend my gratitude to the many people in our Salesian community who have contributed to today’s celebrations; Our College student leaders and tour ambassadors, College Rector Fr Joe, Leadership Team, Faith and Mission Team, Facilities, IT, Administration, Marketing and Administration teams, Performing Arts students and staff, Fr Will Matthews, Fr Brian Ahern and my APSPA colleagues and students.

Thank you.

May each of you enjoy the celebrations today with the Rector Major and our Salesian Family.

I now warmly welcome our College Rector, Fr Joe Binh Dinh, to say a few words and to welcome the Rector Major, Fr Angel and our translator Mrs Melina Barcellona to the stage