From the Principal – End of Term 1, 2024 Assembly

A warm welcome to our Term 1 Assembly.

I respectfully acknowledge our indigenous 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 community.

Thank you for your efforts this term.

The joy of Easter rings out with the cry: Christ is risen!

Easter is the greatest celebration in the Catholic Church because it is the completion of Holy Week that ends with the resurrection of Jesus.  This means that through the Church’s Easter liturgy, the message ‘Do not look for the living among the dead.  He is not here.  He has risen’ is our celebration that not only has Jesus overcome death, not just for himself, but for all of us.  He is the first ‘to rise’ from the dead and we are to follow him.

Our faith provides us with hope. We are challenged to the be light of the world, inspired by this message to share the gift of our faith to anyone who will listen.

Central to our Catholic and Christian faith is the Easter story.

My message today draws upon reflections from Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, a Salesian priest, a student who graduated from Salesian College Chadstone in 1971.

This week, we engage in deep reflection on the Paschal Mystery – Jesus takes on our suffering, bears it and moves through it to resurrection. We express our belief in this Mystery first with intensely ritualised acts of worship during the three consecutive days of liturgical celebrations namely the Easter Triduum.

As we attend the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, we begin a three-day long (Triduum) feast of the celebration of Christ’s Passover from death to life; a mystery of blood and waters through which we are reborn more deeply into His Mystery. The mystery of Jesus’ Passover from death to life is such an awe-inspiring celebration that one day cannot possibly hold its greatness, hence three consecutive days are held as one celebration.

Over these three days, we have special rituals which are not seen any other times in a Christian gathering: the washing of feet, kissing of wood, lighting of fire and sprinkling of water.

Jesus got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

On the 5 April 2012 I attended the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. I had previously witnessed the ritual of the washing of the feet but on this occasion my senses were heightened. I sat in a church in the French countryside, Notre Dame De L’Hermitage, originally built in 1836. A combined musty smell mixed with incense. The mass was spoken in French and contributions made by local parishioners. On this occasion the priest washed the feet of local parishioners that included young people with diverse backgrounds – gender, faith, cultural, social emotional and physical.

The service and charity of Christ, who came ‘not to be served, but to serve’, was being demonstrated in front of me. A deep respect for the dignity of all regardless of their gender, race, culture or socio-economic status. It was a genuine, authentic and kind representation of God’s love for these young people.

Like a slave or servant, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

We too are to are called to be Jesus in our world today as we demonstrate being a “good Christian and honest citizen”.

Umile, forte e robusto

Let’s explore the advice the Lady gives to young John in his dream at the age of 9: “Make yourself humble, strong and energetic.”  This, we can refer to as the trilogy of personal qualities the Lady encourages young John to cultivate.  Humility is a spiritual virtue, strength refers to the body and perseverance is a psychological character strength.

These three attributes help each of us serve others. The Lady, Mary Help of Christians, guides John to demonstrate gentleness and loving kindness, traits he responded with determination and compassion to serving the real-life situation of the young people he encountered.

How have you demonstrated gentleness and loving kindness in relationships with other students, staff or family this term?

In what way can you be humble, strong and energetic to help serve your mates, your teachers and your Salesian community?

Teresa of Avila, a Spanish Carmelite nun in the 1500s was a mystic and an author of spiritual writings and poems who restored a contemplation and simplicity to the life of the order. Her writing is profound and she became a Doctor of the Church. Teresa challenges us to be people of prayer, compassion and service.

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Share good news with others.

Spend time in prayer and contemplation.

Be compassionate.

Trust in God.

Serve others unconditionally and without question.

Our Salesian Charter, vision and values shape who we are and how we respond to others.

Term 1 has provided many examples of service in our community.

  • Senior students welcoming our newest students into the College
  • Cooking the barbeque at the Liverpool Community Day and House sports carnivals
  • Year 8 recycling program
  • Staff offering to take classes for colleagues who are ill or have challenges with family
  • Tour guides during Monday tours and events
  • Year 12s participating in discussions with alumni
  • Students and staff contributing to workshops regarding the master plan and stage 1 building project
  • Project compassion to support Caritas
  • Senior students leading and facilitating public speaking workshops for our primary schools
  • Student volunteering their time outside of College hours to bring joy to others in the community through music
  • Community warmly greeting each other and thanking each other for their contributions
  • Students and staff picking up litter in the yard without being asked
  • Students passionately leading our assembly

Each action demonstrates service to others in our community. That is a great strength and point of difference as to who we are at Salesian.

Despite the challenges of Term 1, I invite you into the relationship with your God, to pray and contemplate, and then to put into actions your intentions. Become a “good Christian and honest citizen”.

As Christians, we are people of hope. Easter reminds us to say “yes” to God’s unconditional love – be ready and willing to open our lives, our minds and our hearts to the transforming power of God’s grace within us.

God is always ready to come to us, to be with us and to accompany us on our life’s journey. God is the giver of all good gifts – but God does not force these gifts on us: we must say “yes” as Mary did, with openness and trust. We must be willing and eager to allow the Lord to fill us with His love and lead us forward.

Like Don Bosco, it is through saying “yes” that we become people who serve others as a disciple of Jesus.

Accept this offer made in generosity and love. Begin to live your lives in Christ and allow Him to enrich the lives of all you love.

May all your prayers be fulfilled and may holy blessings be upon you and all your loved ones this Easter. May we continue to be connected in our common Salesian stories and united in our faith in Jesus Christ! Enjoy a safe, restful and joy filled holiday with family and friends.