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A few weeks ago, I wrote in the Calling about the common questions we are asked at different stages of our lives. No doubt the most common question being asked of our current Year 12 students is the age-old, “What are you going to do next year?” which is of course code for, “What are you going to do when you grow up?”.

This is always such a difficult question to answer for young people (and even slightly older people). However, the detail of the answer is unimportant – what is important is the sentiment behind the answer. What I mean is that what young people should be working out is what makes them feel fully alive, then go and do that, because what the world needs is more people who have become fully alive.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Over the past couple of weeks, I have tried to explain in my own way two of the EREA Charter touchstones – Inclusive Community and Liberating Education. Today, in my penultimate Calling article, I would like to try to cover the final two touchstones: Gospel Spirituality and Justice and Solidarity.

Today is St Patrick’s Day, the day we celebrate the Feast Day of our Patron Saint and the Patron Saint of Ireland. During our Mass today, we broke open John’s gospel, specifically the line I have included above about Jesus coming so we may have life to the full. This is indeed at the heart of our gospel spirituality. We use this spirituality to lead us into an understanding of the concepts of justice and solidarity, and these words became the theme of our Mass today.

In terms of justice, we acknowledged that today is also “Close the Gap Day”, the day we mark each year to highlight the current inequality in health and educational outcomes and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Many of our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander boys participated in today’s liturgy to help shine a light on this national issue. In terms of solidarity, we were fortunate to listen to a beautiful and powerful reflection by Year 12 student Tyler Hahn, who spoke about his mate Tom Hardyman, a Year 12 Mooney man currently going through treatment for cancer. Tyler shared his feelings about Tom’s courage and the solidarity shown by his Senior peers during this year so far, and this was linked to the story of St Patrick, and the courage he showed in his life.

The Mass was indeed life-giving for our community, and this is of course what the celebration of Eucharist is all about – having life to the full. By reflecting on our gospel spirituality and thinking about ways in which we can be men of justice and solidarity, we find new ways to live our lives with passion and purpose. So, what do I want to do when I grow up?

When I grow up, I want to feel fully alive.

Mr Matthew Hawkins - Dean of Identity