This morning, we received the news that Br Chris Pritchard was admitted to hospital last night. He had done some routine tests and there is some concern regarding his blood platelet count. At this stage, Br Chris is resting peacefully in the Holy Spirit hospital and will spend some days there whilst undertaking further tests. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days.

We started today with our Opening Mass and Leadership Induction of the Senior students. I would particularly like to thank Fr Gerry Heffernan for celebrating our Mass with us. His assistance in a very busy time for him was very much appreciated.

During the Mass I spoke about messages given by Pope Francis at this year’s World Youth Day in January. The massages were aimed at the whole assembly audience, particularly, the young people as well as to the senior leadership body. I have included sections of the address below…

At the World Youth Day in January this year, Pope Francis warned of young people being stuck in a paradigm that makes them feel that their life is a promise far off into the future, having nothing to do with the present. As if being young were a kind of waiting room, where you sit around until you are called. And in the “meantime”, adults or the young people themselves invent a “hygienically sealed” future, without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and “well insured”. Pope Francis described this as a laboratory kind of future. He called it “make-believe” happiness, not the happiness of today, of what is concrete, or of love.

He adds that we need to learn to love because whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything. It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude. If we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing. Love is found in the now, we cannot plan for future love. Love is about raising up rather than knocking down, about reconciling rather than forbidding, about offering new changes rather than condemning. It is the quiet love of a hand outstretched to serve, a commitment that draws no attention to itself.

But what do these words of love and living in the now mean to each of us at St Patrick’s?

We have all heard the saying …. Don’t miss the journey to get to the destination. Let us all not get caught too much into what will happen by the end of the term, semester or year and forget about the great things that we see and do on a daily basis. For this will cause us to hold onto a hygienically sealed future without taking consequence of what is happening now. Planning for the future is not a bad thing, but do not make it your sole purpose or the only thing.Enjoy the now … everything that you do to get to the end of the plan and work on loving the things that you do. What do you have to be grateful for each day and how do you use your love to build up others around you. Take the challenge of sitting in silence for three minutes each morning to be in touch with God and consider what you have to be grateful for in your life and what you can do during the day to make your life and those around you better. At the end of the day when you go to bed take another three minutes to think about what made your day amazing and what you did to build up others. There are 1440 minutes in a day, I am suggesting that we each use six of these or .4% of your day to remind ourselves to celebrate the now.

To the Senior students who will be inducted today, Pope Francis reminds us that, we didn’t come into this world to “vegetate”, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable bed to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark.” He warns that we should not confuse happiness with comfort. Pope Francis explained. We must follow “the path of the ‘craziness’ of our God, who teaches us to encounter him in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the friend in trouble, the prisoner, the refugee and the migrant, and our neighbours who feel abandoned.” Wherever our lives take us, we must actively share our faith with those around us. God “wants to turn your hands to continue building the world of today. We are not called to be “couch potatoes” or “bench-warmers,” but rather strong witnesses of faith who will leave “a mark on history.”

Each of you will play a key role in ensuring that all students, especially those that may feel most marginalised and left out, within our College feel valued that they are Paddy’s Men.

It is by your example and through your interaction that all students of the school will feel that they too are an integral part of what happens here. Your induction today is more than a recognition or rite of passage, it is an acceptance on your behalf of taking the responsibility of servant leadership. A leadership modelled by Jesus Christ for the greater good of others. Let your mark be how well you treated others and how well you built up this great community.

Your motto for 2019 is Strong Men, Strong Leaders.

Strong men are also Gentle…men, they are not weak men, but they are quite the opposite. Gentlemen have no need to resort to throwing tantrums or bullying to get their own way. They have no need to belittle, disrespect or abuse women for the sake of power in relationship and they have no need to fear diversity in others. They are men who are kind in thought, thoughtful in action and concerned for those around them. They have values that are firm and non-negotiable and have an integrity that ensures such values guide them throughout their lives. Every relationship is a right relationship based on love, compassion and care.

Strong leaders are hope-filled and want to turn their hands to continue build the world of today and make a positive difference throughout their lives. They are not “couch potatoes” or “bench-warmers,” but rather strong witnesses of their faith who will leave “a mark on history by making the world a better place.”

It is my hope that you each find that love that makes you get up in the morning, that keeps you going at times of fatigue, that will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude. And you can say at the end of this year, this community is a better place because we were here.

I hope that everyone has enjoyed a wonderful week and I look forward to seeing many of you over this weekend’s sporting fixtures and next week’s parent information events.

Live Jesus in our Hearts!

Mr Chris Mayes – College Principal