“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7
To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,
Today we celebrated our Opening College Mass for 2021. It was a wonderful celebration of who we are and what we do as a Catholic boys’ school in the Edmund Rice Tradition. A highlight of the Mass was the induction of our junior and senior student leaders. The leaders gave statements of commitment in front of the entire College community and were presented with their leadership stoles by a member of their family. This is a beautiful new tradition at the College, with the stoles symbolising the call to servant leadership and identifying our leaders as young men who are following the models of Jesus Christ and Blessed Edmund Rice in their servant leadership. This is such an important symbol for us as a school which proclaims its Catholic tradition with vibrant spirit and strong character. I congratulate all of our student leaders and look forward to continue working with them in a close and productive manner.
My great thanks to Father Chris Eaton, our new College chaplain, for celebrating the Opening Mass. Father Chris also spent three days with Year 12 students last week on their retreat; he has already become an important part of the St Edmund’s family. My thanks also to Mr Michael Monagle (Assistant Principal, Mission and Identity) for his hard work in making sure all elements of the Mass flowed smoothly and for working with our student leaders in preparation for the induction; Ms Bridget Cusack for assisting with the student leaders and for ensuring that our sacred space looked beautiful and so appropriate; to Mrs Margaret Thomas for her wonderful work with the musicians and the choir – the choir has never sounded better! – assisted by Mrs Gabrielle Funnel, Ms Caroline Devlin and Mr Leo Marris. The Opening Mass gave us a wonderful opportunity to officially commence the year in a strong and faith-filled manner.
In my address to the students at the conclusion of Mass, I made close reference to Amanda Gorman, the talented young poet who recently presented her poem The Hill We Climb at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. I would like to share with you an adaptation of the latter half of my address:
“When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
The image there is so strong – we step out of the shade, “aflame and unafraid”. Amanda Gorman urges us not just to step out of the shade, but to step out of the shade and make a difference and be the difference – to step out of the shade “aflame” – on fire, shining the light for others to follow, for others to walk with us. But not just “aflame”, we are urged to step out of the shade “aflame and unafraid” – unafraid – not to be caught up with the ifs and buts and maybes of the world, not to be stopped by the obstacles of our concerns and our worries, not to be stopped and worried about what others will think, about what others will do, but to just step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.
Why should we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid? Amanda Gorman gives us the answer to this. We step out of the shade aflame and unafraid because, she writes, the light is always there – we just need to be brave enough to see it and we need to be brave enough to be it. The light is always there, and that light is us. The light is always there – goodness is always there; justice is always there; peace is always there; friendship is always there; solidarity is always there. The light is always there – we just need to be brave enough to see it and to be it.
Where else to we see this beautiful image of light? We see it in the College motto – Christus Lux Mea – Christ is My Light. The light of Christ is always there. If you come to this school, regardless of you being Catholic or not, regardless of being Christian or not, regardless of being religious or not, the light of Christ is always there for us – his words, his actions, his teachings, his relationships, his respect of others, his strong sense of justice and peace – is always there. That is our light – we just need to be brave enough to see it and brave enough to be it.
Where else do we have this strong image of light? Our scriptural theme for 2021: “If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another”. If we walk in the same light that Jesus walked in, then we have fellowship with one another, or what Amanda Gorman calls “connection” – we have connection with one another. By walking in the light of Christ, we know what it is to treat each other with respect and dignity, we know what it is to call out the mistreatment of others, to live in a positive community with respectful relationships, to stand up for others and be their voice, especially the marginalised and the oppressed. Or in the College context, to be the voice of the lonely, the bullied, the struggling.
We are a community that not only walks in the light of Christ, but we are also the light of Christ. We are a community that has connection and fellowship. There are days when we need to work on this more than other days, both as a group and as individuals, but that is what we are called to do.
Our founder, Edmund Rice, stepped out of the shade aflame and unafraid. He provided educational opportunities for the poor and marginalised in Waterford in Ireland when it was illegal to do so. And he built his one school in Waterford to become a network of schools around the world. Aflame and unafraid.
So, at this Opening Mass of 2021, I charge all of you with the responsibility to be brave enough to see the light and be the light – to step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. All of you. From the youngest student in Year 4 to the oldest student in Year 12; to those of you that have been here for 9 years or just four weeks. To our student leaders who have been inducted today – I charge you with the responsibility to hold the light for others to see, not to have the light shining on you, but to hold the light to allow those around you to be brave enough to step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.
This is the 67th year of the school and a new year for all of us, and in a new year we all have new opportunities, new starts and new chances. So as a Catholic boys’ school in the Edmund Rice tradition, let us step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, let us see the light and be the light, let us walk in the light as he is the light and have fellowship with one another, let us have Christ as our light, and let us have the best year that we can have, as a whole school and as individuals”.
Robert Falzon, Raising Fathers
On the evening of Wednesday 3 March, the College has the privilege of hosting a book launch for well-known and respected author Robert Falzon. Robert is a husband, father, businessman, published author and co-founder of menALIVE. He has been awarded many business accolades. In 2007, Robert sold his primary manufacturing business to focus in a full-time volunteer capacity on working with men through menALIVE – a National Catholic Ministry to Men. Since the founding of menALIVE in 2003, this work has delivered 450 events across 26 dioceses and numerous schools in Australia and New Zealand, reaching more than 30,000 men.
Robert will be launching his new book, Raising Fathers. “In an age where there is a training manual to do almost everything, there is still no manual, map or compass to do one of the most important and impacting task on earth – Fathering!” This event is open to anyone (not just fathers) interested in families, raising children and establishing positive family relationships. Join us for this free evening event as Robert unpacks practical advice and stories that are powerfully important, impacting, informative and instructional for fathering in today’s world. I sincerely recommend Robert Falzon’s work to you and hope to see you at the book launch.
Please register for this event by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1088585198280632/
Second Hand Uniform
Many parents would be aware that we have a second-hand uniform facility which is used for families in need. There is absolutely no financial transaction for these items; we give these items to our families as the need arises. I would ask you to please consider donating pre-loved items of uniform to our second-hand uniform collection so we always have items on hand to use with our families. Items should be washed and ironed and can be left with our Reception staff. Families who might be in need of our second-hand uniform collection can contact my office or their Head of House to facilitate this process.
Prayer for the First Week of Lent
Sometimes our hearts
turns in every direction
except towards you.
Please help us
to turn our hearts toward you,
to gaze upon you in trust
and to seek your kingdom with all of our hearts.
Soften our hardened hearts
so that we might love others
as a way to glorify and worship you.
Grant us this
with the ever-present guidance of your spirit.
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever
Christus Lux Mea