Principal's Blog - 24 August 2017
Dear members of the Marcellin College family,
This week we are celebrating Globalisation Week at Marcellin. Last Friday we came together as a College to officially launch this significant event in our College calendar. I am particularly grateful to John Di Natale and the Languages staff whose innovative and creative approach to this week provides our boys with many opportunities to experience, reflect on and understand the term, ‘globalisation’ and how they can engage with the world through language and cultural awareness. I would also like to thank our Languages Captain Christian Bandiera and Vice-Captain Marco Mazzoni for their dedication to the Languages department and their leadership and modeling of the benefits of studying Languages here at Marcellin.
Below you will find my address to our community at this wonderful celebration of diversity of humanity in our community and beyond.
Good Morning staff and boys, members of the Marcellin College family. It is great to be with you today as together we celebrate Globalisation Week.
It is easy to be a little negative and even a bit despondent about the future of our planet at the moment. In a century where we have the highest rates of literacy, the lowest rates of infant mortality, the highest standards of living and lowest levels of unemployment worldwide, we still experience issues around global conflict and destruction of natural environments. We lack compassion for those who are displaced from their countries and are seeking a safe haven; we make judgments and discriminate against people in our community based on their appearance or their religion and we show apathy towards the desperate plight of the first Australians in our community.
The recent race riots in Charlottesville Virginia where a young woman Heather Heyer was mown down and killed for standing up against hatred and bigotry. The escalation of nuclear tensions between Korea and the rest of the world not helped by the aggressive rhetoric of the west. The fear and mistrust caused by the sinister evil that is terrorism. These are all signs of a world in crisis.
There are some who think the best way to deal with this calamity is to close our countries off from the rest of the world. To put our own interests squarely ahead of everyone else. To live by the adage, I’m alright Jack, look after yourself. In other words, the opposite of globalisation.
To put this into our Marcellin College context, it would be like saying that we will no longer engage in any activity which benefits anyone outside the immediate Marcellin community. That means no support for Cambodia, Bourke, no fundraising for external social justice initiatives, no Exodus community bread run or St. Vincent de Paul soup van and definitely no fundraising for Marist Asia Pacific Solidarity. Can you imagine a school where people just look after their own interests and feel no desire to support those in need? I can’t. We just aren’t built that way in this place. Maybe it’s because we belong to the Catholic faith, which by definition is a global church, maybe it’s because of our Marist identity which calls us always to reach out to those in greatest need in our community and beyond. Maybe it’s simply because we are human. I believe it is in our DNA to naturally look to the needs of others. I love St. Mary Mackillop of the crosses’ line when she said, ‘I can never see a need without doing something about it’.
Some people think globalisation is purely concerned with economic and commercial exchanges. The great and wise Pope Francis speaks about globalisation in this way. He says we should change its name to cooperative gobalisation. He says the term 'cooperative globalization' means "that we need to take a second look, trying to understand the concepts of human dignity and human rights and our responsibility to one another, and to find solutions that are constructive going forward."
For us as Christian people cooperative globalisation is an opportunity to create a worldwide network of understanding and solidarity among people. It is not just about the exchange of material resources but, above all, human closeness which seeks to alleviate the deepest poverty, solitude and abandonment.
Those of you who have been on soup van, or the Exodus community bread run or have visited the youth justice centre to play basketball with the boys there will know what I mean by that. To be truly poor is not just having no money or possessions, or enough food to eat, or a roof over your head, it’s about having no one to talk to, no one to share a laugh with, no one to love or to be loved by.
So globalisation is not some economic concept, it is a Christian concept. Essentially globalisation is about looking beyond yourself, your family, your community, your country to the needs of others.
Each time you act selflessly for the interests of another, I believe you are living out the essence of cooperative globalisation.
The learning of language could be seen as an activity which fits the bill of globalization. The more we understand the language and culture of another we are supporting globalization. Not just language but studying the history of a country, or reading its literature or admiring its Art are all ways we can nurture Cooperative Globalization.
St. Marcellin understood Cooperative Globalization when he sent his first brothers to the pacific region in 1836 and to Australia in 1872. I think at the end of the day Jesus himself provided the best illustration of cooperative globalization when he told his followers the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s not just about the story it’s about what immediately preceded it. The lawyer asked Jesus the question: who is my neighbor? I think globalization can be boiled down to just that – who is my neighbor? Boys I challenge you to spend your life asking yourself that very question – who is my neighbor? When you have answered it with mercy, compassion and love in your hearts you will be true cooperative global citizens.