Principal's Blog - 14 February 2019

11 Feb 2019

Dear Members of the Marcellin College Family,

Have you ever had one of those moments when you had to change your plans due to unforeseen circumstances? Often in those situations there is a critical moment when you realised that the planning and preparation you had done were no longer appropriate or suitable and a shift in thinking and/or action were required to achieve a better outcome. I had one of these moments last week at our annual DUX Assembly.

You see, I planned to deliver a speech I had prepared for this occasion. Like all speeches for important events, I had put a good deal of time and energy into it and I thought it would be of value to our community. But then before I was to deliver my address, I heard three of the most inspiring and moving speeches I had ever heard at this event and I knew that my response needed to be different. The three speeches were delivered by the 2019 College Captain, Caleb Oswald, the 2018 DUX of VCAL, Jack Webster and the 2018 DUX of VCE, Marcel Moran. Each of the orations offered to our community by these fine young men were models of courage, vulnerability, humility, recognition and gratitude. Each was a gift to all those present, particularly to our boys as they provided great insight into the attitudes, skills and capacities required to become a good young man of Marcellin.

So all that was left for me to do was to acknowledge what the boys had said and to highlight some of the more salient points imploring our boys to listen, to learn and to take to heart what they had heard. You will find copies of these wonderfully rousing speeches elsewhere in this weeks Eagle Newsletter and I encourage you to read them. More than this, I encourage you to engage with your sons about what they heard and learnt from these three amazing young men.

For my part I would like to offer a couple of thoughts which I presented on this occasion which may compliment some of what our boys presented at this assembly. This year at Marcelin our Marist theme is centred around the concept of holiness. What follows is a few thoughts on how we may respond to this important idea.

Being a saint, being holy, was summed up for us by Simon Sotiropoulos this morning when he said that being holy challenges us to be the best version of ourselves.

Some people would say that being holy is all about putting others before ourselves. And that’s true. But any good saint will tell you we need to first get our own act together.

Pope Francis gives us a few signposts that can point us in the direction of holiness. He says we need to be people who persevere, who never give up, who take every opportunity to be better than we were yesterday. He says we need to be patient with other people, and we need to be humble. We also need to be happy and positive in our outlook and passionately grab hold of all that life offers us. Mostly we need to utilize all the gifts and talents and opportunities we have been given and then to listen to what it is that God is calling us to be. The answer will be different for each of us.

Every day I see boys who have grabbed hold of every opportunity, every resource, every teacher, they extracted every ounce of support as well as every ounce of talent they have in them.

In front of me today is a group of very holy young men, the high achievers of the class of 2018. They exemplify the ideal of being the best version of yourself. They will tell you though, that they have not accomplished this by themselves. They will tell you that they have drawn on the support and skill of their teachers, the loyalty and commitment of their mates and the unconditional love of their families. But theirs are not the only measures of success. There are others in the class of 2018 who may not have been the highest achievers but who left no stone unturned in reaching their full potential and we remember and honour them here today. St. Marcellin Champagnat himself was never the DUX of anything, but he worked hard to achieve his best, both in his studies and in life. I think I can safely say that he did OK.

Not all of us will win awards but all of us can strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. “The important thing,” Pope Francis explains, “is that each of us needs to discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts God has placed in their hearts.”

So the question is, Who is God calling you to be? How is God calling you to holiness? It is my hope and prayer that you will discern these questions this year. It is my hope and prayer too that you come to an even greater realisation of the incredible opportunities you have here in this great school and that you grab hold of them all with enthusiasm, commitment and gratitude. Finally, it is my hope and prayer that you reach out to our loving God through Jesus, Mary and St. Marcellin in prayer to help you and give you strength as you commit yourself to strive for the highest with virtue and courage at Marcellin in 2019  – Virtute ad Altissima.

Mark Murphy