From the Principal

Over the Melbourne Cup long weekend, I travelled up to the beautiful Western District of Victoria to visit my elderly Mum, who is still living on the farm she and Dad established in 1958, where we all grew up.

As a teacher and now a Principal in the Catholic education system, I’m often involved in the wider life of the school where parish and community play such a significant role. Going back to Casterton and taking mum to church on Sunday morning in the old familiar surroundings gave me cause to reflect, analyse and compare the benefits that being part of our Catholic community can provide. Sunday’s Gospel reading, Matthew 23:1–12 related how Jesus attacked the scribes and Pharisees for their false forms of piety or virtue. Jesus was pushing his audience to observe the vision and practice of an egalitarian community, where servanthood and humility would characterise life in their society.

In Casterton, I couldn’t help observing how the local parishioners were living the very message of that day’s Gospel reading, so many of them acting as humble servants to keep parish life going. With one priest to service seven parishes, they don’t even have a mass every weekend, just three times in each five-week cycle. The locals band together and run a “Lay-led Liturgy” and it is within this context that a gentleman with whom I went to school gave the homily. His theme was also around servant leadership, where the Parish Council, the local Catholic school Principal (30 students!) and so many general helpers all pitch in to keep the parish — and their community — afloat.

The generous praise for his peers and the humility with which he downplayed his role recalled to me the lived Gospel message which I am lucky enough to see often in my role. At the various De La Salle Community Masses, we work with many people of a similar ilk to organise our presence and involvement in the Mass. In two weeks we have 20 students and staff heading off to Sri Lanka as part of the first Yaluwo Immersion Program, supporting underprivileged communities in and around Colombo. Our Year 9 students last week participated in their Rural Experience, an expedition trekking and camping across the Snowy River National Park. Year 9 In9quiry Coordinator Heath Tregear was glowing in his praise of so many individual students who stood up and selflessly served the group’s needs over the course of a tough week. The College Vice-Captains Aaron Trusler and Leon Lymbouris, in their speeches at the recent Valedictory Dinner, were superb in demonstrating how they had gained so much from their roles in serving the College and their peers.

While we have only one De La Salle Brother working at Malvern now, I am in regular contact with many Brothers devoting themselves to so many charitable, community and educational services both locally, interstate and internationally. If you have a minute, Google “San Miguel schools” and see the tremendous work done in the USA to establish schools for underprivileged communities, the brainchild of Brother Lawrence D Goyette, FSC, my classmate from my recent Buttimer Institute for Lasallian Studies course. The San Miguel School of Providence is a great illustration of this model of Lasallian education.

These are all terrific examples of parishes and our Lasallian communities living the Gospel message to serve with humility and generosity.

I would also urge all involved in and connected to the College to regularly check our Facebook page. A couple of recent highlights include graduating Year 12 Cameron Monaco’s song performed to the whole school at the Final Assembly to farewell the Year 12 cohort. Last week footage of Cameron’s performance garnered 1,000 views in less than 48 hours.

Also worth seeing is a beautiful time-lapse video of Year 11 student, Brandon Luu, creating his artwork which won the Principal’s Choice Award at the College Arts Exhibition in September. That had 791 views in its first 16 hours! Further evidence of the outstanding talent among our student body and a wonderful way for all in the College community to see what we’re doing!

Mr Peter Houlihan

Back to The Duce Issue 2017 17 - 9 November 2017