The Courage To Respond

As I was sitting with my family on Monday morning watching the news whilst eating breakfast, I was delighted to see that Neale Daniher was recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his “distinguished service to people with motor neurone disease”.

Neale Daniher is a wonderful example of the very best that we see in people – those who step forward to give their time and effort in the support of others in our community.

Daniher was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013 and has since been instrumental in establishing the AFL’s annual Big Freeze fixture. He has worked tirelessly to bring MND to the attention of all in our community. Only last week whilst doing yard duty I noticed several of our young men wearing their white and blue MND beanies.

I heard Neale say when being interviewed “While I am incredibly honoured to have this award, we don’t need any more awards, we just need to find a cure,” again not thinking about himself but all those with this deadly disease.

When Marcellin Champagnat set up schools in the poor rural communities in France, he did so with the intent of educating the underprivileged, those young people that could not access an education. Whilst out ministering, Marcellin came across a young boy who was dying. This young person had not had an opportunity to attend school and knew very little about God. Marcellin heard the confession of Montagne and gave him his last rights. The Montagne experience is what is said to have inspired Marcellin on his mission to start the Little Brothers of Mary, now known as the Marist Brothers.

Reflecting on the courage and selflessness of Neale Daniher and St Marcellin, it made me think about how we at Marcellin College cultivate and promote this philosophy in our young men. I think we do this through our Religion classes, through our House Social Justice initiatives, through our Game Changers program, through our Year 12 Ministry options. Our challenge is to instil in our young men the courage to respond. When you see injustice, when you see a cause worth getting involved in, when you have an opportunity to stand up for people in need, how will you respond?

Neale Daniher and St Marcellin both saw a need, both have made a significant impact in the lives of many and both worked tirelessly in support of their communities. The challenge for us now is. how will we respond when we see a need?