Principal's Blog - 24 November 2016

22 Nov 2016

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

Last week I was privileged to attend the commissioning liturgy for the 10 young men and four staff who have been chosen to go to Cambodia to continue to support the work of the Marist Brothers in the town of Palin in the far north west of the country.

At times like these it is important to stop and reflect; not so much about what these pilgrims are about to undertake but more importantly, why?

In my own travels as a pilgrim this year I heard a saying that goes part of the way in answering this question…

“Tourists pass through places, but pilgrims let places pass through them allowing their hearts to be changed” (Mark Walsh)

The staff and students of the 2016 Cambodia Immersion are definitely not tourists, they are pilgrims who are motivated by a higher calling than some humanistic desire to do good for their fellow man. We believe that they, like all of us who believe in Good News of Jesus, are called to bring about the kingdom of God through reaching out to the poorest and most disadvantaged in our world. In doing so, not only do they bring faith, hope and love to those they encounter but they also allow their own hearts to be changed and grow in their understanding of their own faith and spirituality.

Jesus himself provides us with a clear sign-post when he stood in the temple and announced that…”the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year if the Lords favour.” (Lk 4:18-19)

This is a pretty tall order for our young men to live up to. Some may feel a little inadequate as we all would in a situation like this. Some may feel that no matter what they do they may not make a real difference in the lives of the people they have come to serve. In speaking with the boys and their families at the commissioning, I suggested that in my own experience as a pilgrim I have felt like this at times. But then I remember the words of the young student from the Bethlehem University from my trip to the Holy Land earlier in the year. He said that in a place where it is easy to feel like you have been abandoned by the world, our presence in his community gave him great comfort as he felt that he and his classmates had not been forgotten. Sometimes our presence is enough. Sure, our boys and staff will be engaged in some valuable tangible projects that will leave a lasting physical legacy, however it is their physical presence in and for the people of Palin which will have the most enduring impact.

As a community let us pray for the following boys and staff as they journey as pilgrims in the way of Jesus and Saint Marcellin. We pray for:

Staff: Jamie McIlroy, Alexandra Rice, Sarah Cattapan and Andrew Bryson
Students: Jacob Bowers-Bone, Brent Cenci, Darcy Crettenden, Jack Keenan, Harry Pierce, Ethan Richards, Jack Sullivan, Mackenzie Surridge, Liam Tyquin and Lachlan Viney.

May you approach all other beings with a Christ-like compassion.
May you be aware and listen to the suffering of those around you.
May you be willing to meet your own suffering and discomfort.
May you be open to receive from others when you are in need.
May you be ready to give when someone needs to receive your gifts.
May you always know the presence of God on your pilgrimage.
May you go in peace.

In the name of our Marist family, we now send you from this sacred place onto the pilgrimage that awaits you.

Mark Murphy