Principal's Blog - 27 April 2017

26 Apr 2017

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

On Monday of this week our College community came together to remember those who served our nation on the shores of Gallipoli and all those men and women since who have dedicated themselves to serving and protecting our country.

Our students presented themselves with great dignity and respect for this occasion, led by our Colleges’ Student Leaders. I would particularly like to acknowledge Year 10 Student, Gus Beale, who delivered an outstanding presentation about his Great Uncle who served as a soldier in World War 1. Thank you Gus for sharing such a personal, thoughtful and informative insight into the life of a great ANZAC.

Below you will find a copy of an address I presented on this occasion:

ANZAC Ceremony 2017
Principal's Address

Good morning members of the Marcellin College Family,

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who helped prepare todays assembly. There are many, but I would particularly like to thank James Rainey, Humanities Learning Coordinator, and Carolyn Young, Assistant Principal (Mission) for leading and coordinating our ANZAC day ceremony. I also wish to thank Steve Saliah, Journalist, Producer, Author and a proud and successful Old Collegian of Marcellin for providing us with another view of the meaning of this day for us and our Nation. Your presence and your words have added significantly to our ceremony today.

I read a quote recently from, in my opinion one of the most significant, thoughtful and intelligent Governor Generals Australia has produced in Sir William Deane. In his ANZAC day address of 1999 Sir William said:

“ANZAC is not merely about loss. It is about courage, and endurance, and duty, and love of country and mateship and good humor and the survival of a sense of self-worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds.”

As a Catholic and a Marist there was a sense of familiarity in these words. Many of the ideas and concepts which help to form and inform our Australian identity presented by Sir William could easily be transposed or overlaid onto the Marist characteristics which are central to our identity here at Marcellin.

The idea of mateship can easily be translated into the Marist language of Presence. Presence like mateship is about developing relationships with people and gaining an understanding of their joys and hopes as well as their struggles and pain. It is about walking alongside each other especially those in greatest need. It is about holding out our hands to lift up those who are struggling and letting them know we are there for them, particularly in there darkest and toughest moments.

Courage and endurance are words which describe the character of a person. The Marist characteristic of simplicity uses these words to describe people who are unpretentious, straight-forward and genuine in their approach to life. It takes courage and endurance to be yourself, to stand up for what you believe to be right in the face of criticism and adversity and to express your convictions authentically.

In his quote Sir William speaks about love of country, as Marist we speak about family spirit. A spirit where all are encouraged to feel “at home” like a family. A home, like a country, that is welcoming, inclusive, encouraging and supportive.  A place of safety and sanctuary from a troubled world. At Marcellin, this manifests itself in in the guidance and support a family style approach encourages, where staff guide students and older students support younger students. In his ANZAC day address of a few years ago the former foreign minister Bob Carr emphasized this idea when he said that ANZAC day was a time for looking after your mates, cherishing your home, your neighbourhood and family.

The idea of duty referred to by Sir William can be overlaid onto our Marist ideal of Love of work. This characteristic focuses on the passion with which we embrace our work, not the total number of hours we put into it. Most importantly what matters is the quality of our work and seeing that we are doing the “right” work. When work gives us life we can gain a great sense of fulfilment from it.

Above all these ideas sits our faith so perfectly modeled in person of Mary. Women who showed the courage to say “yes” to being the mother of the son of God. A person who exampled endurance and a sense of duty in crossing harsh terrain to be with her cousin Elizabeth in her time of need. A mother who watched helplessly as her own son sacrificed his life for all humanity. Through all this she maintained her dignity and her faith and she devoted the rest of her life to encouraging and supporting others to grow in their faith and love of God.

So in remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the shores of ANZAC Cove 102 years ago, may their actions and their character remind us of the sort of people we should be aspiring to be. People of courage, endurance, decency and most importantly of faith. 

As Christian people our task is to bring peace to a troubled world and it all starts here. As Marcellin Champagnat once said “Let it always be said of the Little Brothers of Mary as it was of the early disciples: See how they love one another!” If each of us commits to that we are well on our way to achieving that goal.

Mark Murphy