We gather to celebrate the Feast Day of Blessed Edmund Rice – giving thanks for being part of such a vibrant and inclusive Catholic school community. We also stand united as a larger family of over 200 schools from across the world who are each inspired by the charism we share in.
The charism of Blessed Edmund Rice continues to be woven throughout the spirit of this community – because the story of Edmund, a man who rose up from the grief and despair of losing those closest to him, and in calling upon God’s grace, dedicated his life in the service of others. At our recent ANZAC day Assembly, each of us were challenged by the notion of service – challenged by the words presented:
“When we choose to serve, we are giving of ourselves in order to make a difference”.
Edmund made a choice. Through his experiences, he found through the strength of prayer and a dream of creating a better world for poor young people through providing an education for liberation. Something many take for granted. The opportunity presented to you is something not to be taken lightly. It is through this assumption that we must gather together to focus and reflect upon the person of Blessed Edmund Rice. His feast day is a time to celebrate the wealth of selflessness that he possessed which he then passed on to those he came into contact with.
As a community which bears his name, one that models itself on the life and Charism of Blessed Edmund. We celebrate his life, love, Spirituality, courage and compassion. We give thanks for his vision and mission, the raising up of the poor and the oppressed to be pillars of Christ’s presence in our world, a system of education and a network of schools where the student is at the heart of the process and Gospel values permeate within the entire college community.
This morning we also salute and acknowledge those pioneering Christian Brothers, teachers, students and parents from earlier generations whose vision and enduring commitment to our young people continue to inspire us in Catholic Education. Their dedication has afforded us many privileges and left the rich legacy that we honour and celebrate at this gathering, each having laid the foundations that our College continues to build upon today.
Since 1802, when Edmund began the first school in Waterford, Ireland, Edmund Rice education has grown in over 20 countries, where the promotion of global solidarity and the offering of a transformational education for justice and liberation is made available. Globally, over 170,000 students are educated to build a better world. You too are part of those numbers, who are inspired by the teachings of Jesus, Gospel values and the spirit of Edmund Rice.
I hope and pray that the luxury of an authentic learning experience here at Edmund Rice College is an opportunity for our lives to become a touchstone for the four touchstones, that is, may the values we proclaim ring true in the fabric of our own hearts and most evident in our actions. You are privileged to have the opportunity for education; so be individuals of action and service to others. Have an open heart to listen to God’s call, furthermore the strength and courage to answer that call, when you hear your name.
Consider the perspective of service and to reflect on our lives in this context. At such a time, we are called more and more to serve our community. This is at the heart of what Edmund Rice was about.
This morning we acknowledge members of our community who have been nominated for their commitment to the spirit of Edmund Rice and recognised through their actions and service to our College Community.
Mr Barry Walsh