There are moments in life when we experience an occasion that is meaningful, and it puts us in touch, not only with one another, but also the divine. The mass on Thursday was one of them.
Nineteen students received the sacrament of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion). Congratulations to the following students: Caleb Foleni, Connor Messervy-Siohane, Henry Ansell , Ashton Clark, Blake English, Harrison Orange, Jasper Robinson, Gabriel Kennedy, Nico Lavin Hall, Oskar Boore, Hamish Lovrich, Jack Wassell, Carter Boore, Finn Clarke, Ryan Wassell, Mac Kaitao, Matthew Hastie , Jack Dyer and Mason Sullivan. These students have been preparing to receive theses sacraments for the term, attending lessons and learning about the Christian faith.
The welcome read out at mass by our College Captain, Eddie Morgan, sums up the whole Special Character Week;
On behalf of St Thomas of Canterbury, I welcome Parents, God Parents, sponsors, Old Boys and friends of the college, and especially the Christian Brothers, thank you for coming to our Feast Day Mass. Finally, we welcome back Fr John who is our celebrant today.
I want to say a word about the students who will receive the Sacraments of Initiation today, these students are living examples of what it is to make a commitment to their faith and it is within this community these boys witness to their faith.
This week we have been celebrating the Special Character of our college. The events organised by the staff, especially Mr Kennedy and Year 13 students have organised events to create fun and a sense of belonging.
Every human being needs to belong to something because belonging helps us to grow and to develop into mature adults.
Belonging to St Thomas’, we learn things about ourselves, we develop friendships and some of our friendships will last well into our adult years.
St Thomas’ is also the place where we are educated in our formation years. It is a college where, we learn to see that the Christian / Catholic life is a gift of opportunities.
Opportunities to learn about our world,
Opportunities to learn what it means to love and commit
Opportunities to see that each student in this school has a purpose in life. The challenge for each of us is to find it, to search for it.
Opportunities for us collectively to be the Good News, the Gospel.
Opportunities to recognise that the talents and gifts we are so blessed with, are to be used to serve others and to help others recognise that they too have something to give this world.
Today, at this moment in time, we come together to give thanks, this is what the word Eucharist means “to give thanks”
But what do we need to give thanks for?
I think we need to be thankful for our Parents and those who love us deeply.
For our friends.
For the wonderful achievements we have attained so far this year. (we will talk about this later)
For the education we receive at St Thomas’
Our college has a history or a story that dates way back in time before this school was founded in 1962. It is a history or story that I think we can be very much proud of.
Blessed Edmund our founder; as many of you will know lived in Ireland in the 19th Century. The 19th century in Europe was both a time of great prosperity for some, unfortunately for others it was a time of great poverty. The division between the poor and rich was very wide. Many good people tried to bridge the gap between both groups. Edmund Rice was one such man who tried to elevate the misery and despair of the poor, particularly the children in his home town.
His faith and understanding that all people are made in the image and likeness of God and inspired by the Gospel, he decided that the best way to better the lives of the poor children in Ireland was to educate them. This led him to open schools. Other young men were inspired by his example and joined him. Inspired by this endeavour he asked the Bishop if he could establish a Religious Order dedicated to educating young people. That order became known as the Christian Brothers. It is this same religious order that founded our college.
As we remember our story or history today, we carry a legacy, it is a legacy or more importantly through our Christian /Catholic Faith we a called to model Christ’s love and compassion for others, like Edmund, he consciously decided to put the Gospel into action.
Let us be the men of compassion and like Edmund respond in love to those in need by sharing our gifts and talents with others.