War ‘difficult to justify’
School can help you 'be real men'
Patrician Brothers College students outside St Mary's Cathedral - 1999 file photo
Your school can help you "become real men", Archbishop George Pell told students from Patrician Brothers College, Fairfield, at their opening school Mass, held at St Mary's Cathedral.
This was "not an automatic prize, but the product of combined effort, the overcoming of difficulties and personal failures", said the archbishop.
He also warned that it was important to stand for something because, "if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything".
But, knowing that God loves and forgives all, a knowledge of right and wrong and realising how important and helpful prayer can be "will help make you men of hope", said the archbishop.
The cathedral was chosen for the Mass because the college is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The little saplings that were planted to beautify the school's grounds nearly 50 years ago have now grown into great trees - as have the first students of the little school for World War II migrants.
The archbishop recalled how the school began in an old orchard, opening on March 8, 1953, with just 170 students, and had since flowered into a school for 1100 students, who were now taught in a beautiful complex of buildings.
The Patrician Brothers, founded in Ireland in 1808 in a time of great oppression, appalling ignorance and degrading poverty, brought the gift of education to Irish boys.
"Then, as today, one of the best gifts a young person can receive is a good education," said the archbishop.
Cardinal Gilroy, then Archbishop of Sydney, asked the Patrician Brothers to found the school for the sons of the Catholic migrants who came here after World War II.
Although now a large school serving six parishes - Villawood, Fairfield, Cabramatta, Smithfield, Bossley Park and Horsley Park - the college still strives to be a distinctively Patrician school: one with a family atmosphere, that is also compassionate and engages in practical actions of justice and hospitality; a school "whose faith in Jesus Christ is not separated from the everyday realities of life".
The Mass was, coincidentally, celebrated on the Feast of Sts Cyril and Methodius, missionaries to Central and Eastern Europe.
"They believed that in the Christian message they had something true and beautiful to offer," the archbishop told the students. "You too must realise how true and useful are the basic Christian truths that inspire your college."