Go forth in hope: St Aloysius Catholic College Thanksgiving Liturgy

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Distinguished guests, dear students, staff and parents, I am very pleased to join you for this Thanksgiving Liturgy and awards ceremony.

The ceremony has begun by a Liturgy of the Word accompanied by hymns and prayers. As a Catholic school we constantly orient our life and mission around the Catholic faith which has inspired the establishing of St Aloysius College. Faith continues to animate and inspire the quality of the life of the College.

The simple liturgy today reminds us of the Liturgical season of Advent which began last Sunday. This short season of four weeks is oriented towards the celebration of Christmas.

The reading from the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, reminds us of the hope and expectation of the Jewish people that God would reveal himself in human history. Writing over seven hundred before his words were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, we are aware that sometimes hopes take a long time to be realised.

For centuries through many crises and difficulties the Jewish clung to this hope. It was this hope that enabled them to not abandon their faith. Even when everything around them seemed to declare that God was not interested or acting on their behalf, the words of the prophets touched the hearts of the faithful. They held on believing that these words would be eventually fulfilled.

This people, God’s chosen people, lived in hope for so long. The opening words are worth recalling: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light”. The people of Jesus’ time saw the light, but countless numbers had to be content to walk in darkness. However, they walked with a consciousness that the light would come.

Dear students, for those in Year 10, these days mark a time of transition. You are concluding you time at St Aloysius, for many it has been a journey since primary school. You carry many memories and have many friendships. You now make new steps in your education.
Today you look back with gratitude of what your years at St Aloysius have meant for you. You are grateful for the many opportunities your education here has offered you. You have a sound foundation for your future.

I offer you a simple thought as you look to your future and it is this: there is a light always before you. Every human life has its moments of joy and success, but it also has its moments of suffering and darkness.

Like the prophet said, you may have to walk through times of darkness. But there is a light. That light is Jesus Christ. He himself declared “I am the light of the world”. Then he added, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

My dear students, there is always a light. There is always a hope. There is always salvation available for us.

As you go forth, go forth with purpose and go forth in hope. You will be accompanied through life by he who is your hope and salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ. Though you may have to walk in times of darkness, there is a “great light”.

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Monday, 30 November 2015