Emma Jelavic spoke eloquently at the final mass for Year 12 students just prior to the start of the exam period. I remember her words at this time when so many families are finishing their connection with the College as their daughters and sons head off at the end of their VCE or VCAL, or start their apprenticeships or enter another part of the world of work.
I offer her words as a reminder of what it has hopefully meant for your family to be part of the SFXC family. Of what has been the potential for them to grow as a person of faith, of human potential and as an agent of God’s work in the world; for those around us and for ourselves.
These words were an introduction to one of the songs sung on the night: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
Finishing Year 12 is in many ways a bittersweet time. There is the feeling of excitement about leaving school, sadness when we realise that a chapter of our lives is coming to an end and even a sense of uncertainty all mixed together.
Many of us don’t currently know what we are doing next year, some of us, myself included, don’t even know what we want to do.
In many ways Oceans can be a song that offers reassurance to the unsure.
Oceans looks to remind us of and comfort us in the knowledge that God is ever present in our lives, watching us and supporting us. But perhaps more importantly, Oceans is a song that calls us to be something more, something greater, despite our uncertainty.
It reminds us of the beauty, power, integrity and hope that is associated with trust, and it challenges us to look to do what is right and not what is easy.
Oceans is a song that reaffirms the Catholic belief that if we place our trust in God that we will never be alone, but it also reminds us of, regardless of our faith, or lack thereof, what it means to be fundamentally human.
It encourages us to always be the better person, to always commit ourselves and to always unapologetically stand up for and do what we believe in even, when we don’t know where we will end up.
It is my hope, and the hope of the rest of the Year 12s in Cantabile, that as we leave this hall tonight, these school grounds tomorrow, complete our exams and work placement and embark on the journey that is the rest of our lives, that we will have faith in each other, hope in humanity, trust without borders and above all, hold unconditional love for everyone we come across.
I think that Emma has captured beautifully and powerfully what the best of Catholic Education has to offer when a young person makes the most takes of so many of the benefits that school, community and family have to offer.
She has demonstrated a great capacity to think about her own life and has understand how blessed she has been to share her youth with the other young people of our school community.
As the end of this year draws close, it is good to stop and thing with gratitude about how lucky we are to share life with each other within the St Francis Xavier College community.
And especially important to think about these things in the week of his feast day of 3 December.
St Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Vincent J Feeney