Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Bishop of Parramatta
Address for the Blessing and Official Opening of St Luke’s Catholic College, Marsden Park
28 June 2018
It’s a great privilege for me to join Ms Prue Car, State Member for Londondery, Mr Kevin Conolly, State Member for Riverstone, Mr Greg Whitby, Executive Director, Mr Greg Miller the Founding Principal to celebrate the opening of St Luke’s Catholic College. As we gather this morning, we express our gratitude to God who brought to fruition the work of human hands.
I congratulate everyone associated with the planning, building and running of this fabulous school. You can be very proud that your efforts have come to fruition in such a successful way. We rejoice and give thanks at the opening of these facilities. This is a celebration not just of physical structures, but above all, a celebration of a community where talents that will be developed, lives that will be transformed, relationships that will be affirmed and enhanced.
St Paul speaks of the Christian community as God’s building. This building has Jesus as its foundation. In other words, as a community of learning, we are rooted firmly in His value system, in what He taught, in how He lived and formed relationships with others. As magnificent as these facilities are, St Luke’s is great not only because of them or because of other attributes. It is a great place because it is a place of transformation. Just as Jesus did, our mission here is to transform lives and relationships. It is to create a community of faith, hospitality, compassion and love.
When Pope Francis was elected, people greeted him with banners saying, “rebuild the Church”. It’s a reference to St Francis’ dream in which he was told “go and rebuild the church”. He understood later that he was sent to do much more than fixing a physical structure. He repaired, rebuilt and reimagined the church according to the radical vision of the Gospel. Similarly, what we celebrate today is the expression of our commitment to that same vision. We are here to build community and relationships, to educate, to enhance and to bring the best out of every student. Here the college led by Greg Miller and the parochial district led by Deacon Tony and his wife Annette will work collaboratively and collegially for the good of all.
St Luke was a Greek convert in a predominantly Jewish Christian community. His Gospel has a particular emphasis on God’s inclusive love that spans across all human boundaries. It is appropriate that we name this community after him. Here, our mission is to share God’s inclusive love for all irrespective of race, gender, class or ability.
As we give thanks for this new college, let us commit ourselves to build lives and relationships here. Let this place be filled with God’s radical, inclusive and just love. Let it be not only a centre for academic excellence and achievement but also a spiritual oasis where the powerlessness of Christ and the fundamental ethos of care for the weak and justice for the excluded are manifested. May it be the place where lives are connected, enhanced and transformed. May it be imbued with the spirit of Jesus who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for all.
Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta