Each term St Joseph’s College holds a Family Mass that takes place on a Sunday morning allowing parents and students to come together as a community of faith.
The first such Mass is an occasion of hope and joy, a time to welcome new students and parents to the Joeys family. This year, because of Covid restrictions, parents and relatives were unable to attend, and in its stead a Friday Mass of Dedication was held.
It was an opportunity to introduce new boys to the spiritual foundations of Joeys and present the 2021 cohort of Acolytes and Liturgical Leaders to the College.
Director of Mission Lesley Maher said the Mass reminds everyone that faith underpins College life. “It brings the boys together as a group and focuses our intent as a community, a Catholic Marist community with God at the centre of everything we do; whether that be our endeavours in class, on the sporting field or in our relations with others.”
Father Gavin began his homily by welcoming the boys and referencing the values of St Marcellin Champagnat. He encouraged them to become young men of great generosity, who bear no grudges, are selfless and respect their parents and carers.
He also referenced Christ’s words from John 15:12:17 – “You do not choose me, no, I choose you, and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit” – imploring students to repay God’s love by embracing life and owning their experiences, good and bad.
Acolytes and Liturgical Leaders hold positions of significant faith leadership within the College community. Because Joeys is based on an ethos of egalitarianism, there are no school captains or prefects. Becoming an Acolyte or Liturgical Leader allows students to take up leadership role
s and engage with boys across the breadth of the College.
Father Gavin said these roles give students an enduring connection with the College – and their faith – that lasts well beyond their time at Hunters Hill.
“I saw the older boys engaged in this faith leadership role and I thought it’s not only a good way to take on a leadership role and be helpful to younger boys, but also a way of staying in touch with my faith.”LUCA PANUCCIO
As part of their commissioning, Acolytes were presented with crucifixes and a pin, and Liturgical Leaders with a Three Violet pin that represents the Marist values of modesty, humility and simplicity. The Acolytes also helped distribute communion to students and staff.
Dellacruz Paita, a day boy from Drummoyne, said he hopes his role as an Acolyte will inspire younger boys to become leaders at the College. “I’ve always had a strong connection with my faith so doing this creates a better relationship with God. It’s a great way to give back to the school and help out with service.”
Indeed Luca Panuccio, a day boy from Gladesville, said it was watching Acolytes perform their duties back when he was in Year Seven that prompted him to apply for this role. “It’s a calming presence knowing the Acolytes are there. I saw the older boys engaged in this faith leadership role and I thought it’s not only a good way to take on a leadership role and be helpful to younger boys, but also a way of staying in touch with my faith.”
It also enables closer engagement, with younger boys able to see senior students in a different, more approachable light. It tells them leading a spiritual life is something to be proud of.
In his address, Headmaster Tarlinton OAM congratulated the boys on their new roles, and appealed to all students to lead every day of their lives. Having the courage to lead in caring for others and walking back from grudges are marks of a well-rounded Joeys boy, he said.
The College will have 63 Acolytes and 10 Liturgical Leaders in 2021. These young men are to be commended for their commitment to their faith and willingness to serve others.