Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,
Last night, our College community came together to celebrate the efforts and achievements of the Class of 2022. The evening commenced with a celebration of the Eucharist in the spirit heart of the Catholic Church in Melbourne, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Following this significant celebration, we ventured onto the Sofitel Melbourne to enjoy each other’s company and to reflect on the time these young men had spent at Whitefriars.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported this memorable evening. Thanks particularly to Josh Vujcich and his Ministry team for leading us in a meaningful and prayerful celebration of the Eucharist at the Valete mass along with Claire Allemand and her team, who presented such a wonderful evening of recognition and conviviality at the Valedictory Dinner.
Below is an extract from my address to those gathered on the night.
A little bit of fear is a good thing. It can stop us from venturing too far out from the shallows, it can give us a bit more of an edge when we are doing something especially important, like an exam or going for a job, or taking that clutch shot on the court, or getting the most out of our performance on the stage. In some ways if there was not a little bit of fear and apprehension then perhaps what we are doing in that moment must not be especially important to us in the first place. Feelings of fear and excitement combined, can help us to achieve wonderful things.
On the other hand, fear can paralyse us. Fear and its often-present companion ‘doubt’, can cause us to turn away from an amazing opportunity because we do not believe we are good enough or we are worried about what might happen if we fail.
There are times in my life where I have become overwhelmed by fear. In these moments I have had to make a conscious choice – run away from the fear or run towards it. To help me in these moments I bring to mind those people who love me and who believe in me. I seek them out for guidance, wisdom and support. These generous and beautiful people, these barrackers in my life, are there to provide me with the encouragement and confidence I need to achieve.
The other thing I do in these moments is pray, sometimes a simple, silent prayer, other times something inspirational and aspirational that focuses me on the task at hand and gives me the strength to face the fear head on.
One of my favourite prayers in these moments is by American author and Spiritual Leader Marianne Williamson. Marianne’s prayer entitled ‘Our deepest fear’ says this:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Through this prayer Marianne suggests that when it comes to fear – we are our own worst enemies. She tells us that it is our lack of belief in ourselves and our potential that leads us to turn and run. If we face our fears Marianne says…
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
So tonight, Class of 2022 I put the challenge to you as you venture out into the world. To face those things that most frighten you, that fill you with apprehension and doubt, those things that tell you that you are not good enough and that you have no chance of success, and have a go. You will not only be doing yourself good, but also those around could be liberated from their fears. Have a go, you could be surprised at the outcome!
Mr Mark Murphy