Young people have a greater sensitivity and aspiration regarding a better future. As Christians we believe, with our first reading, that God is with us and will accompany us as we begin our life’s journey. Our God, however, is a God who is love who releases in us not just talents of knowledge and expertise, but also human talents and gifts which enable us to be loving people and who wish to build community founded on love and care.
Catherine McCauley was a woman who set out to do simple good things with determination. With limited resources she set out to improve the world in which she lived and especially to improve the conditions of the less privileged. This afternoon I will celebrate 150 years of the Mater Hospital in Dublin, a dream of Catherine McCauley. That hospital set out from humble beginnings and has today become a worldwide name for medical expertise and excellence.
Catherine’s faith in God helped her to attain success which on her own she would never have attained. She left a legacy which is not just in bricks and mortar not just in institutions like the Mater Hospital or this school. Her legacy is embedded in people who face life with creativity and with courage.
As I said at the beginning of the words, 50 years ago, in 1961, I was in my final year of secondary school reflecting on how I should address my future My thoughts at this anniversary celebration go especially to the current pupils of Saint Joseph’s. We pray that God will guide them and protect them as they prepare for their future; that they will develop their talents and that their talents will be recognised; that they will bring a contribution of goodness to our world.
We invoke God’s blessing on them and hope that they will look back on their years in Saint Joseph’s as among the truly formative years of the lives. And we pray for the entire school community that what has been achieved in these fifty years will continue to grow and flourish in the years to come.