Posted by Br Raymond Khan
on 9 May 2019
Founder's Day 2019 at De La Salle College Ashfield will be remembered for a very long time. During a very moving Mass on the 3rd of May, presided by Fr Phillip Zadro, Mr John Dunn, Director of Faith and Mission was presented with Letters of Affiliation by Br David Hawke, Visitor, representing the Br Superior General of the Institute. The presentation was made in the presence of Mr Dunn's Mother, Betty, Wife, Margaret, Brothers, Former Principal, Mr Stephen Kennaugh, other specially invited guests, staff and students.
The Homily given by Br John Cantwell is as follows:
"I was recently up in the Philippines, and one of the young Brothers took me to see the university where he had graduated. It's a Lasallian university. Near the admin block there's a big noticeboard, with a big picture of John Baptist de La Salle. But what struck me were the words next to the picture:
"I create possibilities."
I know that John Baptist de La Salle didn't say that. It wasn't about him. But it fits. It fits Br John well. Because he and his community of teachers made it possible, in 17th century France, for working class kids to get the sort of education that would help them get a job. They created possibilities. So did Mary Aikenhead in 18th century Ireland, and she inspires the students and teachers of our sister college, Bethlehem, next door. So did the Vincentian priests in 19th century Ireland, and the Vincentians continue to care for both our colleges here in Ashfield. They are inspired by Vincent de Paul, born in France some years before John Baptist De La Salle.
What moved John Baptist, Mary Aikenhead and Vincent de Paul? They were moved by what they saw: young people in need. And they were moved by the God who has been creating possibilities for 13.7 billion years, ever since the Big Bang. The possibility that particles would form lighter elements hydrogen and helium. And eventually, stars. And the dying stars that created heavier elements likes carbon and here we are, a hall full of intelligent, carbon-based life forms, each of us able to create awesome possibilities.
When you help one of your mates with a maths problem or any problem you're creating possibilities. He learns something, he feels better, and he can help someone else. And of course it works the other way too: we can so easily kill off the possibilities that someone else is trying to create.
When your teachers and other staff members like Mr Dunn, who is being especially honoured today when they work hard to help you learn, they are creating possibilities. Your parents and carers are constantly helping to create the possibility that is you.
As the senior students this year have said, 'We serve with Faith and Zeal in the Lasallian tradition'. And as Jesus tells us in today's gospel, we do the work that he did, and even greater work. We serve the amazing possibilities that God is creating in each of us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Following the Homily, Br Patrick McCarthy, "Brother in Residence", at De La Salle read the Letter of Citation which was sent to the District Council and then in turn to the General Council. To quote in part: "The intense commitment to everything Lasallian at Ashfield is due in no small measure to John's influence. Other teachers catch John's enthusiasm; his vast knowledge of the Founder is effectively communicated by word and example. John has mentored some of the best Lasallian Youth Ministers in the District By his own life and example John has let his light shine through faith, service and community development."
The Letter of Affiliation echoes the sentiments presented in the Citation. In part, there is an acknowledgement "with joy and gratitude of your outstanding collaboration with our Institute, the quality of your personal life inspired by Lasallian spirituality, and your active service and long-lasting participation in our work of education."
After the Letter was presented to Mr John Dunn, the College community were extremely genuine in their appreciation of the new Affiliated member in their community. This was demonstrated by their sustained applause for Mr Dunn and a standing ovation at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Mr Dunn, in response, was extremely grateful for the many opportunities he has had as a Lasallian over more than 40 years. He gave the young people at DLS Ashfield, for whom he obviously has genuine affection, some good advice for them to lead lives worthy of bearing the name Christian and Lasallian.
The celebrations continued with a celebratory Dinner at Bankstown. Mr Stephen Kennaugh, delivered another tribute to Mr Dunn in the presence of Mr Dunn's family, Brothers and other invited guests.
The De La Salle Brothers warmly welcome the new Affiliated member, Mr John Dunn AFSC.