Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Spirit of Pres

It's been a busy few days and I'll update you on everything during the week. Heading down to Cobh early in the morning to speak to Transition Years, Leaving Certs and First Years about vocation.

On Friday I told you that I was in Bray for the annual Presentation Day school Mass. Matthew Molloy, a student at Pres, delivered the following address. It's worth reading:

"We have gathered here today as one entity, one distinct and prestigious unit. We not only commemorate the roots of all Pres. schools, nourished primarily by Edmund Rice, but celebrate the unmatched spirit, the embodiment of the Pres. ethos that still reigns prominent to this day within its walls.We acknowledge the truest values that Pres. has inspired in our lives so far and also the prominence of these in our lives to come.

A pinnacle of learning, our social development, creativity and community, Pres. recognises and aids both personal and collective talents and is understanding of all forms of individualism. The personal and spiritual development is also a key emphasis specified in the schools' ethos.My time in Pres. has revealed the value of self-belief and self-confidence and the personal freedoms to achieve these are not only encouraged but further inspired.

Our own free will may be, at times, hindered by "rules" and obligations, but we recognise their need on the bases of fairness and equalities - "no running in the corridors!", "homework due on Monday!", "no messing in class!", and, on the soccer pitch, no handling the ball intentionally to get ahead, and then blatantly apologising afterwards!

The Pres. family is one of the greatest versatility. Variety, in all its forms, is immense and dispersed throughout our student body. Whoever we are and whatever our interests, we all find a place to fit in, to belong. We have our Barts, Millhouses, Nelsons and Ralphs, our Cartmans, Kyles, Stans and Kennys, our Charlies, Alans and Jakes.

I truly believe that we are all a product of our cumulative experiences. My experiences here in Pres. could be classed under many headings - good, bad, some challenging, others bringing to mind memories of great joy and contentment, others of disappointment and failure.

C.S Lewis, the creator and idealist, got it right when he said that "experience is the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, by God, you learn."

Life is not built upon a pillar of sand. Sometimes it rains and floods follow. We are vulnerable, our legs are taken from under us. Life is built, mos fruitfully, on a multitudes of all degrees of experience. In Pres., we know that we will always have a permanent, unwavering hand to pull us back on our feet. Pres. is a sturdy foundation for us all to accumulate our bricks upon, even if we don,t as yet acknowledge it.

Today, we give thanks for the life that Pres. has inspired in us. We pray that the new school Trust, replacing the Presentation Brothers as the stewards of our schools, will endeavour in providing the highest levels of education. We ask God's blessing on all our brother schools, and on, in particular, the Presentation school in Ghana, to which we are intrinsically linked.

For 5 years I have attended this very mass and have not, as yet, heard a satisfactory definition of "The Spirit of Pres." I am only now realising that no simple definition exists - it encompasses countless lives, histories and mores of individuals dispersed throughout Ireland and the world.

We pray for all here present. We treasure the friendships that have flourished during our time here - those based upon truth, sincerity and openness. An ancient, biblical proverb tells us that "friends always show their love. What are brothers for it not to share troubles."

We pray for our fraternal friendships and for the sustenance and continuity of Pres.- a beacon of all that we hold close to our hearts."

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