There was young boy named John who was gravely ill, and he could not attend
school. His local priest was a young man
who was committed to caring for the people of his parish. The young boy knew very little about God and
even less about Jesus. The young priest
visited John late one afternoon and promised he would return in the morning to
spend some time with him, so he could anoint him and teach him about
Jesus. When the young priest returned
the next morning, he arrived too late and young John Montagne (Jean-Baptiste
Montagne) had passed away. The young
priest was grief stricken. Devastated
that the young boy John did not know about the love of Jesus and that he had
nothing to fear. From that moment on the young priest by the name of Marcellin
Champagnat made a promise to establish a school so that young people could
learn about the love of Jesus. When seeing children and young people without
schooling and knowledge of their faith, Marcellin would say, “We need
brothers!” On January 2, 1817 he set in motion his plan for the Congregation of
“the little brothers of Mary” with two young recruits.
Marcellin Champagnat, a Marist Priest, dreamed of a worldwide community of brothers wholeheartedly devoted to making Jesus Christ known and loved among children and young people, especially the least favoured. He embraced God’s call to establish the Marist brothers, the religious congregation that continues to pursue his dream today.
At a ceremony and Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 18, 1999, Pope John Paul II declared that Marcellin is a Saint of the universal Church.
Today over 200 years later his legacy continues. There over 750,000 students in Marist school around the world. In Australia there are 53 Marist schools across Australia. Marcellin College, Bulleen, Victoria, is one of those schools.
Every June 6 we celebrate the legacy of St Marcellin. Our day of celebration commenced with a full school Mass accompanied by a magnificent choir, followed by an assembly where we learned of the works done quietly by Br Harry Prout, a member of the Exodus Community. Br Harry was presented with a donation made by the students of the College. We also acknowledged 2 groups of students who will be participating in solidarity immersions in Cambodia and Bourke later in the year. A sumptuous lunch followed thanks to the MCCA. The third part of the day involved carnival rides and games for all students to participate in. The final event of our celebration day was the spectacle “Marcellin’s Got Talent”. This event is a wonderful celebration of student and staff talent with some remarkable displays of musical and theatrical abilities.
It is a privilege being a teacher in such a great school and witnessing the growth and development of the fine young men here at Marcellin College, Bulleen. Our celebration day is a fine example of what this community is about. With the support of committed faith filled teachers who care for the students, supported by their parents and guardians, and the powerful mentoring I see of our older students with Junior students, our celebration day is a day of thanksgiving, solidarity, learning and laughter.
We honour the memory and devotion of St Marcellin as we continue to make Jesus known and loved.