Farewell, Fr. Mario Zammit
At the end of June Fr. Mario Zammit will move on from St. John’s Catholic Parish in Heidelberg to take up his new position in a mission in the Philippines. Fr. Mario has been an enthusiastic supporter of Marcellin College and, while we are happy for him, we are very sad to see him go! We – students, staff, families and the broader Marist community – have all benefitted enormously from the faith leadership that Fr. Mario has shared with us. Fr. Mario has been very popular with our young men and staff alike, for the insight, honesty, humour and challenge that he has offered us.
Despite having a variety of communities to support, Fr. Mario has always been willing to celebrate as many of our weekly Thursday masses as we asked him to lead. At Marcellin, we ask our College Chaplains to nominate which Thursdays they are available to celebrate mass with us – Fr. Mario always wrote back with a list of the dates that he was already engaged and encouraged us to add his name to the roster wherever else we needed him! This generosity both supported me in my role and was warmly welcomed by our boys. Each time Fr. Mario arrived, he always brought with him a friendly smile, an open attitude and a carefully thought out Homily that the boys could relate to as he broke open the Word for them. Fr. Mario’s friendliness and willingness to spend time chatting with all members of our community also contribute to how much we will miss him.
As well as supporting our weekly masses, Fr. Mario regularly supported our full school Eucharistic celebrations. Fr. Mario turned our College masses in our gym into personal, faith-filled celebrations; Fr. Mario would move out into the congregation from his place on the raised Sanctuary to offer his Homily, encouraging us to see that he wanted us to engage personally with the messages of the Gospel. This action reflects Fr. Mario’s genuine belief in the dignity and value of all people, irrespective of titles or roles. His personal approach to relationships, to journeying with us, was acknowledged on a number of occasions by Marist Schools Australia as its representatives invited Fr. Mario to lead masses celebrated with Marist Brothers, lay leaders, principals and senior leadership team members from Marist schools around the country. Again, Fr. Mario’s generosity always meant that he supported our broader Marist family whenever he could; not just with his presence, but also with the thoughtful attention he paid to the reasons for the events and to his planning of what words of wisdom he would share with us as he invited us into the sharing of the Eucharistic meal.
Personally I have always appreciated Fr. Mario’s friendship – his genuine care, his willingness to listen, to support and challenge, and his honest sharing will be deeply missed. I am a better faith leader and person for the time that I have had the pleasure to work with Fr. Mario and I will forever be grateful for that gift. On behalf of Marcellin College and for myself personally – thank you, Fr. Mario. Travel safely and know that you will be in our prayers.