Re: The Official Opening of the New Science and Language Centre
at St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox College
Dear distinguished guests, Fr. Tadros Sharobeam, staff, students and parents of St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox College,
It gives me immense pleasure to congratulate all of you on this new milestone in Coptic education in Australia! This new $5 million state-of-the-art Science and Language Centre will serve to further advance excellence in education at the College. I also send to you the greetings of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III who has always believed in the importance of such school projects and speaks very highly of the Coptic Schools in Melbourne. May the Lord preserve his life for us and grant him the best of health to continue to shepherd his flock all around the globe.
We are deeply indebted to the Federal government for there generous grants, a total of $4.67 million. For, without these grants this project would not have been possible. Hence, the students of this school would have been greatly disadvantaged without this new building. Without this building and resources, our students would not have had the same opportunity as students in other schools to excel in these key-learning areas of science and literacy.
In the book of Proverbs it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) This is what I see being the aim of having Coptic Schools in Australia. It is about educating for life. Educating children in how to excel in their academic studies and to be fine citizens of this great nation Australia. And at the same time teaching them the core values of their Christian Orthodox faith as well as teaching students how to integrate and have an important role in the Australian society.
I am sorry that I was not able to be with you on this important occasion and to celebrate with you. As some of you are aware that I am in the USA for a while working on my PhD in Religious Education. The title of my dissertation is “Habib Jirjis, Orthodox Educator: A Light in the Darkness.” Habib Jirjis gave great importance to religious education and to reform in the Coptic Orthodox Church in the first half of the twentieth century. He said “Education is the first need for the community after bread” This is how strongly Habib Jirjis felt about the importance of education in the life of each individual. I am sure if Archdeacon Habib Jirjis was alive today and could see this College and this new Science and Language Centre he would be very proud and he would feel that his vision for reform and the advancement of Coptic education is coming to fruition thousands of miles away from Egypt, in Melbourne, Australia.
I have seen photos of the new building and they are magnificent and are a great testament to the great work of the founder and director of the school, Very Rev. Fr. Tadros Sharobeam. I am sure that today is a happy day for him and for all of the excellent staff working with him to see the College progress in such a fine way. I wish to also thank the parents who have supported the school over many years and believed and shared in our vision. I wish to thank our wonderful students, for without you we would not have a school. I wish every success to the VCE students in their exams and wait to hear good news about their success.
I pray that soon I may see you all again in order to congratulate you personally on this very fine achievement not only for the College but for all of the Diocese of Melbourne.
I hope the weather in Melbourne is warming up as you will soon enjoy summer and your vacations, and as I prepare for winter and lots of snow and sub zero temperatures.
May our Holy Mother Saint Mary continue to bless the College and each one of you. I also ask for your prayers on my behalf. Be absolved through the Holy Spirit.
Bishop of Melbourne
4 November, 2010