We are gathered today as a community united in a common search for truth. We seek the truth about the world, and about ourselves, and about God, who is in us all. We gather as a community that has come from many nations, peoples and families. And we strive to create a "student-centered educational community whose members support one another with mutual understanding and respect," as our mission statement says.
We are surrounded by flags today, symbols of the many nations from which our students, faculty and staff are drawn. Each represents a people or a gathering of peoples, of different languages, cultures and faiths. We are a global community searching for truth.
I suppose that if we wanted an even more contemporary expression of the globalization we experience here in 2009, we could hang cell phones and iPods in place of flags, as signs of our connectedness.
We embark on a new academic year very conscious of local and global challenges, opportunities and obstacles. We see failing economies and unemployment and war and strife across the planet. We see poverty and injustice at home. We also recognize our responsibility to create a human family, locally and globally. Our search for truth, guided by reason and faith, should lead us to solutions to these challenges.
Pope Benedict XVI underlines the importance of the search for truth this way:
"Love in truth â€“ caritas in veritate is a great challenge â€¦ in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized. The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value." (Caritas in Veritate, p. 4)
We are called to be leaders on the path to "truly human development." As a community of believers, and a community of many faiths, we are committed to one mission.
Today we ask the Spirit of God to bless each one of us, and fill us with love and support for one another and for the truth. I would like to finish with a word of encouragement from Brother Alvaro Rodriquez, the Superior General of the Brothers:
"In our days, though mankind is stricken with wonder at its own discoveries and its power, it often raises anxious questions about the current trend of the world, about the place of men and women in the universe, about the meaning of its individual and collective strivings, and about the ultimate destiny of reality and of humanity." (Vatican Council 1,3) This is the place of a Lasallian College, where the destiny of humanity lies and an attempt is made to answer the ultimate questions.
Thank you, and have an excellent year. May the Spirit of God descend on each one of you and give you the wisdom, imagination and fire to renew the face of the earth.