CBC Fremantle | In Touch

Servant Leadership

This Term I have interviewed about 150 families who are eager to join this community in 2026. It is always a joy and an honour to hear of the great hopes they have for their son's journey and it is humbling that they trust us with their most precious possession. The reasons for wanting their son to come to CBC are almost always to do with pastoral care, holistic development, The Rite Journey, our values and our partnership. Rarely does faith rate a mention. edit_img_7532.jpg

Catholic schools in the past were very different to where CBC Fremantle is today. Our boys' education is fairly modern, with the most recent iteration of CBC's history being around rites of passage. Since 2012 we have tried to deliver a context where every day that your son is with us, his emerging adulthood is acknowledged, affirmed, nourished and, most importantly, shaped. Probably the most important difference between a child and a good adult is that a child's default is often to be selfish, but a good adult should most often be selfless. I know that many, many of you, the parents, make a myriad of sacrifices to provide a standard of living for your children that you probably didn't enjoy. It is the essence of good parents that they do this, and it is not always appreciated or acknowledged. But do it we do, because our children did not ask to be born.

On Wednesday, our Gymnasium was transformed into a sacred space for our Easter Liturgy. As always, your sons were outstandingly respectful. Not necessarily because that's where they are on their faith journey, but because they respect that's where someone else might be. The quintessential component of the Easter Liturgy is the re-enactment of the Lord washing the feet of His disciples. I think sometimes we have seen it so often that the significance of that moment is diminished, so let's just re-visit the moment.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.     Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God;   so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.     After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

  Jesus replied,  "You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

"No," said Peter, "You shall never wash my feet."

Jesus answered,  "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

  "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

  Jesus answered,  "Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you."     For He knew who was going to betray him, and that was why He said not every one was clean.

  When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place.  "Do you understand what I have done for you?"  he asked them.     "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am.     Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.     I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.   Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.     Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

This was probably the first time in history that a 'master' had served his 'servants'. Peter's reaction was one of shock, because centuries of rule where society was based on hierarchy and the privileges that come with status were being turned on their head. Jesus modelled what has become known as 'Servant Leadership' and based it on love. Jesus modelled this because He knew that in a few days' time He would make the ultimate sacrifice and wanted to leave this legacy for His disciples to follow. Servant Leadership has been with us ever since, often misunderstood in my mind. Servant leadership is not just about being nice and doing things for others. Jesus also rebuked His disciples when necessary, as was evidenced on the night they fell asleep in Gethsemane. Servant Leadership is about serving the needs of others, and that sometimes involves a metaphoric kick.

This Easter Sunday, my gentle challenge to this community is to not waste the opportunity. Wherever you and your family are on their faith journey, reminding your sons that the bounty they are about to receive did not fall out of the sky. Reminding your sons that their selflessness will pay huge dividends in the future, as yours has. Reminding your sons that the only true and long-lasting joy they will every experience is when they do something for someone else. Reminding your sons that you hope that they can develop the love for others and the selflessness that you have modelled and that in doing so they will deliver to you the greatest reward a parent can hope for.

On Easter Sunday, I will be in a church in Rome with my colleagues and 28 of our boys. I will pray for my family and my friends. I will thank God for the privileges He has bestowed upon me. I will light a candle for my mother and brother. And I will pray for you, the community of CBC, who sustain me and play such an important role in my life. May you and your families enjoy a Holy Easter and return your sons to us safe, refreshed and a step closer to being the CBC Gentleman.

Mr Domenic Burgio
Principal

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