Bishop Peter Cullinane has told students and staff at Good Shepherd College in Ponsonby that their academic year is part of what the Church calls “tradition”.

In his homily at the opening Mass for the college’s academic year, on February 24, Bishop Cullinane quoted from the Second Vatican Council’s Dei Verbum [8] on tradition.

The bishop summarised the quotation as: “The tradition that we are part of, is as the council puts it, everything which contributes to the holiness of life, the increase in faith of the People of God, so that the Church in her teaching and life, and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations, all that she is and all she believes.”

The academic year is part of that process, Bishop Cullinane explained. Christians are not only formed and nurtured in the community of the Body of Christ, by having a living relationship with the person of Jesus, but through participation in this community, they contribute to the “context in which the presence of Christ continues to be made manifest”.

“And that is what lies behind the Second Vatican Council’s description of tradition,” the bishop said.

Bishop Cullinane said the academic year is “another round in our formation”, but it is much more than that.

“Because the source from which our formation derives is, as Paul tells us, the Word of God. Therefore it touches the whole person. It is about destiny, it is about what it means to be human, it is about what it means to have been called into existence by a God who didn’t need to call us at all. And sometimes we think he may have spared himself. The point is, though, out of sheer love, gratuitously, out of love, God wanted to do this. And we are part of it.”