Graduates encouraged to lead with mercy

By Matthew Biddle

MORE than 200 students officially graduated from Australian Catholic University (ACU) on March 18 at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

Prior to the ceremony, a special graduation Mass was celebrated at St Christopher’s Cathedral, with about 30 graduates in attendance.

During his homily, Archbishop Christopher Prowse said it was a memorable day for the students and the culmination of many years of hard work.

“You can take your place in Australia as a citizen with good qualifications, but also a determined heart to make a contribution to this ancient, but new, land of ours, at a very critical time in our history,” he said.

Reflecting upon the readings for the Mass, the Archbishop reminded the graduates that the frequent practice of mercy was a better measure of success than levels of fame and wealth.

ACU graduating students Joel Constance (Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine), Michelle Gordon (Bachelor of Nursing) and Emma Rouland (Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

ACU graduating students Joel Constance (Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine), Michelle Gordon (Bachelor of Nursing) and Emma Rouland (Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“I would hope that any graduate from Australian Catholic University would be merciful in their expression of leadership,” he said.

“It might not make you famous, there might not be much money in it, it might not help you to go up the corporate ladder. But, when you do what Jesus does… there is deep inner peace, extraordinary hope, a sense of satisfaction that no money or position on the corporate ladder can give you.”

Archbishop Christopher offered St Mary of the Cross MacKillop as a mentor to the graduates, and encouraged them to respond to the needs of others as she did.

“When it comes your time to retire… I want you to think not so much about how much money you got and how far up the corporate ladder you went,” he said.

“Be like Mary MacKillop. How many lives will you have changed for the better because of your servant and merciful leadership here in Australia?”

This year’s graduation was an historic occasion for ACU, with the first dual Bachelor of Nursing/ Bachelor of Paramedicine students among the graduates.

Thirty-five students graduated with the double-degree, after four years of full-time study at the ACU campus in Watson, ACT. A further 44 students graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing.

Each of the nursing and paramedicine graduates have already secured employment, with seven graduates set to take up roles as paramedics in the United Kingdom.

Campus dean associate professor Patrick McArdle said ACU graduations were more than just an academic celebration.

“It’s an occasion to mark the entry to professions that serve the common good and the needs of individuals in our communities whether through education, health care or social services,” he said.