Loving God, we thank you for the grace of the upcoming holidays. Watch over and bless the members of the Ave Maria College community so that we have a restful break. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.
What an interesting and unexpected term we have encountered together. It has been a time where we have been committed to safety and care; continued the provision of high-quality learning programs; innovation as we navigated a new way of learning; and opportunities for community. It has also been a time where families have had a unique insight into the learning environment and experiences of their daughters. I particularly want to thank all our families for your ongoing support and trust in our College during this challenging time.
As this term draws to a close many of our community are aware of the evolving COVID-19 situation in Victoria. I want to reassure families that we continue to follow the latest advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria. We are expecting to receive further advice in the coming fortnight. Once received we will be in contact with families to outline any potential changes, if any, to the operational arrangements currently in place. I want to reassure families of our ongoing commitment to you and the continued importance placed on the care and education of your daughters.
During Term Two the Church also recognised the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si: On care for our common home. Within this encyclical the Pope writes about the multidimensional aspect of what is means to care for our common home through addressing inequality and our relationships with each other and the Earth. As a College inspired by the Franciscan Charism for whom St Francis of Assisi is a patron, Laudato Si holds a special place within our community, one that has been embraced by our Senior Student Leadership group. Our students have continued to focus on a number of sustainability initiatives, care of our school environment and care for each other, even during remote online learning. During Term Two they have played an instrumental role in leading and participating in a number of online events that have promoted connectedness, belonging, community and care for the student group. I thank our Senior Student Leadership group for their endeavours in this space and look forward to the implementation of their new sustainability initiatives next term.
The learnings from COVID-19 have also taught us the importance of closing the gap when it comes to the inequality that still exists within communities and what it means to care for the most vulnerable. Last week I wrote to students in our weekly faith response the following:
During COVID-19 the vulnerable within our community take many forms, that is, vulnerability due to isolation, health or finances. This vulnerability is not always obvious, with some within our community experiencing this in silence. Helene de Chappotin teachers us to demonstrate God’s love for every person, and, to walk in communion with and care for the most vulnerable in our community. With all that is happening during COVID-19, how are you walking in communion with and caring for our most vulnerable?
Even though the Laudato Si 5th anniversary has passed, as a community we will continue to care for each other and our environment while looking for ways to support the vulnerable in our community. In doing so, I continue to encourage families who are experiencing financial difficulties, due to current circumstances, to reach out to us so we can work together to provide fee relief.
As we look for ways to continue to support and care for each other and our environment I would like to share the following prayer with you.
Lord, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of creatures.
You embrace with all your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life, beauty and the most vulnerable.
Fill us with peace that we may live as brothers and sisters.
Touch our hearts and teach us to recognise that we are profoundly united with every creature as we share in this journey together.
Thank-you for being with us each day as you encourage us in our struggle for peace, love and justice.
As the term draws to a close, I would like to wish all our students, staff and families a peaceful and safe break over the Term Two holiday period and look forward to seeing your return at the start of Term Three on Tuesday, 14 July 2020.
God bless and may we continue to strive for truth through love.