Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of St Catherine’s,
I am sure that for many of us, there is some sense of relief that 2020 is coming to an end. I don't think we could have anticipated at the start of this year, just how much our lives would be impacted by the events of a global pandemic. The disruption to what we knew as 'normal' has certainly challenged us to think, act and live differently. I am grateful that in South Australia, our experience and importantly, the overall disruption for our children and their learning has been relatively minor compared to that of our national and international neighbours.
As we conclude the 2020 school year I wish to acknowledge and thank our staff, students and parents for the way each and every person has gone above and beyond to support our community during what has been a significantly challenging time. I honestly believe that it is through the 'ordinariness' of our day to day that we have the opportunity to create 'extraordinary' experiences and there have been many moments of genuine care and concern for others shown throughout the year.
On Tuesday we gathered for a whole school Mass where Fr Fred and several students helped us reflect on and give gratitude for the many people that have helped us through 2020. This was followed by a Graduation Mass on Wednesday where we farewelled our graduating year 6 students. We also held our award ceremony where we presented a number of awards to students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and achievement across a variety of areas. Congratulations to the follow award recipients:
Environmental Award – Angus
Sports Award – Elka and Max
The Arts award – Genevieve
Year 6 St Catherine’s Award – Lucy P
Heysen citizenship award – Lucy W
Dominical Old Scholars Award – Heidi
Mon. John Swann award – Eamon
Celine Smerdon Award – Olive (Yr 5)
I wish each of our year 6 students every success as they start their next chapter at a new school in 2021.
We farewell Chiara Brown who has been working in the R/1TB class during semester 2 this year. Chiara quickly created positive relationships with the students, staff and parents of St Catherine's and we are grateful for her time with us.
We also farewell Stephen Heuzenroeder who worked with us during Term 4 as a School Chaplain. Stephen was able to support a number of our students as well as engage our year 5 students in a program of leadership development in preparation for their time as year 6 leaders next year.
Louise Kilpatrick who has worked half a day a fortnight as a school counsellor at St Catherine's this year also concluded her time with us and we wish her all the very best for the future.
Finally, after many years as a student, parent, OSHC worker and grounds and maintenance person we say goodbye to Stella Bellosguardo. Stella has decided that it is time for her to move into retirement which she will commence at the beginning of next year. On behalf of the St Catherine's School community I thank Stella for her many years of service and wish her all the very best for this next phase of life.
I leave you with this reflection shared in a recent Dominican Education in Action article.
This year, after the chaos of 2020, the challenges of COVID-19 and the many experiences of isolation and fear that came with this strange and dramatic period, we wait for Christmas with a special need for renewed hope. This year we look forward to the peace and joy of Christmas perhaps more than we have for a long time.
Advent is a time of ‘waiting’ which takes on profound spiritual significance.
We are called to: Keep Awake. There is nothing passive about our waiting. We wait in hope that newness of life is real and trustworthy. We wait in hope as we actively engage with the world and respond to its challenges.
The Christian spiritual belief is that Christ is at the heart of who we most deeply are as individuals and as community. We wait again to discover Christ ‘at one’ with us and alive in all humanity. A Christian fundamentalist might be tempted to try to figure out a literal time and place where God might physically reappear. They’d be missing the point. Our Catholic tradition is much more at home with the profound spiritual significance of ‘waiting’ to discover that Christ is already here with us and that the time is constantly “now”. Advent reminds us to “wake up” and prepare to experience all over again the extraordinary presence of ‘God with us' - Emmanuel - in the here and now of our everyday existence.
As the great Dominican Meister Eckhart announced:
“What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the Son of God fourteen hundred years ago, and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? We are all meant to be mothers of God. God is always needing to be born.”
May we give birth to Christ in our time and in our culture this Christmas.
Wishing you all a happy, safe and peace-filled Christmas.
St Catherine's School