Last week we celebrated Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Church’s season of Lent. The marking of the Ashes on this day is a public expression of our faith and repentance. It is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through prayer we come closer to God so that we are better able to realise our baptismal promise to live justly as Jesus teaches us. Fasting joins us in solidarity with the poor who often have no choice but to go without basic essentials. Giving to the poor or ‘almsgiving’ is a sign of our commitment to justice and our thanks for all that God has given us.
Lent prepares us for the season of Easter, the most important time in the Church’s calendar. By praying, fasting and giving alms, we are reminded of Jesus’ death and Resurrection. Jesus brought the promise of hope to all people so that we may “Have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10), so that with our neighbours, we can go further together.
This Lent, the theme of Project Compassion is “Go Further Together”. It is a theme which reminds us that we are all responsible for each other; the needs of those who are poor are our concern. During Lent we will all be reminded regularly to grow in appreciating this and to respond generously, we continue as a faith community to bring our mission and the Gospel to life.
Thank you to the parents who attended our Year 7 Information Evening and our P&F AGM last week. It was a great evening. I thank Mrs Padden for her organisation and the Year 7 Homeroom Patrons who came along and ran a homeroom session. The feedback was that this was very helpful and some great questions were raised by our new families.
We are busily preparing for Open Day on the 16th March and there have already been lots of students volunteering for the afternoon. I am in the midst of visiting our local primary schools. As part of this I invite students to attend their primary schools to share their experience of St Patrick’s Marist. I would like to thank the 90 students who so graciously volunteered. A reminder that enrolments close on the 27th March and first round offers will be made on the 6th of April. Please contact the office if you have any enrolment enquiries.
Last Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity along with some staff and leaders across the Diocese to attend the Ignition Day for the new Draft RE Curriculum. I am so very excited to see this coming to fruition, recognising the significant input by staff, students and parents in our Diocese. In summary, the curriculum seeks to awaken a sacramental vision of reality, through proclaiming the "living voices of the Gospel". With Pope Francis, Bishop Vincent and the whole faith community, we strive to ensure that every young person experiences metanoia: a joyful, blessed, transcendent and transformational education. A Catholic Education understood as a ‘gateway’ to human flourishing, one that liberates each person to live their life to the full.
The curriculum reflects that learning should be owned by the learners, that is why the curriculum has Inquiry as its framework, shaped by questions that young people shared about their life, their identity and belonging. Meeting students and families where they are and giving them a voice to explore their faith through participation and dialogue.
I have sent home via email an invitation to attend a parent evening on the new curriculum in Religious Education Parent Information and Workshop Evening at Morley Centre, Catherine McAuley, 2 Darcy Street, Westmead on the 17th March from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. The letter contains an RSVP link.
The parent workshop is designed to explain and explore the new curriculum in Religious Education. Professor Anthony Maher, a contemporary theologian who has had significant input into the development of the new curriculum, will facilitate the workshop. I encourage you to attend this workshop.
This Sunday the 8th March is International Women's Day, which is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality. The theme for 2020 is #EachforEqual.
An equal world is an enabled world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
We continue as a society to be faced with issues of gender inequity, of violence against women. I recently learnt of a couple of young men in our College, who had separately made disparaging remarks relating to women. I was so shocked that after all that has been said and has happened recently that this occurred. We are the first educators of our young people and we often battle social media and reality TV that often presents values contrary to our own. As I said at this time last year, violence against women unlike other crimes continues to grow in our country. Let us ensure that all that we do promotes equity and equality for all. That we continue to live, teach and educate grounded in the firm belief that violence is not an inevitable part of the human condition, that it is possible to break the cycle of violence and injustice and that equity for all is a human right.
We have a couple of ways for parents to connect. Our Working Bee is coming up this weekend. We look forward to seeing you there. It is a great opportunity to meet other families. We also have our Cocktail Evening for new families which is always a great evening.
Yours in Jesus, Mary and St Marcellin
Mrs Angela Hay