From the Religious Education Coordinator
“Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”
Welcome to the start of the Lenten season and the launch of our annual Caritas Project Compassion fundraising campaign. The campaign started early with students and staff supporting the annual sale of Valentines Day Roses to raise funds for Project Compassion. As always this was a huge success, with the school raising over $400 for Caritas. Then again on Shrove Tuesday, our students and staff were up early making pancakes to raise an additional $300 before we even entered the season of Lent. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the volunteers who helped make this happen, and to the whole school community for contributing to its success. After a year of COVID it will be nice to hopefully raise a lot more funds for Caritas.
On Wednesday we welcomed the beginning of Lent with special Ash Wednesday prayer services held in year groups across the school. While this was a change from our normal House services, it did provide our students with a special opportunity to celebrate a religious service with their age group. This was also not the only change to normal procedure as we were also unable to distribute ashes by making a cross on the forehead. While we did have the option of sprinkling ashes, we decided to do something particularly unique and more long lasting, by providing every staff member and student with a special purple cross that can be pinned to their uniform throughout the entire season of Lent. This could not have been done without the amazing support from Assistant REC Miss Nissan and new Social Justice Coordinator Miss Nugent, along with a team of staff and students. To produce well over 1400 individually sewn crosses on such short notice was nothing short of phenomenal. I hope that our community will continue to wear these special crosses all the way up to our final day of classes on Holy Thursday.
The prayer services were also another opportunity to revisit the core values of our 2021 College theme: “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. Our first reading came from the Book of Samuel and featured the line that serves as our theme, with a special reflection video being shown to highlight the reasons for this theme and how our school community might live it out throughout the year. Some of these ideas were also communicated in the previous newsletter. Students were also encouraged to consider the three important tenets of Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. These three tenets should underpin everything we do throughout Lent and doesn't have to involve any grand public gestures. Instead we should reflect on Wednesday’s Gospel reading from St Matthew in which Jesus promotes doing these things privately and without fanfare so that they are done so for God and not for our own vanity. While there are definitely times where we should be encouraged to be public about our faith, it should never be done for our own benefit and instead done to glorify God.
So as we enter the season of Lent, let us look for moments where we can turn our attention towards God. The recent easing of restrictions, particularly in places of public worship, should also motivate us to return to Mass each week. Coinciding with the easing of restrictions has been Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s removal of dispensation for the faithful meaning that all Catholics are again expected to receive Eucharist whenever possible. While the pandemic still lingers, there are of course still reasons why attending Mass may be particularly challenging, but as a Catholic community we should strive to begin filling up our churches once again. Hopefully we will continue to receive news of easing restrictions so that we can return to more whole school faith events and activities.
Mr Matthew Bradbury
Religious Education Coordinator