‘’The time has come.”
These are Jesus’ first words as recorded by Mark addressed to you and me as we begin Lent in our lives. God is inviting us to the table and he awaits our surrender to his love. Often we regard religion from the wrong angle, whereby it is seen as our attempt to reach God, when actually it is the other way around – God is trying to reach us.
St Mark’s introduction to his Gospel is stark, as is the art work by the Russian painter, Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi titled “Christ in the Desert”.
The artist has given us a picture of true humanity. The dust and rocks in the foreground are so realistic, that you can see yourself sitting on a rock watching Jesus engrossed in thought. Christ’s figure seems to be slumped, as if bearing an unspeakable burden. We belong to Jesus, therefore, we too bear his burden. Lent is a time for reflection. A time to be at peace with God, by surrendering to him, “knowing that Christ has walked the journey before us and returns to accompany us on our road to Emmaus where we shall recognise him in the ‘breaking of the bread’.”(Surrender: Lenten Program 2018; Catholic Diocese of Wollongong)
With the start of Lent, the College commences his annual fund raising appeal for Caritas Australia. This year, the College is supporting Caritas by raising money so that we can send back to high school, as many young Pilipino children. With every $15 raised, one child can return to finish their high school studies in the Philippines. Our aim is to send 468 children back to high school so that they can finish their education and hopefully have a brighter future. I would encourage all families to follow the weekly stories by Caritas via their website.
The Opening College Mass was an outstanding example of how reverent our students are when celebrating the Eucharist. The mass not only officially begins our academic school year, but it provided us with an opportunity to bless the 2018 College Prefects. It was a wonderful mass and I thank the students of the College for making it such a positive experience. Thank you to all the parents who attended and for their kind words of gratitude.
Extract from my address to the community:
The College theme for 2018, as mentioned throughout our Mass and by our College Captain Trent, is “Live the Gospel”. This theme is based on the EREA touchstone of “Gospel Spirituality”.
This theme of “Live the Gospel” provides us with great insight into the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice. His compassion; his thirst for justice for those on the margin and his energy to educate the very poor and illiterate youth in Waterford, Ireland. Edmund sought to raise up the poor through education so that they could take their rightful place in a society oppressed by institutionalised injustice and ignorance. His gospel spirituality and passion for justice shaped his vision for the liberating power of a holistic education. We as a community are charged with these same responsibilities of being compassionate to those within our community especially those who are less fortunate than us; of demonstrating justice for those who are oppressed by society; and to develop a world where peace is a part of everyone’s lives. We are charged also with the responsibility of living and growing within this faith-sharing community of St Dominic’s committed to the service of others.
The beginning of a new school year provides great optimism and opportunity for every member of the College community. We need to seize the day, and unite, as we have the power to liberate our hearts and minds so that we are inspired, empowered and ‘hope-filled’ for success in 2018. Change comes from within, for greatness lies within the palm of our hands. Make your dreams a possibility by being persistent in the pursuit of excellence.
My heartfelt thanks to the members of our staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure the celebration of the Eucharist was a memorable, uplifting and a sacred occasion. Special thanks to
- Our musicians lead by Mr Wilson and our singers lead by Ms Ede. Thank you for your continual support and encouragement of all our boys as they let their light shine through their musical talents.
- The sound and lighting crew for the continued smooth running of our assemblies.
- All our support staff and in particular Mrs Tyrrell, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring this morning’s mass to fruition.
- All our maintenance team who have dedicated many hours to ensure the Br Warner Hall is extremely well presented as our sacred space.
A special thanks of appreciation and congratulations to our Director of Identity, Mr Culican; who has worked diligently for many weeks to ensure we have had a meaningful liturgical experience.
College Open Day
The College Open Day is an extremely important part of the College calendar as it provides future prospective families an opportunity to visit the College. It is during this day that both boys and their parents get an authentic feel of the College and a greater understanding of the spirit of the College. The day is divided into two sessions, each commencing with a brief information session before moving to the tours lead by the students of the College. It is the tour guides (our students) and the classroom presentations that truly influence the visiting boys and their parents of the quality that exists here at the College and why they should apply to be enrolled into the College. Please encourage your friends to attend the Open Day even if St Dominic’s College is already the preferred school for their sons.
The parent information meetings provide vital information for a successful and smooth beginning for all our sons. Specific information was provided to each year group to assist with either the transition into Y7 or tips about supporting your son in Year 12. The CANVAS workshops saw more than 170 families engage in our learning system therefore engaging in and supporting their sons learning. If parents missed these evenings, they are more than welcome to contact their sons Pastoral Coordinator for any follow up. Thank you to all the parents who attended the information evenings as we continued to work in partnership to develop our sons.
Over the first three weeks of school, Mr Walsh and I have met with each year group to outline key messages for all students as they settle into their routine of learning in 2018. There have been a number of key messages that I will share with you over the next few week. One of these messages involved students having a growth mindset whereby if a student can’t do something at the moment, we have to encourage them to add the word “yet”. Therefore, they can’t do something, ‘yet’. This indicates that they have a willingness to eventually learn what they have ‘yet’ to learn. Remaining positive is a key factor in growth mindset.
A reminder to all families that they are welcome to the P&F Wine and Cheese Gathering on Friday 2nd March. A great opportunity to meet other families from your son’s year group, to share positive stories or seek some advice about how to best support your son throughout 2018. I look forward to sharing some of our experiences with you during the evening.
Let Your Light Shine
Mr M Ronchetti