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Director of Faith and Mission

28 March 2024

Lenten Term in review and Passion Week

It is time to act, and in Lent, to act also means to pause. To pause in prayer, in order to receive the word of God, to pause like the Samaritan in the presence of a wounded brother or sister. Love of God and love of neighbour are one love.

Pope Francis 01/02/2024

In the Catholic faith, Lent is a significant liturgical time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and runs for the forty days leading up to the Easter Triduum or Holy week, when Jesus is arrested, tried, convicted, and crucified, then after his burial, rises on Easter Sunday. For our College community, Lent has reflected Pope Francis’ call to both act and to pause. To take time for reflection, prayer, and almsgiving, so our virtue of service has driven many activities associated with raising funds for Caritas’ Project Compassion. Each week we have considered the importance of bringing to life our Catholic social teachings of Dignity of the Human Person, Solidarity, Subsidiarity and Preferential Option for the Poor. The stories of Ronita from the Philippines, Leaia from Samoa, and Memory from Milawi, has helped students and staff see the value of the work of Caritas and has allowed many to take action to support this great project.

As a Community this term we have had many opportunities to pray reflect and give alms:

The Year 12’s began Lent on Retreat, reflecting and praying on their journey. Recently the Year 7’s had the opportunity to explore the College virtue of Service at their Reflection Day by letting their light shine through special acts of service. Many of them shone brightly on stage sharing their own songs with Catholic musician Gen Bryant and her team. As a community we gave alms to Caritas, by purchasing Zooper Doopers and voting in the Super Hero competition. Lastly, our Religion and Community classes coordinated fundraising activities on Monday and Tuesday which included Arcade games, a Basketball Teacher versus Students penalty shootout and food and drink stalls. We are proud of all the students and staff who were involved and have worked extra hard so our theme; Through love serve one another, is truly lived.

While working hard to action our call to serve, we have also continued to share our virtues of respect and justice.  As a Community, we paused to recognise the strength and conviction of women to support their families and communities, as we celebrated International Women’s Day. The theme this year was Inspire inclusion and during the prayer service we heard how four women in the bible, Miriam, Deborah, Huldah and Anne were seen as being vital in the safety, growth and development of the faith, showing great strength, wisdom, and commitment to God.  In a patriarchal society, these women rose above the societal expectations of women and through their actions found themselves noteworthy to be included in a Biblical record that favoured the importance of men.  These women were prophets and disciples of God’s saving power.  After the service, while we shared a wonderful meal together, we heard from two women from our community who has and are continuing to succeed in a male dominated industry: Candice Wyatt and Nieve Walton. Both women hold prominent roles in the media. The event was a wonderful celebration of faith filled women bringing about positive change.

As a Community, we pause to pray communally over the PA, duirng Welcome Circles and on key dates in the Churches calendar, such as feast days for Saints and for liturgical dates such as Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. These liturgies have helped members of the College learn something new about the significant event and person and called for deeper self-reflection and connection.

We also had an opportunity to receive the word of God as members of the wider Church Community. On Friday 15 March several students attended the Catholic Education Day Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in East Melbourne with students and leaders from all over the state, celebrating the role Catholic education has on the lives of so many, then we shared a meal at the Young Leaders Colloquium. Catholic Education Week ended with a wonderful gathering of the St James Parish community at St James the Apostle Church in Hoppers Crossing. Members of all four local primary schools and representatives from the College participated in the service, with our Choir leading the congregation to raise their voices in celebration.  Claire Glowacki, one of our Music Captains was invited by Father Jude to share her experiences of Catholic education during the homily and Tamiah Wakefield read Prayers of the Faithful while Charlotte Wakefield, Patrick Gaba, and alumni Alyssa Gaba were altar servers. It was a blessed service, with a wonderfully faith filled community. 

As this term and Lent draws to a close, our Community takes one last opportunity to act, pause, pray, and receive the word of God, in our Holy Thursday Stations of the Cross Liturgy. Told in action, scripture, reflection, and prayer by students letting their light shine, the College community and St Francis of Assisi Primary school, end the term in deep reflection and in joyful hope for the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday and the life we are all so blessed to share with each other. 

As we prepare for the Pentecost term, I invite you take time to pause and reflect on the impact our richly diverse, faith-filled, welcoming and caring community has had on your life and the life of our wider family. Happy Easter.

Alexandra Higham
Director of Faith and Mission