11 August 2016
Dear ACK community,
This coming Monday is the feast of the Assumption – a special day for the whole Church, and also (obviously!) for our school community. The Assumption celebrates the special place of Mary in the hearts and minds of the people of the Church, recognising that she was chosen out of obscurity for a special role. One thing I most admire about the stories of Mary is that they portray her as such a strong young woman. She is never a passive person in the stories, always asking questions, making courageous decisions, taking action, and being so very focused on creating a world where people are included and encouraged. It always baffles me when artists draw her as an insipid, meek woman, and I find myself wanting to scrawl words like "leader", "defender" "welcomer" and "carer" across their work!
So when we gather on Monday morning for Mass, the Mary we’ll be talking about is one that we can all admire – not because she was the mother of Jesus (ok, maybe a little bit because of this), but mostly because she is a great example of someone who heard the call to be "more" and answered it, even though she didn’t know where it would lead. Is there a better role model for our students than that?
At lunchtime, our Assumption Day fete serves two important purposes: it allows us to gather as a community in a different setting, and to meet one another as people who enjoy life and each other; the games and activities prepared by our students involve our staff as much as our students, and it’s a lovely opportunity for us to welcome and include the year 5s and 6s from St Pat’s to be part of our community.
The second component of the day is to raise funds for the work of Marist Solidarity. This year, the bulk of our funds will go to a new project, which is a remote primary school in East Timor. The school is a 45 minute walk from the nearest town, and our year 11s will be visiting as part of their immersion in a few weeks. We’ll have more information then, but the Marist Solidarity team believes that the cost of a complete refurbishment of the buildings and the provision of some basic learning tools (like blackboards, chalk, paper and pencils will be about $25,000). It may take us a couple of years to raise that amount, but we’re more than confident that this is possible.
We’re about to enter the subject selection phase of the year. In coming weeks, you'll receive a lot of information, and we’re endeavouring to have a lot more information online for you to access (rather than having to come in for numerous meetings). The pathways team will still be available to support your discussions and decisions with your child, and we encourage you to make a time to chat with them if necessary. They are often available in the late afternoon and evenings. There are some significant changes to the opportunities available to your son or daughter this coming year, and we look forward to giving students at years 9-11 even greater choice in the programs that they can study. We have also redesigned the years 7 and 8 curriculum for a greater breadth of subjects.
St Teresa of Avila, a woman full of wisdom and great human qualities, was also a mystic and she had a vision in which it seems that the devil was there in the guise of Christ. She confronted the devil and when he asked her how she knew that it was not Christ, she said, “You didn’t have any wounds". Christ has wounds and so must his disciples. Jesus was very clear about this and frequently insisted on it.
Jesus, help us bear our wounds with grace and integrity. Let them help us understand the pain of others, so that we might be your hands, face, mouth and ears in your world today. Amen.
Peace and blessings,