8 June 2017
Dear Parents, Guardians and friends of Assumption
ACK joined with other Marist schools and organisations around the world this week to celebrate the feast day of St Marcellin Champagnat who founded the Marist Brothers in 1817. The emphasis was on the bicentenary of Marist life and mission.
Our celebration in the Gonzales Centre began with a gesture of reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters - the commissioning of Assumption’s fire carriers by Sherry Balcombe (below) from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry for Victoria.
Fire is central to Aboriginal culture. It is around campfires that stories are told, stories about tradition, culture and customs which help people live in harmony with all creation. As Catholics our campsite is wherever we meet as a faith community, sharing the Eucharist or a liturgy, during prayer and while celebrating school achievements or events.
Our stories are many: from the Gospel and from our college community, and on Champagnat Day we are reminded of the story of Marcellin, his vision and work that was guided by Jesus and his mother, Mary.
Following the fire carrier service we were led in prayer by our school captains and mission leaders. Then a cast of students (Tiernan Devine, Josh Buttigieg, Amelia Watters and Annemarie Bell) and staff (Kerrin Smith, Taylah Da Riva, Terry Cooney and Maurice Di Muzio) recreated the popular TV program Gogglebox.
We watched videos of Principal Kate Fogarty and a group of students showing us the important places in St Marcellin’s life; watched international Marists identify and suggest ways to tackle problems such as war, refugees, discrimination and equal access to education for girls and boys; and heard teachers and year 8 to 12 students reflect upon what this year’s Marist theme of Awaken means to them.
Further prayers followed, commemorative cards were distributed and we pledged to uphold Marist values which include working “for a better, more merciful, more just and loving world”. After we sang The Power of Your Love, I presented long-term staff with certificates acknowledging their dedicated service: Caroline Burge has been at ACK for 20 years and Paul Grattan (above), Dale Green and Anne Fraser 10 years.
I thanked Terry Cooney for coordinating this, his last, liturgy for us as he prepares to become principal of the new Catholic school in Wallan, and in closing I mentioned the song From Little Things Big Things Grow. I spoke of how the lyrics tell the uplifting story of the Gurindji people’s struggle for equality and land rights. While the context is different, I mentioned that Marcellin began in a small way too. He and his friends pledged to start a movement dedicated to Mary, and 200 years on, his thousands of followers work in 70 countries. I finished by thanking everyone connected to Assumption for being part of this wonderful, Catholic and Marist community.
Our Goggleboxers - Tiernan Devine, Josh Buttigieg (partly hidden) Amelia Watters and Annemarie Bell, Kerrin Smith, Taylah Da Riva, Terry Cooney and Maurice Di Muzio.
Sherry Balcombe from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry for Victoria.