To the families and friends of the St Edmund’s community,
As we near the end of Term 2, we found ourselves moving closer to living our lives in the way we did prior to the COVID-19 restrictions. Whist we still have some fundamental conditions to continue to follow such as sensible social distancing and hygiene procedures, we are nevertheless moving closer to the sense of community with which we started the year. We are now able to be part of a small crowd of spectators at a sporting event, or venture out to a restaurant for a meal, or head out to our favourite shopping precinct. But it is not the event or the venue that is particularly important, it is the fact that we are now able to be part of an active and visible community; to re-join those around us and experience life as members of a community rather than in isolation.
I had the great pleasure of being able to attend Mass this weekend with my wife at St Christopher’s in Manuka, our parish church. There was a nice sense of synchronicity in that the first weekend that we were able to attend Mass with our fellow parishioners, we had new members of our Church being received into the parish community. Five people were welcomed into our parish community by experiencing Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Their joy and excitement at being welcomed into the Catholic Church was certainly infectious, and was a very important reminder to all of us of the significance of belonging to a community. That sense or belonging brings with it a sense of security and comfort, a sense of acceptance and inclusion and a sense of support and partnership. As humans we are by our very nature relational, and our communities allow us to animate our relational qualities in a positive and healthy manner. Archbishop Christopher Prowse reminded us of this on Sunday when he spoke of our parish moving from being an e-community under the COVID-19 restrictions (where we participated in Mass online) to now being a E-community, meaning we are back to being a Eucharistic community, experiencing with each other the sacrament that allows us to share the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This is at the very core of who we are as Catholics, and being able to experience Eucharist together is a significant step in the return to our community.
Here at the College our sense of community is slowly returning. Even when all of our students returned a few weeks ago there was not a great sense of community as were not able to meet with the boys and talk with them as a large group. We are still not able to meet as a whole school. There is a great sense of limitation in having so many students on the College grounds and not being able to address them as one group. Our boys respond extremely well when they come together as one group – their sense of brotherhood becomes quite strong and the sense of community is very tangible. Whilst our Heads of House have been able to meet with their smaller group of boys, we still have yet to meet as a whole school and this has been a great sense of frustration to me. I am hoping we can soon have a full College assembly and we can once again speak our common language and talk about our common goals and directions for which our assemblies are well-known. Over the past few weeks I have been interviewing our prospective Year 7 students for 2021 and when I ask their parents why they would like their son to be here at St Edmund’s next year, inevitably the answer is because of the great sense of community that they have either seen or heard about. This is of course very encouraging and gives me great pride in what our community of students, staff and parents have achieved and continue to achieve.
This is the final Vortex for Term 2 as this is the last week for students. I am well aware that there has been a sense of fragmentation to this term, so I hope that this holiday period brings an end to a fragmented term and serves as the start of a unified, fluent Term 3 where we are able to yet again celebrate our wonderful community here at St Edmund’s. I wish our students a very safe and happy holiday and very much look forward to a fresh, new term ahead.
Prayer for Our Community
Almighty God and Heavenly Father, we come to You today as a College community to offer our school into Your safe-keeping. We pray that You would lead and guide all members of our community and that we are all open to your light and guidance.
We pray that this College will be a community of safety and learning, a community of encouragement and excellence, a community that supports those members who are vulnerable; that defends the weak and marginalised; upholds those that are poor and oppressed; and cares for the afflicted and needy.
May this also be a community of adventure and great discovery, a community of learning and creativity, and a community of mutual support and encouragement. May each student develop a thirst for learning, a respect for each other and a deep love of the truth.
Lord, as a community we pray that in all things You may be magnified and glorified.
This we ask in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ,
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Christus Lux Mea