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Principal’s Message: Term 4, Week 8, 2020

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

First Sunday of Advent, 2020

Mark 13:33-37

“Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.  Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

This is the first week of Advent.  Advent is a season of preparation. If we wish to experience the true magic and meaning of Christmas, we need to take a break from our to-do lists and get our hearts ready for Christmas.  Advent is a time of waiting for Christ, allowing Jesus to be reborn in our lives. It is also a time for purifying our hearts by repentance and for renewing our lives by reflecting on and experiencing the several comings (advents) of Christ into our lives.  Besides his first coming at his birth, Jesus comes to our lives through the Sacraments (especially the Eucharist), through the Word of God, through the worshiping community, at the moment of our death and, finally, in his Second Coming to judge the world.

In this first week of Advent, I would like to share with you some words of Pope Francis from his homily of last Sunday.  On the first Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis recommended a traditional Advent prayer to invite God to draw close during this new liturgical year. “Advent is the season for remembering the closeness of God who came down to dwell in our midst,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Basilica last Sunday.

“Let us make the traditional Advent prayer our own: ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’ … We can say it at the beginning of each day and repeat it often, before our meetings, our studies and our work, before making decisions, in every important or difficult moment of our lives: ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’

It is important to remain watchful, because one great mistake in life is to get absorbed in a thousand things and not to notice God. Saint Augustine said: ‘Timeo Iesum transeuntem’ (I fear that Jesus will pass by me unnoticed). Drawn by our own interests … and distracted by so many vain things, we risk losing sight of what is essential. That is why today the Lord repeats: ‘To all, I say: be watchful.’

Having to be watchful, however, means it is now night. Yes, we are not living in broad daylight, but awaiting the dawn, amid darkness and weariness. The light of day will come when we shall be with the Lord. Let us not lose heart: the light of day will come, the shadows of night will be dispelled, and the Lord, who died for us on the cross, will arise to be our judge. Being watchful in expectation of his coming means not letting ourselves be overcome by discouragement. It is to live in hope.

Without making an effort to love God daily and awaiting the newness he constantly brings, we become mediocre, lukewarm, worldly. And this slowly eats away at our faith, for faith is the very opposite of mediocrity:  it is ardent desire for God, a bold effort to change, the courage to love, constant progress.

Faith is not water that extinguishes flames, it is fire that burns; it is not a tranquilizer for people under stress, it is a love story for people in love. That is why Jesus above all else detests lukewarmness.

Prayer rouses us from the tepidity of a purely horizontal existence and makes us lift our gaze to higher things; it makes us attuned to the Lord. Prayer allows God to be close to us; it frees us from our loneliness and gives us hope.  Prayer is vital for life: just as we cannot live without breathing, so we cannot be Christians without praying.”

The Pope quoted the opening prayer for the first Sunday of Advent: “Grant (us) … the resolve to run forth to meet Christ with righteous deeds at his coming.”

“Jesus is coming, and the road to meet him is clearly marked: it passes through works of charity.  Charity is the beating heart of the Christian: just as one cannot live without a heartbeat, so one cannot be a Christian without charity.

Today, the First Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. In it, the Church marks the passage of time with the celebration of the main events in the life of Jesus and the story of salvation. In so doing, as Mother, she illuminates the path of our existence, supports us in our daily occupations and guides us towards the final encounter with Christ.

The situation we are experiencing, marked by the pandemic, generates concern, fear and despair in many; there is the risk of falling into pessimism … How should we react to all this? Today’s Psalm recommends to us: ‘Our soul awaits the Lord: He is our help and our shield. It is in Him that our hearts rejoice.’

Advent is an incessant call to hope: it reminds us that God is present in history to lead it to its ultimate end, to lead it to its fullness, which is the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Source: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-advent-is-the-season-for-remembering-the-closeness-of-god-77281)

Junior School Leaders

Congratulations to the following Junior School students for being selected into leadership roles for next year.  We wish them well in their roles and look forward to their service of the Junior School community.  Along with the new College leaders, they will be officially inducted in their roles at our Opening College Mass early next year.

Leaders: Alexander Paras, Lucas Regan, Max Tupou, Matthew Bool

House Captains: Henry Farfan (Clancy), Charlie Nadin (Haydon), Douglas L’Aimable (Mulrooney), William Walsh (O’Brien), Archie Manwaring (Rice), Darcy Borghouts (Treacy)

Awards Ceremonies

Our Awards Ceremonies take place next Tuesday 8 December (the last day of school for students) – our final formal events for the year. Unfortunately we still need to abide by ACT Government COVID restrictions in terms of how many people we have in the Hall.  I would ask parents to please carefully read the information sent our regarding the Awards Ceremonies in preparation for next Tuesday.

Final Week

Next week will be the final week of Vortex for the year.  We will publish important dates regarding the commencement of the 2021 school year in that edition.  Details regarding holiday opening times of the Uniform Shop will be placed on Facebook and emailed to parents later that week and again in early January.

Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent

Loving God,
let your hope arise in our hearts!

Lift our eyes up to see that you alone are where our hope comes from.
Help us to shake off the anxiety, discouragements, and distractions that have filled this year.

Come, Lord Jesus

May we pause to remember that we have hope in you.

You know the end of our stories,
and we give thanks because you have promised that it will be a victorious ending.
Give us the grace we need to wrap up this year joyfully.

Come, Lord Jesus

We invite your Spirit into this beautiful Advent season.Renew our sense of holy anticipation!
Let us be those who are waiting eagerly for Jesus to come again.

Come, Lord Jesus

More than anything,
we ask that you be glorified in this season of expectation.

Come, Lord Jesus

Amen.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.

Joe Zavone
College Principal
Christus Lux Mea

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