Principal’s Message: Week 10, Term 1, 2019

Principal’s Message: Week 10, Term 1, 2019

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

Our students participated in two very special events this week.  On Wednesday we held our ANZAC Day Assembly, followed by our Easter Liturgy on Thursday. Both events have very much to do with the concept of sacrifice. Many thanks to Ms Donella Walker for organising the ANZAC Day Assembly and to Mr Michael Monagle and his Mission Team for organising the Easter Liturgy.

In these approaching days of the Easter season, it is important to focus on the very core of Easter – the significance of sacrifice.  In his Easter address of 2018, Pope Francis focused on the significance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  Pope Francis said that it is the cross that gives us hope and urged the faithful to enter into the mystery of Christ’s death by contemplating the joy that comes from sacrifice.  “We Christians believe and know that Christ’s resurrection is the true hope of the world, the hope that does not disappoint.”  Like the parable Jesus told of the grain of wheat which has to die before bearing fruit, Pope Francis said that “it is the power of the grain of wheat, the power of that love which humbles itself and gives itself to the very end, and thus truly renews the world. This power continues to bear fruit today in the furrows of our history, marked by so many acts of injustice and violence.” It is Jesus’ example that we constantly reflect on and share with our young men at St Edmund’s as we create an environment for all members our community to celebrate the rich Catholic tradition and to look forward with faith, optimism, compassion and hope for the future, to “renew the world”, in the words of Pope Francis.  It is this example of Jesus that gives meaning to our scriptural theme for 2019, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

We join with thousands of other communities across Australia to acknowledge ANZAC Day. Australia commemorates with services and marches in cities and towns and throughout the world where service men and women and peacekeepers are stationed, to remember all those who lost their lives in service to their country, in all wars.  As people of God we individually and as a Church community draw meaning and find hope in catastrophic events that seem to destroy hope. We situate the many tragic, destructive and evil events that plague us together with the life-giving, loving and positive situations that constantly make up our world. Even the destructive events, like the ANZAC Gallipoli story can be transformative and life giving.

Air Commodore Monsignor Peter O’Keefe is the Director-General of the Chaplaincy Service – Air Force, Catholic Diocese of the Australian Defence Force. In the extract below he makes a beautiful connection between ANZAC Day and our Catholic faith tradition, strongly reflecting the words of Pope Francis stated above.  “ANZAC is sacred because human life is sacred. Each human being is precious in God’s sight. The life and fate of each soldier who died at Gallipoli matters to God. The nobility, the courage, heroism, the selfless acts and mateship of each matters to God and indeed are graced by Him. The immense grief of loved ones for the dead matters, God grieves with them as does the communal mourning of a nation stripped of so many young lives, this matters to God. This Anzac Day citizens will march with both pride and honour. This will be seen on their faces, both young and old, gathered in unity of purpose. This matter and is sacred to God. The sacredness of each human life compelled God to send his Son so that through his Death all may have life”.

We Will Remember Them

Lest We Forget

Vale Anna Jurkiewicz

Last Monday some of our members of staff attended the funeral of Anna Jurkiewicz, a former teacher at St Edmund’s College.  Anna tragically died last week after a gruelling five-month battle with brain cancer.  Anna taught music at St Edmund’s for almost twenty years.  She conducted the St Edmund’s College choir which regularly featured at the National Eisteddfod, where they often picked up top prize in the sacred choral section.  Anna’s husband Michael wrote to me telling me that she always spoke fondly of St Edmund’s and the College always had a special place in her heart.  Our deepest condolences go out to Michael and the rest of their family.

Eternal rest grant unto Anna, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Charlie Morella Scholarship

Last year I wrote of the very generous gesture of the associates and colleagues of old boy Charlie Morella who passed away last year. To honour the memory of Charlie, some of his associates and colleagues formed to create the Charlie Morella Scholarship to financially assist a family within the College who would be in need to support. I am pleased to say that this scholarship has now been initiated and has been of great assistance to one family within our College community.  It is so special that the memory of a former student is honoured by supporting the education and development of a present student.  I sincerely thank the associates and colleagues of Charles Morella who have gathered together to organise this Scholarship and thank his family, especially his wife Janica, for the wonderful support of this initiative. As I wrote last year, this is very much in keeping with the strong ethos of Edmund Rice schools, continuing the belief and tradition of Edmund Rice that by making education available to those in need, we are also providing a great sense of hope through the personal development and social engagement that an Edmund Rice education provides.

College Board Chair

Michael Cooney has been the College Board Chair since 2014 and a Board Member since 2010 (as well being an old boy).  The Board Meeting of Thursday April 11 will be Michael’s last meeting as Board Chair as he is moving interstate. On behalf of the College community I would like to thank Michael for his dedication and service to the College and its directions and wish him and his family well as he embarks on some new pathways.

Mercy Christian School

My thanks to all those responsible for organising the disco in aid of the Mercy Christian School in the Solomon Islands.  We have entered a relationship with this school, under the guidance of Ms Leigh Southwell, and last Thursday evening’s dance raised over $4000 to contribute to a playground for the school.  Thanks to our boys as well as students for St Clare’s College and Canberra Girls Grammar for their great participation, and to the team of teachers for ensuring the success of this event.

Year 11 Religious Studies Guest Speaker

On Monday 1 April we were privileged to have Dr Kamran Shafi from the Islamic Society of ACT join our Year 11 Religious Studies students for a conversation about faith and practice in the Islamic traditionThe BSSS Course in Religious Studies requires students to study a range of world religions. Having a guest speaker of the religion being studied enhances the learning experience and provides a real world context.  I was disappointed that I was not able to attend the talk personally and looked forward to reading about it both in Vortex and in the Catholic Voice (the news publication of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn).  This is the link to the article:  I was most disappointed to read the comments posted by members of the public at the end of the article.  There were three comments – two of these were extremely disrespectful to Islam and to Muslim people and were completely inappropriate given the post Christchurch mosque tragedy of recent weeks.  I was absolutely heartened though to see that the one positive comment of the three was from an old boy of 1971, who wrote, “Christ is my Light. The fact that you had a man of great faith says the whole works of Edmund Rice are strong.”  This restored my faith greatly in what we try to do here at the College in terms of right relationships and respect of others.  Pope Francis has written that interreligious dialogue does not mean giving up your identity as a Christian. On the contrary true openness means remaining firm in ones deepest convictions, and therefore being open to understanding others.  Constructive dialogue between people of different religious traditions also serves to overcome another fear, which, unfortunately we find on the increase in a more heavily secularized society. The future for interreligious dialogue lies in the coexistence of respectful diversity, and the fundamental right to religious freedom, in all its dimensions.

Many thanks to our old boy of 1971 for still holding strong to the Edmund Rice ethos and realising that open dialogue and understanding through education is the key to strengthening our own faith and our sense of right relationships.

MARSEC Football Day

We have our annual MARSEC day in football (soccer) on the final Sunday of the holidays – April 28.  This is a Marist vs. St Edmund’s College competition with all year groups participating in friendly matches, whilst the First XI are playing for the shield. I encourage as many people from the Eddies community as possible to cheer on our football teams at the grounds of Marist College.  The times for the matches are listed below.

Scheduled Time St Edmund’s


Location at Marist College
12.30pm U12 2
12.30pm U13 3
12.30pm U10 4A
12.30pm U11 4B
1.45pm U14 Whites Div 3 2
1.45pm U14 Blues  Div 2 3
1.45pm U15 4
3.10pm U18 Div 3 2
3.10pm U18 Div 2 3


As this is the last Vortex prior to the holidays, I thank all members of the St Edmund’s community for a wonderful start to the year and wish all our students and their families a safe and happy holiday period and Easter season.

Loving God,

You formed us from the dust of the earth

and brought us to new life in Christ

through the waters of Baptism.

We ask you to change our hearts

as we near the end of our Lenten journey.

Help us to see Jesus in everyone we meet,

and to serve him in all persons,

especially the poor, the sick and the lonely.

By your grace, may our prayers and sacrifices this Lent

help us grow closer to each other and to you,

as one family in Jesus.

We make this prayer to you in His name.


Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our Hearts, forever.


Christus Lux Mea

Mr Joe Zavone (College Principal)