Principal’s Message: Week 6, Term 2, 2019

Principal’s Message: Week 6, Term 2, 2019

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

Unfortunately I was unable to attend our Cabaret, “Rock of Eddies” last Thursday evening as I was in Melbourne for the Edmund Rice Education Australia Principal’s Conference. It is not surprising for me to hear nothing but positive feedback and praise for the performance.  Our dedicated performing arts staff always ensure that our students have an appropriate platform in which to display their talents, and I especially thanks Mr Nigel Palfreman, Mrs Margaret Thomas and Ms Rebecca Lee for their hard work in ensuring that the performing arts remain a significant element of our holistic curriculum here at St Edmund’s. Of course many thanks must go to the number of students who showcased their talents and skills at the Cabaret.  It is so encouraging to be part of a boy’s school environment where the performing arts sit comfortably and confidently alongside our academic and sporting programs.

I received this lovely email from one of our parents about the Cabaret:  “We attended the Eddies Cabaret last Thursday evening, and would like to thank you, the staff and especially the Eddies boys and St Clare’s girls for a truly entertaining and inspirational experience.  We were so proud of our boys and girls, especially for the courage, commitment and polish they showed in their performances.

Having worked on many school musical and theatre performances in the past, I know first-hand how much thought, work, energy, patience and time away from families goes into preparing students for such a show by Mr Palfreman and his team – please pass on to them our deepest appreciation for their high expectations, skill and dedication.

From a personal perspective, through experiences like this and last year’s musical, our son has grown in confidence, self-awareness and developed the ability to think in his feet in ways which may not have happened otherwise. We are very grateful to all of you at Eddies for your part in developing the fantastic young man he has become. Thank you so very much.”

As stated above, I spent last week in Melbourne at the Edmund Rice Education Australia Principal’s Conference, held at St Bernard’s College in Essendon.  The theme of this year’s conference was Edmund Rice Education in 2030. It was guided by Professor Sohail Inayatullah, global futurist and UNESCO Chair of Future Studies.  Participants were invited to consider the current reality and what a transformed future might look like.  When considering what an Edmund Rice Education might look like in 2030, we reflected on areas surrounding the pull of the future, pushes of the present and weights of the past. Sohail Inayatullah provided principals with some very practical strategies and scaffold with which to undertake some “futures planning”, and I very much look forward to using these strategies and scaffolds with our students and staff over the next year or so in not only considering what St Edmund’s College might look like in 2030, but looking at tangible steps in achieving this.

Congratulations to Blair Stewart (Year 11, Haydon House) for his recent accomplishments at the Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne. Blair achieved second place on the parallel bars and fourth overall. Blair has become a member of the Australian National Squad and is the first reserve for the Junior World Championships in Hungary.

I received great news over the weekend regarding our U15s Football (Soccer) team. The team has been promoted and they are now in the top level of competition in the Junior League.  They are our only Division 1 team. The boys are coached by Mr Arnold Choi and a parent Sam Young (old boy of the College).  This is the same team that won the Stellar Lightning Round Shield earlier in the year. Congratulations to all of the boys and their coaches.

Last Sunday, my wife Louise and I were privileged to have been the guest speakers at at this year’s Marriage as Mission Forum at St Christopher’s Pastoral Centre, Manuka. The aim of the forum was to encourage ordinary Catholic couples to understand and value the importance of their own marriage in the current cultural and ecclesial context.  As speakers at the Marriage as Mission event, we shared some of our journey as a married couple and participated in a discussion of future directions for supporting and promoting the vocation of marriage in the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocese.  The event was facilitated by Lara Kirk from the Archdiocesan Office Marriage, Family and Relationships and Father Tony Percy.  Lara Kirk is also a member of the St Edmund’s College Board.

Last Sunday was also the seventh Sunday of Easter, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.  Just before his Ascension into Heaven, Jesus entrusted to the disciples the mission of preaching the Good News and evangelising the whole world by bearing witness to him through their lives. It is in the Ascension that we see Jesus entering fully into the life and glory of God.  The prospect of sharing that glory should be the driving force of our lives.  In writing for the Vatican News, Fr Anthony Kadavil explains the significant life messages present for all of us in the Ascension:

1) We need to be proclaimers and evangelisers:  Jesus gives this mission to all the believers “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” This mission is not given to a select few but to all believers. To be a Christian is to be a proclaimer and an evangeliser. There is a difference between preaching and proclaiming. We preach with words but we proclaim with our lives.

2) We need to live a life of Christian joy in the presence of the ascended Lord: According to Luke, the disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”  Jesus’ exaltation and final blessing gave them, as it gives us, the assurance that, though absent, Jesus is still present, present even in the pain and sorrow we undergo.

3) We have a teaching mission:  Jesus taught us lessons of faith, hope, forgiveness, mercy, redemption and love.  We cannot put these lessons on a shelf and ignore them.  They stand before us in the person of Jesus.  Although no longer visibly present in the world, Jesus is present in his words, and we must make these words real in our lives as well as in the lives of others. Christianity was meant to be a faith in which Jesus’ followers would help and care for others, just as Jesus had done.   

4) The ascended Jesus is our source of strength and encouragement: By His Ascension, Christ has not deserted us but has made it possible for the Holy Spirit to enter all times and places. In this way it is possible for each of us to be transformed by the power of the Spirit into agents or instruments of Christ. We become enlivened, and our actions become animated in a new way by the Spirit of the God we love and serve. We have become other Christs in the world”.

(adapted from: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-05/sunday-reflections-2-june-2019.html)

Ascension Prayer
God of Majesty,
Yours is the power that raised Christ from death,
Yours the glory that exalted him to your right hand.
By the mystery of the ascension,
sustain our hope
as we bear witness to our baptism.
By the perpetual outpouring of your Spirit,
confirm your Church
in its mission of salvation.
Grant this through Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you now and always
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

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

Christus Lux Mea
Joe Zavone
College Principal