Principal’s Message: Week 7, Term 2, 2019

Principal’s Message: Week 7, Term 2, 2019

Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day after the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus. It finds its roots in the Jewish tradition which was originally a post-harvest thanksgiving feast.  Later, the Jews included in it the remembrance of God’s Covenants with Noah after the flood and with Moses at Mount Sinai. Along with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. It marks both the end and the goal of the Easter season.  For Christians, it is a memorial of the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and the Virgin Mary in the form of fiery tongues, an event that took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus.  The Paschal mystery of the Passion, the Death, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of Jesus culminates in the sending of the Holy Spirit by the Father at the request of His Son on Jesus’ disciples. Last Sunday’s Scripture readings remind us that the gift of the Holy Spirit moves us to action and inspires us to share this gift with others, “Here are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:3-7). We have a very diverse community here at St Edmund’s, including our students, teachers and parents.  All of us have our God given gifts to add to this community and to share with each other – to enrich each other.  We celebrate these gifts and thank God for the diversity of our Eddies community – a vibrant community enlivened by the Holy Spirit.

Many of these gifts were demonstrated on Tuesday evening at our 4th Annual Careers Night. What a blessed community we are to have the majority of our stalls manned by old boys of the College who are willing to share their gift, knowledge and experience with our younger boys and motivate them to explore particular pathways.  I sincerely thank our many old boys who contributed to the Careers Night and I especially thank Ms Leigh Southwell, our Careers Adviser and VET Coordinator for the superb organisation of this important event.

International Men’s Health Week 2019 is this week.  The theme for Men’s Health Week in Australia in 2019 is “Keeping Boys and Men Healthy”.  We often hear from men and boys that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This leads to unrealistic expectations that males should be able to cope with whatever happens and “get on with it”. Males often dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.  Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways. The pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviours. Most of us are fully aware that young men are typically less likely to seek help through traditional channels than young women and that young men’s use of existing health services is at least partly impacted by the pressures on them to adhere to masculine norms.

A study by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute recommended that a gendered approach to the mental health of young people is required that takes into account help seeking preferences, as well as other social pressures such as gender based discrimination and ideals of appearance (Youth Mental Health Report Youth Survey 2012-16).  Our young men need a language to openly talk about their mental health amongst peers and their support networks, they need to be engaged on their own terms and in environments they are already comfortable in, such as in schools and the sporting field.  I would hope that as a boys school we offer an environment where, in partnership with parents, our students feel they have opportunities and avenues available to them to communicate the way they are feeling and work through strategies to better cope with their emotions and situations, whether this be through a trusted teacher, Heads of House, one of our Assistant Principals (especially the Asst. Principal Junior School and Asst. Principal Student Wellbeing) and with our College counsellor. Our College website also lists a number of resources for parents and students to explore – these resources can be found at https://sec.act.edu.au/wellbeing-resources/.

Pentecost Prayer

May the Gifts of the Holy Spirit bring fire to the earth,
so that the presence of God may be seen in a new light,
in new places, in new ways.

May our own hearts burst into flame,
so that no obstacle, no matter how great,
ever obstructs the message of the God within each of us.

May we come to trust the Word of God in our heart,
to speak it with courage, to follow it faithfully
and to fan it to flame in others.

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

Christus Lux Mea
Joe Zavone (College Principal)