From The Principal

I extend a warm welcome back to all in the community for what promises to be a very exciting Term 3. I hope that all students were able to enjoy their break and take time to recharge their batteries in preparation for the hard work ahead of them this term. I trust that all our senior students used the break to prepare for what is the downhill run for them as they enter into the last 13 weeks of their VCE. Term 3 is an extremely important period for the Year 12 students as they complete the last of their outcomes as well as prepare for exams. A theme they will hear repeatedly over the coming months is that whilst they have completed close to two thirds of the school year, as far as time is concerned they still have two thirds of their marks up for grabs. This is the time to build on the platform they have laid.

It has been a very sad week globally with the shooting down of the Malaysian Air flight and the killing of some three hundred innocent people as well as the ongoing conflict in Gaza which continues to see innocent lives taken as well as the other conflicts continuing around the globe. Even more tragic are the actions since the disaster in what appears to be endeavours to cover up a tragic mistake. It is interesting that I continually explain to the boys that we all make mistakes but we must do two things if we do, firstly take responsibility for the mistake and secondly learn from it. Not knowing if either of these things are happening, can leave us unsettled and confused.

Reflecting on these events has led me to a few different thoughts worth pondering. The first is how close these international events can be to all of us. As the week unfolded and the details became clearer we found how true the theory of six degrees of separation really is. In our own small community this tragic event has heartbreakingly had a direct impact on at least one of our families with relatives being amongst the victims. To add to this one of our staff members was booked on this flight only to make last minute changes due to commitments back here in Australia. Down the road at our sister Salesian school in Sunbury the parents of two very recent past students were also killed making me realise just how small our world is and how close these events are. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families as the world tries to come to terms with this calamity.

Sunday’s readings had Jesus explaining what God’s kingdom was like through the parables of the sower and the mustard seed. In the reading Jesus speaks of the good and the evil found in humanity and that there will come a time where final judgement will be made. I took away from the readings two things; it is not for us to make judgement in this world, as hard as it may be in times like we have experienced in the past few days. We have to find it in our hearts to forgive, even an atrocity of such magnitude, to find in our hearts an understanding of why people may act in such a way for to do otherwise only perpetuates the hatred and the violence we are so appalled at. The other message I took from the readings is that the good and evil Jesus speaks of does not imply that there are good and bad people in the world rather that there is good and bad in all of us and it is within ourselves that we must try to eradicate the bad. The times we wish for revenge, or the hatred we feel at times, or the jealousy we experience when someone has what we want are but a few of examples of the bad that exists in all of us and these are the weeds that Jesus refers to that grow amongst the wheat, and, if not looked after can choke the goodness of the wheat.

The final thing I have taken form the tragic events of this week is how fortunate we are here in Australia. We live in ignorant bliss in many ways, unaware of the terrible lives others live out on a daily basis. Whilst this is a true blessing I think we have to remind ourselves regularly not to take this for granted.  I know I have been guilty of allowing myself to get caught up in negative thinking about the trials I confront on a daily basis. Whilst our lives do have challenges I try and remind myself to put these into perspective especially when we here of the atrocities occurring around the world. With this in mind I encourage all in the community to say a prayer for all those people suffering in war-torn countries and while we are at it say a prayer of thanksgiving for the wonderful privileged life we live here in Australia. There are a number of events in the coming weeks here at the College; for instance last night’s final of the Mary McKertich Public Speaking Awards, which I was privileged to witness. I look forward to the boys doing their final speeches and the chance to witness their talents. In a couple of weeks’ time the College production of Hairspray will take place in combination with Sacred Heart. The boys have been joining their female counter parts rehearsing feverously over the break to ensure they put on a great performance. The annual College cross country will be run on Friday all the while the boys in the senior years are undertaking subject selections for 2015, it is a very busy time. I thank all the staff and students involved in making these things happen and look forward to the positive outcomes. I wish everyone a positive and productive Term 3 and in amongst all the hard work I hope we can all find a sense of joy.

God Bless.

Robert Brennan