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In these last weeks of term, 36 of our Year 4s will have received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion. These sacraments welcome our students more fully into the life of the Church and celebrate the presence of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their personal lives. We are grateful for the support of families, sponsors, and friends in supporting the children in their journey of faith, and to the Vicar General, Fr Dean Marin, as the principal celebrant at these gatherings. We thank Anne Mercorella and the Year 4 teachers Georgia Kassara, Adam Alessandrini, and Courtney Nettle for the ways they have prepared our students for these sacraments.

Sacraments

Students celebrating their Confirmation and First Holy Communion.

On Thursday and Friday this week, 40 of our Year 12s and several staff participated in The Cage. The Cage has been going for 10 years and evolved from the former ‘Winter Sleepout’ event. Over a 24-hour period, students and staff have an opportunity to learn more about the experience of people forced into detention camps. While it is only 24 hours, it is a reminder of what happens to many people every day in our offshore and onshore detention camps. Old Ignatian Besmellah Rezaee spoke to all students during mentor time. Besmellah is a lawyer who shared about his work in Detention Centres at Curtin, Darwin, Adelaide, Christmas Island, Yongah Hill, and Brisbane. We also heard from a representative from Vinnies. This input from refugees deepens our understanding and enables meaning to surface from experience.

The Cage and similar experiences remind us that dispossessed and victimised people are at the heart of considerations related to refugees and forced migration. The Biloela community’s response to the Nadesalingam family has touched our hearts. Sadly, it took four years of sustained advocacy to bring this family home again. Language and myths can affect people’s ability to engage compassionately and justly with forcibly displaced people. Refugees are survivors of violence and terror; they are not a threat to our national security. Most boat arrivals have been found to be genuine refugees; they are not undeserving queue jumpers. Refugees contribute to the strength and prosperity of the Australian community; they are our neighbours and our friends. There is much more we can do to help refugees feel welcomed in our country. Ms Brzezinski, who organised the Cage experience this year, sent me the attached poem that helps us reflect on how we respond to what we see.

Group

The Cage participants.

Next week, two Year 10 groups embark on immersions to the Ikara Flinders Ranges. With the support of Wilderness Escape, 19 students will journey with Dillon Mullins, Emma Lilley, Victoria Coxhill, and Fr Eka Tanaya, and 22 students with Shane O’Brien, Danika Tremonte, Rob Passaniti, Serena Slade, and me. We will disengage from devices and camp in tents at Rawnsley Park and Alpana stations. Students will learn more about independent living and caring for each other. The Ikara immersion builds on our experiences last year with the Adnyamathanha people. Kristian Coulthard will guide us through country at Dingley Dell, Sacred Canyon, and the Great Wall of China. Kristian will speak about the story and culture of his people and describe the rocks, flora, and fauna of the land to us. He and his wife, Gaby, will spend a day with us at Wadna, showing us how to carve and paint boomerangs and clapping sticks and build shelters.

We will walk tracks at Rawnsley Bluff and do a geological tour through Brachina Gorge. We will venture into a copper mine from the Cornish pioneers at Blinman. We will participate in some community service. The students will get to know each other through conversations around the camp fire and elsewhere. As they listen deeply to Kristian and each other, they will connect with creation and appreciate that the beauty of nature has a purpose. They will reflect in their journals and share experiences of the soul. We will celebrate Masses and pray amidst the beauty of God’s creation. On our way home we shall visit Sevenhill and remember those Jesuit pioneers who accompanied refugees from Silesia to the Clare Valley in 1848.

Fr Peter Hosking SJ
Rector

OREMUS (Let us pray)

We remember all in our College community. May our prayers comfort those suffering at this time. May God’s blessing be a source of support in their sorrow and loss, and bring courage, patience, and hope.

For those who have died:

  • Sharon Ann Smith, grandmother of Stella (Year 8), Jorja (Year 12), and Joe Mediati (OI ’20)

“Ask and you shall receive … knock and the door will be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

If you would like someone to be remembered by the College community in prayer (even anonymously), please provide details to the Rector, class or Mentor Teacher, or House Leader.

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