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I have been travelling with Mrs Lauren Brooks during the past two weeks. Mrs Brooks will succeed Ms Barbara Watkins as our next Principal following a handover in Term 4. It has been a great opportunity to learn about Lauren and her gifts as an educational leader. Last week we visited St Aloysius’ College, Milsons Point, and were welcomed by Mark Tannock, Fr Ross Jones, and their team. We then went to Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview, and spent time with Paul Hine, Fr Tom Renshaw, and their leadership group. This week we have been at Xavier College, Kew, with William Doherty, Fr Chris Middleton, and their leaders. We also met the Jesuit Provincial, Father Quyen Vu; Nicki Patten; and Beth McConnell from Jesuit Education Australia and spent time visiting other Melbourne ministries. It was a confirming experience of being One Body and One Mission ‒ a diverse and graced community united in a shared endeavour. It raised good considerations about education for the future and provided us with ideas and pathways for improvement.

Mark Tannock Lauren Brooks Fr Ross and Fr Peter at St Aloysius College Sydney

Mark Tannock, Lauren Brooks, Fr Ross and Fr Peter at St Aloysius' College Sydney

At the Junior School today, students and staff enthusiastically engaged with their Jesuit Mission Fete. Our students had prepared their stalls and activities well. They had a great sense of purpose in their efforts to raise funds and solidarity awareness for the work of Jesuit Mission, which is the international development agency for the Australian Jesuit Province. It supports programs in more than ten countries including Timor-Leste and Cambodia, seeking to change cycles of poverty through education, livelihood training, income-generating projects, community wellbeing, medical care, water and sanitation programs, pastoral care, social inclusion, and advocacy.

Next week we shall have the Senior School production of High School Musical. Once again, we have a sellout season. Thanks to the supererogatory efforts of staff and students, this promises to be an impressive performance. I had a chance to see rehearsals on the weekend. As families were dropping students for their rehearsal, I was chatting with those who attended our 9.00 am Sunday Mass in the Chapel. One of our Year 4 students shared a reflection she had written during Mass:

What is Mass about? Mass is about connecting with God, feeling God, and hearing God. Mass helps me do the right thing by choosing what God would want of me. It encourages me not to be afraid and to ask for help. During Mass, I pray to God.

Hers is a profound and poignant summary indeed.

At both the junior and senior campuses, we celebrate several Masses each term. Students of all faiths and degrees of devotion attend. Many comment positively about the experience. For some it opens doors to the sacred and refreshes their relationship with God. For many it helps focus and deepen reflection on our commitment to a purpose greater than the self. For others they simply respectfully listen. The Eucharist holds profound importance in the Catholic faith. This sacred ritual connects us personally with Jesus, guiding our moral choices, and encouraging us to find God's support in all we do – the times that are good and those that are a struggle.

In the Mass, we gather, break open the word, celebrate the Eucharist, and are sent into the world. Our gathering provides spiritual nourishment and fosters unity among both people of faith and seekers. The prayers, scripture readings, and homily support our journey of faith, hope, and love. They reinforce Christian beliefs in such things as truth, beauty, repentance, forgiveness, service, sacrifice, the soul, and the promise of eternal life. They uncover the pomp of honour, fame, and fortune. The Eucharist commemorates Christ’s Last Supper. We believe the bread and wine undergo a transformation, becoming Christ’s true presence. This shapes our deeper communion with God, fellow believers, the marginalised, and all Creation. Our celebration is incomplete while people suffer, so we go forth to protect human dignity, promote social justice, and do all we can to improve the world.

Fr Peter Hosking SJ

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.

“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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