As we prepare for Mission Action Day and Term 1 draws very quickly to a close, there is much to reflect on and be thankful for over the two-week break leading up to Easter.
This has been a very exciting term as we have:
- built on last year’s best VCE results ever,
- the genuine success story of the Year 9 Campus opening and development,
- our ACC Swimming team emerging as Champions for the second year in a row,
- the new Rheims Centre for Science and Technology providing an inspiring and engaging environment for our young scientists,
- our new Year 5 — 8 Middle School model taking shape,
- our Year 7 and Year 8 teachers busy working on changes to curriculum, courses, assessment and skill development across the board,
- the revamped ACC Football program set for Term 2 under new Director of Football, Mr Peter Schwab.
Even though Easter Sunday is more than two weeks away, as I will not write to the community again in that time I thought I’d reflect a little on the Lenten period but look more toward what Easter means for us as a Catholic school. In looking back at recent years’ literature on Lent and Easter, Pope Francis’ Lenten message from a couple of years ago contained some key messages intrinsic to what we are focusing on at De La Salle as we prepare for Mission Action Day.
Pope Francis explained,
Every Christian community is called to go out of itself and to be engaged in the life of the greater society of which it is a part, especially with the poor and those who are far away. The Church is
missionaryby her very nature; she is not self-enclosed but sent out to every nation and people.
This aligns neatly with the terrific work carried out by so many students and staff this term as they have worked so well to gather sponsorship and raise money for charitable works in less fortunate Lasallian communities abroad. Their work on fundraising and pursuing sponsorship for the MAD walkathon has been creative, generous and heart-warming. As Lasallians, we operate in a spirit of service, “exercising a preferential option for the poor,” as St John Baptist de La Salle wrote.
In 2019 we can support in a very real and tangible way the poor in our Lasallian community. My recent visit to Papua New Guinea enabled me to witness firsthand the very real need of the De La Salle communities there. It is no exaggeration to say that every $5.00 raised has the potential to make such a difference in this area. Providing basic facilities and services, sponsoring a student’s bus fare or daily lunch money so he or she can actually attend school – all this is made possible through the generosity of our Malvern students supporting their Lasallian colleagues in Pakistan and PNG.
It is interesting to see how Easter messages from our religious leaders link so closely to the work our young men here do to support their social justice initiatives. The 2018 Easter message from Br Robert Schieler, Superior General of the De La Salle Brothers, provides salient lessons for all of us. It encourages us to take the real meaning of Easter and apply it to our work. For us this can mean a dedication to our support of Mission Action Day and also a reminder of how we should treat our fellow students / colleagues.
The resurrection of Jesus and the promise of eternal life are the clearest signs of God’s merciful actions on our behalf. As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, how can we effectively manifest God’s mercy to our sisters and brothers who, with us, live in a world characterized by war, torture, terrorism, epidemics, starving children, rejected refugees, mistreated migrants, relationship-blocking walls and natural disasters?
We must, I believe, help others to experience God’s mercy through our own concrete and personal merciful actions. We must really do unto others as we would have them do unto us in specific desperate situations.
Lasallians are called to touch hearts with the mercy of God. We, like Pope Francis, must build bridges of mutual understanding and assistance and we must tear down walls of intolerance and exclusion. We must be women and men characterized by tenderness, friendliness, forgiveness, educational excellence and a practical concern for the well-being of our sisters and brothers who suffer from injustice, exclusion, war, anxiety about the future and lack of educational opportunity.
We have to be convinced that all those whom we encounter will experience God’s mercy and the joy of Easter when they encounter these qualities through us – merciful ministers of God.Br Robert Schieler, Superior General of the De La Salle Brothers
I wish all in our community a happy, safe and holy Easter and we’ll see you all back in Term 2, refreshed and ready to tackle all the new term brings.
Mr Peter Houlihan