As the end of the term draws near, we reflect on the remarkable resiliency of the human spirit to roll with the topsy-turvy world we are all currently experiencing, and how we have learned to live our lives in different ways. The one constant through all of the change and upheaval is the presence of our faith – sometimes resounding loudly, lighting our path forward, at other times, a small flicker of intuition, nudging us to think differently about our thoughts, feelings and actions (even though we are sometimes reluctant to pay attention).
I share below a beautiful piece of writing by Fr Ron Rolheiser, OMI. Just as our connection with our faith can hit high and low points, so too can our relationship with Jesus. Throughout his ministry, Jesus was surrounded by people whose relationship to him was different. Jesus connected with and taught through many people, not just those who were most devoted to him. Our own incompleteness in how we realise this relationship, does not diminish or erode how we are loved and accepted by our God.
“Disciples with Many Faces
In a book entitled, Jesus of Nazareth, German scripture-scholar, Gerhard Lohfink, describes how people in the Gospels relate to Jesus in different ways.
Not everyone was an apostle, not everyone was a disciple, and not everyone who contributed to Jesus’ cause even followed him. Different individuals had their own way of connecting to Jesus.
This has implications as to how we should understand the Church, both as it is conceived in the abstract and how it is understood practically within our parish structures. The similarity to Jesus’ time is obvious.
When we look at church life today, especially as we see it lived out concretely within parishes, it is obvious that it is made up of much more than only the core, committed congregation, namely, those who participate regularly in church life and accept (at least for the main part) the dogmatic and moral teachings of their churches.
The Church also contains a wide variety of the less-engaged: people who practice occasionally, people who accept some of its teachings, guests who visit our churches, people who don’t explicitly commit but are sympathetic to the Church and offer it various kinds of support, and, not least, people who link themselves to God in more-privatised ways, those who are spiritual but not religious. Lohfink points out in his book that these people were already around Jesus and “they were not unimportant” to his mission.
This does not mean that there are tiers within discipleship, where some are called to a higher holiness and others to a lower one, as if the full Gospel applies only to some. The full Gospel applies to everyone, as does Jesus’ invitation to intimacy with him. Each individual chooses how deep he or she will go and some go deeper than others, though ideally everyone is meant to go its full depth.
Each of us has his or her own history of being graced and wounded, formed and deformed, and so we all come to adulthood with very different capacities to see, understand, love, accept love, and give ourselves over to someone or something beyond us. None of us is whole and none of us is fully mature. All of us are limited in what we can do.
We are all around Jesus in our different ways and we must be careful not to judge each other.”
The Australian Curriculum: Public Consultation is Open
As you may be aware, the Australian Curriculum is currently undergoing a review. The Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum is our national curriculum which outlines the core content that all young people should be taught regardless of where they live in Australia.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) reviews the curriculum every six years and has consulted with 360 practising teachers and curriculum specialists to develop the proposed changes. There are proposed changes across the whole of the curriculum including all eight learning areas with the aim of making the content clearer and better organised. It is also more concise, more specific and less cluttered. The proposals are not final but are now open to public consultation and feedback until Thursday, 8 July. The feedback will be used to develop final revisions, which will be provided to federal, state and territory education ministers for their consideration.
Visit the public consultation website to have your say www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/consultation.
How to have your say on the proposed revisions to the Australian Curriculum
You are invited to provide feedback as a parent. There are 22 different surveys on the consultation website. To start, get to know the proposed changes to a learning area of interest (or all!), the general capabilities or the cross–curriculum priorities, then fill out the relevant survey. The online survey can be completed by individuals or groups.
General Capabilities are the understandings and skills young Australians need to successfully learn, live and work in the 21st Century. Learn more about the proposed changes to the General Capabilities at australiancurriculum.edu.au/consultation/general-capabilities/
Cross-Curriculum Priorities make up one of the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum. See the proposed changes at australiancurriculum.edu.au/consultation/cross-curriculum-priorities/
Learning Areas include English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education and Languages.
It is with sadness that we will farewell some of our colleagues at the end of this term. I would like to wish Ms Lauren Vella all the best as she commences her maternity leave. Ms Narelle Fewster is re-locating overseas with her family and we extend our best wishes as her family begins this new adventure. Ms Loretta Joyce has made a wonderful contribution as Acting Head of Human Resources and I would like to acknowledge the great work she has done with staff, and her support of Leadership Team members, during Semester 1.
We will welcome new staff members commencing with us for Semester 2:
- Ms Natalia Susanty Chemistry, Science
- Ms Sarah Singarella Health and Physical Education, Humanities
- Mrs Jayne O’Connell Maths, Science
Mr Greg Bertuna, Head of Human Resources, will also return from Long Service Leave at the start of Term 3.
I would like to acknowledge teachers at the College who have been flexible in negotiating their Semester 2 teaching loads so that we can be creative in employing the best teachers we can at the College.
Enjoy the Term Break
Wishing everyone a safe and restful term break. We look forward to the commencement of Term 3, hopefully under freer restrictions so that we can resume all the aspects of school life that our students, staff and families enjoy. Take care and God bless.
Message from St Columba’s Board
To all members of the College Community
On behalf of the Board, I am very pleased to update you on the outcome of the Formative Review of our Principal, Rita Grima. As some of you know, this review was undertaken during Term 1, and was a comprehensive independent process conducted by a panel comprising Ms Kate Fogarty, Principal, Assumption College Kilmore; Mr Ray Pisani, Principal, Marian College Sunshine West; Mr Peter Kelly, Ministry Leader, Mary Aikenhead Education; and Ms Angela Killingsworth, Flourish Consultancy in Leadership, who conducted the review on behalf of the Board.
Central to the process was consultation with members of all parts of our community, including staff, students, parents and members of the Board, along with a self-reflection from Ms Grima. The outcome was a confidential report to the Board that we received at our May meeting. In essence, the report affirmed the outstanding leadership skills of Ms Grima. To quote from the report “The affirmation of Rita’s leadership was overwhelmingly positive and potent. She is an outstanding Principal”.
We are delighted to share this feedback with you, and we thank those of you who were part of the review process, as well as all members of our community who support our Principal in her vital role.
Deirdre O’Donnell, Board Chair