Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,
We commenced this new term full of promise and hope. Life seemed to be returning to normal. Crowds had returned to sporting matches, restaurants were full, planes were flying and there wasn’t a mask to be seen. Unfortunately, as we know now, the situation can change rapidly. Yet again our city experienced another period of lockdown and instead of learning in classrooms we were learning from the kitchen table. To add insult to injury we also experienced one of the worst storms in recent memory which plunged many in our community into darkness, including our school itself! We could be forgiven for feeling that the world is against us and things are a little bleak right now.
In these moments of difficulty and challenge we often ask ourselves, what did we do to deserve this? Or Where is God in our moment of greatest need? The Gospel of last Sunday goes some way to answering these questions.
Mark’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus and his disciples crossing the sea of Galilee in a boat. When they commenced the journey, the waters were smooth and glassy, and the sun was shining. But as those of you have spent time on the water will know, things can change rapidly.
We know in the story that the seas became violent and the disciples, fearing for their lives, cried out to Jesus for help. As the story goes Jesus calmed the storm and then had a go at his disciples for their lack of faith.
The question many may ask is, where has Jesus been in the last few weeks in our lives? Why hasn’t he calmed our storm or squashed our virus? If we are looking for some astonishing miracle, we are missing the point of the story. The real miracle is all around us. The events of the last couple of weeks have also borne witness to tremendous acts of courage and kindness, of generosity and genuine care which provides us all with hope that as a community we will prevail.
We have witnessed it in the emergency services and electrical workers who with their chainsaws and tools have worked 24/7 to restore our power and clear our roads. It is in the volunteers who have provided food and others supplies, and mostly comfort, to those in greatest need. It is in the medical workers who are putting their own health and wellbeing on the line at testing stations and vaccine hubs.
At Whitefriars, we borne witness to the miracle too. In the staff who acted with agility, skill and dedication in ensuring our students were supported, it was in the parents who wrote words of encouragement and support and lifted the spirits of our staff and also cared for their sons at a difficult time and it was in the boys themselves who continued to show adaptability and resilience.
So, as a good friend of mine often says the takeaway message from the Mark’s Gospel story is that we are Jesus, we are the body of Christ in our world. He has provided us the example, but it is up to us now to live the message of the Gospel, to see the needs that exist and to calm the storm in our own community.
Mark Murphy, Principal
From the Gospel of Mark 4:35-41
On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
On behalf of the Whitefriars College Family I would like to offer the following words of condolence
Vale Evelina Thornton,
It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the recent death of Evelina Thornton following a long battle with cancer. Evelina was a dedicated and passionate teacher who supported Whitefriars students in the areas of Italian, English, and Religious Education for over ten years. More than this Evelina was a thoughtful and caring member of our community who was always there with a supportive heart and a listening ear for all members of our College community. On behalf of our community I wish to offer my deepest sympathies to Evelina’s husband Ian and family and know that Evelina will always be remembered at Whitefriars
Vale June Sharam
On behalf of the Whitefriars community I would like to offer my deepest sympathies, prayers, and condolences to Glen Sharam following the death of his mother June
On behalf of the Whitefriars community I would like to express our sympathy prayers and words of condolence following the death of the father of Nicholas Fitter, Teacher and member of the Performing Arts Department.
Eternal rest grant unto them Lord
And let your perpetual light shine on them
May they rest in peace