Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,
It is with great excitement that I write to you this week as our Year 8, 9 and 10 students return following the longest absence of students from school in the history of education in this country.
It is moments such as this when it is good to take a breath, reflect and give thanks for all that our community has achieved through this extraordinary time. I am immensely proud of everyone in our Whitefriars family who has adapted to a situation, none of us could possibly have imagined, with such agility and flexibility. More than this, our community has behaved with grace, generosity and a willing sense of community knowing that it is our unity that will most successfully see us through this time.
There are times though, I must admit, where our present situation leads me to feelings of frustration and even dejectedness when I see the impact this pandemic has had on families and staff and on the wellbeing of our fine young men. It is easy in these moments for this frustration to boil over as we have seen in recent times. I think itâ€™s because this present moment has caused us all to feel off-balance. Things just arenâ€™t the way they should be.
The gospel reading for the Sunday on which I am writing this article (30th Sunday of Ordinary time) is a timely reminder to me about how I should approach the state of affairs in which we find ourselves. To restore the balance in my life, even if I canâ€™t change the situation.
In this story from Matthew, Jesus is challenged by the leaders of the day to answer the question â€“ which is the greatest of the commandments? Now of course these leaders had their own motivations for asking the question. In a sense they were attempting to throw Jesus off balance.
Jesus response is as simple as it is profound.
â€˜You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.â€™
Through this simple phrase, Jesus restores the balance. Even more than this he provides us with a signpost as to how we should live our lives particularly in these most troubling of times. When in doubt, love. When all else fails, love. Itâ€™s not as difficult as it sounds.
I have witnessed great acts of love in our community over these many months of disruption. Seeing how our returning students have supported the COVID safe measures our College has put in place for the safety of all. Observing staff working harder than they have ever worked before to provide the best learning opportunities possible under these conditions. Reading emails of encouragement and gratitude from parents. These simple examples of love are among the many IÂ have observed which have helped to restore the balance.
The latest Carmelite Communication puts it far better than I couldâ€¦
Love of God and love of neighbour belong together as two parts of the same whole. It means that true faith, as Jesus teaches it, is about being in loving relationship with God and other human beings.
The Kingdom of God is not some far off place, but the moments when Godâ€™s life breaks into the human story usually through the good, healing, loving words and actions of human beings. Those moments bring love, wisdom, grace, compassion, generosity, forgiveness and peace into our lives.
That is who we are called to be and what we are called to do.
I couldnâ€™t agree more!
Cultural Diversity week
I would like to thank Ms Kelly Hoinville for her work in presenting this yearâ€™s Cultural Diversity Day. The boys appreciated the various activities including the Kahoot and Cooking competition and the chance to dress up for the cultural free dress contest. Thanks Kelly for your innovative and creative approach under special circumstances.
State Chess Competition
Congratulations to our highly talented chess team who on Friday finished 9th in the State Chess Championships. Mr Ashley Payne told us that it was great to see so many new players getting tournament experience; this should bode well for future years. A wonderful finish to what has been a very successful season of chess this year.
Congratulations Ms Powling, Jayden (Chess Captain) and the chess team!
Mr Mark Murphy